Paul Evans can trace his love for music and mandolins back several decades to a Saturday afternoon when he first heard John Sheehan and Barney McKenna playing a mandolin duet on the radio. ‘I think it was Róisín Dubh’ he says. “What I remember most is the harmony and sweet sound they made. On that day I started saving to buy a mandolin, and as a 14 year old it took a little time.

It might have been a year before I finally got my hands on one and started to play. Having played the guitar I could pick out a few tunes straight away.”

Fast forward several decades and Paul was in the business of furniture making while at the same time repairing the odd banjo as a hobby.

“It was the early 90s and after a while repairing instruments I found myself getting more interested in how they were actually built. I had started to buy old banjos and mandolins, carrying out repair work and selling them on.

This turned out to be very satisfying, and whilst still a hobby it started to generate a lot of enquiries regarding repair and purchase.”

“In 2004 I moved to Spain for a couple of years , still making furniture and setting up instruments for music shops. I returned to Ireland in early 2007 to discover the boom was over and orders for furniture were definitely on the decline. In a way this forced my hand in a direction that I wanted to go and after completing a course on instrument making in Galway I established my own workshop in Kerry and started hand-crafting mandolins.”

Paul now makes several designs from economy to full professional mode. He also makes octave mandolins/mandolas and bouzoukis.

“I have made many prototypes and it can take years of work before you are happy with the design, the timber used etc. To give them extra volume in a session, I have looked in detail at the overall design and the bracing under the soundboard, as well as the use of Adirondack spruce on the top. Adirondack spruce is a great solution that gives the instrument volume, and when you combine this with refinements to the tone bars you end up with a really nice sound indeed. Bracing and tone bars need to be light, yet strong enough to take the pressure from the string tension that can be quite considerable. The neck joint can also play a big part of the instruments structure as the neck resonates right down the instrument. “

Paul also uses Engelmann Spruce, Alpine Spruce, and Western Red Cedar in his instruments and they all result in a different tone. Selection is therefore critical. Paul talks to each client on their preferred sound and crafts the instrument accordingly. Achieving the right sound with a look that appeals takes a long conversation with a choice of Rosewoods, Walnut etc. Client satisfaction is everything and this is teased out resulting in the right instrument for each customer.

Paul is always available for repairs and splits his week up accordingly. Major repair work is normally booked in advance so that adequate time can be given.

His prices range from €699 for his Celtic Spirit Range which comes in solid timber with varying prices above that for higher quality instruments. Octave mandolins are also in the €799 - 1,400 bracket with bouzoukis from €1,200 depending on the model.

Siveen Mandolins

Phone: 085 153 7211

Address : Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry


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