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Weber Craftsmen Interview: Mike Fischer

Mike Fischer has been a part of the Weber crew for four years.  Growing up in Minnesota, he picked up the guitar at the age of 10.  That started his love of music!  From there, at 14, he began working in stained glass.  Eventually combining the two, Mike has a love for the detailed, intricate work that mandolins require.  

Mike sat down with us to talk a bit about his work here at Weber and his favorite instruments.

Q: What do you do at Weber Fine Acoustic Instruments?

A: All of us at Weber wear a lot of hats.  I was hired as the Binder, however, since then I have done nearly every task in the shop.  Currently, I bind all the bodies, bind the F style veneers, detail sand, do inlay and CAD for Weber R&D as well as anything else that needs to get done.

Q: Wow, that's a lot of hats!  What's your favorite?

A: My favorite task is probably binding F style veneers.  It is the most complicated binding that we do.  It is seven pieces of celluloid that need to be bent, mitered and glued just right.  I love the challenge.

Q: What's your favorite Weber instrument visually?

A:  My favorite instrument to look at is either the Rawhide F or the Serenity.  I am the only person, other than Bruce Weber Sr., to have done the rope purfling on the Rawhide F mandolins.  I got to train closely with Sr. and feel very blessed to have impressed him with my results.

For the Serenity, I again worked closely with Sr.  I designed the inlays, did the abalone purfling and binding, as well as detail sanded each of them.

Q:  What about if you are playing, then what's your favorite?

A: My favorite instruments to play are our octave mandolins, probably a Bitterroot A Octave.  They sound like a whole orchestra.  They are a little easier to play for someone like me with big hands, and they have a more tonally complex, midrange-heavy sound.  They sound so soulful.

Q:  Why should people play the mandolin?

A: I would recommend people try playing the mandolin because they are an incredible instrument.  The are a window to the past.  We still build them much like they were nearly a hundred years ago - before the steel-string acoustic was fully realized.  

They are also much more versatile than more people assume.  They are a staple of Bluegrass where they are commonly heard as the "chop" and in occasional solos but they are also extremely useful for doubling a guitar part similar to the way Nashville tuning is used.

If you aren't looking for it you often miss the subtle us of mandolins in many country songs as well as folk, rock and more.  Plus each purchase of a Weber mandolin helps me to continue my love affair with building them.