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Thread: Girouard quartet - phase 1

  1. #1

    Default Girouard quartet - phase 1

    For all you followers of Girouard mandolins and their excellent instruments. I am sharing this photo. I have a quartet on order not only of the same style but the exact same woods. By "exact" I mean same tree. Alaskan Yellow Cedar on top and Sapele for the body.

    I played this combination of woods on an experimental mando that Max built and loved the sound. If you are not familiar with Sapele it is like mahogany on steroids. Woody but with much richer overtones. On the mandocello, remember the best vintage D18 you have ever heard. It is bigger than that but still clear as bell. Cedar is typically used on classical guitar tops. Overall it gives a rounder more balanced sound than spruce but is not as bright.

    The mandocello arrived today after an 18 month wait! It was worth it. The matching mandola and octave will be built this year.

    I have only positive things to say about the builders, the communication, picking the details etc. The whole process was smooth and enjoyable. And... the result, this mandocello, it is just amazing in both sound and feel AND it is a 10 day old instrument that will only get better. I would highly recommend to anyone to do a custom build with Girouard.

    Regards, Dan...

    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #2
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    Glory! Now all you need are three friends to come over and help you play them.
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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    Wow, beautiful!

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    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    I'll volunteer to be one of the three players! Such a great idea to work with Girouard. What is phase 1? The photo shows a mandolin.
    Also hoping for a sound sample soon. Best color for mandolins too. Thanks for sharing.
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  6. #5

    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    Phase 1 was the build of the mandolin and mandocello which is now complete. Phase 2 is building the matching mandola and octave mandolin this year. Max has a backlog of orders. He builds 2 batches of instruments a year so you need to get a reservation for a slot in a batch generally a year or more in advance. So it was not possible to build all 4 in the same batch. I will wait patiently for the next two instruments but certainly will be plenty busy playing these. Regards, Dan...

  7. #6
    Registered User urobouros's Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    Superb craftsmanship aside, that's pretty cool from a collector's POV
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  8. #7
    Registered User seankeegan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    This is fantastic. Congratulations.

  9. #8
    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    Building a matched quartet is a rare opportunity for a luthier—it's wonderful you were able to provide the Girouards a chance to make these. Let's hear them!

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  11. #9
    Dave Berry
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    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    Congrats Dan. I'm there when/if you do a tasting.
    Dave
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  12. #10
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    Beauties! I like the under-statedness! After the octave and the mandola you still need the mandobass and the piccolo mandolin.

    What scale is the mandocello? And what scales for the octave and the mandola? I assume all are oval holes. Is the mandolin a hybrid? It looks like a neck join at the 12th fret and bridge located more centered on the top.
    Jim

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  14. #11

    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    It looks like a 15th fret neck joint to me.

    Gorgeous pair. Hope to hear them playing together sometime.
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    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    Wow. Just wow. Congrats!

  16. #13
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    Yes it looks like it joins at the 15th fret. These A models are based on the Lyon and Healy instruments as opposed to the Gibson body shapes if I am not mistaken.
    Beautiful! Lets see the back sides.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  17. #14
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Grieser View Post
    It looks like a 15th fret neck joint to me.

    Gorgeous pair. Hope to hear them playing together sometime.
    I was looking on my phone. But I was also figuring the fret where the neck joins the body. Oh well…
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  18. #15
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    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    Looks like the neck joins the body at the 13th fret to me.
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  19. #16

    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    Gorgeous! Would love to hear them!

    I second your comments regarding the Girouards being great to work with. I had a great experience with them and would highly recommend them to anyone looking to commission.
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  20. #17
    Kelley Mandolins Skip Kelley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    The mandocello neck is 17 frets to the body and the mandola is joined at the 15th fret.

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    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    What will be the application for this bunch? Do you have an ensemble or will you enjoy them individually?
    too many strings

  23. #19

    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    Hello again,

    I am happy to report that this project of having Max Girouard construct a quartet reached a new milestone. The Mandola arrived last week. The octave mandolin is constructed but still in the white. It should be ready in a few months.

    The instruments as you would expect are all tonally very similar but each has its own voice due to the size differences. Particularly the mandola which can be used to play in the same key (same music) as the mandolin is the most direct way to hear the differences. Its deeper voice is just lovely to listen to when practicing and it's not hard to move up the neck to find the high notes. Max made this instrument with a 17 inch scale and a thin neck (1-3/16 nut) so it feels really fast and more like a long neck mandolin than a traditional mandola design. Also, the 17 inch neck works great with a capo at the 2nd fret to use the "play it an octave down" trick of just moving the mandolin fingering up one course of strings. This way don't need to learn new fingerings on many fiddle tunes that don't use the lowest strings anyway.

    Below is a photo of the current family members.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    Please post a full trio shot of the backs. And sound samples when you are ready? Thanks!
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  27. #21

    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    Hi Jim. Here is a photo of the backs you requested.

    The back/side wood as noted in my first post is African Sapele. If you are not familiar with it, the sonic profile is commonly described as mahogany on steroids. Similar in sweetness but with more punch and an even balance across the frequency range. The tops are Alaskan yellow cedar. These are woods you find optimal for a classical guitar build. I am using them mostly for classical music and a bit of Celtic. I have other mandolins in my collection built for bluegrass etc.

    Not only is the wood of the same type in each instrument is from the same tree for both front and back/sides.

    Regards, Dan...

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  29. #22
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    Sweet!
    Proud owner of one of Max and Lauri's myself.
    Last edited by Charles E.; Jan-26-2023 at 7:17pm.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  31. #23

    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    I saw a scale length question back in this thread. Cello is 24.5, Octave will be 22 inches, Mandola is 17 and the mandolin I believe is 13.75.

  32. #24
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    Dan, what is that mark on the back of the mandola? It looks like a tiny cartoon character.

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    Jim

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  33. #25

    Default Re: Girouard quartet - phase 1

    That mark is just a lighting reflection the camera caught from some equipment in the room. I was in rush out the door when I took the photos and posted them. When the Octave arrives I'll do a real photo shoot with a good camera of all the various details.

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