Sole luthier bluegrass mandolins from £10,000
Mike Kemnitzer, also known as Nugget mandolins, is one of the legendary modern mandolin luthiers. Mike, Steve Gilchrist, Lynn Dudenbostel and John Monteleone are the four gods of the contemporary mandolin world. My first conversation with Mike came about by chance. I was talking with a guy in the states about a vintage F4 he had for sale. We were discussing the finish when he said he was about to go and visit Mike. He would take the F4 and why didn't I phone and ask if Mike thought the finish was all original? I was a little nervous to call someone I held in such high esteem but did it anyways. To cut a long story short Mike offered to make me a mandolin and by the end of the conversation I had ordered a Nugget for my self. I knew I couldn't afford it but I couldn't refuse an offer like that!
Over the coming weeks as we talked and emailed Mike expressed his keenness to get some of his work this side of the Atlantic, so we discussed the details.
By 1997 the number of orders for Nugget Mandolins had grown so numerous that Mike stopped taking new orders. All inquiries since then have been added to a list from which Mike now plans to build with occasional instruments for the The Acoustic Music Co and his U.S. distributor, Sandy Munro (former owner of The Great Divide Music). Mike also collaborates with Collings Guitars on a very limited number of Tim O'Brien Model Mandolins.
Mike says; "I met Trevor on the telephone when he called to ask about a vintage instrument that I had worked on. We struck up a friendship and before long we were discussing the possibility of me making a few instruments for him and the Acoustic Music Company.
This first mandolin will be an A-model with f-holes made from quilted maple and spruce with curly koa wood bindings. It will be blonde with a black top and will have a French polished oil varnish. I think this combination of materials will give it a striking look but our paramount focus is on the acoustics. Over the years, I have built for a handful of European players but I'm happy to have some of my work heading your way."
Nugget A5 Deluxe SOLDSold
I can still remember the first conversation I had with Mike (Kemnitzer, Mr. Nugget). I nearly fell over when he said he would like to have some mandolins here at TAMCO. I have just about recovered but am feeling a little unwieldy again. It is a privilege to have a mandolin here by one of the legendary contemporary luthiers. As well as looking like it should cost twice as much the sound is superlative. The note separation and clarity is off the scale,. the depth and quality of tone is something I haven't heard before.. It has volume and subtlety, bark, bite and sweetness.
Spruce top, quilted maple back and sides, French polished oil varnish finish, dark curly koa wood binding with maple purfling, 22 fret curved fingerboard, ebony Koa bound pick-guard, Nugget crest inlay with logo, silver plated Waverly tuners with ebony buttons, silver plated hardware, Calton case.
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