On the German Road August 2015

During my early years of college, studies were getting in the way of banjo playing so I did what any clear-thinking guy would do… I dropped out of school and went to Europe! I washed ashore in southern Germany on the shores of Lake Constance which forms borders between Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. This journey was not supported by parents or anyone else, so I jumped at an opportunity to work for the Germany Federal Postal Service as a mailman.

We worked six days a week but on Sunday, the free day, I was usually romping through the mountains in that area…in Austria, or Switzerland or up to the high regions of the German Black Forest. I nearly stayed there in Konstanz, but a promise to my Mother to finish college, and a draft notice from the German Army jolted me back to reality and so I finally returned home.

For over thirty years we have exhibited at the Frankfurt Music Fair and nearly every year I disappear for a few days…back to Lake Constance and to the mountains of Austria, Switzerland and Germany. I visit old friends, roam around Bezirk 20 my old mail route and look at Säntis and the other Alpine peaks over the lake. And then we go back to the mountains!

The tops of our newly designed Kentucky Mandolins are constructed of German Spruce, responsibly harvested from the high Alpine regions. The growing season is short at altitudes above 6,000 feet but the annular rings are straight, and very tight. After harvesting, the timber is split and air dried for 10 years before deemed ready for mandolin construction. Like fine wine, this superb material will gain resonance and power along with the player throughout its life. On pages 93 to 96, you can have a look at the tradition-infused designs that have made Kentucky America’s Favorite Mandolin.

We are proud of our role in the continuing tradition of quality instrument design and production. Join us on the journey… you never know where you’ll wind up!

Richard Keldsen

San Francisco
August 2015