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small strings

Traditional and contemporary stringed instruments 

crafted in Northumberland



Welcome to Small Strings

We make traditional and contemporary stringed instruments — mainly mandolins (carved and flat top), fiddles and violas, and occasionally related instruments like mandolas, citterns and bouzoukis, and also guitars.

Many of our instruments are made on commission, but we usually have a number in stock. If you'd like to try our instruments, the easiest way is to pop by our stall at a festival or event (listed on the 'How to buy' page) or visit our workshop (visits by appointment only; please contact us for details). Often, some of our instruments are on sale at music shops (see 'Stockists' on the 'How to buy' page). To find out what we're making and doing now, click here for our latest news.



Instruments at BMG Festival, Glasgow, March 2016

Our instruments

Each instrument is unique and hand crafted from timber selected for its appearance and tonal qualities. We acquire our timber in small batches from reputable sources that place sustainability at a premium — for example, FSC-certified mahogany for our necks. When possible we use British timber, such as walnut and sycamore (a close relative of maple — ideal for mandolins and fiddles), thus minimising distance and therefore 'carbon footprint' (see Environmental Policy and Ethics). We never import part-made instruments to finish!

We use high-quality fittings like German-made Schaller machine heads and our own unique tailpieces specially made for us near Newcastle.

The combination of the wood, fittings and, of course, the skill and techniques used in the making, ensure that the instruments look and sound great.



We also undertake repairs to stringed instruments. Please contact us for a quote if your instrument needs attention.

About Small Strings

We are a partnership — Mark and Sue Mawby.

Mark makes the instruments and, as a musician (he can play all the instruments he makes), understands your needs as a musician — whether you're a professional looking for a bespoke instrument or a beginner. Sue does all the other things necessary to keep a small business going. If you'd like to know a bit more about us, click here.

Small Strings website last updated on 13 June 2018.

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