Old Wave Mandolins



Hand made bluegrass mandolins from £1900



Bill Bussmann (aka Old Wave mandolins) made my first custom instrument, a five course octave, a few years (decades..) ago. He's the man who gives a warranty to the original owner for the life of the maker, fortunately his luthery skills are as well developed as his sense of humour, if anyone saw a sprayed blue mandolin for sale on April first for $14 000 that was Bill (no Bill isn't a mandolin).

He really does live in the middle of nowhere, it reminds you of those cowboy movies with the cattle driving through the range with mountains in the background and not a town for hundreds of miles. Speaking of which the nearest town is called Truth or Consequences, named after the first TV quiz show, this is the Wild West! At the bottom of a small canyon with an intermittent stream there's a few houses and Bill working in an adobe hut the size of a garden shed.

I now have two Old Waves in my collection (the original 10 string and an octave mandolin) and a Melondolin (see photos). It took some persuasion to get him to make me one. Bill said that now he had perfected the sound (with his own Melondolin) he didn’t want to make more. It sounded so good and looked amazing, fitting very nicely into my collection of innovative mandolin designs, I twisted his arm, (but not so badly he couldn’t work).



Old Wave Great Wood Experiment




  1. Old Wave A4 sunburst

    Old Wave A4 sunburst

    £2,095.00
     
    In stock
    Finance available (UK residents only) from £60.37 per month with 10% deposit
    This beauty has fantastic depth and warmth with very full and rich mids and trebles and clear, ringing trebles. Great for folk, old time and many more styles.

    Colorado Engelmann spruce top with red spruce x bracing, Varnum estate (c.1980) curly maple sides/ back/neck, 12" radius ebony fretboard, peghead veneer and bridge, ivoroid binding, abalone position dots, rosette and wave inlay, 1 3/16” bison bone nut, Cumberland acoustic bridge, Grover tuners, sunburst lacquer finish TKL black hardshell case.

    Old Wave A4 sunburstOld Wave A4 sunburstOld Wave A4 sunburst
    Old Wave A4 sunburstOld Wave A4 sunburstOld Wave A4 sunburst
    Old Wave A4 sunburstOld Wave A4 sunburstOld Wave A4 sunburst
  2. Old Wave guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) with translucent black top

    Old Wave guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) with translucent black top

    Out of stock
    Colorado Engelmann spruce top with red spruce x bracing, Vermont maple two piece back, ebony headstock veneer, 16" radius, 21.5" scale ebony fretboard, ebony pickguard, tailpiece, and bridge, ivoroid binding, 1 3/8" nut width, sunburst amber lacquer finish with black top, TKL tweed hardshell case.

    Many octave mandolins don't have a strong and well defined bass, this is truly awesome. It sounds as though it's a mandocello! I have never understood the appeal of the typical carved jazz guitar sound, I don't know why but a jazz guitar body on an octave mandolin is breathtaking. Sometimes adding two and two makes five. If anybody has an explanation let me know.

    Old Wave guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) with translucent black top Old Wave guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) with translucent black top Old Wave guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) with translucent black top
    Old Wave guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) with translucent black top Old Wave guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) with translucent black top Old Wave guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) with translucent black top
    Old Wave guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) with translucent black top Old Wave guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) with translucent black top Old Wave guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) with translucent black top
    Old Wave guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) with translucent black top Old Wave guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) with translucent black top Old Wave guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) with translucent black top
  3. Old Wave A4 birdseye maple

    Old Wave A4 birdseye maple

    Out of stock
    Its hard to tell the difference tonally between these two beauties. Both are very loud with strong, well defined and warm bass notes, rich and full mids and clear/precise trebles. Its fantastic to have that wonderful oval hole sound with great definition and projection. The birdseye is gorgeous but so is the Vermont maple... I wouldn't want to have to choose between the two.


    Colorado Engelmann spruce top with red spruce x bracing Varnum Estate (c.1980) birdseye maple sides/1 piece back/neck, 12" radius ziricote fretboard and peghead veneer, tortoise celluloid binding, abalone position dots, rosette, and wave inlay, 1 3/16 bison bone nut, Grover tuners golden/amber lacquer finish, D'Addario J74 strings, TKL black hardshell case

    Old Wave A4 birdseye mapleOld Wave A4 birdseye mapleOld Wave A4 birdseye maple
    Old Wave A4 birdseye mapleOld Wave A4 birdseye mapleOld Wave A4 birdseye maple
    Old Wave A4 birdseye mapleOld Wave A4 birdseye mapleOld Wave A4 birdseye maple
  4. Old Wave mandola cabernet

    Old Wave mandola cabernet

    Out of stock
    Beautiful mandola from Bill with a Colorado Engelmann spruce top with red spruce x bracing, Varnum estate curly maple sides and back, 2 piece neck, 16" scale, 16"radius ebony fretboard, ebony Cumberland Acoustic bridge, ebony peghead veneer, ivoroid binding, abalone position dots, rosette and wave inlay, 1 1/4" bison bone nut, Grover tuners, cabernet lacquer finish, D’Addario J72 strings, Weber hardshell case.

    It has a beautiful deep and sonorous tone, just like a great 'dola should, fantastic warmth and wonderful dark resonance. A great mandola like this sounds a lot deeper that it really is.


    Old Wave mandola cabernet Old Wave mandola cabernet Old Wave mandola cabernet
    Old Wave mandola cabernet Old Wave mandola cabernet Old Wave mandola cabernet
    Old Wave mandola cabernet Old Wave mandola cabernet Old Wave mandola cabernet
  5. Old Wave A4 golden amber quilted maple

    Old Wave A4 golden amber quilted maple

    Out of stock
    Isn't this a stunner? It has a little more brightness than the sunburst A4 that it came in with but still with plenty of warmth and depth, just a little more projection and clarity. Its strokes for folks time...

