The Griffith Project

I do want your mandolin Madam!
In my early 20’s, while I was discovering mandolin, I began taking classical lessons and became a member of the Providence Mandolin Orchestra.  I sat next to a fellow mandolinist, who was always telling me about music that I should check out, from classical to bluegrass and all the music in between.  One day we were discussing my interest in purchasing a vintage instrument.  He told me to take a listen to the album “Tone Poems” by David Grisman and Tony Rice, as the album was recorded with a variety of vintage instruments accompanied by a pamphlet that had a small write up of each instrument.
I must have listened to that album over 1000 times.  In fact, I’m listening to it as I write this!  It was really interesting to hear how the different instruments sounded in the hands of the same player, using the same microphones and set-up for each track.  The one instrument I found myself gravitate towards was on track 9, “I Don’t Want Your Mandolins, Mister”.
FullSizeRender (3)
I really enjoyed the tone of this mandolin.  There was just something about it that really drew me in.  Now, back in those days, although the internet was “a thing”,  it wasn’t as full of information as it is today.  I was left with just this small pamphlet of info regarding the instrument.  The more I listened to it, the more I couldn’t believe that there was only one Loar signed A5!  Just one? Why?  Who were W.B Griffith and his wife?  Where is it now?  I was unfamiliar with Tut Taylor, Norman Blake and John Hartford, so that was an avenue I was going to have to explore.  As the internet grew, more and more information became available, so I was able to learn more and more about the instrument…………..

2017 Guitar Body Octave Mandolins Completed.

We finished up the four guitar body octaves for 2017.  The first one featured a solid carved European spruce top and a highly figured red maple back, neck and side set.  This tone wood combo gave the instrument a nice clean and punchy sound.   Scale length on these octaves were 21.5 inches.  This one was sent to The Music Emporium and found a home immediately.  Pictures courtesy of The Music Emporium.  Check out the link to view additional pictures and video clips.  Pictures and video

The second instrument featured a reclaimed “bog” western red cedar top that we obtained from Bruce over at Orcas Island Tonewoods.  We’ve used a lot of this cedar and absolutely love it.  Back, side and neck were red maple.  The combination gave it a nice deep tone without loosing the high end clarity.  This instrument found a home in NY.


The third instrument is our “Studio” model octave.  It featured a European spruce top paired with a Sapele back and side set.  This combo gave the instrument a nice mellow voice perfect for accompaniment, but with still enough power to cut through and take a solo.  This one is at The Music Emporium and is available at the time of this writing.  Photos courtesy of The Music Emporium.  Follow this link to see additional pictures:  Additional pictures


The fourth and final instrument in this batch featured a red spruce top and a one piece red maple back.  Plenty of volume from this box.  Nice dry woody sound with excellent note definition and clarity.  This one went to a gentleman that lives in our town, which makes Glocester RI the highest concentration of Girouard Guitar Body Octaves in the country, as there is another individual in town who owns one!!

We are starting a new batch of GBOM’s in the next few weeks so stay tuned……………..

Staining a Guitar Body Octave Mandolin

We use several different ways to apply color on our instruments.  Watch Lauri apply a water based stain by doing a traditional hand rubbed sunburst.   The top is cedar and does well with a hand rubbed stain as the stain takes evenly on all parts of the wood.   Hand rubbed stains have a more vintage look with a subtle blending that works nice when you want a hint of a sunburst.  (Sorry about the poor placement of the camera and the arm blocking some parts of the view).  Check out the video here:

Guitar Body Octave Mandolins …Coming Up!


Four guitar body octave mandolins that just had their binding put on.  These bodies are ready for final shaping and sanding prior to neck fit.    The first one pictured is a European spruce top and red maple back and that one will be at The Music Emporium in Lexington, Ma.   The second one is western red cedar and red maple and will be heading to New York.   The third one is European spruce and sapele (our studio model) and will be headed to The Acoustic Music Company in Brighton, England.   The last one is red spruce and an amazing one piece red maple back going to a local customer.   We are now accepting orders for guitar body octaves, Studio models starting at $4000 and Ensemble models at $4500.  Both models include hand graduated fully carved solid tops and backs, a 21.5″ scale, body fully bound single color, ebony fret board, bridge and fret board overlay, evo gold fret wire, trapeze style tailpiece,  golden age tuners with black buttons and comes with an Ameritage custom case.