I've blogged about this event before, but I hadn't found this photo at the time. At left are (1) Randy Wood's very first mandolin, and (2) Randy Wood #3, the mandolin which Bill Monroe once owned. At the right is Randy Wood #1281, the mandolin Christopher plays.
And the other mandolin, the one second from the right, is? --- Count those strings! That mandolin is no less than a very special, custom 5-string mandolin which Randy had just made for Vassar Clements. I played it some-- it was a very jazzy instrument with a cool sound.
Most mandolins are double-strung, with two each of the E, A, D, and G strings, but the single-stringing on this mandolin made it sound like someone was flatpicking a fiddle-- which, if you saw Vassar play, you may remember that he liked to do. The added 5th string was the lowest one, a low C note, so that the mandolin was tuned just like a 5-string fiddle. And it definitely sounded cool.
So not you know, even if you didn't know before, that there are not only 5-string banjos and 5-string basses and 5-string dobros and 5-string fiddles in the world, but also 5-string jazz mandolins!