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Thread: Bourgeois Mandolins!

  1. #1
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    Default Bourgeois Mandolins!

    Itís finally happening, Bourgeois mandolins! To skip to the mandolin content, go to about 11 minutes in...

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    The A is $2699 for an A-style. Ouch. That's a lot of money - certainly pushing into Northfield territory. I wonder how the Fs will price and match up. (Note my sig, I really don't have a dog in this fight. Oh, and I have a Bourgeois OM, too!)
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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    These are part of the Eastman partnership then?
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  6. #4

    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    Eastman has control of the company. So, yes, these are going to be made for the most part in China. The Maine facility is small, and most of the original employees have left. I’m not sure they are going to be at the build level of Northfield either.
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  8. #5

    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    James tailpiece and cured back.

    I’ve never played an instrument with Bosnian maple.

    Northfield at that price point has a finish that is very conducive to good tone.

  9. #6

    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    Eastman has control of the company. So, yes, these are going to be made for the most part in China. The Maine facility is small, and most of the original employees have left.
    I seem to recall that they made a pretty substantial expansion to their factory in the last few years.

    And, in terms of many of the original employees leaving, I don't know that that says a whole lot about either quality or craftsmanship. I mean, Bourgeois branded guitars were being made in the early 90s, it would be quite unusual for that many of the original employees to still be there, and some of the people who left are now well known luthiers in their own right, like John Slobod. Either way, I don't think it says a lot about quality potential, unless there's been a lot of turn-over lately that I haven't heard about (which is certainly possible)... especially when it comes to mandolins.

  10. #7

    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    Thereís no way the small shop they have in Lewiston (which is in an old Mill down the street from where they were several years back) is going to have the capacity to make more instruments, especially at that price point. The 3k to 4k guitars are made mostly in China. The upper end guitars are still made in Lewiston but they have lost a lot of staff, well after John Slobad left. I used to visit the factory occasionally, but donít anyone there since the Eastman buyout. Eastman has at least a 30% stake in the company. At the price point quoted thereís no way they can make these in Maine. As with their mid-level guitars (some of which have the Bourgeois name) these will likely be made in Eastmanís facilities, at least at the quoted price point.

    As for QC, that will all depend. I know TME has ended their relationship with Bourgeois. Whatever is in stock is all the new stock they will be getting.
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  11. #8

    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    No, clearly these mandos are not made in Maine. It seemed that there were a couple of comments wondering if this might signal that there would be some made in the Maine.

  12. #9

    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    Theyíd have to be triple that price if they are going to be made here. Eastman is going to play to their strengths which is a full factory manufacturing model. However at that price point, the quality is going to have to be on par with Northfield, which is going to require better oversight from what their model is generally. Better but work, hardware, bridges, fretwork, etc.

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  14. #10
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    Also in the Eastman/Bourgeois booth is the new upgrade to the Eastman octave mandolin series—MDO-605. Didn't play it, hear it, or even see its flamed maple back, but it looks pretty nice. Has a built-in K&K pickup too.

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    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    Sorry I don’t mean anything by this, it’s just confusing.
    So these mandolins, the MD 605’s, are made in China but they can’t be made in the US for this price?

    Maybe Eastman are consolidating, preparing to begin production in the US again? This has to be a pretty large profit margin from a mandolin made in China?
    And what’s with the name, Bourgeois, probably not for the European market?
    -During the French revolution lots of quite bad things happened to the Bourgeois, or maybe it’s some sort of nostalgia thing. I don’t know.
    Or just the name of a founder?

  17. #12
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon DS View Post
    Sorry I don’t mean anything by this, it’s just confusing.
    So these mandolins, the MD 605’s, are made in China but they can’t be made in the US for this price?

    Maybe Eastman are consolidating, preparing to begin production in the US again? This has to be a pretty large profit margin from a mandolin made in China?
    And what’s with the name, Bourgeois, probably not for the European market?
    -During the French revolution lots of quite bad things happened to the Bourgeois, or maybe it’s some sort of nostalgia thing. I don’t know.
    Or just the name of a founder?
    The company was started by a fella named Dana Bourgeois.

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  19. #13

    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    This branding initiative reminds me of the D’Angelico Ukulele

  20. #14
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    I remember hearing there would be a collaboration between Bourgeois and Eastman to make mandolins, but maybe I missed the bigger picture. Did Eastman purchase the Bourgeois guitar company completely?
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  21. #15

    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    They bought a majority share. Dana is in pursuit of retirement. Eastman is his exit plan. Bourgeois has always had a venture capital group which provided funding. This is a bit different as Eastman appears to driving the business model now.

