News and Reviews

Jeff Cowherd introduces the new electric mandolins at Summer NAMM '09...

Ted Eschliman’s “News & Reviews” of JBovier mandolins can be read here:
JBovier Mandolins Review
JBovier “EMC” Series E-mando Review
JBovier F5Z African Zebrawood Mandolin Review


The measure of any product is the satisfaction and endorsement of it's customers. Read for yourself some of the following recent testimonials of satisfied JBovier owners:

"Ancient Tones are abounding in these here hills. I recently bought an “F5-Vine” from Rudi Vogel... and love it! What about an Instrumental called BOVIER HEIGHTS for an idea? Twin Mandos in the garden with Blackbirds singing and the odd Woodpecker doing his thing on the nearest Apple Tree… Take it Easy." - Trev Morriss from Berg, Germany

Trevor Morriss playing "Taffy on the Tamar River"

Darren Nicholson

"My new A5-X has a really cool tone ...and it's about to get the heck played out of it. I played it on most of the new Balsam Range CD, “Last Train to Kitty Hawk”. There was one track I took 4 strings off and really got a cool sound... I was able to bend the a tele. :) Thanks for all your help. I love it! – Darren Nicholson, “Balsam Range”

Shayne Bartley

Shayne Bartley, exclusively plays a JBovier F5 for recording and performing.
He has worked with many bands in the business including Karl Shifflet, Dave Evans, Charlie Sizemore, The Rarely Herd, The True Grass band, and Unlimited Tradition. Shayne now performs with his brother Rick, and their band, as “The Bartley Brothers”. The photo shows Shayne on stage at SPBGMA 2010 playing his JBovier “F5Z”.


Elmer Burchett, Jr, performs with Pine Mountain Railroad using a JBovier F5 and a JBovier banjo. Both instruments can be heard on the new Pine Mountain Railroad CD. Elmer has also played with Lou Reid, Ronnie Bowman, Ricky Skaggs, Tony Rice, David Parmley, Dale Ann Bradley, Clyde & Marie Denny, Gary Brewer, Mountain Heart, Rambler's Choice, Wyatt Rice, and Santa Cruz.


"I play my JBovier F5-Vine on a regular basis. It has a great tone and great string action… An all around good playing mandolin at an affordable price. It has been a great experience playing with this well built mandolin." - Jordan Rice

"First, thanks for the setup with the action low, etc. I put Thomastiks on and raised the bridge some with good results. As expected the guys at Fretted Instruments in Birmingham accused me of stealing another mandolin (cost wise). Jeff, I've got over 20 good mandolins and I'd put this one up against any of them. The workmanship, tone, sound and playability are really good. I'm wondering if I already sent a report from my computer at work cause it seems I've said all this so many times. I like my Collins MT, Parsons A, Weber Gallatins(2), Yellowstone, Mann A, Davids and others. (I've got a beautiful blond Eastman that sounds tinny, even after the voodoo stuff.) Right now the JBovier is what I practice on and plan to take for any playing I may do any time soon. I played next to a Gilchrist Tuesday and held my own in every respect (no shame). Thank you for picking out a fine looking and playing instrument for me. I'm a very satisfied customer." - TP

"I received my JBovier on Monday and it is everything you said it would be. The satin finish is beautiful and the tone and action are great. I love the way it sounds - it has a full rich tone that I never thought I could get for an “F” style mandolin. My mandolin teacher was very impressed and when he heard the price, he asked for your contact info. He thought it was a great deal. It plays great, I don't even miss my flat wound strings on it, and I am really glad I upgraded. Thanks for recommending it." - Kevin

"...I got her !and W0W! I am impressed. Very loud, very easy to play...much more comparable to the Phoenix than she is to the Gallatin. She is much prettier than I was expecting too... this is the 2nd/utility/knockaround mando that i have been searching for. The sound is quite impressive when compared against ...the 2 MKs that I have tried. It certainly does NOT have that tinny, constricted sound of many "entry level" mandos (or the Rigel Q95 that i tried). The action is perfect,...and the travellite case is fantastic." - Joel

