Yikes! Has this one become a vintage instrument?
© Frank Ford, 2005; Photos by FF
Yeah, it creeps me out to think that it's been thirty-five years since I made this mandolin. A few years ago, the celluloid fingerrest started to decompose and crumble like so many old ones I've seen. I suppose we're getting old together. . .
I don't have a lot of "vintage information" to give you about this one, except to say it is an early example of my work. The back and sides are maple I got from a violin wood supplier, the same source I used for the spruce top. The peghead veneer is a cutoff from a Brazilian rosewood guitar back, and the inlay on the fingerboard is my own design, loosely based on an early Bacon Professional banjo.
I traced the body outline from the treble side of my Gibson F-4, and doubled it over to form the bass side. The f-holes are copied from a 1960s F-5. The top and back are quite thin, tapering from about 1/8" in the center, to 3/32" at the edges. The top braces are about twice as heavy as the Loar era F-5s, but that's really not so heavy, considering the thin top. The mandolin has been under tension continuously since I built it, and the top shows not the slightest sign of sinking, so I'd say it's pretty stable.
Check out the peghead logo. This first Gryphon logo was drawn by our old friend, Rick Shubb, of Shubb Capo fame.
Please click the small image