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.
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Page Updated 1-6-2021
Please Visit our Home Page for links to our banjos, guitars, fiddles and more.
Smakula Fretted instruments is on its way back to regular business. As you know, we have been shipping instruments and parts throughout the pandemic. We are again accepting banjo, guitar, mandolin and minor fiddle repairs. For the safety of our staff, we can not invite people into the shop, but we now have a heated camper trailer in front of the shop for repair drop off and pickup, as well as a place to test instruments we have for sale.
Thank you for your understanding and patience as we all work through the details of the new normal.
Please stay safe.
1913 Gibson A Mandolin. 225 Parsons Street in Kalamazoo Michigan was a busy place in 1913. Turning out about 7,000 guitars and mandolins that year without the help of computer operated cutting machines was no small feat. This era's Gibson mandolins have always been my favorite. A bell like tone and a neck that is not to skinny has made them my go-to mandolins since 1974 when the first A model landed in my family's house. Details on this instrument; The neck is mahogany with a wedge of maple invisibly inlaid for reinforcement. The 13-7/8" ebony fretboard was installed here at Smakula Fretted Instruments to correct intonation issues that plagued early Gibson products. The carved arched back as well as the sides are birch (though the catalogs always mentioned maple) finished in a dark red and the carved top is red spruce with a finish color that collectors refer to as "Pumpkin". The original The Gibson tailpiece and cover are present. The pickguard is a vintage Gibson product from the same era as the mandolin, though not original to this instrument. Other modifications and upgrades include the modern adjustable bridge, fitted here in the SFI Shop, new Stewart-MacDonald Golden Age reproduction tuners, and a Cumberland Acoustic ebony armrest. The string height is perfect at 3/64" at the 12th fret on the E string and 1/16" for the G. At 107 years old this mando is in excellent condition and ready for at least that many more years of tunes. Price is $1,400 and includes a modern Harptone hard case. Note; We just installed the pickguard and will update the photos soon. Sorry, Sold. 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 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-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. Out of stock. 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.
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.
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.
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