Mandolin Specs

Special Phoenix Innovations

  • Engineered light-string models with specially configured tone bars that produce full volume and tone with light and extra-light strings.
  • Designed a jazz model that utilizes both a piezo and a magnetic pickup for creative playing styles.
  • Introduced the graphite-epoxy truss bar in mandolin production.
  • Pioneered the use of graphite-epoxy laminations in mandolin tone bars.
  • Introduced special models that have no plastic bindings.
  • Adopted special epoxies for strength and vibration transmission.
  • Reformulated top and back graduations for full plate movements.
  • Adopted willow, as Stradivari did, for internal blocks and linings.
  • Introduced ancient forest maple for bridge bases.
  • Created custom tuner parts.
  • Established low instrument weight as a major factor in sound projection; the heaviest Phoenix mandolin weighs only 30 ounces!
  • Pioneered the waterborne varnish finish for mandolins.

 

Specs

Each mandolin features:

Tops

  • Fine quarter-sawn, vacuum-dried, red spruce used on most models for superior tonal range and traditional “Loar” tone. European spruce is used on the Jazz and some custom models for its particular mellow tone.
  • Full perimeter graduation for maximum top response.
  • CNC carved to precise curvatures, then hand graduated to each model’s specifications.
  • Tone-bars; graphite-laminated, voiced for each model, with asymmetrical placement. The Neoclassical and Jazz have a radical new tone bar design for full tone and projection with light strings.
  • Amati-style “f” holes, area-matched to Lloyd Loar Era specifications.

Backs

  • Highly figured maple, specially graduated by a new Phoenix formula. Red maple used in most models with hard sugar maple for Bluegrass models, and European sycamore maple and quilted maple used in certain custom models.

Necks

  • Neck is one-piece, profiled similar to Loar era mandolins. Sycamore maple necks have a second piece grafted on the heel and the end of the headstock.
  • Epoxy-graphite bar replacing metal truss rod for better sound and stability.

 Fingerboards

  • Finest ebony used on all models with Macassar used on the Jazz, all are radiused to 7 1/4″ for ease of playing, 13 7/8″ standard scale.
  • Front inlays: Select and Bluegrass – snail or abalone dots; Neoclassical – none; Jazz – 2mm snail under the bass strings; Deluxe – hand-cut abalone vine; Ultra – hand-cut abalone flames.
  • Binding: Bluegrass – ivoroid; Ultra – black/white; Select, Neoclassical, and Deluxe – ebony with fret slots cut short of the edge of the fingerboard; Jazz – Macassar ebony with fret slots cut short.
  • Side position dots: Neoclassical, Jazz, Deluxe, and Ultra – snail; Select and Bluegrass – abalone.
  • Scalloped for pick relief above 24th fret.
  • The Jazz model has a 22 fret fingerboard to enhance pickup placement and higher and wider frets laying, 13 7/8″ standard scale.
  • All fret wire is now EVO “gold”, the new harder, longer-lasting fret wire.

 Headstocks

  • Overlay is finest ebony on most models, striped Macassar on the Jazz.
  • Select and Jazz have Snakehead headstock
  • Precision CNC-cut inlays with 3-piece of figured abalone except on the Ultra where a hand-cut full abalone phoenix with flames is done.
  • Binding: Bluegrass – ivoroid; Master Model – triple binding on side (ivoroid/black/white).

 Nuts

  • Width: 30mm (just under 1 3/16″)
  • Material: Select – bone; Bluegrass and Ultra – mother of pearl; Neoclassical, Deluxe, and Jazz – dyed bone or fossil ivory.

Bodies

  • Highly-figured quarter-sawn maple sides
  • Blocks and lining strips made from willow, as Stradivari preferred.
  • Internal air volume matched to the legendary Lloyd Loar mandolins.
  • Ultra model has black bindings with abalone purfling.
  • Bluegrass model has ivoroid bindings; the Bluegrass Master Model has triple bindings (ivoroid/black/white) on the sides.
  • Select, Neoclassical, Deluxe, and Jazz models are constructed violin style with no plastic bindings and chamfered edges.

 Bridges

  • Traditional Lloyd Loar specifications.
  • Nickel-plated metal parts on the Select and Bluegrass; black plated on other models.
  • The bridge base is made from resonant ancient-forest maple recovered from Moosehead Lake in Maine.
  • The saddle is ebony (Macassar on Jazz), radiused and carefully compensated.

Hardware

  • Machine heads: precision Grover machine heads, nickel-plated on the Select and Bluegrass; nickel-plated with custom black-plated string posts and black buttons on the Neoclassical; gold-plated with custom black-plated string posts and black buttons on the Jazz and Deluxe; premium gold-plated Waverly machine heads with mother-of-pearl buttons on the Bluegrass Master Model; and premium gold-plated Waverly machine heads with black-plated string posts and ebony buttons on the Ultra.
  • Replacement light-weight machine head bushings on all models, nickel-plated on the Select and Bluegrass model and custom black-plated on all other models.
  • Tailpiece: black plated Rigel-style with ebony overlay on the Neoclassical and Deluxe (Macassar overlay on the Jazz); nickel-plated engraved Rigel-style on the Select; nickel-plated engraved James on the Bluegrass; gold-plated engraved James tailpiece on the Bluegrass Master Model; black-plated aluminum Price on the Ultra.
  • Strap buttons: top button inside left point, nickel on Select and Bluegrass, black on others; (the end pin at tailpiece is ebony on all models except where an end-pin jack is used).

Finishes

  • Colors: Select and Bluegrass – traditional sunburst amber/red-brown/tobacco brown/black; Neoclassical – violin red-brown with dark shaded edges; Jazz – light violin brown with dark shaded edges; Deluxe – warm dark violin brown with dark shaded edges; Ultra – sunburst from wine-red to black; Bluegrass Master Model – vintage sunburst amber/brown/black similar to some Loar-era finishes.
  • The color stains are mixed with the shellac sealer or applied directly to the wood prior to sealing.
  • A grain-enhancing shellac is used as a sealer before top-coats are applied.
  • Top coats are the finest waterborne varnish, an environmentally-friendly finish that is extremely durable yet flexible for sound enhancement. The coats take significantly longer to apply and polish to produce a final finish that is only .006″ thick.

Strings

  • Select, Deluxe, and Ultra – made for medium-light to medium-heavy, delivered with .011″/.015″/.026″/.040″ (D’Addario J74).
  • Neoclassical – made for extra-light strings, up to .010″/.013″/.022″/.034″, delivered with Dr. Thomastik mittel (mediums).
  • Jazz – made for flat-wound strings 011″/.016″/.022″/.034″, delivered with Thomastik stark (heavy).
  • Bluegrass and Master Model – made for medium-light to heavy strings, delivered with .011″/.015″/.026″/.040″ (D’Addario J74).