Arpeggio Vandolin
Arpeggio Vandolin by Ron Kayfield. $2,500.
I've seen a lot of electric mandolins and I wouldn't call myself easily impressed. But every once in a while I come across something that blows even me away. Such is the case with the Arpeggio Vandolin.
     Luthier Ron Kayfield is a heavy metal guitarist who's earned respect for his Arpeggio line of electric guitars, but along the way he found time to build a small number (likely fewer than 10) of these Flying V–inspired mandolins. They've been out of production for 15 years or so, and this is the first one I've even seen, let alone managed to acquire.
     The truss-rodded neck and bookmatched body are soid korina wood, finished in a warm honey sunburst. Rosewood fretboard has an unthinkable 29, count 'em, 29 frets. Gold-plated hardware includes 2 strap buttons, Tune-O-Matic bridge, and replacement tuners, which I'm guessing are Pings. Ebony headplate with logo; triple-ply pickguard; tone and volume controls and front-mounted 1/4-inch jack. Front and back V-shaped plates constitute a tailpiece. The pickup is a pair of twin-rail humbuckers. No coil tapping or switching, and consequently no escape from the way this thing can wail!
     This Vandolin has seen its share of gigs; there are a few chips and a ding in the finish on the body, and finish cracks on either side of the headstock. But it has just been professionally set up and is ready to rock once more. If what's holding you back as a mandolinist is your inability to channel your inner Randy Rhoads (or Albert King), then salvation is at hand. When new, an Arpeggio Vandolin could fetch $3,700; this one can be yours for about two-thirds of that. See more photos, or for more information. $2,500 plus shipping. 48-hour approval period.