Peghead Nation instructor John Reischman demonstrates his Michael Heiden F-Style mandolin.
by Teja Gerken
August 10, 2018
Luthier Michael Heiden has been building guitars and mandolins for more than 40 years, but has focused on mandolins for the last 20 or so. His experience as a player and repairman gave him an in-depth understanding of the mandolin family’s construction and tonal qualities, and he offers a wide range of guitars and mandolin-family instruments built in his shop in Creston, British Columbia. Peghead Nation instructor John Reischman is one of the fortunate owners of Heiden instruments, and in this video, shot at the inaugural Peghead Nation Mandolin Camp at the Kowana Valley Folk School and Lodge near Yosemite, California, last October, he demonstrates his Heiden Heritage F-5.
Built in 2007, this Heritage F-5 is the second Heiden that John has owned. And while the instrument follows the general vintage F-5 template for materials and construction, it has a contemporary appearance, with an Adirondack spruce top sourced from an old barn in North Carolina and highly figured maple back and sides. Rather than assembling the back from two bookmatched halves, the back of this mandolin is made from a single piece of maple. The neck closely replicates the shape of John’s famed 1924 Gibson F-5, but is a little bit wider. The instrument also has a plain ebony fingerboard with no inlay, black tuner buttons, and white-black-white binding on the body rather than the standard black-white-black. A dark amber stain adds to the instrument’s striking appearance.
John appreciates the instrument for its great balance and response. “I don’t have to attack it quite as firmly as some other mandolins to get the same response,” he says, adding that “it plays beautifully!” heideninstruments.ca
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