When they were still made in Montana, Weber mandolins, mandolas, and octave mandolins earned the well-deserved reputation as some of the finest 8-string instruments ever built. Bruce Weber was the head luthier of the Gibson Mandolin Division when it was still in Bozeman, but he didn't want to relocate when Gibson moved mandolin production to Nashville in 1996. So, he started his own company where he could dive deep into his own designs and innovations. Weber remained in Montana until the company sold in 2012, and sadly the quality of the instruments has never been the same.
This 2006 Absaroka Mandola was made in Weber's Bozeman shop—the old Logan schoolhouse just a stone's throw from the Gallatin river. It has an A-style body with a 17" scale length, a carved Spruce top, and Flame Maple back and sides. While mandolins are traditionally made with two tone bar braces like archtop guitars, the Absaroka Series have modified X-bracing. This gives them guitar-like resonance, response, and sustain, and that makes this Weber designa great fit for the lower register of a mandola. This Absaroka Mandola has an open, balanced tone with impressive clarity across the register.
From there, this Absaroka is set up with nuanced modern advances: radius fingerboard for easy playing, Weber-designed Brekke bridge for proper intonation/precise setup adjustment, floating Ebony pickguard that doesn't drill into the top or side, a Weber tailpiece that is easy to restring, and even high-quality Waverly tuning machines. Relative to a mandolin, the wider 1-1/4" nut width and longer scale take some getting used to, but the incredible haunting tone of the mandola inspires new ideas and pulls new licks and passages right out of thin air.
This 2006 Weber Absaroka Mandola shows some minor playwear, but it is in nice condition all around (see photos). It has a K&K Twin Internal pickup installed as well as a strap button on the heel. The previous owner set it up with an Ebony armrest on the side and harmonic suppression grommets to keep unwanted overtones in check. It produces sweet tone with clean highs and and full lows. It includes its original hardshell case.