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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:39 am 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2019 2:37 am
Posts: 2
First name: Jean
City: Pittsburgh
State: PA
Zip/Postal Code: 15210
Country: US
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I’m a beginner mandolin player and novice kit builder. But I’m an experienced wood worker and have a good wood shop.

The first kit I assembled was a Saga mandolin. The instructions didn’t mention fine tuning the carving of the front and back or shaping the tone bars. I would have taken the time to learn how to do these things if they had been included in the instructions. The Saga mandolin i made is easy to tune but the tone is disappointing.

The second kit I assembled is readily available from an individual luthier. It came with written instructions, measured drawings and a cd of photos. This information is inconsistent in thoroughness and detail about the various steps. For instance there is no guidance on how to shape the neck at various fret levels. There is no truss rod so It’s important to get it right. Another example is that the kit includes a beautiful measured drawing of the bridge and a bridge blank but nothing about how to do the carving.

Im going to persevere and do another kit. Which mandolin kits come with excellent instructions? I’m willing to pay for quality and want to produce a good instrument.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 7:53 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:49 am
Posts: 10501
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
First name: Hesh
Last Name: Breakstone
City: Tecumseh and Ann Arbor
State: Michigan
Country: United States
Status: Professional
Hi Emily and welcome to the OLF.

When I started 17 years ago now I got started with a Stewart McDonald dr*adnought kit. The kit, materials and especially the documentation was excellent and what resulted was not only a nice guitar but a completely new career for me.

Anyway the StewMac kits were at least back then very well documented which included literature and get this... a thing called a VHS tape. I remember not even having a VHS any more having moved to CDs so I had to go buy a VHS player for a few bucks since no one wanted them.

Good luck to you and again welcome.

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Ann Arbor Guitars
World-Class Repair and Restoration
http://www.annarborguitars.com


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:25 pm 
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Contributing Member
Contributing Member

Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:26 pm
Posts: 181
First name: Carl
Last Name: Dickinson
City: Forest Ranch
State: California
Zip/Postal Code: 95942
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I'm not sure about mandolin kits. You might ask the question on the mando-uke forum below this one. You also should check https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/. Lots of good mando info there.
As to kit guitar assembly instructions, a couple of books by Bill Cory, "Assembling a Kit Guitar" and another about Martin Kits, really helped me in the beginning. I still refer to them once in a while.
For neck shaping, https://www.liutaiomottola.com/. There is a wealth of info there for someone trying to figure out how to do this stuff.
And of course right here at OLF. You can get lost for days using the search function.
Oh, and a mention should go to http://acousticguitarconstructionforum.com/. The late Ken Cierpilowski, who contributed a lot to this forum and sold kits and tools, created that site and it's being continued by John Parchem. Great instruction info there.
Well that should keep you busy for a while.
Welcome to the asylum bliss .

And can't forget John Hall's http://www.kitguitarsforum.com/. Great source for newbees with instructions and videos. There's a kit mandolin section there too.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:33 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2019 2:37 am
Posts: 2
First name: Jean
City: Pittsburgh
State: PA
Zip/Postal Code: 15210
Country: US
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Thank you. That is a wealth of information.



These users thanked the author BeanJean for the post: Hesh (Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:50 am)
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:43 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 1741
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Roger Siminoff used to sell mandolin kits, I got one years ago and his book on building a blue grass mandolin. Ended up with this

Attachment:
Img_0413.jpg


Attachment:
Img_0412.jpg


I'm pretty sure that Roger is out of the kit business but it doesn't hurt to give him a call

https://www.siminoff.net/

Edit to add, Siminoff is one of the great disciple of Lloyd Loar and all of the work he developed on tuning and voicing his instruments. His books and publications describe his methods of tuning each part of the mandolin. I more or less followed it and then had the pleasure of sitting in a class by Roger at a GAL conference where he talked about tap tuning and all the voicing magic. I have a lot of that information if you can't get it from him.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:50 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:49 am
Posts: 10501
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
First name: Hesh
Last Name: Breakstone
City: Tecumseh and Ann Arbor
State: Michigan
Country: United States
Status: Professional
Freeman wrote:
Roger Siminoff used to sell mandolin kits, I got one years ago and his book on building a blue grass mandolin. Ended up with this

Attachment:
Img_0413.jpg


Attachment:
Img_0412.jpg


I'm pretty sure that Roger is out of the kit business but it doesn't hurt to give him a call

https://www.siminoff.net/

Edit to add, Siminoff is one of the great disciple of Lloyd Loar and all of the work he developed on tuning and voicing his instruments. His books and publications describe his methods of tuning each part of the mandolin. I more or less followed it and then had the pleasure of sitting in a class by Roger at a GAL conference where he talked about tap tuning and all the voicing magic. I have a lot of that information if you can't get it from him.


That's a real beauty Freeman, Ya done good!!!

_________________
Ann Arbor Guitars
World-Class Repair and Restoration
http://www.annarborguitars.com


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