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Bourgeois Aged Tone M5A
 
Bourgeois introduces its first mandolin in collaboration with Eastman Music.
December 7, 2022
 

Luthier Dana Bourgeois and his company are widely considered to be among the very top builders of flattop guitars. Those who have followed Bourgeois’s work know that he also used to build archtop guitars, many of which are now highly sought after. When Bourgeois partnered with Eastman Music in 2019, it not only opened new distribution channels and ways to collaborate on a lower-cost guitar (check out our demos of the resulting Touchstone OM and dreadnought models), it also allowed Eastman to offer its expertise with mandolin-family instruments and co-design the first Bourgeois mandolin. We recently had a chance to check out the new Aged Tone M5A in the Peghead Nation video studio, and Peghead Nation instructor Joe K. Walsh was able to play a pair of the new mandolins during a video shoot near the Bourgeois shop in Maine. 

Just as Bourgeois guitars have deep roots in classic American designs, the Aged Tone M5A follows the traditional A-style mandolin template, with its familiar oval shape, a spruce top, and maple back and sides. As with Bourgeois Touchstone guitars, the woods are chosen by the Bourgeois team in Maine, then shipped to Eastman’s factory in China where the Aged Tone M5A is built. As the “aged tone” part of the instrument’s name indicates, all the woods have been torrefied, accelerating their aging process through a heat treatment. A clear finish enhances the appearance of the woods’ beautiful grain and figuring. The instrument has a custom Bill James tailpiece, Golden Age tuning machines, and white ivoroid binding on the fingerboard and around the top. The level of Eastman’s craftsmanship is very high, and in terms of fit and finish, the Aged Tone M5A meets the standards set by instruments built in Bourgeois’s Maine facility.

Our demo instrument arrived beautifully set up. It has easy-to-play action, but is also able to take a heavy attack with a thick pick without buzzing. Bourgeois says that he wanted to make sure that guitarists would be comfortable playing the Aged Tone M5A, so he made the neck slightly wider than many mandolins at 1³/₃₂ inches. As a guitarist who occasionally plays mandolin, I found the neck to be very comfortable. While I enjoyed playing the Aged Tone M5A at home, I deferred to Peghead Nation mandolin instructor Joe K. Walsh for the on-camera playing demo, and in this video, he plays the fiddle tunes “Forked Deer” and “Leather Britches,” as well as the beautiful “Dawg’s Waltz” and more, ably demonstrating the instrument’s capabilities. 

It’s great to see the Bourgeois/Eastman partnership expanding in such fruitful ways. Between the incredibly impressive Touchstone guitars and now the Aged Tone M5A, Bourgeois is offering high-quality models that would be impossible to produce at these relatively affordable prices if the company only operated in the US. I’d recommend giving these new instruments a try at a Bourgeois dealer!

To study mandolin with Joe K. Walsh on Peghead Nation, enroll in his Bluegrass Mandolin Jam Favorites, The Advancing Mandolinist, Octave Mandolin, or Improvising for Mandolin and Fiddle courses!

SPECS: A-Style body. Aged-tone Adirondack spruce top. Aged-tone maple back and sides. Maple neck. Ebony fretboard. 13⁷/₈-inch scale. 1³/₃₂-inch nut width. Custom Bill James tailpiece. Satin nickel Golden Age tuners. Made in China. $2,669 list. Bourgeoisguitars.com

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© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com
 
 
    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● 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