In the mandolin world, the name "Nugget" is synonymous with the utmost level of quality. Every "Nugget" mandolin is built entirely by master luthier Mike Kemnitzer, and every effort is taken to assure that each aspect of the instrument is of the highest quality. The mandolins speak for themselves! Each Nugget is an inspiring instrument with its own unique character, more than capable of pushing your playing lightyears ahead.
The Nugget design is steeped in tradition. Over the years, Mike has had the great fortunate to study, repair, and learn from Loar-signed mandolins of the 1920s. These iconic instruments are a tremendous influence, and Mike seeks to capture some of their spirit and character in each of his mandolins.
From there, Nugget has a reputation for using only the finest aged tonewoods. No matter what you're building, the surest way to positive results is to start with the right materials, and Mike takes great pride in his wood selection. Over the years, he has amassed quite the collection of Spruce and Maple, and he only uses old, properly-seasoned wood that is exceptionally resonant and holds up to his exacting standards.
Perhaps the greatest strength of Nugget mandolins is the meticulous care Mike puts into tuning the top and back plates. His goal is to maximize the tone quality, responsiveness, and balance. What he's able to achieve is impressive. Every Nugget rings clear and true all the way down the fingerboard, and each note blooms with complexity and musicality. These are serious mandolins for serious players.
The Nugget A Deluxe is essentially an F5 without the points and curl. The delicate arch and gradation of the top and back—as well as the f-hole placement and scale length—are identical to an F-5. The result is tone that sweet and round but still projects and cuts like an F-style. From there, it sports
While Nuggets sound fantastic when they're brand new, mandolins do need time to break in, mature, and reach their full sonic potential. Because of that, many Nuggets are still on their way, but this 1992 Nugget A Deluxe (#155) has the nuanced, seasoned tone of a mandolin that has opened up. Although it's only 28 years old, it packs the character and subtlety of a treasured heirloom mandolin.
From his shop in Central Lake, Michigan, Kemnitzer found a sincere stride by the mid-'90s. During this period, he constructed some of his best Mandolins, and many Nugget experts argue this was a time when he had particularly fine tone woods (even considering for his own high standards). This A Deluxe supports both of those arguments. It produces sweet tone with smooth articulation and clarity, and its Maple back and sides show intricate flame and intense figuring. This mandolin shows an exceptionally high level of craftsmanship, and its balanced, refined tone is a testament to Nugget's reputation.This 1992 Nugget A Deluxe shows some honest playwear, minor dings, and scuffs here and there, but it has been nicely preserved over the last 29 years (see photos). It has been refretted, and it shows some minor fret wear, but there is plenty of life and playability remaining. There is some wear to the back of the neck right in the playing position, but that makes the neck feel comfortable and worn-in. Used Nuggets are hard to find, and good luck trying to secure an order on Mike's extensive waiting list. Whoever ends up with this mandolin in their hands will be glad they did. Calton case included.