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Thread: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

  1. #26
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    I've been thinking of an Army Navy / Alrite / DY / pancake CF mando. I've wanted to get one for a long time.

    I have a pancake-ish Gypsy Music 10-string by the late Walt Kuhlman. The length is just right to avoid breaking the high E string, and the body is deeper to support the pitch of the low E. I've been waiting for a CF maker to be on that road to consider making such a 10-string in CF.

    I'd be jazzed if this KLOS is a Gibson pancake shape.
    I like the way you think
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  2. #27
    Quietly Making Noise Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    I indicated interest to Klōs. My biggest concern are tuners. Having had to upgrade the meh Pings on two $1K+ Eastman's was a disappointment. I also suggested that a stage ready mando with an active EQ and V would be awesome.

    I'm also thinking that a pancake would likely be a real winner that packs easily and goes anywhere. The need for a detachable neck on a mando seems negligible to me unless you need to pack it inside your backpack.
    Axes: Eastman MD-515 & El Rey; Eastwood S Mandola
    Amps: Fishman Loudbox 100; Rivera Clubster Royale Recording Head & R212 cab; Laney Cub 10

  3. #28

    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    I had a Flatiron pancake which never even got to overhead storage. I just kept it between my feet in a well-padded gigbag, and never a mishap.
    ----

    Playing a funky oval-hole scroll-body mandolin, several mandolins retuned to CGDA, three CGDA-tuned Flatiron mandolas, two Flatiron mandolas tuned as octave mandolins,and a six-course 25.5" scale CGDAEB-tuned Ovation Mandophone.

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  4. #29

    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Greenspoon View Post
    I also suggested that a stage ready mando with an active EQ and V would be awesome.
    Seeing that you can get pickups as an add-on option on their guitars and ukuleles with multiple options for pickups, I think it's likely they would give you that option on these too.
    I guess I'll just stay right here, pick and sing a while...
    2022 Morris F5 #482, 1995 Flatiron 2MB

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  6. #30
    Quietly Making Noise Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Having spent more time on their site looking at their uke offerings and scale sizes, I suspect we might see a similar body style for the mando. And if so, a removable neck just might be a cool feature.
    Axes: Eastman MD-515 & El Rey; Eastwood S Mandola
    Amps: Fishman Loudbox 100; Rivera Clubster Royale Recording Head & R212 cab; Laney Cub 10

  7. #31
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard500 View Post
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  9. #32
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Greenspoon View Post
    Having spent more time on their site looking at their uke offerings and scale sizes, I suspect we might see a similar body style for the mando. And if so, a removable neck just might be a cool feature.
    Maybe I'm alone here but the LAST feature I want in a carbon fiber ANYTHING, mandolin included, is a removable neck.

    If I'm paying carbon fiber prices then I want a quality musical instrument made with good tone & playability as its primary objectives. Yet carbon fiber guitar manufacturers like Rainsong & McPherson seem to think people are willing to pay HD-28 money for a more durable Harley Benton.

    All indications are that the street price for this mandolin will be ~$1800. That puts it right up against the top end of the Eastman & Kentucky mandolin lines. Literally hanging on the wall of the music store, price tag slipped under the strings for all to see, with those & similar mandolins on either side.

    If tone & playability aren't fully on par with, say, a 600 series Eastman or a similar Kentucky, then I won't be buying it. I dare say I'm not alone in this.
    Eastman MD-514 (F body, Sitka & maple, oval hole)
    Kentucky KM-250 (A body, spruce & maple, f holes)

    And still saving my nickles & dimes & bottle caps & breakfast cereal box tops for my lifetime mandolin.

  10. #33
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    CF instrument prices are based in general on the cost of tooling, material, and manufacture. At the moment they are not necessarily cheaper that similar quality wooden instruments. I agree that they should be at least in the same league as equivalent wooden ones.

    The only CF music equipment I own is two CF violin bows and those are my main fiddle bows. Generally CF bows are a good deal compared to similarly priced wooden ones. I don’t think it always is the same for the CF violins, guitars and ukulelescabd whatever CF mandolins that exist.
    Jim

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  11. #34

    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Hi guys, this is Ian, the head luthier at KLOS Guitars. Thanks for all your comments and support. I was planing on making the mandolin a traditional A style, with a 12" radius fretboard, and a nut width of 1 3/16" (1.1875" (30.16 mm)). I was planing on making a traditional arched top and back, with F holes. It will have stainless steel frets (2x1 mm), and a cast tail piece.

