Siminoff Banjo and Mandolin Parts Logo
Monthly Update 
November 2007
In This Issue
What's New?
Luthier's Tip
Quick Links
Dear Luthiers,
Although the shop has been open for business, Rosemary and I have been on vacation since the middle of September, doing a cross-country trip - basically ocean to ocean -  with our trailer and our dog, Hurlie.

We started at the Plymouth Bluegrass Festival in California's Gold Country and have been meeting with several luthiers and friends as we work our way across the country. At several stops I gave a talk on The Lore of Loar - an hour and a half slide presentation on the life and work of Lloyd Loar - and I am especially thankful to the friends who hosted the events along the way. Heading back west, we spent a great weekend camping with Amy and Lynn Dudenbostel and their kids in the beautiful Smoky Mountains.  We also spent some time in Nashville with DiAnne Patrick (the designer of our pearl work) and a visit to Gibson. Now, on our way back to California, the memories of our trip only serve to reinforce how fortunate and appreciative we are to have so many good music friends around the country.

Roger Siminoff
To "V" or not to "V" - that is the question... 

It's taken decades for the V neck joint I developed to be accepted by mandolin luthiers, but today we find a growing percentage are selecting the V joint as the neck joint of choice on our mandolin kits. While the dovetail joint is an age-old way of making mechanical connections, for mandolin work, it has its drawbacks. For one thing, there are five mating surfaces on the dovetail that have to be accurately aligned. Then there is the trick of getting the neck's centerline axis to be in line with the body's centerline. Lastly, there's the question of getting the neck pitch dead on (a very important aspect). Over the past year or so, I've received almost a dozen emails and photos from luthiers who have ended up with dovetail necks glued in place, but at an alignment or neck angle the luthier was not intending. And, some of these neck angles caused severe string break angle problems. (If you want to learn more about string break angles and the resultant downloads, please see this link in our web site).


There is one major difference in the assembly process, however. Most buildersV-Joint who do the dovetail joint attach the neck after the backboard has been glued to the rim assembly and the entire air chamber is closed. With the V joint, because of the locking dowels, the neck is attached before the backboard is glued on. There is no compromise here, just a different assembly process.


The V joint is very forgiving; there are only three mating surfaces to fit, and with the use of a simple alignment fixture when attaching the neck, a perfect neck angle can be achieved every time (with very little effort). And, from the outside appearance, you can't tell the difference between the V-joint and the dovetail.


Some folks have asked "well, when you have to do a neck reset because the neck joint shifted, which joint is easier to take apart?" The good news is that in the 50 years I've been putting mandolins together, I've never had a V joint fail or need to be reset. And, I've not had a single V-joint client ever tell me that their neck joint failed. And, I guess that's where the proof is in the pudding because with a V joint, you won't have to do a neck reset.


Try it, you'll like it!


If you are interested to know more about various neck joints, click here.

What's New?

 Fingerrest Kits - Several months ago, we located a plastics manufacturer whoFingerrest Kit was able to produce acrylic tortoise shell plastic to our specifications. We are happy to announce our F5 fingerrest kits that include: 1/8" acrylic tortoise shell pattern-shaped pickguard plate, white/black/white binding, tortoise shell plastic pin support, tortoise shell plastic support plate, and the necessary nickel- or gold-plated hardware. Each kit comes with complete instructions on how to assembly the fingerrest. The fingerrest kit is part #610 and is $49.95 plus $8.00 P&H.

Leveling Tool Fret Leveling Gauge - We have just added a fret leveling gauge to help ensure that frets are all set at the same height. The bar is hardened ground steel and measures 1" x 12" x 3/16". High frets show up when the bar rocks on them. Our Fret Leveling Gauge is part #845 and is $22.95 plus $8.00 P&H.

Early-style One-piece Bridge - We are now making an excellent 1-piece Bridgereproduction of the early-style one-piece mandolin bridge in Gaboon ebony. These bridges are available with or without the fingerrest support hole and are fully intonated. Brings back that old sound to early instruments that have had replacement two-piece bridges fitted. The one-piece bridge is part #306, are $20.00 plus $6.00 P&H. (Specify hole or no hole.)

Luthier's Tip: Caring for your Wood
Aside from generally being safety conscious, there is probably nothing more important in your shop than properly caring for your wood. I've seen folks with boards leaning up against walls, wood carelessly stacked, and some who are proud of the new "green" lumber they are aging but have never sealed the ends. So, here are some tips on caring for your wood:


1)     Don't lean lumber against the wall. It will, in time, take a set and when you go to use it, you'll be working with a curved board.

2)     Sticker your board lumber, especially if it's "green;" place small thin strips of wood spacers (stickers) between the lumber and keep the stickers in a vertical row so that the weight of the boards is supported by the column of stickers. (If the stickers are not aligned, the boards will sag.)

Wood Care3)     If you have thin dried lumber (guitar soundboards, peghead veneers, etc.), it is okay to keep it in flat piles without stickers but be sure the area in which you keep the lumber has low humidity. Humidity above 70% can wreak havoc on boards with no air circulating between them.

4)     If you are storing "green" lumber, be sure to paint the ends of the boards or dip them in hot wax. This will ensure that the boards dry slowly and properly from their side grain and will greatly reduce checking and cracking at the ends.

5)     Place weights on top of stacked lumber but be sure the weights are over the stickers. If you are working with quantities of smaller woods - like peghead veneers - keep them tightly clamped together, with plywood pieces the same size as the veneers on the outsides, so that the veneers do not warp.

Product of the Month: Behringer CS-100 Compressor

CompressorThe Behringer CS-100 compressor helps to provide sustain when doing tap tuning. This battery-operated device goes between your microphone and your strobetuner or software application to increase the amount of time the tapped tune stays visible on your system. The manufacturer's suggested retail price is $44.99 - we regularly sell them for $30.00 - and this month you can take advantage of our $5.00 special coupon to buy them for $25.00 each (which is almost 50% off the suggested retail price)!
Save $5.00 on November's Product of the Month: Berhinger CS-100 Compressor.  This discount may not be used with any other discounts. Limit two (2) per customer. 
Click HERE to order. When ordering please mention that you saw this coupon to receive your discount.
Offer Expires: November 30, 2007