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Thread: Girouard Mandolins

  1. #1

    Default Girouard Mandolins

    Anybody own one? What do you think of them?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    They are a really good buy. USA made and high quality!
    This looks like a really nice one
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/116330#116330
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    I own two, and had a third on extended loan from Max and Lauri. I love them all.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by MandoDave1 View Post
    I own two, and had a third on extended loan from Max and Lauri. I love them all.
    What do you love about them and what brands and models would you compare them to?

  6. #5

    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    I have a Girouard A5 Concert model mandolin finished in 2015. At the end of 2016 I decided to get a new mandola and custom ordered an oval hole from Max. Probably can't give a higher recommendation than that. I'm paying UK prices (ouch !), so it wasn't an order lightly made. Tonally they suit me - at the warm, mellow, fat end of the spectrum (that's subjective, though, and we all describe tone differently). Great fit and finish - varnish finish, which within a couple of years (on my A5) is taking on a beautiful vintage type look. Perfectly set up. Price wise they seem to me to sit right in that sweet spot where the law of diminishing returns really kicks in. So you get a really good, bench made, US instrument at a great value point. Neither of my two Girouards are going anywhere - at least you would have to put something very special in my hand to get me to part with them - probably costing a lot more money than I have to spend. I think there is an earlier thread on here, a couple of months ago, where someone asked for comments re tonal differences of Girouard, Pava and Weber (most likely a Yellowstone). I think those are certainly two of your comparison points. Email Max Girouard and have a chat with him. Great builder to work with.

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  8. #6
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    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    The other mandolins I would compare them to are made by Steve Smith of Cumberland Acoustic.
    The Red Line A5 is off similarly high quality and approximate price for a USA hand made instrument.
    https://reverb.com/marketplace?query...ce%7Casc&page=

  9. #7
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    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    I own two Girouard instruments: an A-style mandolin from 2013, and a GBOM from 2016. Fit and finish are great on both instruments, and Max is a master of setup work.

    Tonally, the mandolin is more on what I would call the "modern" side of things, with well-balanced bass and good projection. Mine compares favorably to anything even close to it in price, and the newer Girouards I've played seem to be even better than this one. I don't have as many comparison points for the GBOM, but it has a nice throaty tone, tons of volume, and is very comfortable to play.

    I don't think you can go wrong with an instrument from Max and Lauri - they're really great people to interact with.

  10. #8

    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    I own a Girouard mandola and a 2 pt. oval hole mandolin--two spectacular instruments. They really have everything dialed in. Great workmanship and amazingly beautiful finish work. I love the tone of these instruments. Max and Lauri are great to work with, too. Really nice folks. Huge mando per dollar ratio. If you look at my avatar, you can see what else I play.
    Palatable to a Goat: New Music from Gregg Daigle and Don Grieser, now on bandcamp
    http://HillbillyChamberMusic.bandcamp.com

  11. #9
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Em Tee View Post
    What do you love about them and what brands and models would you compare them to?
    This, and i can't really compare it to anything...
    I love the thing...






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  13. #10
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    When I was looking to upgrade my F style mandolin I happened to see an almost new one for sale in the classifieds. I jumped on it and am thrilled with it. Max and Lauri are, as mentioned, two of the nicest people to deal with. Even though I bought it used they answered any questions I had.

    Tone and volume are very good, fit and finish excellent.
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    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  14. #11
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    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    I don't own one, however, I did manage to visit Max's shop in Pawtucket Rhode Island. My fiance's family lives in South County and we were visiting around Christmas time and I happened to see somewhere that he was based in RI. So I reached out and set up a day and time to check it out. His set up was very cool and he was very accommodating and friendly and didn't mind me poking around and asking all sorts of questions. I got to check out his stock of tonewood and at the time he had some amazing looking Birdseye Maple.

    He didn't have too many finished pieces, but I did get to try out a 10-string fan fret mandola (low C). It was an A style and had a very cool purple finish. It was my first time trying a fan fret and it was totally bizarre!

    I also go to try the Talon, which was incredible! It's like an F style, but more of a claw than a scroll. It had a ton of punch to it and definitely would fit in a Bluegrass setting. But it also wasn't exactly like a standard f5, so it could lend itself to a more contemporary jazz setting, or gypsy jazz. It's on my list of instruments to get, and will probably be my next mandolin (upgrading my bass rig and getting a tele take precedent at the moment).

    10/10 highly recommend!!

  15. #12

    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    I've owned quite a few of Max and Lauri's creations. I am currently playing a GBOM they made recently which I snagged from TME. The guys at TME sold a few of my Girouards for me when I had to downsize a few years back, and I'd like to think I turned them on to Max and Lauri's instruments. TME is now one of their dealers, and they've sold quite a few in the short time they have been carrying their instruments. They are in good company there with a lot of other fine builders. The guys from TME love their stuff, and that says a lot.

    Someone buy that G5 that is still there before I lose my mind and go back for it!
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  16. #13

    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    Do y'all think their basic a5 is comparable to the weber gallatin?

  17. #14

    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    Yes 👍

  18. #15
    Registered User mandolin breeze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    <From the Forum posting guidelines:>

    - Refrain from using the forum as a point of purchasing or selling items or for the purpose of discussing or linking to items you are selling. Please limit selling and buying activities to the Classifieds section of this web site or other external locations.

    Since this instrument appeared in the classifieds shortly after this post is no longer consistent with our guidelines for you to be discussing its sale.
    Last edited by Mandolin Cafe; Oct-16-2017 at 6:49am.

