The Carbon Fiber Mandolin
Peter Mix knew there would be a carbon fiber mandolin. He just didn’t know he would be the one creating it.
Mix worked with Rogers Mandolin for a decade, and when the company shuttered its doors in 1996, Mix looked around for something to do. He says he was fascinated by what was happening at Composite Acoustics and Rainsong and how they were building carbon fiber guitars. “I loved what I was hearing and playing, and it just seemed inevitable that someone would build a carbon fiber mandolin.”
No one did, and when he found someone in Canada who made a carbon fiber violin he had an “ah-ha” moment. Knowing that someone had figured out how to make an arch top with carbon fiber, he was then inspired to do the same and create a mandolin out of the material. NewMAD was born. Mix says the new material is shaped into what is essentially an 85-year-old design. He was driven to all this more as a player than for an ecological reason, but acknowledges the green advantage.
“I’m a player first, and this is what floats my boat,” he says. “It’s a great instrument to play. But because I have a passion for string instruments, I’m aware of the reality that materials are just becoming increasingly scarce. Lots of woods are becoming more expensive, and if you have a conscious about this, you have to ask yourself if you really just indulge in creating an instrument out of material that’s really not available anymore. I mean, there’s nothing like a tortoise shell pick, but we need to leave the tortoises alone!”