    A 1.1875" nut width is considered a hair on the wider side because that is what everyone has been asking for, but we will have the option to have custom string spacing at the nut, so you guys can choose if you want the strings narrower or wider, which is actually more important than the actual nut width. So basically we will have standard string spacing, and also slightly wider string spacing. We will have our Plek machine next week, so we will be able to do very accurate nut string spacing, leveling and setup.

    I had a couple questions for you guys, do you want 20 frets or 22 frets? Sometimes the higher frets get in the way when I pic, so personally I prefer 20 frets.

    I was going to set the heel back about 1.5" more than typical, this would make it much easier to play at higher frets.

    I was going to use D'addario strings, do you guys have a preference of which model?

    Do you guys have a preference on neck profile and neck thickness? I was going to go with something standard like on modern Webers, or do you guys prefer a soft V?

    I was also thinking about shrinking the headstock about 10 or 20% smaller than typical headstocks, to help prevent nose dive, what do you think about that? This would basically bring the tuners down about 1/2", and make the total length of the headstock about 1" shorter.

    I am not an expert mandolin player myself, so I'm making most of my design decisions based on what my mandolin friends tell me, and all the people reaching out to us about wanting a mandolin.

    Cheers,
    Ian

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  13. #35
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Klos View Post
    Hi guys, this is Ian, the head luthier at KLOS Guitars.
    Thank you very much for joining our chat. Welcome.

    Thanks for all your comments and support. I was planing on making the mandolin a traditional A style, with a 12" radius fretboard, and a nut width of 1 3/16" (1.1875" (30.16 mm)). I was planing on making a traditional arched top and back, with F holes. It will have stainless steel frets (2x1 mm), and a cast tail piece.
    This, made with your herringbone pattern carbon fiber and one of your pick-up systems, sounds lovely.

    D'Addario Phosphor Bronze EJ74 medium 11-40 is industry standard. I'm fairly sure that's what Eastman mandolins ship with.
    Eastman MD-514 (F body, Sitka & maple, oval hole)
    Kentucky KM-250 (A body, spruce & maple, f holes)

    And still saving my nickles & dimes & bottle caps & breakfast cereal box tops for my lifetime mandolin.

  14. #36

    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Ian, take my money! Seriously, I have a CF mandolin, made by Circle Strings and I’m hooked. Indeed, CF doesn’t sound like wood, but it has it’s own sound, and I like it. The stability of CF in variable temperature and humidity is a significant convenience.

    I’m really pleased that you’re pursuing a traditional A-style design with arched top and back with floating bridge and tailpiece and f-holes. My default preference for nut width is 1 1/8”, but I’m totally fine with your alternative approach. Thanks for going with SS frets. My preference would be for 22 frets, but happy to go with the flow for a 20-fret maximum. As to strings/gauge, I don’t think you can go wrong building your mandolin around D’Addario EJ74s. I’m not fussy about neck profiles/thickness, but lean toward modern Webers. By appearance, I’d prefer and standard-sized headstock, but understand the upside of shorter version.

    Thank you again for developing a Klos mandolin. I’ve played friends Klos uke’s and I’m very impressed with your high standards for fit, finish and sound.

    Tom Fuldner

  15. #37
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    I'm just one newbie, but the only instrument I have with a radius fretboard is one I'm thinking about letting go. Not sure whether that would be a knocker for me or not. I might have to hold it in my hand. Sounds pretty cool other than that, though I am a bit sad that it won't be a pancake.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  16. #38
    Quietly Making Noise Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Welcome Ian! The Cafe is a great place, and in part because of the ability for users and builders to engage.

    Some thoughts to your post:

    Hi guys, this is Ian, the head luthier at KLOS Guitars. Thanks for all your comments and support. I was planing on making the mandolin a traditional A style, with a 12" radius fretboard, and a nut width of 1 3/16" (1.1875" (30.16 mm)). I was planing on making a traditional arched top and back, with F holes. It will have stainless steel frets (2x1 mm), and a cast tail piece. This sounds awesome, and obviously a nod to the traditionalist tendency among many mandolinists. Smart to reinforce the traditional when going space age!

