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= Instrument Serial #15 ===

This instrument was commissioned by Dave Dekker.


Actually, this is not a Mandonator™, though it was inspired by one. It's an experimental resonator instrument with 6 strings, tuned like a guitar with a short scale, as if a standard guitar had a capo on the 5th fret. From low to high, this will be: A, D, G, C, E, A. There is, in fact, a traditional instrument with this tuning called a requinto. Who knows? If all goes well, this may be the first "Requintonator™," a resonator requinto!


The options he chose are:

  • 6 strings; scale 19.2"
  • Khaya ("African mahogany") body with Indian rosewood binding
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Curvey, paddle shape headstock with khaya veneer
  • Stamped tailpiece
  • Fishman Passive Resonator Pickup


Standard features include:

  • Spherically arched back
  • Khaya mahogany neck
  • Radiused fingerboard
  • Cutaway
  • Spider bridge and resonator cone
  • Traditional F-shape soundhole


Tray with parts for instrument 15

The khaya wood for the body is nestled with binding and tuners in the shelf drawer dedicated to instrument #15. Before the wood can be used, it will be stickered (stacked to allow air maximum access to all sides) until the moisture content of the wood has reached equilibrium. Then I'll sand it to the proper thicknesses. I'll need to design a new neck and fingerboard for this instrument to accommodate the 6 strings and different scale.

Picture of the front halves of Requintonator 15 being joined

 Picture of the back halves of Requintonator 15 being joined

Here are the front (on left) and back halves being joined. The back pieces are on a "dished" form and are weighted with two sacks of gunshot. Yes, gunshot; a small sack is quite heavy and molds to different shapes. The result will be a spherically arched back. The wax paper isolates the clamps from any glue that might seep from the join.

The joined halves of the top and back of Requintonator 15

The joined top and back, showing the inside bracing of the back.

The photo shows the sideframe of Reguintonator 15 in a holding form

The sides are held in a form to help maintain their shape. They have end blocks and linings on the front edges, and I'm ready to install linings on the back edges.

The photo shows a strip of lining being fitted to the edge of the sideframe of Requintonator 15

I fit the lining along the edge and cut it to fit. Then I remove the lining again and apply glue along its length.

Photo showing lining for the sideframe being glued and clamped with O-rings

The side of the lining with the glue is repositioned along the edge of the side and held in place with O-ring clamps.

Photo showing removal of glue from notches in lining by using a dentist pick

Using a dental pick, I remove excess glue that has oozed out into the kerfs of the lining.

The top and sides, back, and neckblank for Requintonator 15

With the top and sides attached, the opening for the resonator cut, and its ledge installed, the next steps are to cut the soundhole and attach the back. Blue tape marks sound hole and centerline. The neck blank is ready and can be worked separately for now.

Necks for instruments 8, 12, and 15 prior to fingerboard

These are the necks, in progress, for instruments 8, 12, and 15. I've installed the graphite truss rods, created the tenons for the body joint, and attached the headstock veneers. The head and heel shapes have been roughed in. Meanwhile, I've been slotting the fretboards for these necks. Next in the process is to inlay the headstocks and fretboards. After that, I'll complete the fretboard shaping, install frets, and prepare to attach them to the necks.

Photo of Requintonator 15 showing the assembled body with binding, neck headstock with inlay, and fingerboard

This is really starting to look like an instrument! The assembled body has soundhole and binding, the headstock has inlay, and the fingerboard is ready to install.

Photo of Requintonator, serial 15, strung up in the white



And the verdict is ...

This instrument sounds very cool, and is really fun to play! Here it is, strung up "in the white," using a spare gold-colored coverplate that I'll replace before delivery.

I've tested it -- that's the "fun to play" part, speaking for myself as a guitar player. It was hard to put it down. The sound reminds me a little of a cross between an electric guitar (played in the high range) and an electric mandolin. Very cool for Western Swing.

Next I'll disassemble it, make some final adjustments, then apply the tung oil finish that Dave requested. Now I want a Requintonator™ for myself!!

Requintonator™ 15 has been completed! The experiment was a success! You can see photos of the finished instrument on its Gallery page.

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