    Colorado Engelmann spruce top with red spruce x bracing, quilted maple sides/neck back, 12" radius ebony fretboard and bridge, quilted maple peghead veneer, tortoise binding, abalone position dots, rosette and wave inlay, 1 3/16” bison bone nut, Cumberland acoustic bridge, Grover tuners, golden amber lacquer finish, TKL black hardshell case.

    Old Wave A4 golden amber quilted mapleOld Wave A4 golden amber quilted mapleOld Wave A4 golden amber quilted maple
    Old Wave A4 golden amber quilted mapleOld Wave A4 golden amber quilted mapleOld Wave A4 golden amber quilted maple
    Old Wave A4 golden amber quilted mapleOld Wave A4 golden amber quilted mapleOld Wave A4 golden amber quilted maple
  6. Old Wave A4 Vermont curly maple

    Old Wave A4 Vermont curly maple

    Out of stock
    Its hard to tell the difference tonally between these two beauties. Both are very loud with strong, well defined and warm bass notes, rich and full mids and clear/precise trebles. Its fantastic to have that wonderful oval hole sound with great definition and projection. The birdseye is gorgeous but so is the Vermont maple... I wouldn't want to have to choose between the two.

    Colorado Engelmann spruce top with red spruce x bracing, Vermont curly maple sides/neck/1 piece back, 12" radius ebony fretboard, bridge, and peghead veneer, ivoroid celluloid binding, abalone position dots, rosette. and wave inlay, 1 3/16 bison bone nut, Grover tuners, Merlot sunburst burst lacquer finish, D'Addario J74 strings, TKL black hardshell case


    Old Wave A4 Vermont curly mapleOld Wave A4 Vermont curly mapleOld Wave A4 Vermont curly maple
    Old Wave A4 Vermont curly mapleOld Wave A4 Vermont curly mapleOld Wave A4 Vermont curly maple
    Old Wave A4 Vermont curly mapleOld Wave A4 Vermont curly mapleOld Wave A4 Vermont curly maple
  7. Old Wave A4 Colorado Engelmann spruce/red maple SOLD

    Old Wave A4 Colorado Engelmann spruce/red maple SOLD

    Out of stock
    Another amazing A4 from Bill, in Colorado Engelmann spruce and red maple, it's Adirondack spruce X braced with a carbon fibre truss rod and Elite tuners. In the Great Woods Experiment Dan Beimborn and Simon Mayor chose the maple mandolin for clarity and projection, see above for their views and a sound clip. Sound clip of this one to follow.

    Please click to listen:


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    Old Wave A4 Colorado Engelmann spruce/red maple SOLDOld Wave A4 Colorado Engelmann spruce/red maple SOLDOld Wave A4 Colorado Engelmann spruce/red maple SOLD
    Old Wave A4 Colorado Engelmann spruce/red maple SOLDOld Wave A4 Colorado Engelmann spruce/red maple SOLDOld Wave A4 Colorado Engelmann spruce/red maple SOLD

    Old Wave A4 Colorado Engelmann spruce/red maple SOLDOld Wave A4 Colorado Engelmann spruce/red maple SOLDOld Wave A4 Colorado Engelmann spruce/red maple SOLD
  8. Old Wave A4 cabernet

    Old Wave A4 cabernet

    Out of stock
    Colorado Engelmann spruce top with red spruce x bracing, quilted maple 2 piece back, 12" radius ebony fretboard and bridge, ivoroid binding, pearl position dots and wave inlay, abalone rosette, quilted peghead veneer and cabernet lacquer finish, TKL black hardshell case.

    Another fantastic and beautiful A4 from Bill, very rich and full with strong and well defined bass, sweet and complex mids and clear, ringing trebles.

    Old Wave A4 cabernetOld Wave A4 cabernetOld Wave A4 cabernet
    Old Wave A4 cabernetOld Wave A4 cabernetOld Wave A4 cabernet
    Old Wave A4 cabernetOld Wave A4 cabernetOld Wave A4 cabernet
  9. Old Wave Guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) USED

    Old Wave Guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) USED

    Out of stock
    I've got one of these beauties myself (its not as pretty as this one). IMHO the GoM (guitar bodied octave mandolin) is the only way to get an octave with strong and well define bass as well as great overall tone and volume.


    Old Wave Guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) USEDOld Wave Guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) USEDOld Wave Guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) USED
    Old Wave Guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) USEDOld Wave Guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) USEDOld Wave Guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) USED
    Old Wave Guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) USEDOld Wave Guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) USEDOld Wave Guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) USED
    Old Wave Guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) USEDOld Wave Guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) USEDOld Wave Guitar bodied octave mandolin (GoM) USED
  10. Old Wave Melondolin NOT FOR SALE

    Old Wave Melondolin NOT FOR SALE

    Out of stock
    When I last visited Bill and played his melon I told him I just had to have one. He said he felt that with the last one (his) he had achieved what he wanted form the idea and didn't want to make anymore. Mean son of a ******.

    Anyways, to cut a long story very short a while later I heard those immortal words 'I owe you a favour' this is that favour. I've had it a while now and despite the regular thinning of my herd its staying.

    Old Wave Melondolin NOT FOR SALEOld Wave Melondolin NOT FOR SALEOld Wave Melondolin NOT FOR SALE
    Old Wave Melondolin NOT FOR SALEOld Wave Melondolin NOT FOR SALEOld Wave Melondolin NOT FOR SALE

    Old Wave Melondolin NOT FOR SALEOld Wave Melondolin NOT FOR SALEOld Wave Melondolin NOT FOR SALE

10 Item(s)