Important Notice from Gavin Baird: In 2010, I retired from instrument building. I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to all the musicians who have supported me in the past.
"Baird's creations are as good as the most expensive mandolins on Earth, which may sell for as much as $15,000."
Peter plays a custom eggplant-coloured A4 mandolin built to his personal specifications. If you want to hear what it sounds like, check out his CD - Meeting on Southern Soil - by Norman Blake and Peter Ostroushko.
Peter Ostroushko has come to be regarded as one of the finest mandolin and fiddle players in acoustic music. A world-class talent of enormous facility and sensitivity, his tours have taken him to the stages of clubs, performing arts centers, music festivals and theatres across North America and Europe.
"Gavin's guitars ring, sing, and fairly explode with sound. Flawless craftsmanship, the personal touch, the living woods - ahhh."
Dean plays a custom built small body all-mahogany guitar, now called the Dean Magraw Edition, lovingly referred to as "the dark one."
Dean is a lifetime musician, addicted to love. Expresses himself through his patented "Heavy Meadow" and "Naked Thumb" style on acoustic and electric guitar. Check out his award-winning, highly acclaimed solo CDs Seventh One and Broken Silence on Red House Records.
Minnesota Orchestra violinist, Kristin Kemper, enjoying playing her A4 Baird mandolin at a friend's home in Valbella, Switzerland after a demanding European tour with the Minnesota Orchestra.
Kristin plays an A4 mandolin finished in spirit varnish, Cremona plum colour. She would be happy to talk to you about her mandolin. Please contact her via Gavin Baird
"Gavin's mandolins are true works of art. I had the privilege of making occasional visits to his shop while he built my F4 and I got to see firsthand how his incredible technical expertise, meticulous craftsmanship, and pure artistic talent created the most gorgeous sounding mandolin I have ever played. The instrument has a huge round voice that's crystal clear and balanced in all registers, and its easy playability makes it hard to put down. His painstaking attention to detail also means it's a beautiful mandolin to look at, and I have lost count of the number of 'dropped jaws' on others who have seen and tried it. I have searched for many years to find the perfect mandolin, and Gavin built it. Thanks Gav!
Corey plays a blue F-4 mandolin finished in lacquer. If you want to hear what it sounds like, check out the Dust Poets CD - Lovesick Town.
Corey is a passionate player of Irish music on mandolin, tenor banjo, and guitar. He also records and tours frequently with the Canadian roots band Dust Poets.
"I have owned dozens of mandolins during my musical career (including Nuggets, Gibsons, a Givens, a Davis, etc.) and I can say that, without question, my Gavin Baird mandolin is my very favorite. Baird's mandolins (of which I've played 4) have a consistent purity and sweetness of tone that I've not heard in other mandolins. To my ear, the standard for mandolin tone set by Gibson and others is a bit harsh, or brash. Gavin's mandolins are not harsh or brash. They have a clarity and smoothness of overtone content that is exceptional --- which has really revitalized my love of the mandolin sound. I think my quest to find the ideal mandolin has finally succeeded.
Steve plays an F-4 mandolin finished in varnish which he calls "the best mando ever."
Steve Mullins lives in Colorado where he makes his living as a performer and teacher of mandolin and Flamenco guitar. He performs with the groups Laughing Hands, The New Mandolin Quartet, Ojaleo, and the New Land Balkan Band. He has earned a Master's degree in Music from the University of Colorado where his thesis dealt with the Mandolin Orchestra tradition from the early 20th century. He writes a "Global Mandolin" column for Mandolin Magazine and is president of Rhythm Muse Records.
"These are the most beautifully made and finely crafted instruments I have ever seen. The tone is strong and clear throughout the range with the perfect balance of projection and body. And they play in tune all the way up the neck! Gavin's mandolins sound and feel better than they look, if that's possible. Gavin's workmanship and attention to detail are some of the very best I've ever seen. He's got a hardcore passion for what he does and it shows from every possible perspective."
Fred plays matched green F4 and F5 mandolins.
Fred is a concert piano tuner technician and a mandolin enthusiast.
"I play a Gavin Baird guitar in our show and have received many compliments from members of the audience about the workmanship of the instrument. The sound quality is excellent, full and rich. It has a very attractive design to it. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to play this guitar for people. To me this instrument is not only a work of art, crafted by a true artisan, but its value is priceless as Gavin Baird is my father."
Brian plays a rosewood dreadnaught guitar.
Brian Baird plays with a family entertainment duo called Biff and Chet. They have been performing together for over 10 years in Manitoba and occasionally across the border into North Dakota.