    I was going to use D'addario strings, do you guys have a preference of which model? The new XS's are worth the extra money for an acoustic instrument. If you're going to add a pickup option, then consider something more electric friendly.

    Do you guys have a preference on neck profile and neck thickness? I was going to go with something standard like on modern Webers, or do you guys prefer a soft V?
    I liked the Rigel neck for being really comfortable; the Eastman 515's neck is comfortable but different than the El Rey neck. In other words, you will likely never get a consensus on this one!

    I was also thinking about shrinking the headstock about 10 or 20% smaller than typical headstocks, to help prevent nose dive, what do you think about that? This would basically bring the tuners down about 1/2", and make the total length of the headstock about 1" shorter. Be careful that the space between the tuners not get tighter.
    Axes: Eastman MD-515 & El Rey; Eastwood S Mandola
    Amps: Fishman Loudbox 100; Rivera Clubster Royale Recording Head & R212 cab; Laney Cub 10

  17. #39
    Registered User rnjl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Hi, all, dumb question, what does this mean: It will have stainless steel frets (2x1 mm) ? What is 2x1 mm? two mm high, one wide, I'm guessing?

    are those considered the bigger frets, unlike say some Kentucky's, old Gibson, Stradolins, etc, with the "little frets?"

    This mandolin sounds great. I agree don't make the headstock too small, I can't really see too much room for shrinkage without things getting tight.

    Necks: rounded, please, not V'd.

  18. #40
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    I can play either rounded or V, but prefer the rounded and not too deep. I'm glad it's an A, I prefer them, and with a snake type headstock it really doesn't have to be smaller to not be neck heavy.

    I played my first carbon fiber guitar tonight. Our guest on the radio show tonight played a carbon fiber guitar and I played it. It was a nice sound, and I am tempted to get both mandolin and guitar for gigs.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  19. #41

    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    I will buy it in spite of the F-holes. *laugh*

    I actually use any and *all* frets available. 22 would be awesome!

    I'll likely be restringing it as a mandola. I have a few "travelmandola" conversions, so I'll likely go wider on the string spacing.

    I prefer flat fretboard. Not a deal-breaker, though.

    No visible pickup, please. I want an acoustic instrument first and foremost.

    I'm waiting excitedly!
    ----

    Playing a funky oval-hole scroll-body mandolin, several mandolins retuned to CGDA, three CGDA-tuned Flatiron mandolas, two Flatiron mandolas tuned as octave mandolins,and a six-course 25.5" scale CGDAEB-tuned Ovation Mandophone.

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  20. #42

    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    I like the radius fretboard. Standard string spacing. Don’t particularly care on 20 vs 22 frets. Not super keen on the shortened headstock - make sure there’s room to clip a tuner on there at least. Instead of worrying about the weight for head dive, how about molding in a lug up near the tuners to attach a mandolin strap so I don’t have to wrap it between tuners? I like a rounded neck and not too deep. I’d want a JJB or K&K pickup and tailpiece jack. Standard EJ74 strings or EJM74 or EJM75C.

  21. #43
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    If you put a P/U on it don't put a preamp, the external ones are much better. I would want a P/U.

    The guitar I mentioned in the previous post was just renecked. It was first made without a truss rod and after some years developed a bow. The new necks have the truss rod, which is something I also think is important. It is still hollow for weight, but has a truss rod.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  22. #44
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    I'm pretty happy with the specs you mentioned Ian. I don't know if there's a way to put a strap button near the back of the neck by the body so you wouldn't have to put a strap from one side of the body to tuner end of the neck? I love that you're going to put steel frets on. My mandolins are all Northfield, I like that neck shape but I've played some Weber's and they were quite comfortable too. I'm just very excited about a reasonably priced carbon fiber mandolin in production!

  23. #45

    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    I hate strap buttons at the heel, because I use the whole neck. Please, make that optional at best. That's actually a deal breaker for me.
    ----

    Playing a funky oval-hole scroll-body mandolin, several mandolins retuned to CGDA, three CGDA-tuned Flatiron mandolas, two Flatiron mandolas tuned as octave mandolins,and a six-course 25.5" scale CGDAEB-tuned Ovation Mandophone.

