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
Old Wave Guitar bodied octave mandolin USED£2,795.00In stockUsed and in fantastic condition. New price would be £3495.
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 A4 cabernet£2,250.00In stockColorado 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 mandola golden amber£2,595.00In stockBeautiful mandola from Bill with an Adirondack top with red spruce x bracing, red maple 2 piece back, 16" radius, 16" scale ebony fretboard, ebony bridge, tortoise binding, quilted maple peghead veneer, abalone rosette, tortoise ivoroid binding, with a golden amber lacquer finish and hardshell case.
It has a beautiful deep and sonorous tone, just like a great 'dola should.
Old Wave octave mandolin£3,495.00In stockAn amazing octave from Bill, Colorado Engelmann spruce and curly sugar maple with Adirondack bracing, Ziricote headstock veneer, 21.5" scale, ebony tailpiece and fretboard with 16" radius. I have only ever owned two octave mandolins personally, both made by Mr. Bussmann. I would be very happy to add this to my collection but have run out of hands and space... To use one of my favourite cliches again it sounds as good as it looks. Well defined bass (not a common feature on octave mandolins) with depth and resonance, warm and complex mids with clear and strong trebles... fantastic.
With TKL hard case.
Old Wave A5 amber Adirondack spruce/curly mapleSoldAdirondack (Red) spruce top with red spruce tone bar bracing, curly maple 1 piece back, 12" radius ebony fretboard and bridge, tortoise binding 1 1/8" nut width, amber lacquer finish, Ziricote headstock veneer and pickguard, TKL tweed hardshell case.
I used to think of Bill as the king of the oval hole but since I've been getting his f hole mandolins I have been so impressed I have one for myself. This is very loud and strong with rich and vibrant mid range, it's a very versatile mandolin, it will bark for bluegrass and whisper for the gentle stuff, and everything in between.
Old Wave guitar bodied octave mandolin, black top SOLDSoldI first played Bill's own GOM (guitar shaped octave mandolin) when I last visited him, I insisted he sell it to me. This is in the same spec as mine but even more beautiful; Colorado Engelmann spruce top with a fantastic smokey black finish, red spruce x bracing, curly red maple two piece back, Ziricote headstock veneer, 16" radius, 21.5" scale ebony fretboard, ebony pickguard, tailpiece, and bridge, tortoise binding, 1 3/8" nut width, black top amber lacquer back and sides finish, 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 A4 Colorado Engelmann spruce/red maple SOLDSoldAnother 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 guitar bodied mandola SOLDSoldRegular visitors will know for my love of Bill's guitar bodied octave mandolins (I have on at home). This is my first mandola with such a body. I am gobsmacked.. many times over... I love the deep sound of a mandola, they don't get any deeper than this..
It has an Adirondack top with red spruce x bracing, curly sugar maple 1 piece back, 16" radius, 16" scale ebony fretboard, ebony bridge and pickguard, tortoise binding, desert ironwood peghead veneer, with a dark amber lacquer finish and a (Taylor) gigbag.
Old Wave Melondolin NOT FOR SALESoldWhen 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.