From his shop located in the heart of Colorado's San Juan Mountains, luthier Robb Brophy builds Elkhorn Mandolins by hand, one at a time, hoping to capture unique subtleties and character in each instrument. While modern technology can crank out thousands of "perfect" copies of a design, the time and care invested in building an instrument by hand impart qualities that no machine can ever match. According to Brophy, "if wood is carefully chosen, admired, and lovingly worked with patience, respect and gratitude, it vibrates differently. Each specific blending of wood, technique, and time creates a unique sound never before heard."
This Elkhorn Mandolin (#56) was completed in 2018, and it is based on the classic F-5 "Fern" F-style design but with Brophy's own tweaks and innovations. It features a hand-voiced Colorado Engelmann Spruce top and a stunning one-piece Big Leaf Maple back plate. Its tone is rich with impressive warmth and bottom-end. It is a resonant instrument with sweet projection that cuts without sounding harsh or overly bright thanks to its flexible, well-voiced Engelmann top.
The nut width on this Elkhorn F-5 measures 1-1/8", and its solid ebony fingerboard has a 12" radius. Its neck carve is unique—more of a rounded profile than we often see on F-5 builds. It's probably the closest profile to a guitar we've encountered on a mandolin, and it's not the V-shaped "boat neck" you might expect on an F-5. Experienced mandolinists may find it somewhat chunky, but guitar players will be right at home. With EVO gold frets, genuine Waverly tuning machines, a Cumberland Acoustics ebony bridge, and a hand-engraved James tailpiece, this Elkhorn is set up with premium components, and its overall build quality far exceeds its price point.
This Elkhorn F-5 was professionally setup by Pava Knezevic in Tom Ellis' shop. Because of that, it plays beautifully up and down the fingerboard. Notes resonate evenly and clearly, and it will follow your playing wherever it takes you. As far as cosmetics, this Elkhorn is in excellent condition with minimal signs of play and use. It is a fine instrument built by hand by an independent luthier, and because of that, it possesses its own inspiring character. Original Superior hardshell case included.