  19. #16

    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    Well, I definitely approve this thread.

    +1 for Max's attentiveness to the stewards of his instruments, as well. Always been quick with advice and info.

  20. #17
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    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    I've been admiring the Girouard mandolins since I first saw Spruce's beautiful blue fan-fretted 10-string in pictures and then in person at Bakersfield. Wow.

    Aside from Mark's nice #42, there's also a nice Girouard Garcia prototype model out on Cafe' classifieds now. When it rains it pours... Both are very tempting, but too early for me I'm afraid.

    Girouard is on my short list of the two builders that I'll buy from when I can pull the trigger on boutique mandolins. The other is Austin Clark who did great neck work and setup on my F-9 at Grass Valley, and while he did that work I had a chance to admire his builds in person. Both of these builders are on the top of the list in my book.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002 Gibson F-9
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    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

  21. #18

    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    I've had mine for about 3 years now, and I continue to be thrilled with it. I first saw a blondey A-5 that Mandobar had, and decided to get one that would be built for me. Working with Max and Lauri was a pleasure. I wanted something that was a good all-rounder, one that could hold it's own in a bluegrass context, but that also had plenty of warmth and woody qualities, especially in the low-end. Max was able to deliver a sound that was exactly what I had hoped for. He matched the neck profile of another mandolin that I own and love, so it feels super comfortable. Max and Lauri also designed a "modern pumpkintop" look for it, with a beautiful orange/red finish, maple binding in place of the ivoroid, and a nice modern update of the fleur-de-lis headstock inlay (a little nod to our French heritage, eh, M. Girouard?). It plays and sounds great! And they are really nice folks, too. There's a couple of videos floating around cyberspace of me playing it. Thanks, Max and Lauri!

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  23. #19
    Natural Born Tar Heel Perilous Deep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    I have a Girouard F5, and I would agree with keithb's description of the tonal characteristics: fat, thick notes, long sustain, very responsive, even in the lower reaches of the G-course, where some mandolins lose a bit of their cut, in my experience. I would describe the highs on mine more as sweet than piercing, and the chop is more of a woof than a snap, if that makes sense. It's very pretty too! Picture and video courtesy of the Music Emporium, where I was the beneficiary of Mary's downsizing.

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    "Pick it solid, boys." -Claude Debussy

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  25. #20
    Fingers of Concrete ccravens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    As an owner of one Girouard mando and one mandola, I would have to agree with everything positive that's been said here.

    I hate to compare brands or bash, but I would choose a Girouard over a Gallatin every day of the week and twice on Sunday. And yes, I have owned a number of Webers.

    As far as tone is concerned, always a tricky thing to verbalize, I would agree with keithb's assessment above. An excellent tonal description of my Girouard was put up by the folks at Fiddler's Green to describe one that they had for sale. I quote:

    "This mandolin has a rich, full sound with lots of sustain and ring. There is a nice fundamental woody quality to the tone, but it also has that mid and high sparkle associated with most modern professional mandolins."

    If I already didn't have one, I'd jump on the one at Fiddler's Green. I've even considered it. Get one; you won't be sorry!
    Chris Cravens

    Girouard A5 Mandolin
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    Girouard A Mandola
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  26. #21
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    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Em Tee View Post
    Do y'all think their basic a5 is comparable to the weber gallatin?
    I've played a Weber F (not sure which model) a bunch, and it's a very different instrument from my Girouard A. Tonally, the Weber is more "snappy" and less rich, and they have very different feeling necks. Personally I like the Girouard a lot more than the Weber.

  27. #22
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    ...something really cool in the works at Max and Lauri's...


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  29. #23
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    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    I picked up a used OM with a 20" scale (sold by Max here in the classifieds-the original owner was getting a new Girouard).
    I've owned a couple Collings, Webers, Northfields, Pava, Gibson, and this Girouard is as good, if not better in all regards to any I have owned. Fit and finish are superb, looks-it kills, neck shape just works, and the action is the best I've met in any mandolin, and quite honestly, the best of any instrument I've had hands on. The tone and sound is scary good. The tuners work smooth and with ease(Max makes sure everything is top shelf). I have a hopped up Gibson F9 custom from TMS(big frets, radius FB, awesome tone) that has calmed MAS for a long while now(long while for me-lol), but if I were to go looking for another mandolin-I would be eyeing a Girouard only.
    I am picky about how my instruments fit and feel, and I only accept a low easy to play action with excellent tone. This OM delivers in all accounts. If memory serves, the top is 100 year old cedar Max scored from an old house or shop.
    And any time I play it, or just pick it up, I smile. Its fun to play, loads of fun to play. I have never had any thought to change or make anything better or different on it.
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  31. #24

    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    Actually, Daryl, I was the first owner of that OM. It was consigned at TME last summer during my downsizing. The new owner then decided he wanted Max to build him a GBOM. It was a great instrument, and I was a little late trying to buy it back, but it did prompt me to buy one of Max and Lauri's GBOM's after playing one at the mandolin festival in Concord (NH) this past March.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  32. #25
    Natural Born Tar Heel Perilous Deep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Girouard Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Spruce View Post
    ...something really cool in the works at Max and Lauri's...
    Very cool. I'll be excited to see the progress on this one, and hope we'll get to hear it played a bit. I assume they'll be shooting for the Loar tone.
    "Pick it solid, boys." -Claude Debussy

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