I have five words for you-My Collings is Very Lonely! Sad, but true, my daily go to instrument has not left its case since the Girouard mandola has shown up! DYNAMITE is such a tame word for this thing, it growls, it barks and is just an excellent piece of work right out of the box. I took it to “men’s night’ the other night, a loose term for beer, wine, guitars, cigars and general abuse amongst friends. Several luthiers were there and to a person, they wanted to touch it, play and generally were gob smacked about the tone and playability. Max, you don’t good, really good! The fit, finish, tone, weight (cant get over how light this is) and general build quality is phenomenal. I am going to have to start thinking about an F-style!
My New Girouard Mandola
To commemorate my 50th birthday, my wonderful wife said, "Say, wouldn't it be cool if you had a really nice mandola? You sound really good playing one." So, I gave it some thought and decided to go with Max and Lauri Girouard. I couldn't be happier with the result. I asked for a mandola that I could play in a bluegrass/Americana context, so less sustain and more percussive 'woofiness'. I also wanted a rustic finish with a very mellow, subtle sunburst effect for the finish. To top it off, I sent them a drawing of a headstock inlay that I thought would look nice. Max matched it perfectly.
The details: red Spruce top, red Maple back and sides, Ebony fretboard and head stock. The 15.9" course length is a happy medium from my 14" Manndolin (which I love) and a 17" TC mandola, so the left hand is comfortable for chords. Max's set-up is really good as well. I also had him install a K/K internal pick-up, which I tested out this morning. A-OK.
Overall, I am happy, no ecstatic to report that they nailed the details of this instrument entirely. It is a very easy player right out of the case; very big sound and even tone all over the fretboard. As for the fit and finish, it's as good as any I've seen anywhere. As I've said to my friends and family, I am a very happy guy right now."
Dear Max & Lauri,
I bought Girouard #130, A5 Concert, from Trevor Moyle at the The Acoustic Music Company in the UK last week. I told him that it would be the last mandolin I would buy and that I was looking for an instrument that I could grow old with and one with enough depth and character to grow old with me. Out of everything he had in stock he picked this one. I bought it unseen and unheard. I could not be happier.
Many thanks for building an instrument which sounds and looks so great. After only a few hours of playing I'm hearing everything I'd hoped for - enough dry woodiness but not too much, a sweetness and mellowness of tone that I've only heard before in older instruments, and a beautiful ring and sustain that makes me forget about using tremolo and just let the notes sing. The varnish finish looks so 'deep' and 'old' already, the binding is beautiful and the headstock inlay perfectly understated - I hate flashiness! ! And to cap it all I know there's so much more to come. I get the feeling that in 10 years time this mandolin might look and sound as if it is 100 years old.
Although I now live in England, you can rest assured that this instrument will spend many hours (hopefully many years) rattling out reels and jigs (and maybe the occasional Reischman tune) in pub sessions along the west coast of County Clare in Ireland on my frequent trips back home.
Many thanks again,
Hi Max and Lauri,
Your 28th mandolin arrived here safe and sound. I’m completely extatic with it. This is one of those that really seems to play itself. The sustain is just marvelous, and as someone who’s previously been used to oval hole mandolins, I’m really enjoying the pop I get with each note and with chop chords.
On top of nailing the sound I was looking for, the deep, wine-red color is exactly the way I hoped it would turn out. And you’re right, the pictures are great, but it’s so much better looking in person. I am so excited about it and am going to go play some more, but just wanted to thank you again for all the work you both did and all the exciting updates along the way. I’ll have to send you some videos of it in action sometime soon.
Oh, one more thing... You got the string spacing and fretboard radius exactly the way I wanted. I’m still marveling at how comfortable it feels. And I know you must hear this a lot, but your mandolins are just so resonant. It’s really amazing to me how such little effort from the pick can go so far with this instrument. Tell Lauri my husband says this is the most beautiful mandolin he’s ever seen.
I have just bought your A5 model from The Acoustic Music Company in Brighton, UK. I just wanted to tell you how much I love it! It is exquisite in every way; the sustain, attack and volume is incredible, and the craftsmanship is stunning - beautifully made and finished. I have hardly put it down since I bought it, and I have honestly never played such a sublime instrument - I really couldn't be happier. Thank you very much!
All best wishes
The bottom line is that by using some criteria gleaned from the various comments on Mandolin Cafe (thanks!) I made the right decision and I am very pleased to own a quality mandolin that is made by skilled craftspeople. These folks really care about what they do and the service that they provide. I now get why Girouard Mandolins has such a rave group of followers. I live in Northern Canada, in Yellowknife (the home of the Ice Road Truckers TV show) and we have long and cold winters and the Mandolin will help pass the time pleasurably. It may be -30 in Yellowknife....but I don't care.. I own a Girouard!
Graeme Dargo - Yellowknife NWT Canada
Dear Max and Lauri,
I thought that you may often wonder what happens to your instruments when you say goodbye and launch them in to the wide world.
Well I bought the instrument you made last week from Trevor Moyle at TAMCO in Brighton UK.
The mandolin is now in its new home in Dundee on the East coast of Scotland. I am delighted with the sound, playability, build and finish. As you probably know Tamco Brighton has a stunning collection of mandolins for sale. I took my time trying many mandolins and I am delighted to report that your mandolin was in my opinion way better than: collings, Webber, Northfield, summit, and Pava (And also others: old gibsons krishot kentucky....) Poor Trevor had to put up with my presence in his shop for around 5 hours before I decided. This purchase has been made based entirely on what I thought was best in the shop within my budget without a great deal of background research.
As a bit of background It is 40 years since my first paid gig and I am still a working musician. Playing in roots bands over the years featuring Celtic, blues, Cajun / zydeco, bluegrass and of course Scottish music. I still have it bad!
I hope you have a little smile at the thought of one of your mandolins being played in Scotland and yes I sometimes will be wearing a kilt.
Thank you in advance for the requested information.