2010s Bubba-made 2-Point Electric Mandolin

A friend of my buddy Rick's made this for him. It apes the old '30s/'40s KayKraft, 2-point design but otherwise it's entirely-different. The builder is Bubba (that's how he's addressed universally, folks) and so it's Bubba-made. His builds are always totally quirky and lovely because of that. They often feature really stylized odd choices and details that make them memorable.

This one, for example, is a thick slab of mahogany that was cut in half, hollowed-out on the inside via a drill press, and and then glued back together so well that it's very, very hard to find the seam. It makes for a lightweight, sturdy, lively-sounding instrument that reacts like a solidbody in many ways.

Rick dropped it off because he was hoping I could get the original, handmade pickup to achieve better balance string-to-string. Unfortunately, I couldn't. I spent some time disassembling it and attempting to move the poles around to get the sound we were looking for, but the quirky design meant it was a little difficult and ultimately I gave up.

However, I always have spare pickups on hand, so I recut the pickup cavity and installed an old Squier SuperStrat-style humbucker in its place. I cut a new tortoise cover to hide the extra (unused) polepieces and adjusted it to suit mandolin stringing.

Aside from that, I also addressed some playability issues. Now it's one heck of a player and has a lovely, dark, jazzy/retro voice that will allow him to push his amps a bit and get some drive going.

Repairs included: a fret level/dress, bridge modification, fitting a new pickup, side dots install, and setup.

Setup notes: strings are Ernie Ball 36w-10 stainless-steel wound, the neck is (now) straight, and action is spot-on at a hair below 1/16" string height at the 12th fret.

Scale length: 14"
Nut width: 1 1/4"
String spacing at nut: 1 1/8"
String spacing at bridge: 1 1/2"
Body length: 13"
Top width: 10 3/8"
Side depth: 2 1/4"+
Body wood: hollowed-out solid cigar-box mahogany
Fretboard: unknown
Bridge: adjustable ebony
Neck feel: medium D-shape, ~14" board radius

Condition notes: replaced pickup, added sticky numeral to the back of the headstock, some minor nicks/dings/scratches from use, but otherwise original and fairly clean. The neck joint drifted some time in the past but since I've seen this off and on, it's remained stable. I would have pulled the neck and reset it if I had any idea how the joint was made!