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Extra Cost:

  • Presto case; high quality moulded fiberglass case hand made in Perth Western Australia (add $200 for the mandolins and $400 for the guitars, a substantial discount to the retail price).  All mandolins are provided with a custom made Cedar Creek hard-shell case as standard.

  • Waverly mandolin tuners (add $320).  Waverly tuners are the best quality money can buy, and will make tuning a pleasant experience.  Manufacturing tolerances are tighter than the Schallers so slop is reduced to almost nothing, and they work very smoothly.  However, they will not make any difference to how the instrument stays in tune.  My mandolins stay in tune, unlike a lot of other mandolins, even from some well known makers.  I regularly play my own personal mandolin at a 3-4 hr gig and never need to re-tune during the gig, and this is with the standard Schaller tuners.  A mandolin that stays in tune during a gig is a blessing.   Are Waverly's worth the extra money?  If you have the extra cash and want the very best, then yes, otherwise no.  I have never felt the need to upgrade my own mandolin.  Waverly tuners are not a stock item (too expensive) so there is a lead time, and payment in advance is required.

Note: Currently I have one set of Waverly tuners in stock, so there is no lead time at the moment.

  • Pickup - Schertler is recommended.  Customers will need to contact their local Schertler distributor.

No additional cost:

  • Narrow neck

  • Choice of either snakehead (standard) or paddle type peghead

  • Nickel tuning machines and tailpiece

  • Flat fingerboard

  • Special orders can be made from highly figured timbers if available.

  • Your choice of strings.  I set up the instruments for D'Addario semi flat top strings (FT74 for mandolin) as standard.  These are a polished string with a wound A string (on mandolin) that gives a rich mellow tone, and after trying all sorts of strings I believe these strings sound best on my instruments and is what I recommend.  Being semi flat wound, there is less squeak and far less fret wear.  On a mandolin with FT74 strings expect around 3-5 times longer fret life.  If you are a medium to light player, then you might never need a refret with these strings.  The same type of strings are used on the guitars.

  • Other customisations can be negotiated

 

  Presto Case

Rectangular Presto case

New wedge shaped Presto case.  This model is smaller and lighter, but has less storage space.

 

Waverly mandolin tuners in satin gold with Ebony tuning knobs.

 

 

Choice of Timbers

Timber choice is up to you, but will depend on what I have available. Each mandolin is constructed with your individual requirements in mind and I can advise on what would best suit your requirements in terms of tonal qualities and oval or F soundholes.

Briefly summarising a complex topic, all the preferred topwoods (European Spruce, Engelmann Spruce, King Billy Pine and Red Spruce) make very fine sounding mandolins, and there is not a huge difference in the final result. If volume and headroom is important, then I would recommend a Spruce top. Red Spruce is probably the most powerful topwood, with European Spruce not far behind, but with a sweet and more even tonal quality.  Choice of timber for the back does not have as much influence as the top, but still does influence the tone of the instrument.

The denser timbers such as Tasmanian Myrtle, Queensland Walnut or Black Walnut have more bass emphasis which gives a warmer tonal quality, but they are often not quite as loud. On the other hand, Tasmanian Blackwood has a typical bright sweet clear midrange and treble which complements the warmer qualities of Engelmann Spruce. Queensland Maple usually makes loud, bright, and extremely resonant and responsive, well balanced instruments, but not as smooth or sweet sounding as Blackwood.

If your choice of topwood is European Spruce, then Tasmanian Myrtle, Tasmanian Oak, or European Maple in my opinion is really the only sensible choice for the back. This combination makes a really classy sounding mandolin that sounds superior to any vintage Gibson I have ever played.  It is difficult to say what my favourite timbers are that give the "best" tone. What is "best" anyway? Everyone has different tastes.

For more information on woods, go to the publications section.