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Jayson Bowerman Bambino
 
John Reischman demonstrates his flattop octave mandolin.
January 25, 2021
 

Bend, Oregon–based luthier Jayson Bowerman got his start at Breedlove Guitars, where he worked for 15 years. Not only did this tenure hone his chops building flattop guitars, it also allowed him to branch out into other instruments, including mandolins and Weissenborn-style slide guitars (check out the Breedlove lap-steel he built for fingerstyle guitarist Ed Gerhard in this video). Building independently since 2013, Jayson now offers guitars, tenor guitars, mandolin-family instruments, and Weissenborn-style lap-steels, as well as custom creations. Peghead Nation mandolin instructor John Reischman is a lucky owner of a Bowerman Bambino octave mandolin, and in this video, he demonstrates the instrument. 

John’s Bambino is built with an Adirondack spruce top and Indian rosewood back and sides. He had borrowed a different Bambino built with koa back and sides before placing his order, but found that he wanted something a little different. “While it sounded great, the tone was not what I was looking for,” he says. “I was looking for more of a sustaining sound, maybe the difference between a [Martin] D-18 and a D-28, so I was looking for more of a D-28 rosewood sound. [Jayson] made this instrument, and he was able to really nail what I was looking for from the description I gave him, so he’s great to work with.” John notes that while many contemporary octave mandolins are archtops, he finds that the flattop design of the Bowerman works better for his playing style. Built like a miniature guitar (Jayson also uses the body design for guitars and tenor guitars), the Bambino has a width of 14 inches at the lower bout, herringbone purfling, a “firestripe” pickguard (shaped like the small teardrop on a Martin OM-style guitar), and a sunburst finish. John likes the 21⅜-inch scale, which is short enough that he doesn’t have to modify his mandolin technique much. He mostly keeps the instrument tuned in standard octave mandolin tuning (GDAE), but he uses an octave pair instead of a unison course on the lowest string. 

“I mostly use it for accompaniment and chordal-type work, but it sounds great for fiddle tunes too,” says John. In this demo, he plays a bit of each, and also performs his arrangement of “Joseph and Mary” (recorded on the John Reischman and the Jaybirds recording On a Winter’s Night) with the instrument in GDAD tuning. 

To learn mandolin from John Reischman, enroll in his Peghead Course Melodic Mandolin Tunes. Bowermanguitars.com

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© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com
 
 
    ● Courses
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com