Published: Aug 15, 2015 by K. E. Claytor
This 4-string 14” scale length mandolin was constructed over the course of one summer. I ordered a bunch of mostly barebones parts and did the design and construction myself.
Some lessons learned:
- Never use Bass guitar tuning mechanisms - or at least buy a wider drill bit. Filing the holes larger by hand almost killed the project.
- Glad I had the freboard pre-cut.
- Shaping the nut is actually really difficult - would pay for a pre-cut nut in the future. Or buy a few extras and experiment.
- Run through a complete virtual build in your head - I skipped the bridge ground wire and added it in later, so it’s bit ugly.
- This was tons of fun and I’d recommend it!
I also decided to “live-tweet” the construction, so here’s the history:
Alright live tweeting the construction (don't get your hopes up this will take weeks). First up: test body blanks: pic.twitter.com/soefmTPNuZ— Kevin Claytor (@keclaytor) May 5, 2015
All critical parts in. Scaling and seeing how everything fits. Dremel insufficient for recessing the pickups :( pic.twitter.com/xDmLkVTu7E— Kevin Claytor (@keclaytor) May 8, 2015
Finally filed out that fraction of an inch to fit the tuning mechanisms.... Never doing that again. pic.twitter.com/Sykn9pYfhs— Kevin Claytor (@keclaytor) August 13, 2015
Serendipitously figured out how to hold things together while gluing. pic.twitter.com/srMEXGxXzl— Kevin Claytor (@keclaytor) August 16, 2015
There's a reason my nickname for this instrument is "The Grad School Special" pic.twitter.com/beXzVOW1lq— Kevin Claytor (@keclaytor) August 18, 2015
Ran out of fretwire with 5 left to go! Still happy with how it turned out. pic.twitter.com/jW2kHGWpAZ— Kevin Claytor (@keclaytor) August 20, 2015
Milled. Front and back. Needs a bit of finishing still. pic.twitter.com/UnE34IrcNK— Kevin Claytor (@keclaytor) August 21, 2015
Boom! It's looking legit now :) pic.twitter.com/7YdqaNVzZa— Kevin Claytor (@keclaytor) August 22, 2015
Here's another. pic.twitter.com/h8krXe5eNF— Kevin Claytor (@keclaytor) August 22, 2015
Got the hardware and electronics in. Just the strings and nut left to do! pic.twitter.com/QVHrlm7pOR— Kevin Claytor (@keclaytor) September 5, 2015
Yes. Those are strings. And yes, its roughly in tune. No implosion! pic.twitter.com/WTYqKM0B7N— Kevin Claytor (@keclaytor) September 5, 2015
Yep. Still amazed that it's in any way functional. Here's a video. pic.twitter.com/PnSORPQpAN— Kevin Claytor (@keclaytor) September 6, 2015
Here are some more images of the complete gadget: