Peter Coombe Mandolins and Guitars
A mandolin made from native Australian woods
This mandolin is similar to the
Standard model, but has a King Billy Pine top and Tasmanian
Blackwood back and sides. The neck, bindings,
fingerboard and pick guard are made from other suitable
Australian native or imported woods.
I like to think of this mandolin as proof that musical instruments do not need to be made from imported woods to sound good. Indeed, Australian native woods can make musical instruments that can sound as good or arguably better than those made from traditional woods. In my humble opinion, no other tree that grows on earth can match the sound of a King Billy Pine top in a mandolin.
These are exceptionally fine, mellow, sweet and clear sounding mandolins that improve with age. The best examples have excellent volume and projection - i.e. they are loud and penetrate well through the noise of other instruments. Not recommended for players who have a heavy right hand. Most of these instruments respond well to a light or medium touch, but do not like to be played hard. Some are really quite exceptional sounding, and of the top 5 mandolins I have made 5 would be Goldfinch models.
King Billy Pine timber is a precious resource. The trees are very slow growing and only grow in Tasmania. After 200 years of non sustainable logging, it is now illegal to cut down a living tree. A reliable supply of good quality wood is now non existent and I am entirely reliant on what wood I have stored in the workshop. I can no longer afford to discard wood that has defects such as small knots. Unfortunately small knots hidden in what looks like perfectly clear timber is very common in King Billy Pine and has been the source of much wasted time and timber in the past. Please bear in mind that some Goldfinch mandolins will have less than perfect wood for the top. Some will be free of knots, or I may successfully hide the knots (e.g., under the fingerboard), but you take your chances. Nowadays probably only about 1 in 2 or 3 tops will have no "defects". Most of the small knots are not a structural or acoustic problem. Rest assured if I was concerned about a knot, I would not use the wood for a mandolin. If this bothers you then please order my standard model with a Spruce top. Just be grateful that I can still make mandolins from this wood. They certainly do have a classy and unique sound, and I would like to continue to make them for as long as possible. Fortunately, due to a bad tendency to overspend on wood in the past, I do have a good supply of King Billy Pine that will last for many years, but it does need to be conserved as much as possible. I will not listen to complaints about "defects" in King Billy Pine, customers will have to accept that it is a limited and precious resource and nobody can be choosey.
For more information see specifications or contact me.