Graham McDonald Stringed Instruments


MusicBooks Press

Welcome to my Website

The website is some pages of information about the musical instruments I build, the books about musical instruments published by MusicBooks Press, useful and interesting things such as an online String Tension Calculator, and a page of links and downloads including part of a book from the early 20th century on making mandolins, a couple of articles on old-time Australian dance music as well as some other links to websites that could be helpful.

I have been building musical instruments for almost 40 years, a lot of the time while working in other jobs, almost all music and arts related. In the early 1990s, I became a music journalist by accident and that encouraged me to write books about musical instruments. There are now five books available, three how-to manuals for building stringed instruments, a comprehensive history of mandolin family instruments around the world and published in mid 2022, The Caldersmith Papers, articles on guitar and violin acoustics by the late Graham Caldersmith.

I started building instruments because I wanted an Irish bouzouki to play and at that time building one seemed the easiest way  of getting one. That led to another, then a guitar, a mandolin and it has all gone on from there. Creating an attractive and responsive stringed instrument is simply the most satisfying activity I know and there is great joy in hearing a talented musician create music on one of my instruments.

These days I concentrate on acoustic mandolins, but I am always happy to make another bouzouki or ukulele. There are various examples on these pages and a page with new instruments and ideas.

Above is a new model of mandolin inspired by a sketch of a mandolin by famed New York archtop guitar builder James D’Aquisto. The drawing is in  The Masters Bench, published by the National Music Museum in Vermillion SD

The Australian Mandolin Quartet, made from Australian King Billy pine, Australian blackwood and Queensland maple is finished. The Quartet page has more information.

Over the years I have made guitars, both steel string and classical, solid body electric bouzoukis and mandolins  as well as a number of sympathetic string violins, somewhat in the style of the Norwegian hardanger fiddle and even a baritone banjo bouzouki. I can often be tempted into making a hybrid one-off instrument. Feel free to call or email.

Click on the images below to get to the relevant pages on mandolins, bouzoukis, ukuleles and books 

Graham McDonald Stringed Instruments

Contact:    Click to  Email

                        Phone: 0402 026 962   +614 02 026 962

                        PO Box 365 Jamison 

                        ACT 2614 Australia