Thursday, May 26, 2011


A guy came in a few weeks ago to show off a couple of really cool mandolins.  This one is made by Beltona, a New Zealand-based company that specializes in resonator instruments built with non-traditional body materials - carbon fibre, resin, etc.  The combination of a metal cone and non-wood body makes for some extremely loud acoustic instruments, though the tone is never harsh or shill. 

They also make some very cool guitars and ukuleles, but the Koru mandolin is maybe their snazziest looking in terms of design.  Very high-quality stuff; you can check out their website and hear audio samples, though the most amazing thing is, again, the remarkable projection and power - this little guy had as almost as much volume as a small tube amp!

Here's another stunning mandolin - a Gibson A-style from gee, maybe the 1910s?   Very good condition, too, considering it's age.  Sometimes pictures speak louder than words, so I'll just let everybody soak up the gorgeous detail pics of the top, inlays, etc...

There you go.  In a few more years, Gibson would reach a peak with the F-5 mandolins of the 20s, probably the mandolin pickers' equivalent of a '59 Les Paul.  Still, even the more modest A-styles have a simple elegance that you'd be hard-pressed to beat.

And, finally, here's the shop's very own vintage mandolin.  It was sold to us as an old Kay, although somebody last week suggested that the flame back was more indicative of a Harmony from the 50s.  It's obviously showing more wear than that old Gibson, but when you rake a pick across the strings this thing jumps to life with a bright and still-vibrant tone and very smooth playability.

So there you go - a trio of mandolins, from the mighty Gibson down to our humble "no name" A-style.  Of course, you can pick this one up and take it home with you for far less than you'd pay for a Gibson!