Blackface Mandola #182 , completed April 2013 and bound for its new owner, John Holmberg, in Queensland, Australia.

It features an artist grade, Adirondack Spruce top with X bracing and Red Maple slab-sawn back with matching sides and neck. Based on Gibson’s original H-2, the scale length is 15 7/8″, neck profiled in a “soft V”, nut width 1 3/8″, 12″ radius fingerboard and bound in triple-lam ivoroid on the headstock, fingerboard, top and back. I recorded the soundclip myself (below) just before it left the shop. The tune is called “Snow on Deer Mountain”.

Hi Don, Just an update on the mandola after a few weeks playing it (almost constantly). I’m enjoying this new instrument so much. It is the kind of instrument that stimulates new approaches to one’s music. I love the middle voice between the mando and the octave mando (tenor banjo in my case). I was at a camping-session weekend recently and the mandola was the instrument I reached for to accompany songs that others were singing and playing. The lovely sustain and good bass response are a real treat and give the instrument a great deal of versatility for accompaniment. It is also fun to play tunes on it in a small session where the tunes, played an octave below the fiddle-mandolin, fit in nicely. The mandola already has a lovely focused tone (despite being lower register), great volume and sustain and spot on intonation up the neck (a real treat as I use a capo on this unlike the mando). And a bonus: it’s such a lovely thing to behold (many compliments from muso friends which I defer to you). You did such a nice job on her: great fit and finish and lovely tone woods and inlay. Thanks again Don for creating this lovely instrument which I will cherish. It was a delight working with you on the project and I look forward to keeping in touch as email friends (until I can get back to Colorado). Cheers mate, and Thanks Again, John

– John Holmberg, owner #182

Listen to Mandola #182 – Snow on Deer Mountain