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 6-1-2024

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Just In;

1913 Gibson H-1 Mandola.Details below. Photos
1949 Gibson EM-150 Electric Mandolin. Details below. Photos

1913 Gibson H-1 Mandola. At 111 years old, this instrument is definitely one of the cleanest vintage instruments to come through the doors in a long time. The details are exactly as one would expect. Maple reinforced mahogany neck with a 15-3/4" scale bound ebony fretboard and "The Gibson" proudly inlaid in the peghead. The body has birch back & sides with dark red finish. The top is carved from red spruce and has the orange/natural color know to Gibson aficionados as "pumpkin". All the hardware is original including tuners, tailpiece with the original "The Gibson" engraved cover, and the tortoise celluloid raised pickguard with the decorative hook near the bridge. The only weirdness with this instrument is the letter P with 12 numbers following scratched on the peghead. Probably a top secret "Kalamazoo kode", that, in the right hands, will lead to a secret stash of red spruce and highly figured hard maple. The neck is 1-5/16" at the nut, making it quite comfortable to play for us with large hands. Spa treatment here at the SFI shop included a refret with a fretboard dressing and polishing and installing a replacement patent stamped Gibson mandola bridge, as the original was cracked. If you have been looking for an instrument with a low C string, this one could be calling. $2,800 and the original excellent condition hard case is included. Photos

1949 Gibson EM-150 Electric Mandolin. My first memory of actually playing a Gibson EM-150 was in the mid 1980's at the Cuyahoga Valley Festival in Northeast Ohio. Johnny Gimble was a featured performer and when I asked him about his EM-150, he put it in my hands insisting that I check it out. How gracious of an internationally revered performer to trust his valuable working tool to a total stranger! With a limited production of about 22 years, this EM model is based on Gibson's A-50 mandolin. Specs include; mahogany neck with a Brazilian rosewood fretboard, spruce top, and solid maple back and sides, all finished in a classic sunburst that only Gibson could produce. To make this a "plug-in" model, a 4-pole P-90 pickup with tone and volume potentiometers were added to the top. On this mandolin's arrival at SFI, I saw the frets were quite worn and the pickguard had decomposing celluloid, inspiring me to do the following maintenance; Refret with medium wire. Considering the fretboard's playing wear and Gibson's inconsistent sanding, I dressed the board using a 20" radius. I happened to have a sheet of 5-ply ABS pickguard material from the 1980's that made a very respectable reproduction pickguard. I also removed and cleaned the electronics before reassembly & stringing. New knobs were installed on the Kluson tuners by the previous owner. This instrument now plays flawlessly with low action. Would Johnny Gimble approve? Maybe not. He strung his EM-150 with 4 strings, not 8. Easy enough to do if you want his specific western swing sound. And a heads up; though the instrument is based on an acoustic mandolin, the addition of the electronics adds enough weight to the top that the instrument sounds like a solid body mandolin when unplugged. All in all, this instrument is in excellent condition. It was played significantly, but never abused. It is priced at $1,900. A non-original TKL hard case is included. We also have the original, worn out, tan colored chipboard case. We'll be happy to include it if you like. Please ask. 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 sturdy 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 $600. 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 phone, 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 $450, 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

1921 Vega Style L Whyte Laydie Mandolin Banjo. Like the Tubaphone listed above, this banjo needs a neck reset to be a playable banjo mandolin. But with original Whyte Laydie banjo rims being in demand for converting to 5-string instruments, this one is an ideal candidate. The 10-1/8" diameter rim has a calf skin head and most of it's original metal parts. The tailpiece is a replacement and its maker is unrecognizable. The $800 price includes the original hard case that appears to have been coated with an epoxy of some sort. 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 $9 per order for Priority Mail shipping in the continental US no matter what the order size. Micro orders weighing less than 12 ounces and valued less than $50 are usually shipped via first class mail for $6. 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 .