"Hi...I met you at SPBMA in Nashville a couple of weeks ago and bought one of your mandolins for my son to learn on. He and I both are enjoying the instrument and wanted to send you a picture of him with it. His name is Robbie Johnston, Ellisville Mississippi. He is 10 years old and just began to get interested in playing a mandolin so I wanted to buy a quality instrument at a reasonable price. Thanks to you I found both. Thanks," - Frank Johnston


"...I really like Rusty Butterfly (Vine model) alot. It is a keeper. I will play it with pride. My band members know alot more about craftsmanship than I do and they say it is really really well made. Our fiddle player just bought a mandolin that he loves, but he says mine is way better. He should have waited. Our banjo player is very critical of anything that isn't a Gibson or a Martin or a few other high up there names. He is very impressed. I love the sound and the beauty speaks for itself. Hats off to JBovier. Great piece of work. Thanks so much for your great service and . Once this name gets out look for a booming business. I'm glad I got to be a part it's beginning. The price was great. Thanks for everything." - Carolyn Vigers


"The JBovier arrived on Monday. Thanks for setting it up and getting it to me so quickly. The setup was perfect, I'm really impressed with it. Plays real nice, and the tone and volume are comparable to a lot of expensive mando's. I will definitely be using it for gigs, it sounds and plays good right out of the box. Intonation is perfect all the way up the neck. I'm very satisfied. Thanks again." - Sam

"Had the opportunity to compare a couple JBovier mandolins (at High Strung Music, Springfield, MO) to a couple Eastman mandolins… and the JBovier won hands down. I've played several at your booth the past couple years at SPBGMA and have been very impressed for the investment."00- John Amann


"I bought a JBovier Jerusalem Ridge edition mandolin from you at the Jerusalem Ridge
bluegrass festival. It is a great instrument. It plays really good and sounds even better. Thanks a bunch!" - John from West Virginia


The little beauty came yesterday and she sounds sweet as ever - if not
sweeter (than at NAMM)! It's like a new girlfriend, I can't take my hands off'n her!
Thanks so much, a pleasure dealing with you, Jeff. –Will Patton


I have to say your mandolins are really great stuff. I showed it to my mando teacher who endorses and also recommends Eastman instruments and he was positively surprised about the high quality and the great looks of the Vine. The sound is loud and barky but also warm and deep. That is why I preferred it to an Eastman 515. I really enjoy it and can't let my fingers off it. Best regards.Jörn Erdmann, Germany


"The JBovier is a great mandolin, I love mine! It will stand up to many higher end mandolins in tone, power and looks... and the price is right! Jeff was super to work with and very accommodating. Well worth the drive to Walton, KY." – Anna U. Denison, Knoxville, TN

Anna and I had heard so many positive reviews on the JBovier mandolins that we were literally driven (500 mile round trip from Knoxville) to try them out. Needless to say, we each came home with a new mandolin! My F5-Vine has a wonderfully big sound and great tone on the bottom-end notes, which my last mando was lacking. It is a joy to play. Soon after that, I ordered a JBovier A-4 ... and I love it too! I was playing a Bach minuet on it this afternoon. Thank you Jeff -- Two thumbs up for JBovier! – Sue Nevedal


"I’ve been playing my new F5 tradition with the bridge you set up especially for my big fingers and it is great!" - David Back, Conover, Ohio


"Here I am with the J Bovier F5, I am really enjoying this great mandolin.Getting lots of compliments from other players (on the mandolin). " - John Tittle from Harper, TX


"Hi Jeff. Here I am jamming with some church folks in my home. I am really enjoying the new Tradition. The more I play it the more I am discovering its character. It has a warm side but will give you a little snarl if you push it. I like it so much that I may just contact you about becoming a dealer! Regards" - Kevin Thompson


"I love the JBovier I purchased. It looks and sounds great and I've even noticed an improvement in my playing. Of course this may be because I haven't put it down since I brought it home." – Mike Seley, Williston, FL


"My new JBovier is a great mandolin. Beautiful, bold and is so comfortable to play."
- Roland Johnson


