Kevin took over from his brother Bill in 1982 as the builder of Schwab solidbody 4-, 5-, and 8-string electric mandolins, and has made over 100 of them. That makes him one of the most experienced makers going. Kevin's day job is at Hoffman Guitars in Minneapolis; he builds the mandolins on the side. Pictured on the left are his Deluxe (maple veneer top) and Basic (ash) models, at $1,450 and $1,295 respectively. On the right, the Michael Lampert signature model ($1,150), which features a shorter scale (13 9/16" as opposed to 14 1/2") and a smaller body than the standard model. This particular axe features a mahogany body with a koa cap, but all of Kevin's options are available on it, including 5 strings and a second pickup.
There's also a Sunburst Deluxe for $1,695, and at times Kevin has offered an Econo model. Kevin uses Schaller tuners and Don Lace pickups, but will build your mandolin to custom specs for finishes, woods, electronics, and appointments.
Speaking of custom Schwabs, check out Schwab #100. The neck and semi-hollow body are Brazilian rosewood, and the mandolin sports two mini-humbuckers by Bartolini with a volume and pan pot for controls. Kevin says he may keep this one for himself. And last but not least, here's a wild red 8-string axe Kevin built in 1993. I don't know about you, but I like his current understated Tele-style look a lot better.
Players of Schwabs have included John Abercrombie, David Blackmon of the Jerry Reed Band, Marty Stuart, Peter Ostroushko, and Jimmy Henley from Roy Clark's band.
For information about Schwabs, e-mail Kevin or write:
2219 East Franklin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55404