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Image: The Micro Mandolin size

Image: custom Mandolin

Mark Shiner
Selkie Strings

Image: Mark ShinerTravel Harps, Norse and Folk Stringed Instruments by Mark Shiner

When Mark made his first harp, using the skills and techniques he had learned from his mentor he was genuinely surprised to find that these carefully applied ideas and that extra thought that no factory has time for, made a real, audible and significant difference.

Hr had been tinkering with, and repairing instruments since the late 1980's however it was not until 1990, when Mark decided that he wanted to build a harp, that his education in instrument making really began.

Mark was introduced to luthier, artist and musician Gordon Davey of Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire. A skilled, creative and enthusiastic maker of fine harps, classical guitars and renaissance instruments, he gave Mark a year of his time. He taught him huge amounts both technically and around the more philosophical side of instrument construction and design. So many instruments are over-engineered and bulky; he worked to make instruments light, taking inspiration from such ultralight traditional instruments as the Paraguayan harp, and the classical violin. Mark learned that acoustics is a real fusion of art and science, a fascinating way to work. Gordon passed away soon after and he realised how lucky he had been to spend this time learning from a real artist.

Image: Mark Shiner Selkie StringsIn 1999 he went part time in his day job to design his range of harps and in 2001 instrument making became Marks full time occupation. He now make a range of instruments as well as carrying out repairs and set ups for stringed instruments - and the odd harmonium!

Instrument makers should never stop learning and he is very interested in the work of practical acoustic engineers such as Roger Siminoff who make theory apply to practice. New techniques need to be researched and take their place beside old traditional methods. It never stops.

Mark is also a performing musician, which he think is important when you design and build instruments for musicians. On the rare occasions that he gets out of the workshop, Mark loves doing stuff with his family, riding his classic motorbike and sailing his boat.

At the moment he is learning about traditional sail-making. Life is too short to stop learning...

The Micro Mandolin

The Micro Mandolin is probably the smallest, most portable acoustic travel mandolin in the world.

Image: The Micro MandolinTotal instrument length: 45cm / 17.5 inches.
Full size scale length.
Headless neck with hidden internal tuning system.
High quality bridge pick-up and concealed volume / tone controls.
Carbon Fibre reinforced maple neck.
Stunning styling.
Professional set-up with bone nut and bridge.

Source: http://www.selkiestrings.co.uk
Sept, 2011