Custom Built Mandolin

This is an A-style mandolin with a Sitka Spruce top and Maple sides and neck. The finish is a hand-rubbed French Polish. The sound of the finished instrument is excellent.

There are some pictures of the finishing process. I intend to video a future build but, for now, if you’re interested the articles below are in reverse order from finish to start. Use the list of articles in the right sidebar if you want to view from the beginning or locate a specific step in the build.

I custom-build mandolins for clients who are interested in high-quality instruments. All of my instruments are built for maximum playability and acoustic sustain. Place an order (no obligation) if you would like to discuss a custom-built instrument.

11:38 am11:38 am

The right strings!

Mandolin #1 was completed a while ago, so it’s time to experiment with string type. The original strings were D’Addario J67(s) which have nickel wound G and D strings. I used these because they […]

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10:52 pm10:52 pm

Mandolin Build: Finished Sound

Finished mandolin, string-up view, custom built by Craig Rantz.

(Prev: String Up)

Here is a sound sample of the finished mandolin.

The sound […]

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8:58 pm8:58 pm

Mandolin Build: String Up

(Prev: End Pin)

The builder waits for weeks to live in this moment… what will it sound like? Will the top bracing hold 160 pounds of pressure without collapsing? Will […]

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8:56 pm8:56 pm

Mandolin Build: End Pin

(Prev: French Polish Neck)

I took this picture to show how nifty inlay looks with maple, ebony, and rosewood.

The end pin is ebony, the vertical strip is ebony, the […]

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8:56 pm8:56 pm

Mandolin Build: French Polish Neck

(Prev: Bridge)

Looking at the back view you can see the shine of the shellac across the back and up the neck. The necks are neat because the maple’s grain really […]

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