"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."