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600 3rd St
Rocheport, Missouri 65279
United States

573-698-3300

Buy custom, amazing, handcrafted mandolins and mandolas.  Mandolins are hand made in America.  Have yours custom built. 

Testimonials

Fans & Players

If our testimonials aren't enough proof, check out some videos of Big Muddy fans & players. We make quality instruments with impeccable sound, played by awesome musicians.

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Clear and Sweet When Played Quietly, Undistorted Clean When Played Loud.

I’ve owned three mandolins over the years. My M-11w jumbo is the best I’ve owned. I’ve played in small quiet jams where you could hear the crickets in the background and this mando was just so sweet. I’ve also played in some loud jams where it was played hard. It was able to be heard with jumbo guitars, lots of singers and other instruments.

The jumbo body projects well, the wider neck is great for old hands and the mahogany looks and sounds great. Sustain like a solid body electric, with nice overtones and buzz free over the entire neck. While it does have sustain when played hard it also has a light sweet sound when played softly. The range of clear volume is incredible.

I hope this is the last mando I own, but if it isn’t I hope Mike is still building them like this.

Most sincerely,
— Phil
I bought a Mini-Mo at Downtown Sounds in Northampton, MA a few weeks ago. I’ve played a plywood Kentucky for about 17 years, and I was with a friend who really wanted me to spend money on a new instrument. (What are old friends for?) The first store we stopped at had some 1920s mandos and some new Webers - they all sounded nice, but the Webers were about $2,500. Then we went to Downtown and the Mini-Mo was there with some Breedloves and another brand. The look of it really jumped out at me - love the satin finish and flat top - and I liked the sound better than the Webers. My (non-mando playing) friend agreed it had a great sound from across the room. I can’t tell you how happy I am that a really nice sounding and really easy-playing instrument is priced where it is. I’m not a flag-waver but the US part is very cool as well.

We went for lunch before buying it and I did a quick search on Big Muddy and couldn’t find one bad comment, and the guys at Downtown Sounds like you too. I’m not rolling in money so this is probably my mando for life and I feel good about that.

Thanks again for making great instruments that are affordable,
— John M.
For beginners and serious students Carlo Aonzo recommends Big Muddy mandolins. The quality of the wood and workmanship make these among the best value for the price.
— Carlo Aonzo
Mike,
That is quite an impressive testimonial given the Weber/Collings reputation. The thing is, this is not an isolated comment, but is similar to things people have said all over the web about your mandolins. Actually, a negative comment cannot be found about your instruments.

Someone will call your instrument a “starter mandolin” in a forum, then 25 other people will scold the person who made that comment, saying that their big muddy/mid-missouri is superior to whatever they had decided to “upgrade” to, and that they are selling their boutique mandolin and keeping yours!

Can I ask you, what is it (in your opinion) that causes many of your mandos to sound/play better than these $4,000 guys? You should feel really awesome about what you do. I mean, Weber and Collings are NICE mandolins, yet your mandolins according to many people sound/play in a superior fashion…… That particular mandolin with the mahog/rosewood sounds really cool! …….
— Nathan
Really fine sound and well-made. Another great Big Muddy
creation. Even my friend who is pretty critical of much of what is being offered for sale today was impressed.
Thanks very much…
— Ellis Seward
Excellent. It occurred to me last night that your making these instruments so simple and beautiful and our playing them increases the sum of human happiness in the world.
— James Girsch
Mike: I got my mandola about two weeks ago but was not able to play it much until last weekend. I’m very very happy with it. It is powerful and sweet - and it will sound better and better as I play it. I saw my friend in Minneapolis - the one who owns one of your walnut mandolins and in the year or so that he’s had it, the sound has matured wonderfully.
— James Girsch
Mike, Mike, Mike,

The mandolin arrived this afternoon and you’re gonna think I’m nuts but I actually got teary-eyed when I opened the case and took it out. It’s wild how a dream from 25 years ago can suddenly come true. Talk about a time delay.
The mandolin is absolutely beautiful and, not knowing a darn thing about the instrument, I promptly figured out how to tune it and even found a simple version of Charles Wesley’s hymn Aberystwyth online with tablature to pick out.

