Here's a fascinating mandolin from New England boutique luthier
, who spent years with Ovation but is now out on his own,
winning fans and customers around the nation with his innovative guitars.
This is Clark's first mandolin; it's numbered 001 and has a
label proclaiming it a prototype. It features Clark's proprietary "A-wedge" construction, which,
according to the builder, "adds a lute flare to the traditional back of the
guitar and creates a completely un-braced design which results in a gorgeous look
combined with amazing sound and ergonomic feel."
Single-cutaway body with two soundholes in the upper
bass bout. Dark tobacco sunburst on flat spruce top. Glued-on, guitar-style
ebony bridge; the tailpiece is
ingeniously set into the top just below the bridge, and accepts ball-end strings.
Multi-piece, multi-color maple back with modified bowl shape. It's
deeper than your standard American carved mandolin; more in the vein of
an Ovation in terms of shape and size. The neck has a shallow U shape
but is wider than a standard mandolin neck; this may make a good
instrument for someone more accustomed to playing the guitar. Tonally,
it does indeed remind me of a bowlback, and mgiht be a good choice for
classical or Italian music in a setting that required amplification.
Having acquired this mandolin from its original owner, I sent it back to Clark for
some touching up. The top has been newly refinished although it does
show a llittle plectrum wear; the back and sides still have
the original finish, which has no chips or blemishes but does have a good deal
of fine lacquer crazing. The fretboard is brand new, with jumbo frets, and has side markers.
There's a screw hole in the heel for a strap button, but no button is currently installed
(I can add one if you like). The instrument has an onboard K&K Mandolin Twin pickup with
an endpin jack.
Comes in a hard foam case similar to a Travelite.
It's hard to put a price on this unique mandolin, since Clark hasn't built any
others or offered them as part of his line. I can tell you, however, that a Clark
A-wedge guitar costs $4,800, so perhaps you'll agree that $1,500 seems like a
reasonable price for this mandolin.
, or e-mail
for more information. $1,500 plus shipping.