Video Clip of the Month
On the occasion of what would have been fiddler and Bluegrass Boy, Kenny Baker's 91st birthday, (June 6, 2017)
David Benedict plays Kenny's composition "Bluegrass in the Backwoods",
on his Apitius mandolin.
Welcome to the Apitius Mandolin Co. website where I take great pride in being 100 years behind the times!
Apitius mandolins are entirely hand made, by me alone, in a climate controlled workshop using only traditional materials and methods. I believe that hand-crafting gives the instruments a quality and “soul” that just isn’t there in modern production line instruments. For example, all of my pearl shell inlays are sawn by hand and though modern computer controlled processes are very precise, they lack the human element of slight variations that make each instrument truly unique, just like the original F-5s.
The Apitius sound comes from decades of research and development. Meticulous note taking and careful experimentation has resulted in a sound that is rich in desirable overtones, even note to note balance and an incredible dynamic range. The Apitius sound can be coaxed out with the lightest touch or driven to volumes limited only by the musician's attack.
My approach is to 'see further by standing on the shoulders of giants'. The Lloyd Loar signed instruments of the 1920s set a very high bar indeed. In my mandolins, I endeavor to re-create the hand made, outward aesthetics of the vintage F-5s while using my patent pending* technique for graduating the top plates to even further refine the sound. My motivation comes from a desire to produce the best mandolins that I possibly can. I am not interested in mediocrity or second best.
In keeping with this philosophy, I have also moved to traditional finishing methods. Employing only natural resins, Apitius mandolins are now finished in the traditional “French polish” method which is not only environment friendly and sustainable but also results in a finish that is highly repairable, and improves with age. Best of all, this finishing method allows for a very thin film thickness that is crucial in achieving the best sound possible. Traditional hot hide glue is still the the very best glue for fine musical instruments and for that reason is used on all wood to wood joints on my mandolins. It is not the easiest glue to work with but its never been about easy.
In 2015 I built a brand new workshop and completely re-tooled, making new forms molds and fixtures. I have made refinements to the body, headstock and fingerboard shapes to more closely capture the look and feel of the 1920s F-5s. As always, the sound is the result of decades of dedicated research and development which has resulted in my unique, patent pending, method of graduating and tuning the plates. Several of my innovations regarding improved tone and volume are described in further detail here.*
Feel free to look around and contact me if you have any questions. I will respond as quickly as I can. Some areas of this website are frequently updated, so check back periodically as I will be adding more photos and information as time allows.
P.S. As part of the process of re-tooling I drew up a completely new set of blueprints for my mandolins. I have decided to make them available for purchase to those who would enjoy them. The plans are very detailed and highly accurate. They are available with a slightly distressed look which makes them great for framing and displaying at home or office, even if you never plan to build a mandolin yourself. The signed and numbered prints are printed on 24lb. Bond paper and are supplied rolled in a mailing tube.
(Click on the image above to visit my blog page.)
Last post June 5, 2017
Multi-instrumentalist and composer, Ashley Broder and her Apitius mandolin
Multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and 14 time Grammy winner, Dan Tyminski and his Apitius mandolin
Performer, composer, instructor David Benedict with his Apitius Mandolin
What others are saying:
Great sounding mandolin! Exceeded my expectations in sound and craftsmanship! It's got great resonant low tones and real 'bell'-like highs in the upper register. Thanks very much.
I have to say, I'm super impressed with your work. Right when I opened the case it just gave off the feeling of a fine, classic instrument. And it plays and sounds like a dream.
just wanted to let you know that the mandolin is amazing !!! best i have ever had, the tone is incredible and i suspect its only beginning as the instrument gets broken in, you really know how to make them !! I have two other mandolins which i will be selling in due time, yours is incomparable, thank you so much.
Sincerely, Paul Linn
Hi again Oliver,
I can't say enough about the mandolin. Again, it's probably the best sounding mandolin I've played! For perspective, I've played several well-made mandolins, including ######, ##########, #####, #######,... Yours has an amazing dynamic range.
I just got word from a friend that you are building again. I'm excited for you and hope you enjoy much success--Congratulations!
The Apitius mandolin I owned almost 10 years ago remains to this day the finest mandolin I've ever played.
I have one of your Grand Classic F style mandolins at home on a trial period. I have to say I'm loving the sound. I thought I had a pretty decent mandolin but now it sounds dull and plunky after playing your instrument for a day.