How do I care for my Big Muddy mandolin/mandola?
Any real musical instrument is built with thin, solid woods. These woods are susceptible to changes in humidity or the lack of humidity. Dry, cold weather will cause woods to shrink and crack. Hot, humid weather will cause them to swell. Knowing this, one must be vigilant to care for their instrument.
When it is cold and dry, as in winter or in desert conditions, keeping the instrument in its case with some sort of moisture producing item is imperative. Commercial products are available but natural or homemade products will also be serviceable. Anything that has moisture in it will emit the moisture in the instruments case. One can use something as simple as a piece of celery or apple slice or an old plastic film canister with a wet sponge inside of it to do the trick. Poking small holes in the lid of the film canister is a must do thing to allow slow seepage of moisture into the case.
Wood and electric heat sources can spell the death of thin woods. If you use these sources you MUST be extra vigilant in caring for your mando.
Monitoring the condition of your instrument is pretty easy. If the “action: (how high the strings are from the fretboard) is low and you are beginning to hear the strings “buzz” on the fretboard then your Big Muddy mandolin/mandola is getting dry. The cure? Put it in its case with the moisture producing items mentioned above. It may take some weeks for it to regain enough moisture to cure symptoms. Not to worry, you can play it anytime but when not playing, the case is where it belongs. If you have a hardshell case it will be much more beneficial.
If the “action" is feeling stiff (harder to press down on the strings) your Big Muddy mandolin/mandola is taking on moisture and swelling up. A room with a dehumidifier is a good thing or take the puppy on a trip to Arizona!
What kind of finish do you use on the Big Muddy mandolins/mandolas?
We use a product called Behlen’s Padding finish. It is a shellac/alcohol-based finish that is applied by French polishing.
It is sparsely used as to not inhibit the natural resonance of the wood. It is easily repaired if any damage occurs.
A great cleaning and conditioner for the finish is called Howard’s Feed and Wax. It is available at most hardware stores in their cleaning section. Its totally organic with orange oil and essential waxes. Smells great and can be used on every part of the mandolin with the exception of the hardware.
What gauge strings do you put on Big Muddy mandolins/mandolas?
We use GHS medium light strings (11-16-24-38). You can use any string that you feel good about. Medium gauge strings are okay to use but we do not recommend them as they will stress the top a bit too much.
Do you make 'left-handed' mandolins?
Yes, we make all of our models available as left-handed mandolins at NO EXTRA CHARGE.
Do you know who holds the major league record for sliding into second base head first?
Are there any shipping costs?
Yes. We charge a flat-rate $25 anywhere in the US ($55 for international shipments). Most of the time its a money loser for us losers! But do we care...................................???? I guess not.
Is there a truss rod in the Big Muddy mandolin/mandola necks?
We use a hollow, square steel truss rod in our necks. They are plenty strong for the shortness of a mandolin neck. It is the same material that one of the oldest American guitar companies uses in their guitar necks. No, our Big Muddy mandolin/mandola necks don’t bow out of shape.
What is the “wide neck” model?
The “standard width” of a mandolin is 1-1/8″ at the nut.
Our wide neck model is 1-1/4″ at the nut. It was developed because of our car mechanic who is 6’4″ tall and has fingers like Polish sausages. He always wanted to play mandolin but found the necks too small for him to finger, so we made this Big Muddy mandolin’s neck wider.
It is great for those coming over from guitar and for those who have larger fingers.
What is the scale length for the Big Muddy mandolins and mandolas?
For the Big Muddy mandolins we use the standard American 13-7/8″ scale. For the Big Muddy mandolas we use 15-1/2″.
We also offer the violin scale which is about 13". It was the original mandolin scale of the Italian mandolins that mimicked the scale of violins. Many people with smaller hands like this one as do many violin players coming over to mandolin.
Do you offer a radius fretboard on your Big Muddy mandolins?
Our new HR series comes with a radius fretboard. You can have a radius fretboard on any Big Muddy mandolin for an upcharge. You can add it to your mandolin order by looking under "accessories" and adding it to your cart.
Do you offer Pickups for your mandolins?
Yes, we do. We have been using K&K Twin Internal pickups. They seem to be a good fit for our mandolins and customers give positive feedback with them. If you have a different pickup in mind we can install anything you like.
What is your return policy?
If you have any concerns, questions, or are thinking about making the terrifying decision of returning your mando, please call or email me.
WARRANTY INFORMATION: All Big Muddy mandolins are warranted for a full two years from the time of purchase. The warranty covers all areas of construction and any cracks not related to abuse. It does not cover normal use or wear to frets, finish or wood deterioration due to normal playing habits.
Why do you hand print your shipping labels?
Okay, I'm a dork. I just love using my fountain pen as opposed to computer printed labels. Call me and old dude, I don't care.