1996 David Allen Smith "The David" F-Style Carved-Top Mandolin




A local fella bought this from the maker back in the day. At the time, said maker was living in Toxen, AL and specializing in bluegrass-style instruments. There's a label in the f-hole with the details and a card for the builder in the case. Sadly, it looks like he passed-away in the last decade. I'd looked him up but there is scarce information on him out there on the net.

This mandolin is definitely folksy in its construction and details, but it sounds alarmingly-good and plays just the same. I mean -- I picked it up and immediately thought: maybe I should buy this! Fortunately, as a Dad of two little girls, I'm continually broke, so such thoughts can fly free as the wind. This is a proper bluegrass mandolin and it barks, bites, and stings just as you'd want it to -- it's got muscle.

It's also nice and stable, too, as I don't think it's ever been serviced but it came in with a setup that needed only minor tweaking. I did a little extra, though, to make it play like a champ.

Work included: a fret level/dress, minor cleaning, and a good setup. The neck is straight, the truss rod works, and action is bang-on at a hair under 1/16" at the 12th fret, strung with 40w-11 or similar gauge strings.

Scale length: 13 7/8"
Nut width: 1 3/16"
String spacing at nut: 1"
String spacing at bridge: 1 9/16"
Body length: 13 3/4"
Lower bout width: 10"
Side depth at endpin: 1 3/4"+
Top wood: solid, carved spruce
Back/sides wood: solid flamed maple
Bracing type: tonebar-braced
Fretboard: ebony
Bridge: ebony adjustable
Neck feel: medium C/V shape, flat board

Condition notes: it has mild wear-and-tear throughout in the form of small nicks, dings, scratches, and pickwear. The original build was a little folksy, too, with some minor finish-drips and imperfections here and there throughout. To me it's really charming, though, in the way early American fiddles are in comparison to the vast majority of factory-built German import instruments of the 1890s-era... it definitely has its own incredible voice and an eager playability, though it looks a little rough in the small details. The top hasn't collapsed, however, and it's a very friendly instrument to hang around the shoulder. The only non-original bit to the instrument is an Allen-style tailpiece that was added later.

It comes with: a high-quality TKL hard case and beautiful, tooled leather strap.



















Comments

Unknown said…
The man who made this mandolin is the father of my mom's boyfriend. Email me if you'd like more information about the man who made these or the instruments he made. I can give you their number if you'd like.