Anyone remember Z Mandolins? A couple of years ago a media executive and mandolin enthusiast named Lee Zapis set to work creating a F-5 style instrument made almost entirely of a carbon fiber composite material. He researched this as an experiment, working with Wolf Composites and luthier Kurt Wright, and after successfully engineering a mold, produced a total of 25 instruments, with profits from their sale being donated to a songwriting scholarship program at Belmont University, and to the IBMA Bluegrass College Scholarship ($12,000 to each).
Today, The IBMA Foundation has announced that they have acquired the last of those 25 Z Mandolins, and are offering it in a raffle through May 14. Tickets are being sold online for $20 each, or 6 for $100, on this last of its kind instrument valued at $5,000. All proceeds will benefit the work of the Foundation, promoting bluegrass music through education and philanthropy.
The construction of the Z is unique, as the back, sides, and neck are molded into a single piece of carbon fiber material. A carefully radiused top of the same material is attached, along with a wooden fingerboard, the only non-composite piece of the mandolin, other than the bridge, tuners, nut, and tailpiece. Being made of carbon fiber, the Z is impervious to heat, cold, or humidity, and can withstand bumps that would cause nicks in a wooden body. Owners have also noted the remarkable sustain this instrument produces.
Sequentially numbered tickets can be purchased through May 13 from the Foundation web site, and the winning ticket holder will receive their Z Mandolin in a custom Calton case. There is no limit to the number of tickets you can buy, but despite being a 501(c)(3) organization, raffle ticket purchases are not tax-deductible.
On May 14, the Foundation will livestream the ticket drawing from the IBMA Foundation web site.
Visit the raffle page on the Foundation web site for more details, or to purchase tickets.