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A-Style mandolin built in Austin, Texas.

by Teja Gerken
February 22, 2019

Croatia native Pava Knezevic’s background in building custom furniture served her well when, in 1995, her family moved to Austin, Texas, where she got a job at Collings Guitars in the sanding and finishing department and eventually became one of builders of the company’s mandolins. In 2003, Pava began working for Austin’s Precision Pearl, where, in addition to learning all about inlay, she helped Precision Pearl’s Tom Ellis re-launch Ellis Mandolins. In 2012, Tom and Pava decided to create a line of Pava-brand mandolins, built in the Ellis shop in Austin, and we recently had a chance to check out a Pava A5 Pro. In this video, Peghead Nation co-founder Dan Gabel talks about the instrument, and Peghead Nation instructor Sharon Gilchrist demonstrates it in a duet performance of “Chinquapin Hunting” with guitarist Scott Nygaard.

The Pava A5 Pro has the classic Gibson A-Style design and is built with an Adirondack spruce top and red maple back and sides. The instrument we checked out had great-looking flame figure on the back and sides as well as the maple neck, and its orange sunburst finish and classy details such as faux-tortoiseshell binding and James tailpiece gave the mandolin a striking appearance.

The Pava A5 Pro had a rich voice with great punch for playing chop chords and nice sustain when playing melodies. The instrument’s setup and playability were excellent, and its Gotoh tuning machines helped keep it in tune.

Anyone looking for a great mid-level mandolin should check out Pava’s instruments, which also include F-style and oval-hole models.

SPECS: A-style mandolin. Carved Adirondack spruce top. Red maple back and sides. Red maple neck. Ebony fingerboard with compound radius. Ellis ebony bridge. James tailpiece. Gloss lacquer finish. 1⅛-inch nut width. Gotoh tuners. $3,499. Pavamandolins.com


Category: Instruments & Gear


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Nov 24, 2020
A great mandolin duet of Sarah Jarosz’s original tune, recorded live at the Marshall Mandolin Summit.

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