"My JBovier F5 Vine stands up against other 'big name' mandolins many times the cost, and other pickers are amazed at the quality, sound and tone when they hear and play it. Jeff does an amazing job at customizing the setup to fit your individual preference and playing style." - Ron M from Pennsylvania


"I wanted to let you know how happy I am with my new JBovier F5-Tradition mandolin… and can't put it down! It has incredible sound and the fit and finish are fantastic." - Greg Patton Mesa, Arizona


"A friend of a friend owns a JBovier and loves it, so I took a leap in the dark and ordered one without testing it out for myself. Well, after about 5 months I'm still not regretting it. Beautiful craftsmanship and beautiful tone. Exactly the kind of warm, deep tone I was looking for. And the volume is great. I just love it. Having this instrument has renewed my passion for music." - Anna Vecchiarelli


"I've been inspired by my new J.Bovier "Dorado". I've had it a week and just can't put it down! I've added 4 more fiddle tunes to my repertoire and written a new one ... not bad for one week! It not only has great tone and playability but it's also "mighty purty" - Dan Zahn

"I play with a local group "Joyful Noise" and give JBovier a 5-STAR rating. This mandolin is one fine instrument. It produces a great sound, stays in tune, has great intonation, and best of all, you can afford one! Save your marriage... Go JBovier." - Don Wilson, Independence, Kentucky

"I just bought a new JBovier "A5" mandolin (from Acoustic Music Company in UK) and I love it. Lovely tone and a nice ring. This one seemed to be the easiest to play out of the ten or so instruments I compared it with." - Jim Batty

Derek Brandon and his JBovier mandolin "I definitely feel like this was the sound I wanted… and well within the price range! It sounds, looks and feels just right! I am sure it will provide many happy years of pickin and grinnin! Thank you Jeff!"
- Derek Brandon, “Four on the Floor” - Portland, OR
Steve Erbe and his JBovier F5-Tradition mandolin "I recently received my JBovier "F5-Tradition" mandolin and am very pleased with it. I decided to have my instructor check it out and we were both impressed with its tone and quality of construction. What particularly drew me to this purchase were the following features; radiused ebony fretboard, large fret wires, and abbreviated fretboard extension, as well as knowing that Jeff had personally done the setup. Thanks again Jeff!" - Steve Erbe
Steve Berlew This mandolin has all the right stuff! The tone is great and the radiused fretboard makes for comfortable playing. I have played several mandolins lately, including some "high dollar" models. I think the JBovier is by far the best value mandolin. Thanks.
- Steve Burlew
Dave Bagdade " Hi Jeff. I’ve been delighted with my “F5Z” ever since I bought it, and it will be my primary bluegrass mandolin for the foreseeable future. Here’s a shot my wife took of me within minutes of buying it…note my pleased expression. I look forward to an association with you and your company. Congrats again on a wonderful instrument. Cheers."
- Dave Bagdade
Thomas Frank "When it was time to step up to a better mandolin, I looked all over!
After checking out many different styles I came upon the JBovier F5 “Vine” I'm playing now.
I couldn't be happier. The tone really has opened up, facilitates my needs greatly, and for an excellent cost!
Thanks JBovier!"
- Thomas Frank, Cincinnati, Ohio
E-Mando Testimonials:
Dale Ward and his new E-mando. Dale Ward is the 1st JBovier E-mando customer.

Dale Ward is the 1st JBovier E-mando customer.

"Hi Jeff, I just picked it up from the post office yesterday morning. It is great! I just love it and it looks so cool. It is a blast to play and sounds great. I played it through my Marshall and it sounds better than I ever expected. Thanks for a fine mandolin and you were very good to deal with." - Dale Ward

Bucky Baxter Bucky Baxter, Multi-instrumentalist for Bob Dylan, Steve Earl, REM, Ryan Adams, & more.
Sam Bush with JBovier E-mando Sam Bush with a new JBovier E-mando at NAMM Summer 2009.
Sam Bush and Jeff Cowherd at NAMM Summer 2009 Sam & Jeff at NAMM Summer 2009.
Roland Johnson and JBovier EMC e-mando " I play my EMC every chance I get. The little jewel sounds great, plays sweet, and is simply beautiful. The neck is a pure delight, switchgear is well placed, and the fit and finish are fantastic. Thanks for another great Mando. "
- Roland Johnson, Sauk Rapids, MN
Clif Mayhugh jammin' on a JBovier ELS Clif Mayhugh, Jammin’ on a JBovier “ELS”
Jeff Cowherd and Stephen Mougin Jeff with Stephen Mougin showing off his custom Pearl Black “ELS” at SPBGMA 2010.

