Tag Archives: Big Muddy

GAS: Big Muddy M4-11 Mandolin

A month or so ago, in my bluegrass class, my instructor mentioned asked if I’d ever played mandolin. I said no, and wondered why he asked. Apparently, I have a tendency to play on the backbeat, rather than the traditional guitar beats. As it happens, that’s when the mandolin does its thing. I borrowed a mando from Braddog, and wound up finding it suited my tastes. After a little more conversation with my instructor, I heard about the Big Muddy Mandolin company in Rocheport MO.

I looked at their site, and decided I would ask about a frankenstein between two models — a mahogany top, with a rosewood back. I started e-mailing with Mike Dulak, the luthier at the helm and owner of Big Muddy, and he was enthusiastic to give this little job a whirl. After a week’s time, I drove to Rocheport to take a look. This mandolin was beautiful, to say the least!

What I’m finding is that the warmth of mahogany is really projected with the rosewood back and sides — which is exactly what I was hoping would happen. It’s really different from anything else I hear at the bluegrass jams, and I like that a lot. The traditional spruce-topped instruments — A-bodies or F-bodies — are extremely bright sounding, where this instrument has its own voice, distinct from the others. I really dig that.

That’s part of why it’s been so quiet at the deauxmayne lately — I’ve been playing a lot of guitar and a fair amount of mandolin, and that’s keeping me hopping!