Lloyd Loar applied the concept of tap tuning the parts of a mandolin to Gibson mandolins. Notably, he spoke of Stradivari’s plate tuning on violins as an inspiration. Using a similar concept, he creating some of the finest sounding mandolins available today. Both would tap on and adjust the wood thickness of the instrument parts to produce a more resonant tone. Consequently, constructing the instrument with these tuned pieces resulted in exceptional sound.
Tap tuning mandolin tops as part of the build process on good quality mandolins is a standard practice. However, I have discovered how to apply the concept to a fully constructed mandolin. Attaching the top to the mandolin sides and adding a bridge affects the top pitch and chamber resonance. With the mandolin fully constructed, removing minuscule amounts of wood at specific locations determined by tapping on the top, the top and chamber resonance can be tuned. I do this using hand tools through the sound holes. This tuning increases volume and sustain, improves tone and makes the mandolin more responsive.
I tap tune each TKD mandolin as a final sound optimization step. When combined with a high precision setup, TKD mandolins offer great sound and play-ability at a very attractive price.