A British maker who helped Donal Lunny develop the Irish bouzouki by introducing several modifications to the traditional Greek design. Peter's instruments are available with onboard transducers. Check out his Web site, or contact:
63 Whitehouse Crescent
Burham nr. Rochester
Kent ME 13 SU
Telephone: 01 634 865254
Virtually identical to the Goya, Sigma, Venson, Gremlin, et al. Probably made in Korea.
British maker, Coventry, UK. Phone number: 02476 442502. Maartin Allcock plays several of Rob's instruments.
British maker of solidbody electric bouzoukis. Spotted on Hobgoblin Music's secondhand list.
Brazilian luthier who builds electrified hollowbody bandolims as well as solidbody 5-string Bahian guitars (which are, essentially, electric mandolins). Heraldo Melo and Armandinho play Augusto's instruments. Next time you're in Salvador, Brazil, give Jorge a ring at 55 71 234 1813.
Reportedly made in the 1950s and '60s by the Strad-O-Lin company, famous for its inexpensive acoustic mandolins.
Now deceased, Ted was an innovative and prolific luthier who was never afraid to try something different. He's best known for his guitars, but made just about anything with strings on it. Michael Kang of The String Cheese Incident has played one of Ted's solidbody 5-string mandolins.
Canadian luthier who built four 8-string electric mandolins for Nash the Slash.
The Oregon-based builder of acoustic guitars and mandolins recently produced an electric mandola. Here's what Kim had to say about it: "The mandola is a custom one-off made for Radim Zenkl to his specs. It has a 15.813-inch regular mandola scale length on a deeper-than-normal mandolin-size body. Body and neck are maple with a spruce top with tuned X-bracing tone bars. The pickup is a magnetic Barcus-Berry humbucker elevated off the top for more body resonance."
Buscarino, a renowned archtop guitar maker, custom-built an acoustic/electric for Rick Vartian of the Puddle Jumpers.
British. Spotted on Hobgoblin Music's secondhand list.
Brazilian maker of both acoustic and electric mandolins.
Luthier and teacher Carruth has built at least one electric mandolin, a custom archtop for L.A. player Mike Lampert.
Very few people made electric mandolins in the '50s. Mr. Choate was one of them.
Made in Denver, Crawford mandolins are reportedly single-pickup solidbodies, with the neck and body cut from one piece of mahogany.
This Berkeley, Calif., company made some cool solidbody instruments, including a 4-point Florentine and a "Flying V" model.
These are virtually identical to the Fender FM-52E acoustic/electric, so I have to assume they're made at the same plant in Korea.
Dolphin mandolins answer to the following description: Hollow-body A-style mandolin with F-holes, cherry sunburst finish, volume and tone controls.
British. Spotted on Hobgoblin Music's secondhand list.
Thomas lives in Erlangen, a small village near Nuremberg, Germany, and makes a living building mostly Italian-style mandolins. But he also offers semi-acoustic and solidbody electrics. Contact:
Dotzauer Father & Son
Graslitzerstr. 9, 91058
+49 0 9131 601126
This British maker of electric guitars and violins is preparing to introduce an electric mandolin. Stay tuned.
And the band played on....
David's line of pickups, Pick-up the World, has gotten a lot of attention lately, but he's also a luthier (that's how he got into designing pickups in the first place) with at least one electric mandola to his credit.
This Santa Monica, California–based "luthier to the stars" is famous for his custom-built electric and acoustic guitars and other instruments. He has reportedly built an electric bouzouki for Donal Lunny and a 4-string white Mandocaster-style instrument for Larry Sledge.
Neil is a classical player in Washington, D.C., who has built a few electrics for his own enjoyment. He built Marilynn Mair's "Flying V" electric, for example. He's not in the luthiery business, and his name is here only for the sake of making this list as complete as possible.
Member of the now-defunct Bay Area string band Back Up and Push, John built and played some solidbody mandolins resembling the Roberts Tiny Moore model.
Emile Grimshaw was an English teacher/performer of classical 5-string banjo music. In 1933 he began manufacturing banjos in Piccadilly under the name Emile Grimshaw & Son. The company later made guitars (Pete Townshend of The Who briefly owned a Grimshaw guitar) and, according to one report, an electric mandolin owned by Charles O'Connor of the Horslips.
Instrument builder/repairman in England, specifically in the Kent/East Sussex area. Makes electric mandolins and mandolas as well as guitars, wooden flutes, and uillean pipes. Visit his Web site or call 01424 712884.
Richard lives in Visalia, California, and has built a few solidbody "Mandolectricks." He writes: "I am a retired engineer and took up luthiery because I could not find an electric mandolin that suited me. Playing with Strats and Teles makes you want a badass mando, so that is what I build." He reportedly has stopped building.
Robert built an 8-string/4-string doubleneck under the name Polaris Instruments, the earliest such instrument I know about. Appointments included Bartolini pickups and a tremolo bar.
This Grass Valley, California, luthier offers an acoustic/electric mandolin with a Bartolini pickup. If you want to see what it looks like without the pickup, check out Lewis' Web site. In general, his instruments have a stellar reputation.
Made in Spain. I'll leave it up to you to decide whether you'd buy anything named Ozark that was made in Spain.
Marseilles-based luthier who built several instruments for French mando-whiz Patrick Vaillant.
Made in Korea. More instruments are built at the Samick factory than anywhere else in the world. Samick's instruments are sold under dozens of brand names, among which are the following:
Brazilian luthier; built a guitarra baiana for Eugenio Nobre. Telephone: 079 3214 1246.
Mark has built a few solidbody electrics, but is no longer active as a luthier.
This Woodinville, Washington–based builder of space-age composite Guitars was once threatening to add an 8-string electric mandolin to its product line. That was before it went out of business.
Taproot (Peter Heithoff)
Michael Kang of The String Cheese Incident has played a solidbody 5-string Taproot mandolin, reportedly the only one in existence. The builder, , writes: "I started Taproot when I was living in Boulder, Colorado. I got to know Michael while doing repair work at Woodsongs Lutherie. I live and work in Bend, Oregon, now. My shop is called Bend Instrument Repair. I moved here from Boulder to be production manager at Breedlove guitars. I started my shop a few years ago and mostly repair, but I'm starting to get back into some custom building."
Based in Strontian, near Fort William, Scotland, Mike is one of the UK's foremost builders of carved-top acoustic mandolins. (English virtuoso Simon Mayor plays several Vanden instruments.) Mike also designs and supplies Mimesis pickups (better known to American flattop guitar players as the Fishman Rare Earth line). Mimesis mandolin pickups are available as an option on Mike's mandolins. For details, check his Web site.
Made in Korea by Sungbo Industrial.
An acoustic/electric comparable to the Fender FM-52E.
J. R. Zeidler