The Greyhound Mandoline
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A special one-off bowl-back Mandoline project for Josée Thériault.

The first thing Josée expressed while commissioning her Mandoline, is how -too deep- her Italian mandoline felt to her while playing.

 

She requested an instrument with a shallower bowl-back, and a wider outline reminiscent of the German flat-back Mandolines. 

Her instrument had to sound -sweet-, and be comfortable to play.

 

And..oh yes; It had to pay tribute to her fascination for a particular breed of dog - the Greyhound.

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In a way, her instrument would be a cross-breed between a historic types of instruments (left), and somewhat would resemble a small Oud (below)

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Proportions :
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Alfred Woll (below left) and Klaus Knorr (right) where studied, both of whom André wishes to mention as inspirations.

 
The Oud's proportions are very similar to those of this type of mandoline, and could be applied also.

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 Greyhound Mandoline outline
Design phase slideshow :

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The project took a very vivid visual aspect, when Josée found a beautiful drawing online: 

 

-Angel hound with wings- , from U.K. artist Jackie Morris.
 
The artist was generous to accept that her design finds its way on a musical instrument.
 

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Original -Angel dog-drawing by Jackie Morris.
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Asking Josée about -pick guard- needs ; She said she didn't need any! In its place, André Instruments 3-line logo is used in  a deconstructed way : The horizontal trail-lines all giving speed and forward movement to the subject. 

Bowl-back construction :
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Above left, is the traditional cross-section profile of the Italian Mandoline. The technical drawing in the middle was provided by Josée, for to give directions on what she wanted in terms of form and ergonomics. Right is a preliminary sketch for to make a mould, that would yield the desired shape soundbox.

Shown below is the actual making of the mould, which was made out of beautiful black willow.

Making the mould slideshow :

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African padauk was chosen for to make the bowl. Its high frequency response is quite unique, while also being a medium-density wood that could yield warmth to the tone, and physical lightness to the whole.

 

Neck block and tail block are black willow. Purfling lines are torrefied maple, which compliment the padauk, and make a nice short neck also:

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3 ribs glued to the blocks at this point. Pictured on the drawing to the Raga guitar project.

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It is truly rewarding to make a bowled item, from assembling flat pieces of wood.

While completed from its outside view, this soundbox still needs equivalent work done on its inside : Next will be reinforcing every glue line, reinforcing neck/body junction and soundboard/body junction with additional elements.
This is done after soundboard making is initiated.

Soundboard :
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Here, the 3-line logo (upper right) is made with pink, blue and black Koto veneers with an additional line of African padauk.

 

Split and spread-out around the sound hole layout, it now serves a visual/dynamic function, to give the impression of movement to the static (below) Greyhound element.

 

Soundboard is Engelmann spruce which will be bent across on its lower-bout line, just behind the bridge.

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The Greyhound element is not the sound hole itself, but a black element right next to it, that makes it look like as part of it.

Very thin and laminated ebony was chosen for to make this part. Different inlay material alternatives where studied also.

 

Carved into the thin soundboard are the little Angel dog's wings, which are leafed/gilded with 23k gold. 

When done, the little dog is glued in place. Its position will next connect with 2 transverse soundboard brace, and sound hole will be cut at the very end of the process.

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Final steps to the soundbox : Reinforcing the bowl
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More to come on this very special project at the end of 2022. Stay tuned!