Less than 24 hours into it I have one song down and a million more to go. :o)

The sound is phenomenal, as all the reviews I’d read said it would be. Thank you. Thank you for putting your talent and your time into something so beautiful. It means a lot to me.

Oh, and extra gratitude to you for not selling me a mandolin Made in China. ;o)

Kindest regards,
— Marjorie Westmoreland
Hi Mike,
There’s a wonderful walnut addition to my home tonight, all because of you. I’ve named her Valerie. All my instruments get a name to match their personality.
It’s a stretch, but the path was Walnut, Wal, Val, Valerie... When her strings sing it’s enough to make you cry, or laugh, or both.
Thank you so much for what you do.
— Dean
Hi Mike!
How are things with you over in Rocheport?
It’s nearly a year since I made it down to you in Missouri. I’ve played some wonderful gigs with the gorgeous M2W mandolin I got from you. It has, in fact, made plenty of them wonderful for me, as it has been such a joy to play. As well as myself, it has absolutely charmed everyone who I have let have a go on it, as well as countless other musicians, audience members
and sound engineers. It is an absolutely brilliant mandolin, Mike, I love it to bits. It has an incredibly well-balanced, smooth, BIG tone, such a depth of sound from a wee thing! The acoustic sound really is magnificent. It’s great to play as well, it really responds so truly to what you give it.

As well as being played in every corner of Ireland, the mandolin has also been to Germany three times already for gigs, including one memorable show in September in the courtyard of a big 1000-year old castle in deepest darkest Bavaria! There should be some more things like that
coming up next year as well, as well as recording my next album. I’ve written several new instrumental tunes on the mandolin in the last year and one or two of them will be showcased on the new CD. I’ll gladly send you a copy when it’s done, sometime in spring hopefully.

I’ve run into a few Big Muddy mando fans on the internet - hey there’s even a facebook page! - but obviously not so many in person. I have educated an awful lot of folks about your brand (well to be honest the mandolin really introduces itself, I just fill people in on where it’s from), but the only other person in ireland I met who owns one was an old dude from Cork who came up to me at a gig and told me he bought one in a pawn shop in Denver! Needless to say, he loves it and he was equally excited about seeing my one...
Enough nonsense from me for now. Hope you’re doing well Mike, all the best buddy
— Robin James Hurt
Hi, I just wanted to write and tell you that I think your instruments are beautiful. When I started playing going on 10 years ago, I used to get annoyed when experienced people on the Mandolin Cafe would respond to the newbie questions of “What mandolin should I get for $x00?” with “buy a “Big Muddy”!”, because I thought- how can you make that recommendation without knowing the kind of music the person wants to learn to play? After playing a Big Muddy, and playing and owning a number of different instruments of varying quality, I realized why- a quality handmade oval hole flat top sounds a lot better with ALL styles than a junky import that *looks* to be the right style.

I am now an amateur luthier, and I really appreciate the understated beauty of a simple but elegant flat top A. I only build for personal use and friends/friends of friends, but if I can end up with instruments that sound and look half as good as yours, I’ll be happy. I hope you don’t mind my ramblings, and I wish you all the best in the future.
Merry Christmas,
— Darren
Mike,
After playing my mandolin for several hours last night, I have to say that I am 100% satisfied. Actually, I’m quite a bit beyond that - I’m thrilled. Of course, I am just starting, but was able to learn a couple of tunes already and have a long list lined up to attack. I am working mostly on technique at the moment, but hope to memorize a tune per night for a couple of weeks just to get my playing up to speed. A side benefit turned out to be that my wife really likes the sound to the point where she told me that of all my gear, the new mandolin is her favorite and she also said I wasn’t driving her nuts as I worked on some phrases over and over...

