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2004 Gilchrist Model 4
 
Mike Compton demonstrates his oval-soundhole, F-4-style Gilchrist.
June 22, 2022
 

Peghead Nation instructor Mike Compton has enjoyed a long-standing friendship with Australian luthier Stephen Gilchrist, and after buying the first Gilchrist mandolin sold in the US in 1979, he has owned several of Gilchrist’s instruments. For quite some time, Mike’s primary mandolin has been a 2002 Gilchrist Model 5 specifically built to match the sound of Bill Monroe’s legendary 1923 Gibson F-5 (check out his Peghead Nation demo of that instrument). About 20 years ago, Mike and Stephen were discussing the merits of oval-soundhole F-4-style mandolins, and a short while later, Stephen presented Mike with a special Model 4, serial number 03565.

Mike’s Model 4 is built with a red spruce top and sugar maple back and sides. The instrument’s soundhole is slightly closer to the fingerboard than on a standard Model 4. “It was designed with greater midrange frequencies than a typical oval-hole mandolin to increase clarity and projection,” Stephen says. The mandolin also had a different finish when it was first built. “He finished it twice,” Mike says. “Long before I saw it, he didn’t like the way it looked, so he stripped the finish off.” 

Mike says that when he first received the mandolin, he didn’t play it much, mostly because he didn’t like the tuning machines it had come with. But a couple of years ago, Stephen did a complete overhaul and setup on the instrument, which led Mike to give it another try. “He tightened everything up and got rid of some weird noises and overtones,” he says. “I thought I should give it another chance and see what it could do, so I put the F-5 up and started playing this. It’s turning into way more of an instrument than I ever thought it would! There are some aspects to it that, to me, sound less like a trumpet and more like fiddle things. There are different kinds of slurs I can do on it that I can’t do on the F-5, and it seems to fill up the room more than the F-5 does.”

To learn mandolin from Mike Compton, enroll in his Monroe-Style Mandolin course! Gilchristmandolin.com. 

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2014 TOM-R | Huss & Dalton Guitars
Fingerstylist Dustin Furlow demonstrates a great OM built with Brazilian rosewood.
 
 
 
 
 
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© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com
 
 
    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com