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 9-20-2021
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1918 Gibson A-1. Pumpkin color top. More info below On Hold Photos $1,600
Recent Washburn MIK A-model with F-holes. More info below. Photos $125
1917 Gibson A-1. I have always liked Gibson instruments from this era. The necks are bigger than the Loar and post Loar era, the finish colors for are attractive, the tone has a bell like quality, and the peghead inlay and tailpiece cover engraving constantly remind you that the brand is not just any Gibson, but The Gibson. This particular A-1 conforms to the specs of the day. The neck is mahogany with a center stripe of darker hard wood and has an unseen triangular block of hard maple for reinforcement. The bound fretboard is ebony with a 13-7/8" scale. Back and sides are birch (though the catalogs always said maple for these parts) and the top is red spruce, likely from West Virginia. Like most 104-year-old instruments, there has been a bit of work accomplished on this mandolin to keep it in good structural and playing condition. The tuners were replaced with modern Golden Age Restoration Tuners from Stewart-MacDonald. The fretboard has new frets, the bridge replaced with an ebony adjustable bridge, and the back is now bound. 35 years ago, when I first saw this instrument, the back had shrunk enough to warrant removal and regluing. To accommodate the back being slightly smaller than the sides, I added grained ivoroid binding to match the bound top. Most folks would not know it is a non-factory addition. Maybe that change makes the model an A-1.5! This mandolin is in excellent playing and physical condition and is $1,600 with the original 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. On Hold. 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 . The best of all worlds in a good looking, superior playing and sounding mandolin for $500. Comes with a gigbag. Photos
Kentucky KM-252. The yearly music merchandise trade show rarely holds surprises for me. Always on the prowl for great sound & playability in a good value, most of the exhibited instruments don't catch my eye. This mando is one that kept me coming back. A traditional F-hole A style instrument with an amber finish. The color and finish of the instrument was attractive enough, but the tone was consistently great in all the examples I have tried. Other details include solid carved curly maple back with matching sides sides, solid carved spruce top, a radiused rosewood fretboard and a nitrocellulose lacquer finish. Price with a Kentucky logoed gigbag made of Nu-Hyde is $500. If you would like to upgrade to a Goldengate 1521 hard case, the price is $560. Photos
Kentucky KM-272. This mandolin has the same appointment details as the KM252 listed above, but with a major difference that is has an oval soundhole instead of F-holes. That change brings sweetness to the tone that makes this model exceptional for folk song accompaniment, old time, and Celtic tunes. What about Bluegrass you ask? Well, some of the early bluegrass performers like Curly Seckler. Everett Lilly, and Red Rector are famous for using oval sound-hole mandolins. Of course this mando will suit that playing style as well. Like the 252 it has solid carved curly maple back with matching sides, solid carved spruce top, a radiused rosewood fretboard and an amber color nitrocellulose lacquer finish. Price with a Kentucky logoed gigbag made of a leather looking material called Nu-Hyde is $500. If you would like to upgrade to a Goldengate 1521 hard case, the price is $560. 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
Recent Washburn MIK Mandolin. Have you always wanted the coveted title of "Multi-Instrumentalist" on your musical resumé but were not quite sure where to start? We offer today a good playing, good sounding, and good looking mandolin at the budget price of $125. If you can work with musical fifth intervals, you could be on your way to the envy of your jamming buddies in a matter of minutes. OK, 5 days if you want us to ship to the west coast. This 8-string wonder has a maple neck with a 13-7/8" scale bound rosewood fretboard. The back and sides are laminated maple and the top is laminated spruce. With the instrument finished in a high gloss sunburst you'll be able to shine reflections into the eyes of audience in the second row at the coffee house that hired you for your first mando gig. Appropriately, the $125 price includes a gig bag. 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. Photos
1925 Weymann Style 35 Mandolin-Banjo. This is a clean and interesting piece of Weyman's ingenuity. A 9" maple rim, with a clear Remo 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.
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.
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 .