I appreciate the bridges with the weather swings we have here and will probably have to adjust the bridge position a little to ensure intonation up the neck. I will wait on that until the instrument
becomes accustomed to the winter weather here which is currently cold and very dry. I’ll also throw a humidifier in the case to ensure it doesn’t dry out. The instructions were great and very clear. And thanks again for your craftsmanship.

All in all, a most excellent day! I’ll have this with me until I die, especially since I was able to see it being born. I have names for all my instruments, and I’m thinking of naming this one Little Red after my wife and the Adirondack red spruce top. I’ll send a couple of MP3s once I get my chops up a bit. Take care and let’s stay in touch.
— Doug
Hi Mike,
Don’t know if you remember me but you made me a Big Muddy M4-W a few years back and sent it to me in Hong Kong. A friend of mine in the UK has just bought a new mando and I was wanting to show her a pic of mine - looking at the web I came across your new company, selling some familiar looking models. Hope all is working out OK for you.

I wanted to let you know that I have never regretted for a moment buying this instrument from you, I still love opening the case and seeing it waiting to come out to play, and it is a joy to play every time, and is a regular at every gig I play - whether in the rock band for those REM moments, or in the irish band. I have taken it with me on business trips and played it in
Irish pubs and hotel rooms in Singapore, Shanghai and Seoul and Taipei, so it’s pretty well travelled! I met a guy in a session in a pub in Shanghai who was playing a really cool and very old Gibson mando - he tried my M4 for size and said it was one of the few mandos he’d played which he honestly enjoyed playing next to his Gibson.

I get a lot of positive comments about its cool minimalist looks and the inlay on the back, and although I have a lot of guitars, I’ve never felt the need to get more mandolins! (Do have a Moon bouzouki though..) I don’t have the serial number any more, it starts 55.... but the rest of the
numbers are splashed out courtesy of a freak rainstorm that caught us out when we had left the gear outside in readiness for a summer evening gig. Would be interested to know if you have any other instruments this side of the world.

A couple of pictures attached for your interest so you can see how she’s shaping up....I know a couple of guys who work at music stores here in Hong Kong – if you’re interested in getting a couple of instruments on the shelves here, I’d be happy to help out :-)
All the very best,
— Mark Basford
Hi Muddy ones,
Just bought a Big Muddy M4 .... from Arthichoke music in Portland, OR. I love it. It’s easier to play than my fancy pants scrolly F5, and light enough to travel on the bus with it. Enthusiastically,
— Loretta Callahan
Mike:
The mando arrived safely last week. Been playing every day. A great instrument!! Sounds great and suits my ham-sized hands just fine. Looking forward to playing in various jams over here so people can drool over its tone and looks. Many thanks for your efforts..
— Jim
Mike — One very cool mandolin arrived safe and sound today. Can’t tell you how much I appreciate your efforts on it and how impressed I am with your business philosophy and integrity. (I just hope your dark roast gets there as promptly as the mando got here!) Anyway, thanks again ... you have a Big Muddy fan and advocate for life ... and if ever I could do anything for you I would not hesitate. Thanks again. Wes (playing a Big Muddy Mando, and wearing a beret and a smile)
— Wes Carson
Mike,
I just wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed my M-2W mandolin and thank you for building such a great instrument.

PS. I’ve had a chance to have a proper play and the sustain is quite incredible. Is that the red spruce? A fine instrument all round.
Thanks again
— Troy Haverkamp
Hi!
I just wanted to let you know how much I love my “Big Muddy” M-1 mandolin. It is my first mandolin and I picked it up at a Guitar Center (in Attleboro, MA, of all places) used about a year ago. I have made back what I spent tenfold already using it onstage in live theatre and shows with my band. This summer I’m acting at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival in Bloomington-Normal, and your mando is featured in three out of four shows! The directors love the look and sound, and so do I- timeless and rustic, yet refined, and the logo is on top of the headstock, which is a huge plus. It is a joy to play and I hope that I will be able to use it for the rest of my career. It is rare that one finds such fine craftsmanship at such a great price. Thank you.
— Nile Hawver
Mike,
My new mandolin arrived early this afternoon. I let get accustomed to our weather and just tuned it up a few minutes ago. I got out my walnut back mandolin you built and played the same song, going back and forth between the two. Being a novice, in music, i didn’t understand when I read comments about an instrument having a bright sound or a woody sound or whatever. After playing these two I do now. The M-11 has such a rich tone to it and the walnut mandolin, at least to me, has a brighter sound to it. I love them both. Without going on, and boring you, I want to tell you how much I like the new mandolin. I am looking forward to practicing and playing it and the other two for a long long time to come.