Mando Dave Bagdade “Mando Dave” Bagdade on an “EMC-5”.
After this show, a fan emailed Dave: “Love the funky sounds you pull out of that little guitar!! “

My slightly tardy Christmas present came today. It is a Vintage Cream JBovier ELS in a HSC. The neck is maple, the fretboard is rosewood and the double cutaway basswood body shows its grain beneath the slightly translucent finish. I was pleasantly surprised by the effect. Fit and finish are outstanding.

Of the 6 mandos I own, the neck on the ELS comes closest in feel to my Tacoma M3E which is high praise, indeed. These are the only two mandos I play that leave me totally unaware of the neck while playing. The frets are slightly radiused and appear to be about the same gauge as those on my Mandobird, though with 24 as opposed to 21 on the Mandobird. The body of the ELS was clearly designed to fit bodies of humans. The ELS is simply the most comfortable stringed instrument I own.

But where this mando really stands out is in the attention to the tone and range of the electronics. I have often thought that many manufacturers are content to design and build the instrument and just leave the electronics to whatever is either available or cost effective at the time. Not so with this instrument.

The tone, balance and control over voicing are remarkable. Since Jeff Cowherd is suited to say why and I'm not, I will add a quote from an email he sent me before the mandos were released.

"The JB-53 "Neck" & "Bridge" (each different) pickups will be rated at 6k each. They will have a wider internal "rail" that extends almost to the treble & bass edges of a standard sized P-bass style pickup COVER (no external change from original). This allows either 4 or 5 strings to be picked up without the need to install an "oversized" guitar pickup on a mandolin body. Since there will be no "poles", there will be no issues with strings lining up or losing output during string bending techniques. The "JB-53"s work through the 3-way switch as "single-coils" in neck & bridge switch positions, and then the two become a humbucker in the center switch position. The tone of this center position can be catered to the players taste by raising or lowering the independent pickups."

That's what Jeff said. I say "thank you".  - Bob Borzelleri

Hey all,
Met Jeff Cowherd today at NAMM and tried out the 4 string EMC and the 5 string EMC-5. The 5 strings are not on display, but if you ask Jeff he'll get them out for you.

WOW. Really nice work. Love the maple necks and fretboards (they're 2 piece). The frets are bigger than normal mandolin frets (.080), and I love them.

The instruments play well and sound great. Jeff has taken pains to get a good signal from the E string, and it worked. No drop off in signal strength on the E string compared to the rest as I played through the provided AER amp. Sweet and versatile sounds.

Jeff is going through a distributor for some of his sales, and that distributor hasn't picked up the colorful ones (candy apple red, butterscotch, green, blue) but they are carrying the translucent Vintage Cream and the Vintage Sunburst.

Oddly, I think I'm more interested in the 5 string than the 4. I was flying around on the 5 string very comfortably, and usually I'm trying to pick between thinking in mandola terms and thinking mandolin terms. There's definitely a JBovier Emando in my future. Birthday's coming in a couple of months!  - Daniel Nestlerode

More Satisfied JBovier Pickers...

Jeff Cowherd and Rattlesnakin' Daddies


Jeff Cowherd

Jack Lawrence

Aaron Blue

Shaun Kalis


Ashby Frank





Zach Haustrath

Tim Jackson


Joseph Fahy

Peter Mix

Amber Boyers







Andrew Vescivich

Jesse Moon

Logan Whitely

Mark Royal

Scott Risner

Bill Hardy






Sam McWilliams

Carl Coburn

Jason Wickland

Lee Oliver

Beth Habeggar

Paul Kondrat


Troy ChapmanTravers Chandler

Rick Harris

Troy ChapmanTravers Chandler