2000s Wishnevsky Mandocello

We've all seen -- and feared -- Mr. W's bizarro creations on eBay. We all know that they're dangerous. Yet -- we all know that, like Bruce Wei instruments (also on eBay), the lure of short money and odd format will (from time to time) tempt their victims in the manner of the kelpie. So -- the victim brought this in, we had a laugh (well, many, many laughs), and then we righted it enough to get it playing.

I should say here that the sound is actually not bad at all -- it's full and wide for the size of the body. I might also add that the owner and I have coined a new term -- "He's Wishnevskied it!"

The instrument is made from recovered materials -- piano-soundboard spruce, walnut sides, "something" back, walnut neck, and "something" fretboard. The body design is peculiar and really only "plays" if you tilt it up in your lap in "cello" position -- otherwise you can't fret it past the 7th with any ease.

When it arrived at its new owner's doorstep, the original bridge had been shimmed-up with popsicle sticks (from the maker), it was 2 1/2" in the wrong place, the fretting was/is frightening, and the board inlay  for the 12th fret is on the 11th.

Did you just slap your head, too?

The (Home Depot corian?) nut is behemoth, funky, and functional. I do applaud the use of a zero fret, though.

Also -- only the finest "Ping" tuners for this'n!

The entire fretboard actually slopes down in a light arc beyond the 5th fret. This makes fretting past the 9th quite frustrating. Yet -- we leveled/dressed the frets (for the 2nd or 3rd time by the looks of the state of these jumbo frets) quickly and well-enough to get it playing nicely "down low." 

Also note the various chip-outs/etc. in the board -- and the most hilarious feature: a gap between the heel and the bass side. I mean -- grr! That's my favorite bit.

This was a speed/low-$$ job, so I zipped this new rosewood bridge out on the bandsaw, roughly sanded it, and notched it. Using a "theoretical" 12th fret height, the action is just about perfect for the portion of the board that doesn't slope down.

We also swapped out the normal 22w strings in this D'Addario set (which had snapped) for 18w on the A string.


Ron Neely said…
I have a couple of Wishnevsky basses but after our last transaction I'll likely never buy anything else from him. Check out the "Tele" body I custom ordered from him: http://www.tdpri.com/threads/i-guess-you-get-what-you-pay-for.490716/
Jake Wildwood said…
Yes, the only cure is a lot of chuckling. :D
Seonachan said…
Thanks to you it's playing good in 1st position, but yep, chuckling is in order when venturing up the neck - you have to cling to it like a life preserver. The good news is with the weather getting warm it's popsicle season so I have a good supply of shims. But now I'm picturing a crank or a bar like a Bigsby that he could install to raise and lower the bridge to match the action to where you are on the fretboard.

BTW, in the original ebay listing, he said it's jatoba board and walnut back & sides - but that could be a cut & paste from previous listings.