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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Nickel Plating

In the end I decided to do the nickel plating myself. Although the quote to get it done professionally was slightly cheaper than buying the kit, I though it would be more fun to try it myself. It was fairly straightforward to do - all the chemicals were provided in the kit, and it was just a matter of adding the correct quantity of distilled water and firing up the battery charger.
The final product was nice and shiny and didn't even need much of a polish. The plating solution should keep indefinitely, so I.m sure that I will be doing this again to make custom tailpieces,

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Trying out a soundfile

I am having a go at including a sound sample. I signed up to soundcloud, and uploaded a short soundclip of the new bowlback. I wonder if this will work......!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Cittern tailpiece

The cittern has been progressing slowly in the background while I've been concentrating my energy on the more exciting bowlback mandolin. The cittern is nearly done, but still needs a tailpiece. I searched the internet for something suitable, and the only option seemed to be the Allen Guitars one. By the time I added postage and the dreaded customs charge, I was looking at well over one hundred pounds! I'm quite pleased with the citttern, but -  one hundred quid? No way. So, I decided to make my own from some 1.5mm sheet brass. I am now looking into plating it with nickel - if the quote from a commercial plater is too high, I will have a go with one of the kits that are available online (e.g. the one from Gateros).

Sunday, May 06, 2012


This weekend I have added the 'ironmongery', made and fitted a nut, and fitted the bridge. This is a first fitting, and there are still a couple of minor tweaks to fix. The first is a buzz on one fret (and only on the G strings) - the rest of the frets play cleanly, right up the fretboard. The other possible problem is the bridge. The shaping of the bone cap on the top makes the bridge tilt forward a fraction - it doesn't seem to buzz or affect the sound, but I might make a new one with a slightly wider base which will sit completely flat on the belly.

I'm very pleased with the sound. It is a bit quieter than a flatback mandolin, but with a more interesting tone, and good sustain. Even before I make any final adjustment to the bridge, the action has ended up fairly low.