2022 Bumgarner Selmer-Mac-Style Gypsy-Jazz Octave Mandolin

What! A petit bouche octave mandolin? Heck yes! And... this one is made by Mr. Craig Bumgarner of gypsy-jazz repro guitar fame. It's high-spec, high-quality, tightly-built, has high-end fittings, plays like a dream, and has that sound. It really wants to be dug-into with a heavy, downstroke-savvy, right-hand technique. That's when you get that compressed, sfrap gypsy sound out of it. However, it will also serve as a nice Celtic-sounding instrument, too, with its sort-of airy, woody, bwrangy chordal sound when played with big open-voiced chords.

It's got Savarez-style, silverplated-copper-wound strings on it at the moment, too, which can be "rattly" for techniques other than swing-style stuff where you want that bit of "snap" to the attack. I expect with normal phosphor bronze roundwounds or flatwound strings of better quality one could sneak-up on all sorts of different, useful tones from this sportscar of an octave mandolin.

Still, for what it's made for? Perfect!

This is a practically brand-new instrument and its original owner finds himself in the predicament of having ordered this as a custom build and then financing several upper-end, jazz-era-worthy, equally-wonderful instrument purchases -- which is why it's here even though it's, you know, basically new from the builder.

I did nothing to it save tune it up and play as it was already setup on-the-dot.

Folks with a heavy-hand and desire for completely-clean notes may want to try different string types or shim the action just a tad up from under the bridge (this is a typical thing for gypsy-jazz guitars and most come with shims in the case pocket to adjust to taste). I'll provide some shims in the case for the next owner to adjust to taste as well. The bridge is compensated for two-wound, two-plain courses, so it could be slightly tweaked for DGBE tuning, even, or CFAD, or thereabouts. CGDA will work alright on it, but one might find the D course slightly flat. If using wound As for octave mandolin tuning, it will play flat on the A course. I can supply whatever string guages are needed for its next life.

Repairs included: nothing.

Top wood: solid spruce

Back & sides wood: ply highly-figured maple (traditional)

Bracing type: ladder-ish

Bridge: ebony

Fretboard: ebony

Neck wood: walnut

Action height at 12th fret:
1/16" overall (fast)
String gauges: approx 46w-11

Neck shape: medium soft C/V

Board radius: 12"

Truss rod: adjustable

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: medium-bigger EVO Gold

Scale length: 22 7/8"

Nut width: 1 1/4"

Body width: 14 5/8"

Body depth: 4 1/8" + arching

Weight: 3 lbs 14 oz

Condition notes: it's basically brand-new. The finish looks very thin and French polish, so it's more violin-like and doesn't have that glassy, nitro look to it.

It comes with: a nice Gator hard case.


McComber said…
You’ve got a special thing going when you play these octave mandolins, Mr. Wildwood, they always have a spark and deeper sound when you play them, eh? What a gorgeous instrument.
Jake Wildwood said…
Thanks Andy!

I used to play a lot of mandolin years ago and I've always liked zouks and octave mandos. I think I'm going to have to settle down and make my own octave mando to my own tastes, though, to get whatever it is that I want out of these. This thing is lovely but I can't afford the scratch on it at the moment! The last one I owned was an old Flatiron zouk (guitar-scale OM, really) that was really close to the sound I prefer.

I have a beat-as-heck Weymann mandola that I will be fixing for myself again at some point (took it back in trade smashed-up and years later) but I think that will probably be best kept in is natural range.