Graham McDonald Stringed Instruments


MusicBooks Press

Welcome to my Website

The website is some pages of information about the musical instruments I build, the books about musical instruments published by MusicBooks Press, useful and interesting things such as an online String Tension Calculator, and a page of links and downloads including part of a book from the early 20th century on making mandolins, a couple of articles on old-time Australian dance music as well as some other links to websites that could be helpful.

I have been building musical instruments for almost 40 years, a lot of the time while working in other jobs, almost all music and arts related. In the early 1990s, I became a music journalist by accident and that encouraged me to write books about musical instruments. There are now four books available, three how-to manuals for building stringed instruments and a comprehensive history of mandolin family instruments around the world.

I started building instruments because I wanted an Irish bouzouki to play and at that time building one seemed the easiest way  of getting one. That led to another, then a guitar, a mandolin and it has all gone on from there. Creating an attractive and responsive stringed instrument is simply the most satisfying activity I know and there is great joy in hearing a talented musician create music on one of my instruments.

These days I concentrate on acoustic mandolins, but I am always happy to make another bouzouki or ukulele. There are various examples on these pages and a page with new instruments and ideas.

Above is a new model of mandolin inspired by a sketch of a mandolin by famed New York archtop guitar builder James D’Aquisto. The drawing is in  The Masters Bench, published by the National Music Museum in Vermillion SD

In 2021 I am hoping to build a matched mandolin quartet,  of two mandolins, a mandola and a mandocello. The first quartet will be made of Australian King Billy pine and Australian blackwood. The Quartet page has more information.

Over the years I have made guitars, both steel string and classical, solid body electric bouzoukis and mandolins  as well as a number of sympathetic string violins, somewhat in the style of the Norwegian hardanger fiddle and even a baritone banjo bouzouki. I can often be tempted into making a hybrid one-off instrument. Feel free to call or email.

Click on the images below to get to the relevant pages on mandolins, bouzoukis, ukuleles and books 


Graham McDonald Stringed Instruments

Contact:    Click to  Email

                        Phone: 0402 026 962   +614 02 026 962

                        PO Box 365 Jamison 

                        ACT 2614 Australia