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Thread: My mandolins

  1. #1
    Registered User Jan Viljoen's Avatar
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    Default My mandolins

    Hi guys,

    I have been playing mandolin for 30 years and over the years I had a few and sold a few mandolins.

    I play acoustically and electrically part time in a couple of bands, it all depends on what they need for the specific gig. I play pedal steel and guitar as well.

    Here are pictures of what I have and the latest acquisition.

    The first two are spruce carved tops, one with a reverse scroll, the other a Monteleone copy. The rest of the wood is all South African, etc.

    The Red Devil has Hippo tusk points, heelcap and a MOP cave man peg board inlay, with a rail humbucker. It screams.

    The fourth one is a cheapish electric with Stewmac pots and caps, very nice.

    The fifth one is a carved top Ibanez model 518, with violin colour and purfling like a violin.

    The last picture is of my electric F, ivory truss rod cover, with cross bracing, very nicely setup. A real winner and eye catcher.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Let the games begin!


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  3. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: My mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan Viljoen View Post
    The first two are spruce carved tops, one with a reverse scroll, the other a Monteleone copy. The rest of the wood is all South African, etc.
    Those first two are very interesting. Are they (and the others) all made in SA? Who are the makers? Can you post some larger pics of those two acoustics? What SA woods are used in these and how are they different from woods elsewhere?
    Jim

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  5. #3
    Registered User Jan Viljoen's Avatar
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    Default Re: My mandolins

    Hi Jim, I tried my best , but the photos are not good.

    The reverse scroll was built by Mervyn Davis, local luthier --- http://mervyndavisguitars.com/
    Top- Spruce, Body and neck- Faurea saligna, binding- Podocarpus latifolius, nut--Phacochoerus africanus (warthog tusk), Headstock inlay-- mop, with the legs/feet real gold strips.

    Montyleone copy: Built by Johan Matthysen, local luthier.
    Spruce top, body, binding and neck same as above, Fret board and headstock overlay--Spirostachys africana, Scratch plate -- African Blackwood -- Dalbergia melanoxylon , Inlay-- Hippo tusk (Hippopotamus amphibius).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    South African hardwoods are all suitable for musical instruments. Spruce however had to be imported.
    http://www.timbermerchant.co.za/

    Last edited by Jan Viljoen; Jun-11-2014 at 11:36am.

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  7. #4
    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
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    Default Re: My mandolins

    Jan,
    Thanks for these pictures. Interesting and lovely instruments. I'd like to hear them.
    Bill
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: My mandolins

    Thanks, Jan. Really interesting. I have heard about woods from Austrailia but never ones from southern Africa. For some reason, I may have heard of Mervyn Davis. His web site looks familiar.
    Jim

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  11. #6
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: My mandolins

    Nice.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

    The entire staff
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    Registered User sgrexa's Avatar
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    Default Re: My mandolins

    Interesting, but aren't hippo tusks illegal? I thought they were an endangered species.

    Sean

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    Default Re: My mandolins

    Thanks for the pictures. Question: do you have more mandolins than children?

  15. #9
    Registered User Jan Viljoen's Avatar
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    Default Re: My mandolins

    Guys, shooting hippo became illegal since 2006, but not warthogs.
    I still have the off cuts for DNA age and isotope testing if required.

    Ivory is illegal in South Africa and elsewhere, but I see lots of Mammoth tusks being advertised on the web.
    What is the difference?

    I have more mando's than children.
    I am busy building an electric watermelon mando to use at a Mardi grass and fun fares.


  16. #10
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: My mandolins

    Well, the difference about mammoth tusk is that since it's fossilized, the authorities can be reasonably sure that the mammoth wasn't taken illegally. I have a nice bridge saddle of fossilized walrus ivory on one of my mandolins. When an 8.5-foot mammoth tusk was unearthed recently in downtown Seattle, my first thought was to wonder how much instrument hardware could be made from it: http://seattlemammoth.org/

    We don't get many folks from SA at the Cafe, so we're not well informed on the mandolin scene there. I can think of one other active member, Pasha, who's South African.
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  17. #11
    Registered User Jan Viljoen's Avatar
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    Default Re: My mandolins

    Hi Guys, Not all mammoth tusks are fossilized. A lot are for sale.

    http://www.arizonaskiesmeteorites.co...Mammoth_Tusks/

  18. #12
    Troglodyte Michael Weaver's Avatar
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    Default

    Jan, I think what they are trying to say is that since mammoths have been extinct for 10,000 years. The authorities would know that only a few of the guys on the cafe are actually old enough to have hunted them
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  20. #13
    Registered User sgrexa's Avatar
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    Default Re: My mandolins

    Actually I was thinking of rhino horns, which are much more threatened. Personally, I tend to stick to inlay materials obtained from animals without legs (shells) which seems to be less controversial / hassle. I guess when I think of it, my nuts are bone on a couple mandos and I have no idea about the animals of origin? At least you know exactly what you got there, thanks for sharing!

    Sean

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  22. #14
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: My mandolins

    Interesting to see and hear about mandolins from another part of the world. A fine-looking collection.

    Another member from South Africa is brendon b from Cape Town, who has never posted much but in 2011 was putting together a soundtrack for an exhibit about the Jewish community in Woodstock, dating back to the first half of the 20th century..
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  24. #15
    Registered User Jan Viljoen's Avatar
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    Default Re: My mandolins

    Yes sgrexa, Rhinos are highly endangered all over the world. We are fighting almost a losing battle against poachers.

    By the way, rhino horn consists of ceratin, which is the stuff nails are made of, no bone or ivory there.

    http://www.stoprhinopoaching.com/

  25. #16

    Default Re: My mandolins

    Hi Jan, very nice collection!
    I am also from Pretoria and looking to buy my first madolin, where can I start? I haven't played before. Sorry If I am partially hijacking your thread!

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    Default Re: My mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Weaver View Post
    Jan, I think what they are trying to say is that since mammoths have been extinct for 10,000 years. The authorities would know that only a few of the guys on the cafe are actually old enough to have hunted them
    I hunted mammoths with my father when I was a child, but he's the one who taught me to play the mandolin. I'm starting to get the hang of it.

  27. #18
    Registered User Jan Viljoen's Avatar
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    Default Re: My mandolins

    Mr Jacobs, I would recommend you go to a music shop in Pretoria, either Menlynn Centre or Centurion and try a few first. They are mostly ply wood tops, but see how you go.
    Then you can decide if you want to go more expensive.

    I know only two luthiers around Pretoria, but they are expensive---- around R20 000. Otherwise look at the USA models and see what you can afford, but go for the carved top models.

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