Custom Mandolins handcrafted in the heart
of the San Juan Mountains of Colorado
The dynamics of sound
As a builder, I am intrigued by the change in the quality of sound that emerges as I shift some of the hundreds of elements that go into an instrument. A little change in the depth of the carving here, the movement of a brace there, using engleman instead of sitka for the top, and it feels more like magic than construction. Each specific blending of wood, technique and time creates a unique sound never before heard.
While I strive for perfection in everything I do, I recognize that it is an impossible dream, and relative at best. Since no two hand-made instruments will ever be identical, technical perfection will always be an illusion. However, the real perfection happens when one of my instruments has the perfect look, feel and sound for a particular customer.
Modern technology and machines can turn out thousands of "perfect" looking instruments with ideal measurements and flawless detail. And, for the great majority of players, these instruments can provide a lifetime of satisfaction.
I believe something more is possible. If wood is carefully chosen, admired and lovingly worked with patience, respect and gratitude, it vibrates differently – often magically. The very time spent on an instrument imparts a quality that no machine will ever match. The slight "imperfections" that come from the human touch become signatures of love, a constant reminder of the maker. These things create the soul of the instrument; an intangible essence that cannot be described, but can be felt and heard.
Watch a video on the Art of Building
an Exquisite Mandolin - click on the link below
Adam Steffey, 10 time IBMA mandolin player of the year, stopped by Carter Vintage Guitars in Nashville and played a couple of Elkhorn Mandolins. Here's what he had to say about them:
"I stopped by Carter's yesterday and wow, what great instruments you have
there! I love the Koa/Red Cedar F-5 tone and response. Beautiful work and playability!
Just terrific mandolins for sure! He made some video footage of me playing them both and hopefully he has sent them to you.
A great time and I'd love to check out the new Koa/Red Cedar F-5 that you're finishing up right now. Have a great weekend and thanks for all your great work and time!" -- Adam Steffey
Watch a video of Adam Steffey playing an Elkhorn Mandolin at Carter Vintage Guitars in Nashville, TN.
click on the link below
Watch another video of Adam Steffey,
playing an Elkhorm Koa Mandolin at
Carter Vintage Guitars in Nashville, TN.
click on the link below