Instruments & Gear: Fine Lutherie

Nugget A-Style Standard Mandolin

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Joe K. Walsh demonstrates his 2016 Nugget, built by luthier Mike Kemnitzer.

by Teja Gerken
June 21, 2018

Built by Michigan luthier Mike Kemnitzer, Nugget mandolins have enjoyed a well-deserved reputation in the mandolin world since the 1970s. Peghead Nation mandolin instructor Joe K. Walsh first met Mike at a bluegrass festival, and after trying out several instruments ordered an A-Style, receiving Nugget #302 in early 2016.

“He built this one and another matching one, number 301, with the exact same graduations, exact same everything, except for the [top] wood,” says Joe, who ended up choosing the one with the Engelmann spruce top. “This was just raring to go, right out of the box,” he says. Having been impressed with all the other Nuggets that he’d played, Joe decided to trust in Mike’s skills and not get very specific about his order. “He asked me what I wanted, and I didn’t want to mess with the recipe,” he says. “The only thing I asked for was sustain, and I feel that he really did that.” Joe has also installed a Dudenbostel armrest, and a Tone-Gard on the instrument’s back.

In this video, Joe discusses the instrument and demonstrates its sound by playing “Where to Now?” with Peghead Nation co-founder Scott Nygaard.

To learn mandolin from Joe K. Walsh, enroll in his Peghead Course The Advancing Mandolinist.

Category: Instruments & Gear

Comments and Discussion

Posted by Richard Mott on
Just a wonderfully clear and present instrument!
Posted by Jonathan James on
Mike builds a killer mandolin for sure and Joe makes it sing!
Posted by Scottnyg on
Chinquapin Hunting
Posted by on
Wonderful mandolin, but I'm at a loss regarding the nice tune at the beginning. What's the name of this tune?
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