Classical mandolin Classical mandolin European Maple Classical Junior Blackwood Sassafras
Classical mandolin symmetric.
Classical mandolin.
Classical mandolin, Maple.
Classical Junior mandolin.
Classical Junior, Blackwood.
Classical Junior, Sassafras.

Classical Mandolin

Based on the Lyon and Healy style A and style C


Available as the Classical mandolin with symmetrical or asymmetrical points, and as the Classical Junior with no points and a Classical Flattop (flat top with no points).  There are two possible scale lengths, 13 3/4 inches or 13 inches.

These models are based on the Lyon and Healy mandolins and they are constructed very similar to the Lyon and Healy/Washburn mandolins.  There are some differences, primarily to keep costs under control.  For example, there is no scroll headstock, and the tailpiece is simpler.  There is no leg pin, but there is an end pin so a strap can be used.  It is named the Classical model because the Lyon and Healy mandolins are very popular amongst musicians who play classical music on mandolin.  These mandolins are my personal favorites.  They sound similar to the original Lyon and Healy mandolins, but are louder and more responsive, and in my opinion the tone is also improved.  Fantastic mandolins, delightful to play and they sound awesome, really sweet, I love them and get blown away every time I string a new one up (but that is my opinion).  The two points are, however, significantly more work to make so are more expensive.  The Classical Junior is made to reduce the cost, and they are built the same as the Classical model, except there are no points and they have a riser block to simplify the bindings, and a full contact adjustable Brekke bridge.

The Lyon and Healy mandolins were constructed very differently from the Gibson mandolins.  Many makers claim to make a mandolin "based on" on "influenced by" the Lyon and Healy's, but in fact have nothing much in common apart from the body shape.  A Coombe classical model mandolin is in fact based on and constructed similar to the original Lyon and Healy, because I have studied the originals very closely.  It has exactly the same feel and delightful playability.

Sound - the sound of the carved top classical models are quite different from my standard oval hole mandolins.  They have a lighter, brighter and more delicate sound and feel.  They do sound close to my original 1918 and 1924 Lyon and Healys, but are louder, more lively and ring and sustain more.  Like the original, they do not have the big woofy bass that is so characteristic of Gibson style oval hole mandolins.

The Classical Flattop mandolins are remarkably good sounding for a flat top mandolin .  The proof is in the sound clips.  I have spent much time researching how to make a great sounding flat top mandolin, and with the third generation of these mandolins that use some guitar construction principles, have achieved the goal.  They are fun to play, sound really great, and are lighter and less bulky than an arched top mandolin, and because the top is much lighter, are quite a bit louder.  This is a popular model.

Update - the Classical Flattop mandolin is now into it's 4th generation.  They are now built similar to a classical guitar, fan braced with a lightweight top and heavy back so most of the sound comes from the top.  The changes to the bracing of the top have been a significant improvement to the sound and also volume.  The sound is a little different, but on the same level as any of my carved top mandolins so are great value.

For more information see specifications or contact me.

Pictures of the asymmetric Classical model, short scale length (13 inch).
Classical mandolin asymmetric

Classical mandolin asymmetric back

Comments from a customer -

"The notes on the A and E strings are bell like, absolutely beautiful for
single notes, sounds exactly like Marilynn Mair, who plays a both an
original, but mainly an identical replica of this made by a Canadian
luthier, no longer working, who reproduced the original with a flat peghead
just like yours

If you close your eyes and play lines on the basses, listening to the sound,
and volume, you would expect to be holding a much larger instrument
There seems to be an enormous amount of power on tap, lots of sound, like
pressing an organ key

It clearly delineates the different notes in chords or arrpegios. The sound
is stunning when compared to the rather plonk and tubby thuds that most bowl
back mandolins in the orchestra produce
Because it is so delicately and lightly constructed, you get very subtle and
fine tones for tremolo, a major feature of classical work, it is awesome,
single strings sing

I have not figured out all the dynamics yet, but when you do a double
octave run up the neck, the high notes are still really loud and clear,
in fact controlling the vol with your technique will be a learning curve

I feel like I am holding a model aeroplane and the action is incredibly easy
to play, this translates into velocity and potential for virtuoso
performance- this is exactly like the originals. I think you have nailed
that because that was what struck so much about the original I played. This
is not your typical bluegrass mandolin experience"