Please see our COVID-19 Statement
The Mandolin: A History

The Mandolin: A History

Add 1-year StewMAX Membership to my cart for $39.95

The Mandolin: A History

Item # 1500
In stock, ready to ship!


*StewMAX Members receive 50% off the price of select books, plans and DVDs for the life of their membership. Members also get a special offer each month that may include tools, parts or supplies.
**StewMAX Members receive FREE standard shipping on all orders for the life of their membership.
LEARN MORE about StewMAX Membership Benefits
Scroll to Top

The Mandolin: A History

About This Item

By Graham McDonald
Trace the history of the mandolin across centuries and continents. Full of photographs and illustrations, this book explores the wide variety of mandolins while telling the stories of who, how, why and where they have been made.

"After over 50 years of collecting and dealing instruments and establishing a reputation as a knowledgeable dealer, I find it very refreshing to encounter a book which opens new vistas for me."—George Gruhn, Gruhn Guitars

Over 450 illustrations and photographs
Many players are familiar with modern mandolins, but not everyone knows about the European ancestors that inspired them. European-style, or bowl-back mandolins, and the American-style carved-top-and-back variants are covered in detail.

You'll learn about influential companies like Lyon & Healy, Martin, the Larson brothers, Epiphone, and D'Angelico. A full chapter on Gibson F-style mandolins includes a recap of the periods of revival under Roger Siminoff and Charlie Derrington. Other builders profiled include Bruce Weber, Lynn Dudenbostel, and Steve Gilchrist.

    Chapters in brief:
  • Origins of the instrument
  • The Middle Ages & Renaissance
  • The Baroque
  • The Italian Mandolin
  • The American Mandolin
  • Gibson
  • Chicago builders
  • New York builders
  • Boston builders
  • Harps, Banjos, Resonators, and Electrics
  • 20th Century European Mandolin
  • Japan & East Asia
  • Spain, Portugal & Beyond
  • The Balkans to Central Asia
  • One item
  • 20th Century citterns
  • Tuning Machines

410 pages, softcover.

Customer Reviews

  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Average
  • Fair
  • Poor
Write a review
  • 4.33 average rating from 3 reviews
Sort by

The Mandolin Bibble


Verified Buyer

a beautiful book on the history of the mandolin, from its mesopotamia origins to the birth of the American mandolin, rich photos with detailed description of the most renowned builders, highly recommended.


interesting read


Verified Buyer

I have enjoyed reading the early history of mandolins . I think there could have been more research [ and pictures ] of modern day builders . Missing a lot of top rate luthiers . Also , I would have paid a bit more to have in hardback format


Great Resource for Builders, Collectors, and Aficionados


The scope of this book is amazing, it traces the history of the mandolin from prehistoric to modern times. Beautifully written and laid out. I am personally interested in the era from the 1850's to early 1900's and this book is a treasure trove. All the major makers of that time are mentioned highlighting their instruments together with really nice photographs and interesting insights one only gets with deep research into a topic.

Nicely done Graham! A must for builders and collectors. If you are a builder you should also consider Graham's "The Mandolin Project" - a great guide to building mandolins.