Foamcore / Foamboard Mandolin

Rapid prototyping methods are the new wave of engineering. As manufacturing new test design move toward lasercutting and 3d-printing, I’ve been looking into one materials. Foamboard makes a great sounding board, and nobody seems to work with it So, I put together a quick foamboard mandolin based on the Saga Mandolin kit.

Here is the first prototype:

Foamboard Mandolin

Now, what makes a great sound board? Well first, we need to dive into some engineering terms.

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Finishing the Saga Mandolin Kit

When the Luthier told me-

This will become your main instrument, and you will like it more than the bowback mandolin.

I didn’t believe him. After a week of playing, its true. I love this Mandolin.

These came out well:
+ All the time spent on the project was enjoyable.
+ Tone & playability
+ Color and texture on the finish
+ Using Google Helpouts and having Hustler Guitar give advice on the build. In particular, his advice on the finish.
+ Having a Stubblebine Lutherie adjust the action on the frets&strings

These things came out less well:
+ Original action on the strings & frets were too high and hard to play.
+  The neck joint was a pain to put together, and the angle was a bit off.
+ Scratches around the neck joint. Too forceful with sandpaper.

Here is a video of the kit before I got started. You can order the kit on Amazon (affiliate link).

Learning to Play the Mandolin Better

Playing the mandolin is now my favorite hobby. I write a lot about making musical instruments, but the end goal of it all is making music in a meaningful way. Learning the mandolin has been a lot of fun, and allowed me to reconnect with music in ways I never even imaged. My wife sang along to Christmas carols, I started learning songs by ear and discovering new genres. It re-energized my musical pursuits, and gave back way more energy than I put in.

Image via The Black Apple

I wanted to share my roadpath for learning the Mandolin. My goal with this post is to transform your thinking about learning the mandolin, share my favorite resources, and ask your feedbacks for tips to become a better Mandolin player.

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