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Dipole Electric Mandolin

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Ripthorn, Nov 18, 2020.

  1. Ripthorn

    Ripthorn Friend of Leo's

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    Well, a crazy idea came to me last week. I thought that an electric mandolin might be fun. So I started looking at them and it turns out that most are not terribly attractive, if you ask me. Nothing wrong with a Tele style one, but mandolins are supposed to be just a little more sophisticated. So Saturday I drew one up, based on one of my previous designs coupled with a cool element I saw somewhere.

    I also thought this would be a great opportunity to use up some of the wood that I have that is too small for guitars. Turns out I had several pieces of scraps or smaller bits that will suit this guy just fine. Details:

    Body:
    - Walnut back
    - Curly mango top
    - Curly maple binding

    Neck:
    - Curly claro walnut
    - Bloodwood fretboard
    - Curly maple binding (?)

    Hardware/Electronics:
    - Hipshot tuners, nickel
    - Custom machined bridge (I have some brass just itching to be a bridge)
    - Single pickup (I'll be winding this, likely a single coil)
    - Volume only control

    Templates:
    [​IMG]

    I bought a beautiful piece of curly mango at Woodcraft a long time ago that was about 5" wide and 13" long. After resawing, this will be the perfect size for the top, a truss rod cover, and maybe even the rear cavity cover. I love jointing with hand planes, such a perfect seam...

    [​IMG]

    This piece of curly claro walnut was a $5 bin find at Woodcraft last year and has been waiting to do something with its life.

    [​IMG]

    Some scrap bloodwood flooring was plenty big enough for the fretboard, but too narrow for a guitar. Used my new laser engraver to mark out the slots, since I don't have a template for mandolin scale. This is soooo much better than using a paper template! No adhesive residue, taping up paper, etc.

    [​IMG]

    I resawed the neck blank to get enough for a really nice headstock veneer. Then I proceeded to cut the scarf joint. This is the one where the seam is on the headstock face, which I have not done before, but it allows me to use a better part of the blank. Pretty standard stuff.

    [​IMG]

    So here is the color scheme (minus the maple binding, which has now been cut and thickness sanded):

    [​IMG]

    Next up is all the fretboard stuff. I need the tuners in hand, along with winding the pickup and machining the bridge. I also need to do a practice top to determine if I will do a carved or beveled top. This is where it being small is convenient. If carved top, I will likely to a hollow body with f hole, as seen on the template. If beveled top, It will likely stay solid.
     
  2. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I like the look! I have a Tele type Eastwood. It satisfies my itch for a seafoam green instrument. Looking forward to seeing how this comes out.
     
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  3. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Just a few tips feel free to ignore, using my Cittern for reference. I almost NEVER use a single coil or wind my own but I did here. Just an alnico 2 bar magnet with 5k of 44awg. High resistance but a lower sweet output. I also made my own bridge, good on you. Make the neck a wider than scale, your fingers on the high frets will thank you. Now those tuners you speak of, can I see a pic? You don't want the headstock too heavy on a mando. 8 strings is a LOT pulling on those little guys you don't wanna make it worse and chance a peghead break (yes I've seen it happen). Well I'll dive back in my hole, work to do lol

    Dave
     
  4. Ripthorn

    Ripthorn Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for the thoughts, Dave!

    Tuners will be hipshot classic open back. They aren't too heavy, and I quite like them.

    I have some bar magnets and 42 awg wire that I plan on using.

    I'm also doing a slightly wider neck. I still have a lot to figure out though...
     
  5. Macrogats

    Macrogats Friend of Leo's

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    This looks like fun. Any ideas on how you would do it as a hollow body?
     
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  6. LightningPhil

    LightningPhil Tele-Meister

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    A lyre harp seems to be simply hollowed out and a lid glued on. No fancy acoustic guitar delicacy... Might work here?
     
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  7. I_build_my_own

    I_build_my_own Friend of Leo's

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    I like you thinking! ... not terribly attractive ... back when i started my electric mando build, i said to someone Mandos don’t deserve to look like THAT :D they deserve to look better :D
     
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  8. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Ooh...I'm liking this!
     
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  9. Ripthorn

    Ripthorn Friend of Leo's

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    I would just route out the inside of the body back and glue on the top.
     
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  10. Macrogats

    Macrogats Friend of Leo's

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    Sounds like a plan to me. None of that pesky bending sides etc. :p
     
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  11. Ripthorn

    Ripthorn Friend of Leo's

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    That was certainly a big part of it!
     
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  12. Ripthorn

    Ripthorn Friend of Leo's

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    Last night I worked some magic on the fretboard. I got it slotted, radiused, tapered, and binding applied. This was my first go at mitered wood binding; usually I'll just do butt joints on the fretboard with wood binding. Not too bad, good practice for when I bind the body, which is where I'm more nervous, as I will be bending the binding with a hot pipe for that. After a little sanding at 150 grit and some naphtha, we have this:

    [​IMG]

    Up next is side dots and 12th fret inlay, and then it will be complete and ready to glue on to the neck (once the neck is ready).
     
  13. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I would probably do the same for an electric setup, especially if the sides might get paint or very dark dye that would hide the fact that there's both end-grain and not-end-grain visible.
     
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  14. Macrogats

    Macrogats Friend of Leo's

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    Good job on that fb. Very niiiiicccce!
     
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  15. jman72

    jman72 Tele-Afflicted

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    Very nice! I wanted a more "traditional" looking mando when I built mine. Not as fancy as yours, however- just a solid body based on an F5 body/headstock. I didn't do an angled headstock- it is just your standard "Fender" style maple neck and rosewood fretboard. I used standard mandolin tuners (and made the bridge myself out of extra maple).

    I've had it for about 10 years or so, and it is a great little instrument. I hope you like yours, too!

    mando 1a.jpg
     
  16. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Funny you say that, mando sides are among the easiest to bend with binding being the easiest. I used a tomato juice can with a 100 watt flood lamp inside with vent holes. Don't laugh, is hot enough to remove skin in two minutes. Bending difficulties are proportional to the depth of the piece being bent. Guitars especially dreadnoughts are the hardest with violins being the easiest, and that's with maple. I used curly maple as binding often and got many compliments, it breaks just looking at it. Almost as attractive and MUCH easier to bend is sycamore. I did start my life acoustic but things happened lol. Love the body shape btw,

    Dave
     
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  17. Ripthorn

    Ripthorn Friend of Leo's

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    I got the fretboard all inlaid. I kept it pretty simple, but it should look pretty nice. I also got my truss rod in and routed for it. After the picture below was taken, I glued on the head plate, let it dry, cut and routed the headstock and drilled for tuners. I need to thin the headstock down a little bit and then glue on the fretboard.

    I discovered a couple of useful tips as well:

    1. I hav always relieved the fret slot edges with a triangular file, but that doesn't work too well on bound fretboards. I've used needle files to get more control, but I still sometimes mess up the binding a tiny bit. I had the brilliant idea to use the point of one of my marking knives as a scraper to relieve the slots instead, and it worked wonderfully!

    2. I didn't want the maple to get stained by the super glue for the inlay or by the bloodwood dust. I used a small brush to apply some water based clear coat only on the maple, and it kept the bloodwood dust out and prevented and splotching due to super glue soakage.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    You are inspiring me for a future project, Rip'... :) I'm really digging this!
     
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  19. Ripthorn

    Ripthorn Friend of Leo's

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    I just pulled the neck out of the clamps from gluing on the fretboard. It's so small!
     
  20. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don’t know if it’s just the photos but that fingerboard looks quite thick, about half the thickness of your blank there

    Looks good
     
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