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Octave Mandolins/Mandolins

The instrument arrived in excellent condition. Seldom in life does reality exceed expectations. It is beautifully crafted with a quiet elegance and has an exceptional tone. I am highly pleased.
O.H. Bowden

I'm extremely pleased with the overall appearance and tonal quality of the instrument. The sound from the moment I played it was great and the intonation is very good. The octave mandolin is a very attractive instrument, even the design of the bridge is very imaginative with its delicate curves.
C. Donahue

A four course Octave Mandolin with Indian Rosewood back and sides with Redwood soundboard and Curly Maple binding, rosette and peghead facing

Rakish Paddy - Stanley Widener
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If you'd like to hear what my Octave Mandolins sound like recorded, check out Stanley Widener's version of Rakish Paddy on the group's Naomi's Fancy's CD The Old Bush. Stanley plays an instrument with Mahogany back and sides and a Sitka Spruce soundboard.

Octave Mandolins

Thank you for your interest in my Octave Mandolins. Many accomplished players as well as intrigued newcomers to the Octave Mandolin are now enjoying my instruments. I offer a four course Octave Mandolin usually tuned an octave below a Mandolin GDAE.  A five course instrument can also be ordered. Contact me for specifics. You may utilize mandolin chords and scales but since the scale length is greater the stretches can be difficult. My standard scale length for a four course is 22" although you may specify other lengths.


Soundboards can be of Cedar (bassiest), Spruce ( a little better on the treble end with good projection) and Redwood (somewhere in between). Soundboard construction and bracing is very similar to a guitar. I give the board some arch through the braces. For the base price, the back and sides can be of Mahogany, Cherry, or Walnut. For an additional $150 you can have Indian Rosewood*, Curly Maple or other exotic woods. Contact me if you have some other wood in mind. Necks are generally of Honduras Mahogany with Ebony fingerboards and bridge. There are pearl position markers on the top and on the side of the fingerboard. Custom inlay adds to the base price.  Adjustable truss rods are standard. Neck width and profile can be specified.


Binding, peghead facing, soundhole rosette and even the truss rod cover are all of natural woods. I use woods that contrast or compliment the woods you choose for the soundboard, back and sides. Choices include Cardinalwood, Ebony, Sycamore, Curly or Birdseye Maple, Indian or Honduras Rosewood, Bocote, and others as they are available. See my wood selection page.


Bridges are of ebony and have a bone saddle insert which makes action adjustment a little easier.

Instruments have Schaller A-Style mandolin tuners and Allen solid cast nickel plated tailpieces of your choice (see below)


MR2 - Nickel




10 String -Nickel

Body depth is 4 1/4", width 14 1/8", body length 16 1/4", overall length 35 3/4" with the width at the nut of 1 1/4". You may specify a deeper body (a little better bass response) or a shallower body (better trebles and bit better projection). You also may specify the width at the nut and neck width and profile.

James Jones Octave Mandolin

I also make Mandolins which closely resemble my Octave Mandolins. These full-bodied Mandolins offer tenor sound to compliment the deeper toned Octave Mandolin and are available with basically the same options described above. My Octave Mandolin and Mandolin may be ordered together to create a matching pair. Scale length is 13 7/8".

John Whitacre recently did two videos where you can hear what one of my mandolin's sounds like. Video 1 Video 2

As always my instruments are guaranteed for 5 years to the original owner against defects of workmanship or materials.

I recommend that unless you pick the instrument up personally you should order a case at the same time as I prefer to ship with the instrument protected by a case. I offer high quality Cedar Creek cases that are made especially for my instruments. For a less expensive case, a hard banjo case can be modified.

If you'd like to see a collection of photos on how I make my Octave Mandolins, click here.

A  Mandolin with Mahogany back and sides with Redwood soundboard and Curly Maple binding, rosette and peghead facing

  • 4-Course Octave Mandolin.................$2900 with your choice of AR2 or MR2 Allen tailpiece (see above)

  • 5-Course Octave Mandolin.................$3150 with Allen 10 string tailpiece (see above)

  • Mandolin...............................................$2250

  • Indian Rosewood or Curly Maple adds $150

  • Cedar Creek Case ............................$350

  • Internal Piezo pickups...................... $175 installed

  • Pick guard (clear or tortoise) ............adds $50

I require a $200 non-refundable deposit to begin work. Email will be used to confirm your order and specifying details of your order and expected date of completion (usually 4-5 months). The balance due must be received before the instrument is shipped.

I do have a demo instrument always available at my shop for anyone who wants to try my octave mandolins.

If you have additional questions or would like to talk feel free to call; weekends and early evenings are OK.

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