PO Box 882, Elkins, West Virginia 26241


Phone Hours; 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Eastern Time, Monday through Friday and occasionally on Saturday.

Mandolins, contact us...

Page Updated 5-16-2020

Please Visit our Home Page for links to our banjos, guitars, fiddles and more.

The state of West Virginia is now under a "safer at home" order during the COVID-19 pandemic. That is, only essential businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies, and take out restaurants are open for business, I want to let you all know that since my shop is at home, I will be able to accommodate mail orders

Things I can do;
Ship parts and instruments. As long as the delivery services continue to operate, I can ship to your door.

Things I can not do;
1) Offer repair services. My crew will all be safe at home surfing the internet with nary a chisel within reach.
2) Welcome shop visitors to check out instruments.

Hopefully in my small way I can contribute a sense of normalcy during this international crisis.

Please stay safe.

Bob Smakula


Just In;
2018 Pava A5 Player.
Hi, it's us, the Smakula Fretted Instruments social media team. As you may have gathered from our previous dispatches, missives, and rants, we like nice instruments. As a matter of fact, we have dedicated our lives to enhancing the niceness of instruments, as well as the purchase and sale of instruments with relatively high niceness quotients. That said, nice is not all that darkens our door. Mandolins in particular present an issue on this front - fussy, inconsistent, and often possessed of a dangerous potential to pierce and shriek. Thus, we are thrilled to report that this 2018 Pava mandolin is a pure joy to play and listen to. Built in Austin, TX, by sought after craftswoman Pava Knezevic, this high grade A-model features F-holes, and back, sides, and neck made from striking curly maple. It has a red spruce top, 13-7/8" scale ebony fretboard, Gotoh mandolin tuners, and a James tailpiece. The sunburst finish has settled slightly into the pores of the wood, giving it a vintage look. The only imperfection of note is a small ding in the top, having the appearance of case-latch bite, but apparently came from being banged against a doorway. Plays precisely, with a perfect balance of warmth and sparkle. Yours for $2500, including a Superior hard case. Photos

1970 Gibson A-5. Chief among the distinguishing features of this mandolin is its rare & unusual body shape - it may be designated an A model, but it's closer to an F model. On the bass side, instead of the traditional F-model scroll, is a scroll-that's-not-really-a-scroll - more of a lump, or a thumb, if you will. Whatever you want to call it, you're going to have to drill a hole straight through it to attach your shoelace strap! (Just kidding, don't do that. Seriously. But if you do, please send us a picture). Moving on, this fine instrument has a spruce top with an oval sound hole, maple back, sides, and neck, and a 13-13/16" scale rosewood fretboard. The original finish on the neck has been removed, to make a 'speed neck' - aka, an oil finish on the bare wood. In house repairs include a refret, neck reset, and new heel cap. Tone is clear and bell-like. Sure to provide you with endless hours of pleasurable solo & social tunes, we give it one thumb up, which in this case is just as good as two. Yours for $1,100, including a hard case. Photos

New Kentucy KM-508. The Saga website trumpets that this instrument is "worth its weight in GOLD!" From one instrument dealer to another, we won't judge doing whatever it takes to sell the item. But, we might say, more simply, that this instrument is a heck of a bang for your (relatively) measly few bucks. These mid-price Kentucky models have recently emerged as some of our favorite student/utility mandolins, and this KM508 is no exception. With a stylish gold-finished top, floral peghead inlay, gold tailpiece, curly maple sides and back, and radiused ebony fretboard, this economical player's instrument has no shortage of personality. Tone is round and mellow when played softly, and good and punchy when you're ready to give it a little 'umph. Set your own gold standard today for just $750, including a hard case. Sorry, Sold. Photos

New Kentucky KM-250. Here Is a mandolin with many appealing features. Carved top and back, thin nitrocellulose finish, attractive inlay, and amazing sound. One construction detail that is an issue is, in my opinion, the factory fretting is not up to the quality of the rest of the instrument. So, here are SFI we take care of that problem with a professional fret dress . or if necessary, a refret. The best of all worlds in a good looking, superior playing and sounding mandolin for $500. Comes with a gigbag. Photos

New Kentucky KM-150. An entry-level mandolin that has impressed the heck out of me at the annual misic industry, trade show. The KM-150 is an A shape with F-holes. The neck, back, & sides are solid maple. The top is solid carved German spruce. Sunburst finished in a dark Cremona brown for the vintage look. Things I like about this instrument is the great tone for a modest price and the slightly larger neck that fits my hand as well as the 1918 A & F model Gibson instruments I grew up playing. For the $425 price you will receive the mandolin, a Superior Trailpak gigbag and complete set up in our shop to make the mando play it's best. Photos

