Mark Simon Mandocaster, sunburst, 1977. $3,500.
I admit I don't know much about Mark Simon, but he has a pretty impressive resume as a luthier, which you can read all about at his website, and has been at it for almost 50 years. This 5-string Mandocaster hails from 1977, when hardly any such instruments were being produced, by either custom luthiers or large manufacturers. There's a photo of a similar Mandocaster on Simon's site.
     It is in remarkable shape for a 44-year-old instrument. Ash Tele-style solid body with dark tobacco sunburst finish. Flame maple steel-reinforced neck. Underneath the white plastic pickguard is a handwound custom pickup with adjustable screw poles—so if you need, say, the E string to be a little hotter, you can turn the screw counterclockwise to move it closer to the string. Tone and volume controls; bridge with individual saddles. The neck is on the narrow side for a 5-string but should feel familiar to acoustic mandolin players. There's a Fender "Original Contour Body" decal on the headstock, which is a bit of a joke since the mandolin has a slab body with no contours to speak of.
     This is a rare, rare find in very nice condition, a once-in-a-lifetime instrument. Standard gig bag included, or upgrade to a custom gig bag or hardshell case. Add a strap, see more photos, call 425/772-0231, or for more information.