Kevin took over from his brother Bill in 1982 as the builder of Schwab solidbody 4-, 5-, and 8-string electric mandolins, and made more than 100 of them over the next 30 years, while working a day job at Hoffman Guitars in Minneapolis. Pictured on the left are his Deluxe (maple veneer top) and Basic (ash) models. On the right, the Michael Lampert signature model, 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 was also a Sunburst Deluxe, for and at times Kevin offered an Econo model. Kevin used Schaller tuners and went through three different pickup builders. Early Schwabs have Seymour Duncans, middle-period Schwabs have Bartolinis, and for the last few years Kevin used Don Lace pickups. Kevin also built mandolins 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. 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 the 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.
Kevin is retired, and Schwab e-mandos are highly prized collectibles.