4/30/2018

2010 Gypsy's Music Nylon-String Mandolin




Gypsy's Music mandolins were made by Mr. Walt Kuhlman who, sadly, passed away a few years ago. I worked on a more-typical mandolin of his a while back, but this one was especially-made for nylon strings and it has a unique sound. It's not voiced at all like 1800s mandolin-family instruments that were strung similarly (they were more like mini-lutes) and has a sound like a crossover between a good, dark-sounding flatback mandolin and a bowlback mandolin. The trebles are very present but they're quite mellow and the bass is strong but not overwhelming.

The playing experience is a little different and most normal "mandolin hacking" needs to be adjusted to suit the instrument. Not unexpectedly, it sounds best for single-note melody playing but does have a sweet chordal sound. Volume-wise it's no slouch.

My work on it included a mild fret level/dress, adjustment to the compensation at the bridge (Walt super-compensated it which was unnecessary), and a good setup. Construction is quirky but sound, lightweight, and the trussrod works as it should and the neck is straight. The instrument comes with a number of extra string packets so the next owner will be set for a while on spares. I'd expect that the wound strings will wear the worst.

Specs are: 13 7/8" scale, 1 1/4" nut width, 1 1/32" string spacing at the nut, 1 5/8" spacing at the bridge, 10" width, and 2 3/8" side depth at the tailpiece. The neck has a flat ebony fretboard and a medium D-shape to its rear. It's comfy. I've set the action at 1/16" at the 12th fret -- spot-on for a flat-profile fretboard.


The top is spruce, the back and sides are walnut, the neck is mahogany with a walnut headstock veneer, and the fretboard, bridge, and tailpiece are all ebony. The tail hangs like a fiddle tailpiece over the top.


The nut is bone and the tuners are Gotohs which replaced (at some point) the 4-on-a-plate originals.













It comes with a good hard case and the aforementioned extra sets of strings.

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