Located in nearby Dolores, Colorado—just over an hour’s drive from Telluride—master luthier Bobby Wintringham of San Juan Mandolins has garnered a strong reputation for building high-quality and great-sounding mandolin family instruments the old way. Using only the finest tone woods, Bobby starts each San Juan mandolin by hand carving the top and back plates and then tuning and shaping traditional tone bars to maximize the tonal potential of the instrument. Although many builders have moved away from this old-world approach, the result is fine, complex sound and individuality within each instrument. This brand new San Juan Mandolins A-5 (completed May 29, 2016) combines quality components and meticulous attention to detail with great playability, strong tone and the individual character that only an independent luthier can achieve. Because of Bobby’s careful voicing and graduating of the top and tone bars, this A-5 is extremely responsive and noticeably loud for an A-model. Although its volume and projection could easily compete in a bluegrass band, its tone remains nicely balanced throughout, and it still packs the mellow warmth and subtlety you’d expect from the A-design. It also has a woody character that is fitting for an instrument built with such quality tonewoods. An almost blonde tobacco sunburst highlights the intensely-flamed Maple back, sides and neck, and a matching pickguard and unique peghead inlay complete a gorgeous aesthetic. As for hardware, this A-5 features a James hinged tailpiece, Gold Evo fret wire, an Ebony bridge, bone nut and Waverly tuners. It is an extremely playable mandolin, thanks to Bobby’s masterful setup and a radius fingerboard. This San Juan Mandolins A-5 is an exceptional instrument from an exceptional builder and good friend of Telluride Music Co. Please call (970) 728-9592 or e-mail for an in-hand description.