Avi Avital's Kerman mandolin was the inspiration for my search for a flat top. I wanted a mandolin mainly to play classical music so volume, depth of tone, and playability was important to me. All my research led to Andy and his Scout mandolins. Even though this model is compact, it plays big! This particular Scout was made with my dream wood combination of Redwood over Cocobolo. I worked with Andy to create a simple, elegant, and classic aesthetic. No fretboard markers, no rosette, a simple tailpiece (made by Mike Kemnitzer of Nugget fame no less), and even a one-piece bridge. I expected a great mandolin and I certainly got one from Andy. I am so optimistic about my future with this instrument and all the happiness it will bring to me. Thank you Andy. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Hi Andy. I’m the proud (though second) owner of your mandolin #35. I’ve been playing it since late 2010 - the year it was built. It has been played in churches and Irish pubs and everyplace in between. It has plenty of volume that cuts through the mix, with a balance that is sweet and woody. The tone has become even warmer and more open from frequent playing. A dpa clip on mic has been used when needed, and provides a great natural sound through a PA or amp. It is VERY comfortable to hold and play. While perhaps a bit non-traditional aesthetically, I just love the look of it - black top, with bold block fret markers and a classic flower pot inlay on the headstock. Beautiful! The quality of your work is so high end - as fine as any mandolin I’ve seen. I just wanted to add to your rave reviews and say Thank You! ~ Richard
Hi, Andy; Just a note of appreciation. I play my #33 daily for at least an hour and perform in and around Sopchoppy. Words cannot describe how much I appreciate your providing me with this extraordinary museum quality mando. It has enriched my life and those fortunate to listen and play it. I am also playing a fair amount of uke and hope that one day I can get you to make me one. You are one gifted and hard working dude!
Andy, Mandolin #30 arrived yesterday afternoon and was sitting in my office when I returned from a meeting off campus. I was sorely tempted to pull it out of the box and play it but thought that, since I didn't have a tuner in the office, I would bring it home to open (and tune). When I opened it (in its very cool Poe/Ameritage case), it was still in tune. I have largely been playing it ever since. It is just......perfect. It is beautiful with simple but elegant ornamentation. The aesthetics work extremely well. Your judgment and workmanship are astonishing. The neck and fingerboard feel as though I have played the instrument for years. Every detail of the instrument is lovingly handled. I am very impressed. The things that stand out most are the volume (it just had to be loud - and it is) and the tone. Since it had new strings and had essentially never been played, it took a while to wake up yesterday. After a few hours, the tone became rounder and softer. It sits at the wonderful confluence of bright and woody - just what I was hoping for. I imagine the tone will develop further as I put some mileage on it. I am so very grateful to you for building and selling me this exquisite instrument. I am already establishing an emotional attachment to it and look forward to performing with it for many years. Thank you very much.
"Hello Andy. I am so very pleased with the instrument that you have made. It is what I was looking for. The woods are beautiful from their figure to the medullary rays popping out of both the front and back. The colors are also wonderful the front is not what I was expecting but even better than I could have imagined. The back and sides you nailed, and I am stunned. The headstock is beautiful and the veneers go so well with the rest of the mandolin. I could go on but I do not want to write a novel here. The sound is so wonderful, the first day I took it out of the case at my sisters and picked my first note it sang and it has not stopped singing since. This mandolin is such a joy to play and every spare moment I get I am pickin away with a smile on my face. Thank you Andy. This has been such a great experience. Thanks again. All the best."
"I ordered an A5 model mandolin from Andy Poe in January of this year after much research on Mandolin Café and correspondence with other Poe owners and Andy. I must say that I made the decision with some trepidation, since I had never played a Poe, and had only seen photos of his instruments – and believed in the wisdom of “try before you buy.” Of course, when you commission a luthier to build a custom instrument, there is always some risk, since you never know exactly how the final product will look, sound, and play. Despite any misgivings, I was so taken by the fit, finish, and aesthetic of Poe mandolins, that I was inexorably drawn to them. The look of the mandolin and the wood grain was very important to me, but equally important were tone and playability. I wanted a superior instrument that I could enjoy for a lifetime and keep as a family heirloom. The aesthetics were obvious from Andy’s exquisite photos of his creations, and every Poe owner that I contacted was very pleased with the tone and playability of their mandolin.
