The Mandolin Quartet


A  century or more ago the mandolin was a major focus of social as well as professional music making. Throughout Europe and America there were mandolin orchestras of all sizes and abilities using mandolins, mandolas, mandocellos and guitars playing a mix of light classical music and arrangements of popular songs and dance music of the day. Most of these orchestras disappeared when the mandolin craze faded in the 1920s, but many of the instruments have survived and people are still making music with them


A long-held desire has been to build a quartet of two mandolins, a mandola and a mandocello from matched timbers and a circumstances have fortuitously led to the acquisition of enough wood to make two quartets. One will be of Sitka spruce and Big Leaf maple and the other of Tasmanian King Billy pine and Australian blackwood.


The design for the spruce/maple instruments have been very much inspired by a series of jazz guitars made by the wonderful Claudio and Claudia Pagelli from Switzerland  while the King Billy/blackwood set have been inspired by the Lyon and Healy Style A mandolin quartet instruments from the late 19-teens.


Several experimental prototypes have made through 2020 with the first of the quartet instruments planned to made in 2021. 




The first prototype of the guitar bodied mandolin, this one from spruce and maple. 

The second of the jazz guitar inspired quartet prototypes. This one is King Billy and blackwood and about 6mm wider in the body and a little deeper than the first one.

Graham McDonald Stringed Instruments

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                        Phone: 0402 026 962   +614 02 026 962

                        PO Box 365 Jamison 

                        ACT 2614 Australia