Please note: due to changes in regulations and constant design developments, we sometimes need to change details such as binding and inlay materials.
I've met Ade Edmondson a few times via Troy Donockley and I know he has seen various instruments that I've made, so I was really pleased to get an email out of the blue. The Bad Shepherds were due to tour in Australia and a special instrument was needed double quick. It wasn't quite the same pressure as when Eric Bibb needed a 12 string in three weeks time, but it was close. It's worked out very well though.
Ade and Troy came to visit, and I made some wooden mockups while they were here, chopping bits off and gluing bits on until the idea started to make sense, then we all got drunk and tried to discuss world affairs. Troy astonished our local pub with his magic as usual.
The idea is straightforward, to be able to change from mandolin to mandola mid song. We discussed an acoustic option, but it's for stage use only so a solid body made a lot of sense.
Ade did not want batteries for the active pickups, so the two Headway pickups are phantom powered, and the preamps are placed in deep tunnels drilled into the body, with rather awkward wiring to the fixed bridges.
The idea was to use ball end strings, so having them thread through from the back was a neat solution. I enjoyed myself doing the metalwork . Each tailpiece is two blocks of heavy brass, linked by eight brass tubes soldered in, and all gold plated. I kept the mix of hardware to black and gold throughout which I think looks rather powerful.
The key to everything really was the arrangement of the headstock and tuning pegs, and keeping the two fingerboards aligned properly to make the changeover quick and neat mid song. I don't often draw things out; I prefer to make wooden models to get everything right in three dimensions. It took a while, but by pushing the headstocks slightly apart, extending the heads and staggering the bass and treble tuners , I was able to get all the tuners easily accessible and make it all look a bit quirky, what a surprise.
The body is English Walnut, veneered front and back with Walnut to make the soundhole chambers, then veneered again with Spruce on the top, and Macassar Ebony on the back, just to keep the gold against black contrast again. Necks are Mahogany and Rosewood, trying to keep them strong.
Here is what Mr Edmondson said: " It’s here! Look at it! Isn’t that just gorgeous? Troy is very, very jealous. It’s so saucy it’s like someone has poured a bottle of sauce into a full bottle of sauce and then had extra sauce with it. Look at the back!!!! : It has taste. It’s a work of art. It sounds brilliant. It feels fantastic. I’ve been playing with it all day and ground my fingers down to stumps…"
That's ok then.
© 2020 Fylde Guitars. All Rights Reserved