Andy delivered beyond my expectations and created the mandolin of my dreams. I had some idea of the look I was after, but needed his artistic eye and creativity to design the concepts for my consideration. It was this journey through the creative process that made the experience joyful, and the wait worthwhile. Andy seemed to read my mind and come up with ideas that captured my fancy every time. Originally, I had chosen a two piece flame maple back. When Andy offered a one piece birdseye maple option and sent photos of the tonewood, I was immediately smitten. Andy walked me through a myriad of other choices – scale length, nut width, radiused or flat fretboard, fret size, inlays, bindings, pick guards, staining, etc. Everything about this instrument was custom built to my tastes. The final product speaks for itself, as does the long list of superlatives from viewers on the Mandolin Café. This mandolin sounded great right out of the box, and its tone has already grown more rich and complex in the two weeks I have owned it. My instructor, accomplished mandolinist Don Julin, remarked that it plays and sounds “like butter.”
Andy Poe has created another great work of musical art. Keep your eye on this guy as an up and coming elite mandolin luthier, and if you are thinking of a custom instrument like me, you may want to commission him before he gets too famous."
"I had the good fortune of having Andy Poe build a custom mandolin for me. I've had several guitars built over the years by some of the best builders currently working. My experience with Andy was most similar to ordering a guitar from James Goodall when that great builder was working as a one-man shop in Fort Bragg, California. Like Goodall, Andy Poe seems obsessed in trying to achieve perfection in his instruments and remarkably, comes very close to achieving that goal. My Poe Elite F-5 not only has excellent volume but it possesses a truly sweet tone. Of course, like all of Andy's mandolins, it is beautiful but its sound is what has made me a Poe convert."
"I love to open the case and lift out the most beautiful instrument that I have ever owned. Your attention to detail more than surpassed my expectations. The instrument is really opening up with a beautiful envelope of sound. Thank your for taking the time to listen carefully to what I wanted in a lifetime mandolin. The selection of wood and your careful hand shaping of each and every piece is testimony to your passion as a master craftsman."
"My wife and I have been friends of the Poe Family for over 30 years. In fact, my wife, Danna, attended Andy's birth and gave him his first bath! Several years ago we heard that he began making mandolins and were excited that he was devoting himself to it. We had no idea that he would end up building such beautiful and musically superior instruments.
A year and a half ago, my wife ordered Poe #10. (Good Wife!) It was to be a surprise at Christmas so Andy worked with her in making the decisions in order to build it from the ground up. I was, indeed, thrilled to open that case on Christmas morning and find such a beautiful instrument with great tonal quality. The Grand F5 plays easily and with such rich tone.
It is evident that Andy has a unique gift and talent to craft such fine instruments at such a young age. With his passion and attention to detail he is rapidly becoming one of the premier luthiers in the country. I consider myself truly blessed to have #10."
" When I decided to have Andy build me a custom oval hole, I was looking for a mandolin with a different voice than the F-styles I have played, and also a sharp look. Andy delivered above my expectations in creating a stunning work of art- from the custom inlays and choice of color tones, to the finest details. He was very patient in my requests, and had great suggestions on the design. I was looking for a sweet, ringing tone, and chose Engelmann Spruce for the top. I am very happy with the results of the tone of this mandolin- it has a distinct voice that is resonant, full, clear and also can be gutsy when needed. It has beauty in sound and looks! "
I really didn’t know a whole lot about ordering a custom instrument, but I knew I wanted an oval-hole mandolin that could play a wide range of music; from classical and Celtic to bluegrass and jazz. Asking Andy to build me a custom mandolin was the best decision I could have made. He was very helpful in guiding me every step of the way and keeping me up to date as to his progress. It was a lot of fun. When it arrived, I was in heaven.
The intonation is as perfect as it can get. And it stays in tune. I believe this is because of his attention to detail for which he is becoming well-known. When I’m playing mostly classical or Celtic music I use medium gage strings and it is easy to play pull-offs, slurs and hammer-ons. When I’m playing bluegrass, I use heavy gage strings, and the tone is just amazing. I love the sound of the low register, resonate, rich and full of harmonics. The middle and upper ranges of the instrument are just as full and clear and ringing. And of course, it looks as beautiful as it sounds, a truly unique instrument. Thanks Andy.”
“When I decided I wanted a custom built mandolin, I had a picture in my mind of what it would look, feel and most importantly sound like. After an extensive internet search, I came upon Andy’s Driftwood webpage. The images and testimonials from Driftwood owners convinced me that Andy was the guy for the job. Together we came up with a plan for my dream mandolin, and six months later my dream arrived on my doorstep! I couldn’t be happier with my “Poe” mandolin. She is a real head turner and gets a lot of attention where ever I take her. The attention to detail is amazing, the tone and volume is outstanding and it is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks Andy for making a dream come true!"