2006 Dancing Star Harp Mandolin

made by David Newton

A fine first effort from this amateur luthier, this is a $2,000 instrument that sounds like a $3,000 instrument, and is being offered for $1400 due to a cosmetic flaw.  It is a true harp mandolin, with four sub-bass strings that can be tuned to whatever you desire.  The tone is similar to the Knutsen instrument instrument that inspired it; the volume is approximately the same, and the basses sound just as magical.  The main strings sound somewhat different, and difficult to describe - sort of a tight, punchy, dark sound, yet with a lot of richness and sustain. Overall, David describes the instrument as having a vibrant, haunting tone, and hype aside, I can't really argue with that claim at all.  When it plays in and opens up, it'll sound better than my Knutsen.  Plays great and comes with 5-year limited warranty and 48-hour approval period.  The flaw is that each side shows an anomaly due to slight crushing of the Spanish cedar sides where they make the tight bends at the waists (treble side is minor, the bass side is noticeable).  The finish accentuates these "dents," but it is structurally sound and there are no cracks.  David is thus reducing the price based on these blemishes and warrants that they are free of cracks.


  • Redwood top with spruce ladder bracing
  • Spanish cedar back, sides & neck
  • Ebony fretboard
  • Rosewood binding, headstock veneer & strap pins
  • Mother of pearl rosette and "dancing stars" inlay
  • Compensated Cocobolo bridges
  • Rosewood pickguard
  • French polish finish
  • 10-1/2" wide x 26" long x 2-1/2" deep
  • 13-7/8" scale
  • Carbon fiber stiffening rod in neck
  • Grover tuning machines
  • Sturdy wood case
  • 5-year warranty to original owner.
  • Price: $1400, on consignment.  Email to place a hold or obtain payment terms and conditions.

David Newton is an amateur luthier living in Beaumont, Texas, building guitars, mandolins, & ukuleles since 1975. He modeled this Instrument after my Knutsen black top harp mandolin.

NOTE: After the photos below were taken, David upgraded the instrument with cocobolo bridges (compensated for the main strings) and a new rosewood pickguard (at right).

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