Alan Bond and his mandolins

Alan Bond

Stan Miller #33 2007

Here's the replacement for my old 1976 Stan Miller mandolin. Stan brought this one to me in Berkeley in 2007, just like he did in 1977 when he brought me the first Miller. I've been playing Miller Mandolins for thirty two years.

#33 is loud with mids to die for. It has a broken-in sound even though it's almost new. It's a great mandolin. See Stan Miller Mandolins.

Stam Miller Mandolin #33 2007

Gibson A-1 1926 Snakehead

This old Snakehead Gibson has the best A model sound I've ever heard. It's as loud as a loud F-Style with tone that just keeps ringing.

I think these 1926 Gibsons were really made in 23 or 24 during the Loar area. Then Gibson would finish them up and send them out as needed when an order came in.

This old Snake has been played a lot with the finish on the back of the neck almost worn off. It has a new frets and is ready to play long after I'm gone.

1926 Gibson A-1

Gibson Fern 2002

My Fern is an ebay special I picked up a few years ago. The truss rod was broken, I found later, great ebay deal. Jim Hyatt at the Fifth String fixed it easily with his magic. Larry Cohea just re-fretted it.

I sent my Fern to Roger Siminoff for his De-damping Service. The De-damping helped open up the Gibson. It's good and loud now and has the F5 Gibson sound that can't be beat.


Gibson Fern 2002

The Loar LM-600-VS 2008

I couldn't resist this mandolin and bought it when I first saw it. It's a The Loar made in good old Korea. There were two at the Fifth String in Berkeley a good one and a great one. This thing rocks and is almost as good as the Gibson Fern. It seems like a copy of the Fern with a flower pot on the head. It has a real nitrocellulose lacquer finish. Much cheaper than the Gibson. I did have to re-shape the neck to make it playable. The neck was huge. The Gibson neck is perfect. You get what you pay for.


The Loar 2008

Fake Gibson 19??

It's probably a Kentucy from the late 70's. Somebody put a 50s Gibson logo on the head. I re-finished it blond and put a maple bridge to improve the sound. It does sound pretty good.


Fo Gibson

Gibson A-50 1950s

Here's a good player, sounds something between an F and an A model. This one needs the clam shell tail cover and a pick gaurd.


Gibson A-50 1950

Kalamazoo Mandola 1930s

This was my first mandola. I put a maple bridge on it. The maple bridge really helps the sound. If you put a maple bridge on a really good mandolin it will blow out the windows, but the tone will suffer. On the Kalamazoo the maple improves its volume and it has such a warm tone anyway it still sounds great.


Kalamazoo Mandola

Eastman Mandola 2009

The Eastman is a good sounding mandola for the price. After you fix the intonation of the bridge it makes a nice mandola. Well built other then a badly designed bridge.


Eastman Mandola

Bond 5-string Electric

I made this electric back in 1978 after seeing David Grisman play a Gibson electric with a band on stage at the Great American Music Hall in SF. Tiny Moore was also an influence. "It's a one-of-a-kind 5-string, designed somewhat like a Gibson 'Three-Point.' Semi-hollow, with a through-the-body maple neck and Padouk wood body."


Bond Electric

Hyatt 8-string Electric

Jim Hyatt at the Fifth String in Berkeley made this eight string electric mandolin for me. I asked for the old Fender 12-Sstring headstock. I'm thinking of painting the body yellow, my favorite color.


Hyatt Electric


Here's my old 1976 Stan Miller mandolin. It was stolen in 2006 but returned in 2011. Thanks to THR Associates.

The F-5 Style Mandolin in the picture above, was new in 1976, when I purchased it from builder Stan Miller. It was Stan's forth mandolin.

At the time, Stan lived in Nevada City, California. I drove up from Berkeley to see Stan
after getting his phone number from the owner of the old "Fifth String" next to Paul's Saloon in San Francisco. It was at the "Fifth String" that I had seen Stan's Third mandolin. I missed being able to buy that one.

When I first saw the mandolin, it had no finish, just plain wood. Strung up and playable. Stan was still tap-tuning it. I remember trying it out for the first time in the shade of some trees along the road standing between our parked cars.

That mandolin sounded incredible from the very first note. I told Stan that I'd like to buy it. So when he had finished making it he drove down to Berkeley to deliver the mandolin.

It has Brazilian rosewood back, sides, and neck, wood binding and Engelmann Spruce top.

The silver tailpiece cover was designed by Beth Weil and made by David Collins, my old band mates from "Oakum".

Later I installed a cast-off Kentucky pick-guard, that I had come across in the repair shop of the Berkeley "Fifth String". German mother of pearl tuner knobs, mother of pearl nut, and a "Tone Guard" were also added.

The Stan Miller mandolin is a true workhorse, it has a fine broken-in sound now. It's a great mandolin. See Stan Miller Mandolins.