My new custom mandolin


Drowning in lap steels
I play a mix of folk-rock, blues, and a hint of early jazz now and again. I prefer a bassy mandolin that punches through the mid-range, but most of what I find in stores is geared more towards a bluegrass sound. When I got my current job, I decided to celebrate by getting a custom mandolin built - one that reflects my preferences in tone and appearance. A few emails back and forth with Steve Holst, and this was commissioned (click to enlarge):

The body is made of red spruce and maple; I love a good birdseye pattern, and Steve certainly found some exceptional wood. It has X-bracing and a maple neck, ebony board and binding, and the trim is a mix of ebony and cocobolo. The neck has a great V-shape similar to my '32 F-2, but very slightly beefier. I have always liked two-point bodies, and the standard Holst headstock and tailpiece suggested a 1930s art deco vibe to me; I went further with this idea by specifying the split-block inlays and stylized f-holes.

It's a joy to play. It has a strong, compressed mid-range, particularly on the D and A strings, and the G strings are starting to get there as well. The treble is smooth but not overbearing, and I think the mandolin will mix well with an acoustic guitar. It's incredibly loud and has excellent projection - the audience hears a lot more than the player compared to my other mandolins. Can't wait for practice tonight!

frquent flyer

I have a blond two point built by Will Kimble,I am very proud of that mando also.Enjoy yours and it will hold its value and maybe grow in value.


Spectacular! Just getting into the mandolin myself. I wasn't aware of Holst, I'll have to investigate a little more. Enjoy!


Silver Supporting Member
I knew of the Holst archtops but not his mandos.
The headstock looks like a nod to Monteleone.
That is a beautiful instrument. Do you play more classical on it or is it more all purpose?
Thanks for sharing that.


Beautiful!!! I just got this two days ago. Had to hunt high and low low for it. A 2004 Weber Bighorn fun instruments for sure! Enjoy yours in good health!



That is one gorgeous 2 Point. Well, 2 gorgeous 2 Points. Seems everyone around here thinks if you play mandolin you've got to play bluegrass. I like it, but don't love it. I'd also love to be able to order a custom Mandolin, with much of the same characteristics you've described: bigger bottom end, mid-range projection, smooth non-overbearing treble. Well done!!

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