Clark JM Jazz Mandolin
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Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."

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September 11, 2010 | Going "Glueless."

We were fascinated with the recent discovery of a mandolin built by David Cohen (affectionately known to the mandolin community as "Dr. Dave") in which no glue was used to bind the top to the body. Born out of an attempt to scientifically measure and document the impact of the differences in bracing patterns, the instruments is held together by sixty-plus #2x3/8" wood screws. It's a redwood top plate and eastern black walnut back/sides/neck.

According to our favorite retired chemistry professor, "I did a series of holographic modal analysis experiments, followed by sound and accelerance spectra, on the opus I mandolin with four different bracing patterns. The mandolin started out with "tone bars". After doing the holography and spectra, I added a Virzi thingy made from the GAL drawings (done by Ted Davis) and repeated the experiments. After the Virzi iteration, I carved out the bracing and put in an X-brace a'la Gilchrist, and again repeated the experiments. The last iteration was my 'wacky braces.' The mandolin sounded the same to my ears regardless of the bracing pattern. The differences were small, the experiments and my own audition corroborated each other, supporting my contention that mandolin bracing patterns have at most a small effect on the sonic qualities of the instruments."

Photo courtesy of Carl Benson

You can read our report of the Virginia builder and detailed review of another one his amazing offspring, a delicious reddish tinged "Black Beauty" C# model mandolin in our Builder's Spotlight.

Read review: Cohen C# Mandolin
More Builders for the 21st Century


Posted by Ted at September 11, 2010 5:46 AM

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