Thank you, so much, for using your skills, knowledge, and care that you have put in to building my much appreciated instruments.
— Jim Farris
Greetings from Arizona-
I just bought a used “Big Muddy” M-4 and dumped my chinese mandolin.

I am learning the instrument and hope to be playing this thing for years and years. The local Folk Shop says that your mandolins are magnificent instruments- their words, not mine. Thank you for making these in America.
You rock, and someday soon, I will too.
— Dave Burnham
I’m gigging musician up in New York City. I received one of your MW-O mandolins as a late birthday present. Prior to this I was playing a really cheap mandolin that I was constantly fighting to play. When I’d go up the street to Mandolin Brothers to check out their very nice selection I was always upset that anything that was really easy to play and sounded good cost well over a thousand dollars. Very disheartening for a broke college kid. Enter your mandolin. Super easy to play with great intonation up and down the neck. Great warm and bright tone! Very articulate even when compared to carved top mandolins costing several thousand dollars. Its also loud enough to play around with a couple of guys on acoustic guitars and an upright bass and still be heard clearly.
— Andrew
Hi,
My Mandolin Player Moses McKinley is a certified luither and he plays one of your mandolins. It is hands down the best mandolin ever. I can not believe the amount of abuse that it is capable of withstanding and how well is sounds and performs.

He said today “I would like to take a moment to plug Big Muddy Mandolin Co. in Missouri. I play/abuse one of their mandolins, and I have put it through some serious beatings. It sounds wonderful, plays great, and has forced it’s way into my heart. If you are looking for a mandolin, you can’t go wrong here.” I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know we are out there appreciating your hard work when so many other brands are making crap and moving to china, you are producing a true quality product. Keep up the hard work,
— Nick Passey, guitarist of FOLK HOGAN.
My name is Moses. I play mandolin in the band FOLK HOGAN, and I play a mid-missouri mandolin (“Big Muddy Mandolin”) which appears to be the same company as yours? I am also a luthier, and I would like to say thanks for the mando. My dad gave it do me when I was eighteen, I didn’t play it much for a very long time. I was asked to join a band to play mandolin and having a background with many other stringed instruments, I taught myself to play. I left that band to attend the Roberto-Venn school of Luthiery in Phoenix Arizona. I am now a humble instrument repair man with dreams of getting back to building instruments.

About a year ago I started FOLK HOGAN with a few friends and we have been gaining a lot of momentum. I have tried a lot of different mandolins, but my Missouri has more headroom and a more suitable tone for what I play. I have abused my mandolin, I will not be shy about that fact. I have replaced the nut, re-glued both of the sided which were cracked due to an overzealous stage antic.

I am very pleased with it as it has suffered some blows & still sounds great. I have a very percussive style so the response and the headroom I get out of that spruce is perfect. I just wanted you to know that your mandolins are getting used, and in my case overused! Thank you very much.
— Moses
Hi Mike,
I came up a couple of years ago with my wife on a Sunday afternoon and purchased an M-4. It was my second Mandolin(first was a china cheapy) his past summer I bought one of your mandolins off craigslist from a guy in St. Louis....it has rosewood back and sides with a mahogany top...very sweet sound. I have also have a Weber and a high end Collings. Just wanted you to know, if I could only own one, it would be a Big Muddy....the rosewood with mahogany top would be my choice at this point. Thank you for making such wonderful, easy to play instruments!
Sincerely,
— ROB Souden, Jefferson City, Mo.