Custom F-5 Mandolin #29 77

Completed December, 2009

(click any of the thumbnails for a higher-resolution photo)


This F-5 mandolin, with a red spruce top and gorgeous maple back and sides, features gold Waverly tuners and James tailpiece. The custom abalone and mother of pearl inlay is set off with 3-ply celluloid binding with side binding. The nitrocellulose lacquer finish makes its beauty pop.

This instrument goes to retired professional musician Richard DiAdamo in Pittsburgh, the owner of a number of Skipper instruments, who had this to say: "When it comes to craftsmanship, tone quality, depth, resonance of sound, and quick-and-easy tonal response, Roger Alan Skipper is the master of his art!" For more of his review, and for others, visit our Testimonials page. To hear Richard play a Skipper violin, lend an ear to our Audio Video selection.

Construction Photos


Construction begins with the bending of the sides, the shaping of the mahogany blocks, and the fabrication of the rib assembly. Kerfed lining is glued to the ribs. The top is shaped and graduated, tone bars are installed, and it's glued to the ribs.


The plates are both tap and deflection tuned for proper stiffness and maximum resonance and response. The neck is shaped and fitted to the body with a dovetail joint. The peghead ears are glued on with hot hide glue.


The peghead scroll is strengthened with a cross-grain patch. The back is carved, profiled and tuned. The custom inlay is recessed into the ebony head plate.


The inlay is completed, and the binding is applied. The fretboard is shaped, bound, and the frets are installed. The neck and back are glued to the body, and the binding is installed.


The fretboard extender is attached and strengthened with carbon fiber bars. The instrument is set up "in the white" before finishing. The instrument is stained and finished, the pickguard is fabricated, and strings and hardware are applied.

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