Instrument Reviews
bullet Terry Bales
bullet Eccleshall
bullet Fender
bullet Godin
bullet Linke
bullet Jonathan Mann
bullet McHugh
bullet Oldtown
bullet Pentasystem
bullet Risa
bullet Schwab
bullet J.L. Smith 1
bullet J.L. Smith 2
bullet Weber
CD & Book Reviews
bullet Carbon Leaf: Echo Echo
bullet Richard Congress: Blues Mandolin Man: The Life and Music of Yank Rachell
bullet Crazy Rhythm: RU•Crazy
bullet Rich DelGrosso: Get Your Nose Outta My Bizness
bullet Billy Flynn: Chicago Blues Mandolin
bullet Maestro Alex Gregory: 12 Jokes for Heavy Metal Mandolin
bullet Maestro Alex Gregory's Penta Orchestra: Another Millennium?
bullet Bruce Harvie: Mandolin Graffiti
bullet Andrew Hendryx:
13th Street Repose,
Still Life with Mandolin and Guitar
bullet Eva Holbrook: The Very Last Dream
bullet Don Julin & Ron Getz: Mr. Natural
bullet John Kruth: The Cherry Electric
bullet Michael Lampert: Jacaranda
bullet Michael Lampert: Blue Gardenia
bullet Mori Stylez: Rules for Rotation
bullet The Suspenders: Suspended Alive at the Spider
bullet Trout: Metalgrass
Review of John McHugh Mandolin #0017
By Marc Sallows, Luna Pier, Mich.
This mandolin is very nicely made, and I would say that its maker knew what he was doing. I was pretty happy with the tonal range of the pickup. Just using the tone knob and the mini-switch, which I'm guessing is a coil tap, there are quite a lot of tonal options. The pickup looks to be handmade, and the pickup cover and trim ring are solid rosewood. A very nice-looking touch.
     The controls are volume and tone. The pickup has good output and seems pretty balanced, and also has adjustable poles for fine-tuning. It has the usual single-coil hum, but no worse than any Fender guitar. With the mini-switch in one position, the tone is thicker and you can get some Strat-type tone with a little gain added. It's even capable of high gain without feedback or squealing. The mini-switch in the other position yields more high end but overall thinner sound, which seems to work well for more of an acoustic mando-type sound.
     The build quality is excellent except for slightly underfinished fret ends, and the materials are top grade, except for a couple of minor imperfections in the mahogany. The playability is great: stays in tune excellent, intonation seems good, neck straight, low action with plenty of room either way for adjustment.
     I don't believe it is a solid body. Tapping on the top reveals hollow chambers. I would say semi-hollow, like a thinline Tele with no F hole. This gives it enough volume for unplugged living-room strumming. The neck is glued in like a Gibson, but the heel is carved away for a neck-through feel and appearance. Nicely done. The finish is very thin, possibly hand rubbed, and the grain shows through, but personally I prefer it that way. Not as glossy as it looks in the pic. There is some very fine checking in the top, so I would say it wasn't made real recently. The overall fit and finish of the instrument are excellent.