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Monthly Update 
September 2008
In This Issue
Product Highlights
Luthier's Tip
Quick Links
More About Us
Dear Luthiers,

Mandola update and end-of-summer cleaning

We've had lots of folks calling and writing about the progress of our H5 mandola kits, and I thought it would be a good idea to provide you with an update.

First of all, thanks for your interest in the mandola. We're very excited about developing this kit and making it available.

We're basically done with all the tooling and have made numerous passes on our carvers to bring the soundboard, backboard, and neck profiling to their precise contours and thicknesses.  We have just a few final adjustments to make, and we'll be doing them in the next few weeks. Our mandola kits will be available in the same three levels as our mandolin kits, and I'll go into detail on that in next month's announcement.

While making space for mandola production, we've come across some inventory of parts that we no longer list in our regular price list or web site. These include banjo and mandolin hardware, and I'd like to make them available to you as a special "close out offer." If you are interested or know of someone else who might be, please send me an email with the header "CLOSE OUT" to, and I'll send you a listing of these one-time offers.

Thanks for building with us...
Roger Siminoff
Words of our craft.
When I started Pickin' Magazine in 1973, I knew that editorial excellence was key to our success, and I wanted to be sure that our editorial staff could write about acoustic music in a precise, clear way. With this in mind, I prepared a "format book" with the key words of acoustic string instruments and luthierie. With the format book at their desks, the staff learned to be consistent in such things as fingerboards were on violins and fretboards were on fretted instruments, book leaving was different from book matching, quartered grain was a direction and quarter sawn was a method, and much more.

When we developed Frets Magazine in 1978, our format book grew. And, in the 30 years since, I continued to add words to my personal format book and apply those terms to my writing in the numerous books and articles I have written.
Luthiers Glossary
About two years ago, it became obvious to me that others might benefit from the content of my format book and that sparked the idea to write Siminoff's Luthiers Glossary. While the development of the text spans almost 30 years, finalizing the content was no easy matter; writing the definitions for a glossary was a lot harder than I thought it would be and is very different from writing prose for an instruction manual. Supported by an incredible editor, Rosemary Wagner (also my wife and business partner), we plodded through the more than 880 definitions and 250 illustrations, piece by piece. And in early August, we sent the final text and graphics to Hal Leonard Publishing. The book will be 216 pages and will include a dozen specification tables and more than 30 color plates of luthierie woods printed in both natural and finished (glossy) images.

Hal Leonard plans to have the book ready by early November, and you can be sure we will announce it as soon as it is ready. If you would like to be on a special announcement list for this book, please email me personally at

Someday, we might all be on the same page, literally and figuratively!

Product Highlights

Body Templates - We're excited to announce a major revision to our line of body templates. Our new templates are cut by laser and feature soundhole cutouts, Body Templatelaser-scribed outlines for tone bar and gauze locations, as well as scribed lines for the 15th fret crosspiece and centerlines. The material we're now using is 1/8" luminescent plastic which makes it much easier to read all the markings when laying out your work, as well as finding the template if you don't put it back on the wall (the clear ones were hard to find). These are really great parts! The F5 body template is part #370 ($27.00), A5 body template is part #371 ($27.00), F4 is part #372 ($27.00), A1 is part #374 ($27.00), and the H5 mandola template is part #373 ($30.00). See NOTE below for P&H cost.
Peghead Templates - A wonderful addition to our parts list is a series of peghead templates. Like our new body templates, these are laser cut from 1/8" luminescent plastic and feature cutouts for pegholes and truss rod pocket openings;Peghead Template a great complement to our body templates. The F5 peghead template is part #370-P ($13.95), A5 peghead template is part #371-P ($12.95), F4 is part #372-P ($13.95), A1 is part #374-P ($12.95), and the H5 mandola peghead template is part #373-P ($13.95). We have also added several banjo peghead templates. The double-cut peghead is part #290 ($10.95), the fiddle peghead is part #291 ($10.95), the Vega Whyte Ladie peghead is part #292 ($9.95), and the Vega Professional peghead is part #293 ($9.95). See NOTE below for P&H cost.

f-Hole Templates - For those of you creating your own body designs or wishing to change the locations of the f-holes on your mandolins, we have also prepared a series of f-hole templates in three sizes styled after the F5, A5, and H5 f-holes. The F5 f-hole template set is part #370-F ($4.95 set of two), A5 f-hole template set is part #371-F ($4.95 set of two), and H5 f-hole template set is part #373-F ($4.95 set of two). See NOTE below for P&H cost.

NOTE: Please consult the Shipping & Returns page on our website for a P&H table.
Luthier's Tip: Gauzing the easy way. 
In The Ultimate Bluegrass Mandolin Construction Manual I showed how to gauze by applying Titebond to the gauze and squeezing out the Titebond between two pieces of wax paper. Our production manager, Kali Nowakowski, does all the gauzing for our soundboards, and she's developed a better way.
She marks off the area for the gauze patch, then applies a bead of Titebond to the center of the marked area. Using a wood spatula, she spreads the glue into a thin even layer of glue neatly inside her marked lines. Then she lays the AcoustiGauze material on the glued area, holds one end of it down with the tip of a razor blade (to keep if from moving) and uses a plastic spatula as an applicator tool to smoothly force down the gauze into the glue. She only makes one or two passes with the plastic spatula to smooth down the gauze - working one way the first time, and the opposite way in the second pass.

This works really well, and the application is smooth, even, and very tidy.

Product of the Month: Virzi Tone Producer

Virzi Tone ProducerThe Virzi Tone Producer was designed to enhance the overtone series for string acoustic instruments, and it is a wonderful addition to the mandolin you are building. Our September "product of the month" is our Virzi kit, which includes the tone producer plate stamped with "Virzi" name, two feet, a mounting plate, Virzi replica label and instructions. The part is #390 and is regularly $30.00. For the month of September, you can save $5.00. See coupon below for online ordering instructions. Limit one Tone Producer
offer per customer. P&H is $7.50.

Save $5.00
Virzi Tone Producer Special
September's Product of the Month: Save $5.00 on your purchase of a Virzi Tone Producer. This discount may not be used with any other offer or discount. Limit one (1) per customer. Enter septvirzi when prompted during online check out.
Offer Valid: August 27, 2008 through September 30, 2008