January 18, 2020, 0 Comments
New Elk Horn F5 Design
Enhancing a classic, with a bark…
Building our new Elk Horn F5 Design has been a long time coming. I have been building my Middle Fork F5 since I started building mandolins. I was looking for something to get a more powerful punch out of the mandolin. I was getting consistent good sound independent of the wood but I wanted something better, so I decided I needed to make fundamental changes to the structure of the top and the back plates that would be far better at producing sound, that includes the way the plates are graduated and arched and the placement of the bridge.
I began working on a new design for my F5 models. I’m calling it an Elk Horn F5. The inspiration behind this design is the design of my A-model instruments. With both my A4 and A5 models, I have consistently had the woody bark that most musicians are looking for in a mandolin and the loud volume, irrespective or wood type, which tells me it’s the actual plate design that is driving the sound of the instrument.
I am slightly modifying the arching and recurve of my current F5 design to match my A5. It’s an imperceptibly taller arching and a slightly more pronounced recurve around the top and back. It’s subtle but noticeable. Sometimes it’s just a subtle design change that can make a big difference in the sound of an instrument.
I’ve also changed the location of the bridge and F-holes moving them about ½ inch towards the neck, which somewhat changes the neck geometry and elongates the body moderately.
The result is an F5 with powerful projection and a woody chop that I get consistently with all of my A-model instruments. The key thing to note is it will not feel any different to play. It will still be an easy instrument to play. As a musician, the first thing you will notice is the volume. It will project more, and you will be heard at the back of the room. It will have a balanced tone across all four pairs of strings. It is an improvement from the standard traditional Middle Fork F5 mandolin in the River series.
This design is currently in production and will be available for demo at Wintergrass 2020 in Bellevue, Washington.