Podcast 211: Tom Ellis (Ellis Mandolins, Precision Pearl, Inc.)

Austin, Texas-based Tom Ellis is widely considered to be one of the finest mandolin makers working today. On this week’s podcast, we chat with Tom about his unique journey into the world of fretted instruments (from surfboard shaper to luthier) and about the fateful day in 1977 he showed Ricky Skaggs his recently-completed second mandolin. Tom also comically describes the five year period when he gave Bill Collings some shop space in the early ’80s, talks about his workflow and how he employs CNCs to help him out, and tells us about the inlay work he does for other instrument makers via his company Precision Pearl, Inc.

This episode is brought to you by Lee Valley and Retrofret.

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