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Thread: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

  1. #1
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    Hi Everyone,

    Well, I'm tickled silly today.... Back in late 2020 I placed an order with John Hamlett for a two-point mandolin (his first in that shape) and today it arrived!

    It's far too soon to give a comprehensive review (maybe in a week or two), but due to giddiness and an uncompromising blast of mando-induced dopamine I definitely want to share the glory that is this mandolin, and the praise for the fine person who made it.

    The quality of this mandolin is too much for words right now. Suffice it to say it is a beautiful physical specimen and right out of the box is has fundamental mids and wonderful balance across the strings and up and down the fretboard. The neck is what I call a disappearing neck, meaning it so comfortable it seems to disappear. This is a loud, sonorous work out of art. Thank you John Hamlett!

    As for John... what can I say. We're all blessed with his wisdom and humor here on the Cafe, and to work with him was a pleasure. His wisdom and humor carry into his building, and he has such an eye for detail and a mind for design. Early on John asked me what design ideas I have in mind and I compared myself to Homer Simpson when he was tasked with designing a car (disaster), so John took the lead from there. It was awesome. He's great. If you're looking for a custom build from an independent luthier John comes with a full, enthusiastic, heartfelt recommendation.

    Here are some pics. One is of me, but the rest are John's which are much better:
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    I will eventually start a new thread called "Hamlett Mandolin Review," complete with sound clips and the like. For now, enjoy!
    Last edited by Kevin Briggs; Jul-29-2021 at 11:58am. Reason: Fixed picture

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  3. #2
    Chu Dat Frawg Eric C.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    Elegance. That headstock is the coolest I think I've ever seen. Love the binding too!

  4. #3
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    That's a beautiful mandolin. Enjoy it!

  5. #4
    Resident Hack
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    Absolutely gorgeous!
    Congrats
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    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    Very lovely indeed.
    Not all the clams are at the beach

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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    You look pretty darn happy, and the mando looks pretty darn nice. Can't wait to hear it!

  8. #7
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    That is a beauty! Tell us about the headstock inlay.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    Congrats Kevin! A great player deserve an extra nice mandolin! Enjoy it. Dan
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  10. #9
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    Beautiful! John is a fine fellow, all over it.

  11. #10
    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    That is breathtakingly beautiful!

  12. #11
    Registered User tree's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    The thing that strikes me about John's instruments are the extraordinarily graceful lines, and that sunburst is right up my alley - like a spotlight on the bridge. Plus they are as functional as they are beautiful. Bravo!
    Clark Beavans

  13. #12
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    Thanks, everyone!

    As I play this mandolin off and on today (blessed to be able to work from home!) it seems to get louder and/or more robust by the minute, not that it needs any more of those two things. It's really fascinating. Even with its first ever set of bright new strings I can hear and feel its voice. What an awesome experience!

    sgarrity... the headstock is the result of a collaboration. Early on John asked me if I had any ideas in mind for the headstock, and I of course said first and foremost he's the artist and I trust his expertise. But, I did have an image from the cover of one of my favorite books in mind, so I took some pictures of that image and John went to work seeing how it would fit and also how he should create his name on the headstock in relation to the image. In the end, it veered a bit away from the original image, which to me is a good thing because it evolved organically based our collaborative concept of the mandolin. John particularly liked how the line beneath his name seemed to have an underlining effect, and I liked the very elegant "S" like swoosh below the initial line.

    The MOP and the way it matches the hardware as well as the gold frets was all John. Throw in the tortoise binding and it's a wonderful design. I think the varnish finish also gives everything that varnishy hue, further enhancing the parallelism of the design.

    Just awesome, awesome work by John. One of my favorite aspects of his approach is his willingness and ability to let the mandolin evolve as the build progresses. This thing looks good with that thing, over here we can get such and such an effect, if we do this it will make sense because.... For example, I considered going with no fretboard dots, which John was willing to do, but he suggested using small black pearl dots because they are quite dark, blending in with the ebony, and they also seem to disappear at the right angle. So, sometimes there are small dark dots and sometimes there aren't. Really cool and that too was all John.

    The burst is a bit darker than John's usual bursts, as he explained to me, but because I was set on tortoise binding he presented the darker edges as a good match for the tortoise, and still with a thin line of white separating the edge of the burst with the binding. Again, due to function and his artistry he was able to see and then create the design, all the while presenting with choices based on what could work.

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  15. #13
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    beautiful work, congrats! Would love to hear it
    Drew
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  16. #14

    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    Well I'm a sucker for a 2 point and that one checks all the boxes visually. Looking forward to hearing how it sounds.
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    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    Congratulations!
    What are those tuners?

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  18. #16

    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    They look like Rubners
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  19. #17
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for chiming in on this and sharing in the excitement. What a day!

    I'm going to play it in a bit, maybe through a set of strings at least, and then I'll record a video. It'll just be with my phone, but the phones are pretty good these days.

    Yes, Mary, they are Rubners. I had never heard of them before, but John suggested them right away.

    My philosophy is the builders know what they're building and I want to interfere as little as possible so they can settle in and do their thing. So, although John did mention Waverly tuners I declined because I don't like them enough to justify the significant cost. It's fairly similar to my thoughts on tone woods. While AAA flamey maple is a treat for sure, my primary interest is in tone, so the look is secondary.

    Anyway... the Hamlett two-point tour of unraveling tone continues. This afternoon featured a broadening or perhaps widening sound, and with the strings getting played in a bit some of the fresh Daddario jangle has given way to more solid sounds.

  20. #18
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    John has always been on my short list if and when I commission a custom instrument. I love the finish and the details especially those bindings. I knew it would sound great anyway and all that extra stuff makes for a wonderful musical experience. Congratulations!
    Jim

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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    NICE! What they all said, plus - I love that tailpiece. A closer photo of it would be nice if you get a chance. Looking forward to hearing you play it.

  22. #20

    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    The smile on your face tells the story! Can't wait to hear it.
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  23. #21
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    Beautiful. I love asymmetrical two pointers.
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    John does magnificent work. Lovely. Enjoy and Congrats!

    Jamie
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  25. #23
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    Thanks, Everyone!

    Itís a new mandolin every time I play it. :-)

    AlfonsÖ the tailpiece is Johnís own design. Very classy, and somehow John weaves all of the aesthetics together to create a synchronistic concept, from the headstock inlay to the tailpiece. Itís a thing of beauty. John even described it as quite formal looking, like a tuxedo, lol.

  26. #24
    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    Way Nice!!!

  27. #25
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Mando... Hamlett Two-Point

    Hey Everyone!

    I couldnít resist. Hereís a brief, informal video capturing some of the sound. More later!

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