#2
My "avatar" is a mandola (like a mandolin but a little longer scale and tuned a fourth down) that I built from a Cohiba cigar box.
I also had a cheap little Fender mandolin. However, I've been concentrating on fingerstyle jazz for the last couple of years and just dont' have time.... Sold the mandolin.

Let me recommend the "Mando Hangout".... a really good site with discussions, videos, reviews....
http://www.mandohangout.com