ELF Soundworks

Ernest Lee Fischbach ( Ernie) became a Luthier In 2008. He was taught and continues under the tutelage of the Master musical Instrument Maker David Dart. ELF Soundworks is Ernie Fischbach's company and the name is his initials. Ernie specializes in handmade Italian Style, Flat backed mandolins. Below are some photos of finished Instruments, and their happy new owners. Please inquire if you are interested in the purchase of a ELF Mandolin. Each Mandolin is individually handmade with care to every detail and most all feature custom original paintings, which is a trademark sign you have an ELF mandolin. A Mandolin can take several months and some up to a year to be completed. Most mandolins are pre-sold, but every so often Ernie will have one or two that have not yet been claimed. To inquire email Ernie

Mandolin Maker Ernest Fischbach, LEFT: with Deborah Fischbach and RIGHT: alone, in costume for the Alta California Orchestra with his own Elf Mandolin. Photos by Melissa Fischbach


Watch and listen to ELF mandolins being played:

- Click here for youtube video of "Ernie playing the Classical Mandolin"
- Click here for youtube video #1 of "Ernie playing the Standard Model Mandolin"
- Click here for 4 minute youtube video #2 of "Ernie playing the Standard Model Mandolin"


Standard Models Start at $1950.00

Classical Mandolins ( extended fingerboard) Start at $3000.00

All mandolins are sold with hard shell case, pre- strung and ready to play!.

ELF CLassical Mandolin, Spruce face, African Makori back and sides, Maple Neck, Ebony fingerboard with ablone inserts, ebony and foxwood body edge inlay and grover tuners, comes pre strung with hard shell case, and an extra set of strings. AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE $3500.00

Old world style Classical Mandolin custom made for Master Musician David M Brown

David M. Brown with his custom ELF Classical

  Mandolin with Diamond sound hole, Back and Sides: Cypress and Mahogany. Face: Spruce, Neck: Mahogany. Rosewood fingerboard with abalone inlay. Grover tuners. SOLD to Ethan B.


Mandolin: Back and Sides: Cypress. Face; Spruce. Neck: Maple with birds eye oak overlay. Rosewood fingerboard with abalone inlay. Grover tuners. Ernie's Personal Mandolin NOT FOR SALE


Mandolin: Back and sides: Mahogany. Neck: Black walnut with redwood burl overlay. Face: Spruce. Rosewood fingerboard with abalone inlay. Grover tuners. SOLD to Lynn

Lynn Playing her ELF Mandolin

Mandolin Yew back and sides, Spruce face, Black walnut neck, Rosewood fingerboard with abalone inlay. Grover tuners. Custom Order for Chris M.

Chris playing her ELF Mandolin

Mandolin with Butterfly owned by Brian S.

Mandolin with flame maple back and sides, Black walnut neck with flame maple overlay. Rosewood fingerboard with abalone inlay. Grover tuners. SOLD to Kevin H.


        Front of Kevin's mandolin         
Kevin H. rocks out with his ELF Soundworks Mandolin


Ernie at home in his workshop

Mandolins in Progress

Ernest Lee Fischbach Biography

Ernie Lee Fischbach is a musician, Luthier, Singer and voice over actor. He specializes in improvisation, based upon a solid foundation. His credentials include; California University-Anthropology, Ali Akbar College of Music, (North Indian Classical Music) Apprentice with Folklorist/Musician Bob Thomas and The San Francisco Voice Factory.

Ernest became enamored with East Indian music while studying Anthropology at Long Beach State University. At that time he was playing blues and folk music on guitar and Appalachian dulcimer. In 1966 he recorded an album with fellow student, Charles Ewing who had studied Flamenco and Classical guitar in Spain. The album and the band were called "A Cid Symphony."

In 1967 Ernest began to study classical North Indian music with the great master Ali Akbar Khan, on the Sarod. He also married Deborah in 1967 and moved to Northern California to study and play music. The Fischbach's met Bob Thomas at the California Renaissance Pleasure Faire and joined up with his band "The Golden Toad" who did a huge (23 performers) and magical Summer Solstice Concert at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, June 21st 1970. The "Toad" played music of the world with Ernie accompanying Bob Thomas (Bagpiper and Lutist) on Oboe, Bass Drum and Pipe and Tabor. He also led the group, playing Saz, Sarod, and Cumbus. Deborah danced and played Tamboura, Dumbek and other percussion.

Ernie and Classical North Indian Sarod

Ernie with his Sarod at SweetsMill music camp 2001, "Time for an evening Raga!"

Ernest was the Band Leader and composer for Jamila Salimpour's Belly Dance Troupe, "Bal~Anat" in 1969-73. His music for Jamila has been called, "American Tribal".

Ernie playing the Oud at home

Ernie's debut of his new band for Bal~Anat on June 30th 2001 in San Francisco with Jamila's daughter, Suhaila Salimpour dancing and Ernie's daughter, Melissa Fischbach on drums was a sold out performance.

Ernie Fischbach on oud and Brian Steeger on violin backstage at BalAnat performance.
Ernie Fischbach on oud and Brian Steeger on violin, backstage at BalAnat performance, June 2001. Photo by Barbara Brown

The Bal~Anat band, " Zincali " includes; Ernie, Melissa, David Brown, Chris Caswell and Brian Steeger, on oboes, bagpipes and drums with Marianne Steeger, Barbara Brown and Deborah Fischbach playing percussion on occasion.

Melissa, Suhaila, Ernie and David, musicians
Bal~Anat July 28th performance with Isabella in dancer's lap, Melissa on drums,
                              Suhaila with zils, Ernie and David on oboes, photo by Deborah Fischbach.
BalAnat hand of fatima, protects against the evil eye                                                                                                                      

Ernie has studied and composed music from many cultures including; Gypsy Flamenco, Moroccan, many forms of belly dance music from various Middle Eastern cultures, as well as French, Portuguese, English, Italian, Greek, American blues, rock and more.
His main instruments are; Sarod, Mandolin, Middle Eastern Oud, Violin and Zurna (oboe), English Pipe and Tabor (one hand flute and drum) and Bagpipes from Northern Spain.

Erine, Playing the Bagpipes from Galicia 2009

1996 Ernie with his family and friends recorded the CD, "Fandango at Sonoma" early California Dance Music with "Los Californios, The Alta California Orchestra."

Voice over study at the famous San Francisco Voice Factory has been Ernie's newest venture as a student. He has been making funny voices for years and imitating cartoon characters, now he can claim he's practicing! Ernie's email

Ernie's been involved with many bands including; A Cid Symphony, The Golden Toad, The Raggle Taggle Gypsies, BalAnat, KosKaDos, Surfaris, Men in Black Hats, Pipe and Bowl Morris, Zincali, Los Californios the Alta California Orchestra, Gitan American, Pisqueno Italiano, Flem ad hoc Ensemble, The Vacant Lot, Global Village Idiots and The Firesign Theater.

Over the years Ernest's bands have opened for; The Grateful Dead, Alan Watts, The Floating Lotus Magic Opera Co., Dick Dale, Los Lobos, Earth, Wind and Fire, Jefferson Starship, King Tut Exhibit and The Hell's Angels own band.

Ernest has also performed and demonstrated music of many cultures at all levels of public and private schools in California. For more on schools program click here

Return to ITS homepage. for more projects, info on Los Californios, and on the right, Community Links for some great musical information, photos and such.

Elf Soundworks/Ernie Fischbach Ukiah, CA USA