    As for plans to expand the US production, there’s been no mention of that. In fact they’ve had a hard time hiring and retaining the staff they need to build in the US.
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  22. #16
    Registered User Marcus CA's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    Fretboard Journal interviewed Dana a year ago, and that may have been the first mention of the mandolins. https://www.fretboardjournal.com/pod...ana-bourgeois/

    I hope that some music store will post a side-by-side demo of the Bourgeois mando with a Northfield M and a Collings MT, since they're all A models within a relatively narrow price range. Maybe if Two Old Hippies revives the Weber line, they can join this party.

    I think that the last guitar builder to enter the mando world was Larrivee, which produced mandolins for a few years a decade ago. I played a couple, which were pretty good, but they were priced over $3K back then, and I thought that the Webers and Collings at that price point at that time were a step up. I reckon that many players shared my opinion, since Larrivee discontinued their mando line pretty quickly.
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  23. #17
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    Comes the Revolution, Bourgeois mandolins will be replaced by Proletarian mandolins. Only available in one style, ten-year wait for delivery, made from sturdy peasant materials.

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  25. #18
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    I've always considered Strad-o-lins and Regals to be proletarian mandolins. Perhaps Kalamazoos also.
    Kay and Harmony? Not so sure they have enough pride to qualify for the appellation.
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  27. #19
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Comes the Revolution, Bourgeois mandolins will be replaced by Proletarian mandolins. Only available in one style, ten-year wait for delivery, made from sturdy peasant materials.

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  29. #20

    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    If Sonny Morris can hand make awesome mandolins in the US for $1000, Bourgeois should have no issues making them in the US for more than twice that. Sure, they're using fancier wood and inlays and hardware, but still.

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  31. #21
    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    Quote Originally Posted by milli857 View Post
    If Sonny Morris can hand make awesome mandolins in the US for $1000, Bourgeois should have no issues making them in the US for more than twice that. Sure, they're using fancier wood and inlays and hardware, but still.
    You might think that, but employees are expensive, requiring: more floor space, more equipment, training, insurance, more utilities, supervision, etc. I'll bet 99% of single shop makers don't make near $30/ net, while a few a very successful. And I'll bet the supply of skilled mandolins craftspeople in Maine is quite low.
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  33. #22

    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    Quote Originally Posted by milli857 View Post
    If Sonny Morris can hand make awesome mandolins in the US for $1000, Bourgeois should have no issues making them in the US for more than twice that. Sure, they're using fancier wood and inlays and hardware, but still.
    Sonny is not paying benefits to a group of employees along with workmanís compensation insurance, etc. is he? Does he even have employees? Seriously, I canít see where, after he pays himself a salary, which he probably does not, he is actually making a profit. Now, that business model/approach might be acceptable for a sole proprietor, but companies donít work that way. And certainly not a company that manufactures on a fairly large scale.
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  34. #23

    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    Sonny is not paying benefits to a group of employees along with workmanís compensation insurance, etc. is he? Does he even have employees? Seriously, I canít see where, after he pays himself a salary, which he probably does not, he is actually making a profit. Now, that business model/approach might be acceptable for a sole proprietor, but companies donít work that way. And certainly not a company that manufactures on a fairly large scale.
    That's true but economy of scale helps with costs as you build more stuff. And I'm not saying they should charge exactly what he does, just that they should be able to make mandolins in the US for $2700 for an A style. Plenty of other makers do.

  35. #24

    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    Quote Originally Posted by milli857 View Post
    That's true but economy of scale helps with costs as you build more stuff. And I'm not saying they should charge exactly what he does, just that they should be able to make mandolins in the US for $2700 for an A style. Plenty of other makers do.
    What I said was also partially in praise of how awesome it is that Sonny sells his mandolins for such and affordable price.

  36. #25

    Default Re: Bourgeois Mandolins!

    Quote Originally Posted by milli857 View Post
    That's true but economy of scale helps with costs as you build more stuff. And I'm not saying they should charge exactly what he does, just that they should be able to make mandolins in the US for $2700 for an A style. Plenty of other makers do.
    Other than Northfield what other US makers are making a playable, presentable A style mandolin in any quantities? And I’m not talking about solo builders who I suspect are not really making money on their instruments. Economy of scale only works at very high output levels.

    Think about it, there’s between $500 to $800 in materials alone on an A build. This includes hardware, wood, binding, case, etc. add in labor and you are well over $1000.

    That doesn’t leave room to pay a living wage, at least not in the US.

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