|2010 Luthierie Camps...H5 Mandola Construction:
July 18-23, 2010F5 Mandolin Construction:
Oct. 10-15, 2010
Please visit our website or email Kali for more information about these programs.
February 26th marked the completion of our most recent
Luthierie Camp, and by all accounts it was a very successful event. We had four
attendees (one from California, one from Washington, and two from Illinois) who
spent five long and intense days studying, evaluating, preparing, and
constructing their F5 mandolins, with a couple of impromptu jam sessions snuck
in. The camp program is fast-paced with rich content that includes a brief
background on musical acoustics, demonstrations of several methods for each
step of construction, lectures on luthierie technology, evening presentations,
and a lot of shop time. We demonstrate how each part is made, after which the
campers return to their workbenches to assemble their instruments whose basic parts
were completed before they arrived (in essence, working from one of our kits). The
tap tuning section was of special interest; after the campers attached their soundboard
to the rim and attached the neck, the instruments were individually tap tuned
in preparation for the backboard to be attached. This combined demo/hands-on process
enabled the campers to experience a procedure and move directly to the assembly
process, eliminating some of the elbow grease and production time in the
middle. By week's end, each camper had a head full of knowledge and a fully-assembled
"white-wood" F5 mandolin ready to take home!
Here's a photo of our campers with their instruments on
graduation day along with the Siminoff team. From left to right, Rosemary
Siminoff (business manager), Ken Roddick (instructor) with his personal F5L
mandolin, Gary Lewandowski, Jim Bernhardt, Bob Mizek, Richard Snelson, Roger
(with Loar's Loar), and Kali Nowakowski, (Camp director). Please join me in
congratulating our four Camp graduates!
We hope you can join us for one of our Camps this summer. Our
next available Siminoff Luthierie Camp is July 18-23, 2010, which focuses on
building the H5 mandola. Kali, our Camp and Marketing Director, has announced
an early-bird sign up program in which she will offer a $100 savings for anyone
who signs up 90 days prior to camp. For more information on our exciting
Luthierie Camp programs, click here and you'll be connected to our web site. Or
you can email Kali or
phone her at (805) 365.7111.
about web sites, we've been working on ways to increase the functionality and
user-friendliness of our on-line store. By the time you receive this email, our
on-line store will be powered by a new "shopping cart" system so you may notice
some differences the next time you log on. Our web manager worked diligently to
ensure that all of your previous order history files moved to the new site
correctly. However, the encryption system used for your password protection was
so secure that we were unable to move your password to the new system. So, next
time you log on, you'll have to register as a first-time user. We're really
sorry for the inconvenience, but in the long run it will be worth it for you
and us. If you experience any difficulties with the new site, please do drop an
email to Kali.
just received an award from Constant Contact for her management and development
of this email newsletter. We think that she's done a great job, and we hope
that you find the content and presentation valuable. Congratulations, Kali!
Thanks for building with us...
|Intonation - what's it all about?|
correction is the process of positioning the contact point for each string on
the bridge's saddle so that the string notes (intonates) properly at each of
the frets up and down the neck. Different gauges of strings require slightly
different string lengths because thicker strings tend to change pitch more
quickly than thinner strings when they are pressed and stretched to the
fretboard. (The string is being "choked" as it is pressed down and that causes
its pitch to increase.) So, as the gauge increases, the "string scale" (not the
"fret scale") needs to be increased slightly. This is why you see the small
saw-tooth stepping on the top of the bridge saddle for each set of strings.
bridge saddles on most solid-body guitars feature adjustable contact points for
each string so that the optimum intonation can be fine tuned. But mandolins and
banjos feature fixed intonation points and are basically an average contact
point for several gauges of strings. In fact, they are actually the average contact
points for the same gauge of strings.
last sentence confuses you, you may or may not be aware that a particular wound string gauge in one brand may be comprised of different components than the same gauge in another brand. Wound strings are comprised of a core wire with an
outer wire wrapped around it. And, there are several ways to make a wound
string. As this diagram shows, a .034˝ string (for example) can be made with a
.014˝ core wire and .010˝ wrap wire or a .016" core wire with a .009˝ wrap wire
or a .018˝ core wire with a .008˝ wrap wire. And, of course, there are many
more combinations for this and other gauges of strings.
have a bridge that intonates perfectly for a brand of one set of mandolin
strings and you change to another brand that has different core/wrap wire
combinations on its wound strings, the bridge may intonate differently.
question that often arises is "If the intonation position moves back as gauges
get larger, then why is the intonation point for the third pair of strings (D)
- which has a larger gauge than the second pair of strings (A) - closer to the
nut?" Good question! While the third pair of strings (D) is a larger overall
gauge, the third and fourth strings are wound strings in which the core or
center wire is actually a smaller gauge than the plain (A) strings, so the
intonation point must be closer to the nut.