New Kentucky KM-140. Because it's my job and because it's the law of the land that instrument dealers list "specs" and "facts" on their website, I'm going to give you a full rundown of this KM-140. But I could save you a lot of trouble and just say, buy it. Close this browser window, get out your wallet, call us, and buy it. Still want more? Fair enough. We really couldn't be more pleased with Kentucky's line of budget priced mandolins, and this charming A-Model is no exception. It has a spruce top with dark sunburst finish, and mahogany back & sides. Fingerboard is rosewood and scale is 13-7/8". Outfitted with Gotoh 4-on-a-plate tuners, and a 1920s style stamped brass tailpiece, it also comes with an attractive, high quality leather gigbag (see photos). Tone is punchy and full. Yes indeed, it'll chop, slice, and julienne with the best of them. At $400, this is likely one of the best deals in the mandolin market today. If you're not shopping for one right this moment, keep checking back here, as we plan to continue stocking these models for the foreseeable future. Photos

1937 Gibson A-1. As played by Bobby Osborne during his brief yet incredible stint with Jimmy Martin, King of Bluegrass. While this mandolin won't help you hit the tenor line on "Dog Bite Your Hide," you can at least look right trying, Its got a spruce top, maple back and sides, and a mahogany neck. The neck has a very comfortable 1 1/4" width and C shaped profile, though the 14 1/8" scale length of the non-elevated radiused rosewood fretboard takes a little getting used to. SFI added wood to the shrinking back and refretted it, but otherwise this is an original F-hole equipped Gibson mandolin from the '30s for a price that isn't higher than 20 year old Bobby Osborne's vocal range. $1,500 with original chipboard case. Photos

Circa 1918 Gibson F model mandolin Tuners with inlaid Handel knobs. A rare offering for a very desirable and hard to find part. Make your Gibson F-4 or F-2 100% again with these tuners. They are almost 100 year old and there is a certain amount of slop in the gearing, but they will hold tune as well as any. of a similar vintage Pictures are exactly what you will get. There are no peghead bushings or attachment screws included or available. Price is $500. Photos

1920s Washburn Banjo-Mandolin. Yes, its loud. But there is a surprising warmth and nuance to this banjo mandolin that is rare in any eight stringed, banjo head equipped instrument. The 10 3/4" maple rim has a donut style tonering, which would be responsible for any trace of tonal subtlety this instrument has. The well-worn neck has a 13 1/16" scale fingerboard and a 1 3/16" nut width. This would probably make a really nice five-string conversion with some help from your favorite neck craftsman, but if you want your neighbors to "enjoy" your version of "Daybreak in Dixie" too, its perfect as it is. $600 with original hardshell case. Pictures coming Soon.

1920's Weymann Style 40 Mandolin-Banjo. Like Will Smith's character in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," this banjo mandolin was West Philadelphia born and raised. While significantly older than Mr. Smith, this well preserved instrument has retained it's freshness through the decades just as he has. Anyway, the 10 1/2" rim and neck are both maple, and all hardware is original. The nut width is 1 1/4", and the scale length of the original refretted ebony fretboard is 14 3/16". And yes, it's loud, but it's a banjo mandolin so you knew that. $550 with original hardshell case. On Hold. Photos

1925 Weymann Style 35 Mandolin-Banjo. This is a clean and interesting piece of Weyman's ingenuity. A 9" maple rim, with it's likely original calf skin head and the Weyman patented neck adjuster coupled with a one piece hard maple neck with a 13-7/8" scale fretboard. The big bonus with this instrument is the slip on resonator. Sure it's louder, but you also don't have to feel the neck adjuster dig into your belly when you stand up to play. The straight neck and recently dressed frets make this instrument play like a dream. We also made a custom compensated bridge so it plays in tune. Hmm The best of both worlds? Probably not, but this puppy has the punch to be heard in any jam session. From Jug band to alt rock this one will fit. In excelent condition and the price of $950 includes a boulder alpine gigbag. Photos

Late 1980s-Early 1990s Gibson F-5 case. If your late 80's-early 90's Gibson F-5L is minus its original Gibson branded hard case, look no further. This case is in excellent condition, with the only issues being a missing rivet on one of the corner stops, a couple small nicks and marks, and a torn tab on the bass side accessory compartment. The interior is a lush, fluffy red that brings to mind the wall carpet of a late 80s-early 90s casino in Atlantic City, though without the smell of years of absorbed cigarette smoke, spilled cosmopolitans, and sin. This mandolin luggage proudly retains the authentic smell of a late 1980's-early 1990's instrument case. $300. Photos

We ship most of our instruments via UPS. Cost to ship a mandolin is $20 to $40. Cost to ship a guitar or banjo is $25 to $60. The cost of insurance is extra. We will be happy to quote before shipping.

Small goods like banjo heads and other parts cost $8 per order for Priority Mail shipping in the continental US no matter what the order size. The cost of orders headed out of the continental US will be quoted before they are shipped.

Sales Tax
We are legally obligated to charge 6% West Virginia sales tax on anything purchased here at the shop or shipped within the state of West Virginia. We do not charge sales tax on orders sent out of state.

To Order
Call us at 304-636-6710. For payment we accept checks, wire transfers and MasterCard & Visa. If you prefer Paypal, please send us an email requesting a Paypal invoice.

Occasionally a customer will let us know that the "Contact Us" button will not work on their computer. If you have that problem, please use sfi<at>smakula<dot>com You will have to change the <at> and <dot> to @ and .