©Terry Docherty Guitars 2013
My basic, stock model mandolin, available in Indian rosewood, or American black walnut, all with spruce top. Named after Northumberland’s most picturesque river valley, I have made a great many of these over the years.
The German spruce tops are bent over an “X” brace, curved to a 15 foot radius and producing a strong, stable and very bright instrument with a 360mm scale length. Folk singer and musician, Brian Peters uses a rosewood model in his Rocky Mountain Ploughboys band and the rosewood instrument shown here belongs to Chris Stephenson, father of Ian. The bridges are made to allow the fitting of an under-saddle transducer, as an extra.
Here's Stu Wilson from Bristol taking delivery of his new "Coquet" model left-handed mandolin. It was great to do one of these again, American black walnut and German silver spruce really suits it and a chance to try out the new logo designed by Gary Hogg. Thanks guys."
Carved top versions of this traditional tear-drop shaped mandolin are also available though they do cost a bit more, naturally.
For obvious reasons, Gibson’s iconic F series are the most instantly recognisable mandolins ever built. They are also amongst the most difficult to build for reasons which are equally obvious. Designed by chief production designer, Loyd Loar (circa 1919), they are in the best traditions of the Gibson Company’s “carved-arch” construction techniques, developed directly from violin technology by Orville Gibson himself and which is also evident in their equally iconic range of jazz guitars which have been widely copied by others, for three quarters of a century. Some of this tradition was also employed in the design and construction of their solid and semi-solid electric guitar range from the famous Les Paul series (circa 1952) onwards The guitar shown here is a one-off built for my son, Michael, around 7 years ago. The mandolins and jazz guitars carry the consistent features of carved arch construction of back and top along with steeply angled necks which are permanently jointed to their bodies. On the Les Paul, the top is carved to an arch with the back left flat and the neck glued permanently in place rather than the bolt-on construction used by many of Gibson’s major competitors.
The F-5 is a hugely over-elaborate instrument where the elaboration exists purely for its own sake and without practical purpose. That said, there is still something about them that is very attractive and endearing and they are of course the established “badge of office” for any aspiring bluegrass player and they are still able to turn heads when taken from the case in a room full of “pickers”.
I’m very happy to make one for anyone who has around £4,000 to spare.
Prices vary according to the materials used and aren’t necessarily restricted to those materials shown on the site. I have certainly made a lot of instruments using a combination of Indian Rosewood and German Spruce and still do, as together they produce wonderful instruments but I’m very happy in using a range of quality tone-woods. For instance, I currently hold good stocks of dry and well seasoned Adirondack Spruce (Eastern Red Spruce) as well as German Spruce and Western Red Cedar.
Adirondack Spruce is the stuff that the legendary pre war Martin’s were made from and which was harvested out, forcing companies like Martin to move over to Sitka Spruce, itself a decent top wood but a poor substitute for Adirondack, which is stiffer than anything I’ve ever come across and a very desirable quality to have in a guitar top.
I have good stocks of Indian Rosewood and limited stocks of very old Brazilian Rosewood and have recently purchased some beautifully figured Cocobolo from Stefan Sobell, which is both old and extremely dry.
I’m therefore able to offer some special guitars built of combinations of special materials and you may well get a pleasant surprise when you enquire about prices.
My prices are not affected by body size and I don’t charge extra for “lefties”
I do charge 5% extra for single cutaway models and a similar extra charge for slotted and bound headstocks and bound fingerboards.
I’m happy to talk to you about your requirements and to provide you with an individual quotation for different instruments and materials.
"I'm currently working on a flat-back mandolin, using the same method of construction that I demonstrated in the building of a carved-arch cittern which you can read up on here. This mandolin will differ in one respect in that the European spruce top will be of "bent-arch" construction with the top gently arched over curved braces that have been shaped to a 15 foot radius. The back and sides will be of American black walnut.
This is my re-designed TYNE model mandolin. It has a carved Sitka spruce top with carved curly maple back and matching sides with sunburst finish by Dave Wilson. This particular instrument was made for my old friend Steve Amsden of Vashon Island, WA who will be here very soon to collect it so look out for photos of him playing it.