two scale lengths at play here: the string scale and the fretting scale. The
string scale is predicated on a particular gauge of string's intonated length;
the fretting scale is predicated on the fret locations. For example, the F5
mandolin has a 13-15/16" string scale but a 13-7/8" fretting scale. With
guitars and mandolins, the string scale is usually based on the second string's
length, and the fretting scale is based on the first string's length.
fiddles have an intonated bridge? Another good question. First of all, the
violin (fiddle) bridge wins the medal for the ultimate bridge design. In the
violin bridge, there is no direct route of the strings' energy to the
soundboard. The energy of each string is attenuated by an opening between the
string's contact point at the top of the bridge and the bridge feet. But aside
from bridge design, the intonation of the strings on a violin is controlled by
the location of the musician's fingers. In the absence of frets, the musician
locates and perfects the strings intonation as each note is played.
banjo bridges are made with intonation correction notches. For those banjo
players who choose straight, non-intonated bridges, they usually turn the
bridge slightly counterclockwise to create a pseudo-intonation correction.
1918, Gibson engineers began working on bridge saddles with adjustable contact
points. These were made in the form of inserts that fit into a groove on the
top of the bridge and could be interchanged or turned around to achieve the
ideal intonation. Aside from the fact that the parts were fragile and
occasionally got misplaced, the movable insert system presented the musician
with too many options, and frustration in using it caused the design to be very
short lived in Gibson's accessory line.
done some interesting things with our bridge saddles and have tested many
different ways of making them. One major change we made is that the intonation
notches, as a group, are positioned on the centerline of the saddle to keep the
saddle from cocking at an angle on the bridge's posts.
|Product Highlights|· Tortoise Shell Celluloid Binding - Aside from being a cosmetic feature, binding serves to
protect the edges of our wood-bodied instruments from dings and damage. The
wood itself is not hard enough to absorb the shock of things that the
instrument might bang into, and the best protection comes from real celluloid -
the material we use in all our bindings - because it is so hard and durable. We
now carry a .070" thick tortoise shell celluloid binding in both 1/4" and 3/32"
sizes. The 1/4" binding comes in 56" lengths and you'll need two pieces for the
body of one mandolin. The part number for the 1/4" binding is #412 and each length is $14.60 plus P&H. The
3/32" binding comes in 24" lengths and one piece is sufficient for the peghead.
It is part #412-A and each length is $5.10 plus P&H. (This tortoise shell
binding is brand new and will be in our on-line store under "BINDING" by the end of March.)
· Catalog Reprints - We have a small supply of several catalog reprints of
early Gibson catalogs. These are wonderful reproductions of catalogs from the
1920s that were reproduced originally by Pickin' Magazine. While we describe
these in the history section of our web site, the reprints are not in our
on-line store because they are not an inventoried item; once they are sold out,
they will be gone forever. Our list includes the 1919 Gibson banjo catalog,
1928 Gibson Q catalog, 1920 Gibson banjo catalog, and the 1923 F5 Gibson
mandolin promotional flyer. If you would like to see the list of catalog
reprints, please email Kali,
and put "REPRINTS" in the subject line. She will email you a PDF file of our
catalog reprint sales flyer.
NOTE: Please consult the Shipping & Returns
page on our website for a P&H table.
|Luthier's Tip...Rosette Clamps|
critical job of inlaying the rosettes into an F or A model mandolin with an
oval soundhole is cutting the channel. This is a delicate and tedious process.
The second most critical part of the job is getting the rosette clamped
securely to the soundboard when gluing in place. One of the key problems that
arise in the gluing process is getting a sufficient number of clamps onto the
rosette to press it securely into the channel. Unfortunately, there is just not
a lot of room to get regular C-clamps into the soundhole opening so some other
clamping method is called for.
gluing rosettes, we've made a series of small C-clamps from U-shaped aluminum
channel. We cut ½" wide pieces from ¾" channel stock and then drilled and cut
an 8-32 thread into one lip into which we threaded some small thumb screws.
get six or seven of these clamps to fit easily around the soundhole, and we use
a small wood caul between the clamp and the rosette. To ensure that the cauls
do not accidentally get glued in place we use thin strips of wax paper between
the cauls and the rosette. The clamps are small, effective, easy to make, and
way, we've just finished a new instruction sheet for inlaying rosettes. Since
it won't be posted to our web site for several weeks, I'd be glad to send you a
free PDF file of it if you email me (firstname.lastname@example.org)
and put ROSETTE INSTRUCTIONS in the subject line.