Category Archives: music

Building an F5 Mandolin – This is much harder than I thought

Alright, I’ll be honest: I had no idea what I was getting into when I started this project. I watched so many people on youtube build these things with such ease, I dunno, I thought it wouldn’t be as hard as it is. There are so many little things that have been getting in the way that no book I have read, no posts on forums, or mentions in videos have accurately described.

A lot has happened since the last I posted: I’ll try to cover it all here:

After I installed the truss rod in the neck, I went to figure out how to manage the peghead overlay.

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Building an F5 Mandolin – Part 1

So I have wanted to build a mandolin for a while now. I have a cheap Ibanez that I got from Guitar Center, but the action is weird, the truss rod is wonky, and the sound is pretty dead. I love building things, so I thought I could give luthiery a try.

I bought The Ultimate Bluegrass Mandolin Construction Manual by Roger Siminoff to follow along and to have actual plans. I have tried to design and build some instruments in the past, but they all were kind of a train wreck.

This mandolin is based on the design of the famous Lloyd Loar F5 Mandolin made by Gibson in the early 20th century. This design is still used everywhere and has the reputation of being the “classic” mandolin design. Once I understand the mechanics of the building process, I hope to design more custom instruments.

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