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  25. #46
    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    I heard a Klos uke a few weeks ago - it sounded really good.

    D.H.

  26. #47

    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    I'm with Explorer - there is no need for a strap button at the neck heel. You can loop a piece of shoelace under the fingerboard or under the strings at the headstock, gives more versatility.

    As for the headstock, I have never had issues with neck dive on a mandolin, unlike guitar, where it's a major consideration. For me, shrinking the headstock would only serve to make the instrument a little smaller. As long as the tuners are still easy to operate, I think that would be fine.

    Rounded neck profiles are much more popular on modern instruments so I'd go for that.

    I don't think 20 vs 22 frets would make much of a difference for me since i rarely use any above 14ish but I don't find the extra 2 frets get in my way. Just don't put a fretboard extension, I can't stand those things.

    Standard EJ74 strings would be fine, or if you wanted something a little more "premium", the XS coated strings really are nice.
    Last edited by milli857; Feb-06-2023 at 1:15pm.

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  28. #48
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Dear KLOS, I am interested in a carbon-fiber mandolin. It does not have to be the next stradivari or monteleone. For that, I already have an old Gibson A-4 (X-braced), it is loud, has excellent tone, works at irish sessions, at bluegrass jams and at English country dances (unplugged). (My main tool is a Bruce Weber Sage-1 octave mandolin. guitar-like scale length).

    What I am looking for is a daily player compatible with my local Pacific-Northwest weather (I see the ocean out of my window). It can be very warm , very dry, very wet and very cold all within one day. The latest scourge is forest fires that fill the air with fine carbon dust that turns everything black. Winter weather is very wet. Anything made from wood has to be carefully protected (no leaving any moisture inside wooden flutes!), anything made from metal is too cold to touch (aluminum whistles, aluminum resonator mandolins, etc are right out).

    I have a bunch of carbon fiber whistles (from https://carbony.com/ in Corvalis, OR) and I have a plastic boehm flute (https://www.gflute.com/).

    They "work in the rain" and now I want a mandolin that "works in the rain".

    Right now my "all weather" mandolin is an ugly-repaired ovation mandolin. It is built like a tank, very solid, but it is heavy and it lacks in tone and volume. "anything" will be an improvement. (as reported by others, it's tone and volume are just fine if plugged in).

    Other responders on this thread suggest exacting specifications for sound holes, frets, neck width and profile, colours, finish, etc.

    For me, anything that feels similar to old Gibsons (A and F), to Ovations and to Webers would be okey. I mention Ovation specifically because they were the first to mass produce composite plastic-wood-carbon-fiber guitars and mandolins. With mixed success. Any repeat will likely receive similar acceptance/rejection.

    Desired features? radiused fretboard seems to be the new standard. an extra sound port "for me" would be nice. optional pickup (but incompatible with "all weather, works in the rain", yes?). built-in hooks for a strap at tail and and at neck heel.

    A carbon fiber octave mandolin would be "a bridge too far" to ask for, but remember how Ovation configured their biggest guitar as a mandocello (http://mandoweb.com/Instruments/Ovat...andocello/1398).

  29. #49
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Question for KLOS and others. When I take a carbon fiber mandolin to my local guitar shop for the inevitable refret, what do I tell them? Would they be able to handle it or would they say "send it to NASA" ("to Space-X", these days)? If there is any irregularity in the fretboard (high spots, chips, nail gauges), is this easy to fix? I assume the answer is "no" to all of the above if fretboard is integral to the neck and frets are "glued in". What is the actual situation and the actual owner experience? (as I understand, there is an unplayable peter mix carbon fiber mandolin with neck trouble kicking around right now). (As I understand, on a mandolin, bridge/saddle, nut, frets/fretboard, tail piece and tuning machines are considered as "consumables").

  30. #50
    Quietly Making Noise Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    So, I loved that my Rigel A had the strap button at the heel. Made it super easy. Iirc, my Crafter A/E also had a heel strap button installed, as did the Newson single cutaway. Just saying this is a ymmv thing regarding a perfectly normal option for mandolins without a scroll. I'd be happy to see it.
    Axes: Eastman MD-515 & El Rey; Eastwood S Mandola
    Amps: Fishman Loudbox 100; Rivera Clubster Royale Recording Head & R212 cab; Laney Cub 10

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