David (KC) Cramer
"Although as Kansas City (KC) Cramer I'm known primarily as a harmonica player, I've actually been playing guitar for over 30 years. I've always had a 12-string guitar around of one kind or another. For the last several years it had been a 1965 Martin D12-18. When I had an opportunity a few years ago to play one of Gavin's 6-string guitars, I was stunned by its elegant sound and easy playability. I immediately asked the guitar's owner if he knew if Gavin had ever made a 12-string. Eventually I met Gavin and we talked over my requirements for the instrument; and I decided to commission the guitar I now play.
I can say several things about my Baird 12-string.
First, it's a beautifully simple guitar visually. It has an ebony fingerboard and distinctively shaped bridge against a clean Sitka spruce top with a very plain ebony rosette and bindings. The back and
sides are Sapele mahogany, and the head stock covering is Indian Rosewood. The main ornamentation is a small ebony disk on the head, on which is hand-painted a Russian medallion of a stag in a forest.
The intonation is eerily precise. I know Gavin has done considerable experimentation with acoustical structures and measurements; and I would say that my guitar is living proof of the value of his acoustical engineering approach. But one of the guitar's most unique qualities is that, while each string pair sounds perfectly clear and distinct while you're finger-picking or flat-picking, the instrument seems to almost have another gear, like an overdrive, that I don't hear in other guitars. When you really get cranking and do some power chording, it starts responding with great big, smooth, fat, "chunks" in which each chord is perfectly perceived, but the individual string sounds just disappear. It's actually kind of weird, but it sure feels great!
I'll just finish by saying that it's probably one of the finest 12-string guitars in existence, on any plane. Thanks, Gavin!"
David plays a 12-string dreadnaught guitar.
"Three years or so ago, I gave Gavin some rosewood that I had lying around I thought he could use it to make the sides of a guitar. I never gave it a second thought until one day Gavin handed me an OM guitar that he had just recently finished. It had rosewood back and sides. He asked me if I would play it and give him my opinion. We had been talking for some time prior about what I had been looking for in an instrument and I soon realized that he had indeed captured much of what I personally needed, in this little guitar.
At that time I owned two instruments that I was more than satisfied with. A 1964 Martin D18 and a 1924 Gibson F4 mandolin. This new guitar made the Martin seem lacking. Also, a while later, Gavin had made a new F4 style mando for a mutual friend and it also did more than give my F4 a run for its money. I began to see that if I had the courage of my convictions I would be using Gavin's instruments. I told him I had a new idea for a guitar and that if he would build it for me I would order a new mandolin as well. The guitar that we conceived is the "Dreadson Gibnaught"... A combination of an old Martin and an old J35 I once owned. That and many of Gavin's own great ideas resulted in the best and most personal guitar that I've ever owned. The mandolin, and I must say, I have never heard a better sounding F4 than Gavin's, has been more than a step up. It's simply great. I have since sold my Martin and Gibson and have not looked back.
Everywhere I play, people are always asking about these two wonderful instruments and I'm proud to say they're made in my home town by a good friend and great craftsman, Gavin Baird. Thanks Gavin."
Terry plays a model GD guitar and a plum-coloured F4 mandolin
Terry Barnett is a guitarist and mandolin player. He currently works out of his home town of Winnipeg, Canada, where he has been a fixture on the blues and jazz scene. Terry still travels with actor/singer Tom Jackson, Kiva, as well as his own group The Deluxe Chance Band. He has worked with guitarist Amos Garrett, songwriter Rick Neufeld, Jack Dekyser, Rita Chirrelli and many others. Terry also arranged and played all the instruments (except drums) on Marcel Soulodre's 2000 Prairie Music Award winning album Que Je Recommence.
"What can I say? It's great. The two things that impress me the most are the craftsmanship (if there are any flaws, I'll be damned if I can find any) and the punch - it has tremendous presence - and when I play it hard, it just responds like magic." D.G. - South Carolina
"I am very impressed most of all with the tone quality and purity of the notes and sustenance of the notes. It makes playing that much more enjoyable." D.C. - New Hampshire
"I have the A4 of my dreams at home at last. The mandolin is hauntingly beautiful and is exactly what I am looking for. Quite a masterpiece, I must say. It is the best mandolin I have ever played. Good work. My compliments to you. I'll be picking forever." J.B. - California
"It's the finest oval hole mandolin that I have ever played. Fit and finish are perfect as well. Gavin is a real great guy to deal with too." J.R. - Kansas
"By the way, I simply think that the finishes you do... colour, shading... are absolutely awesome." T.S. - Colorado
Gavin Baird | Sheba Musical Instruments
| Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada |
phone: (204) 772-7150