The J Bovier F5-T is an all-solid mid-range mandolin with a beautiful, vintage F-style design inspired by old-school mandolins like the Gibson F5. Made by a small team of luthiers, the J Bovier F5-T brings classic-style mandolins into the 21st century.
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I’m a music composer and mandolin enthusiast with several years of experience producing rock, folk and soundtrack music for several media. I try to use the mandolin as often as I can, as it always adds a very special and unique flavor to any track or song.
Join me as we take a close look at the J Bovier F5-T in all its glory.
About the J Bovier F5-T
J Bovier is a small company managed by Jeff Cowherd, who’s also in charge of designing and mounting most of the J Bovier mandolins. This company is a luthier-made small custom shop.
This unique and hands-on approach to creating instruments gives every J Bovier mandolin a personal and custom feel and look. This is quite rare to find nowadays, and it also means that there are very few J Bovier mandolins made each year.
Some of the old J Bovier mandolins had finish and body defects, but this was recently solved by changing the distributor. This really raised the overall quality of J Bovier mandolins, and in recent years their models started to get a lot of praise from mandolin players.
J Bovier has several mandolin series including the A5-T, F5-T, A5-S and F5-S. The letter “A” and “F” stand for the A-style or F-style body type. The letter “T” and “S” at the end means the Tradition or Special series.
The J Bovier F5-T is one of the best mandolins made by Bovier, as it offers an amazing sound quality for a reasonably low price.
The J Bovier F5-T is made of solid carved European spruce for the top and solid carved maple for the back and sides. It’s a very robust and solid body with a design that’s almost identical to the famous Gibson F5 mandolin.
Although it draws inspiration from that classic, the body of the F5-T has its own personal style and feel. This model looks like an updated Gibson F5, which is very attractive to players looking for inexpensive vintage F5 models.
The J Bovier F5-T has a quite comfortable body and a lightweight construction, which is also a big plus, as many mid-range F-style mandolins can be a little cumbersome sometimes.
The J Bovier F5-T has a very professional finish with single-ply ivory binding and beautiful ornaments on the headstock. It’s a simple but elegant design done with a lot of taste.
When it comes to the color, you can choose from sunburst or black-top, both with a beautiful gloss finish.
The nitrocellulose lacquer gives a minimal protection for the tonewood but provides excellent sustain and a more natural tone.
The overall look of this mandolin is really impressive. I personally really like the reddish tone of the sunburst finish, which makes this mandolin very distinctive and unique.
This model has a thin, solid Canadian maple neck. It’s a very comfortable neck, perfect for playing bluegrass and country music. I’d say it’s a quite balanced neck, a little bit on the thin side, but overall very easily playable for most players.
The fretboard is a classic ebony fretboard with dot inlays. It has a nice smooth action all around the spectrum. It’s very comfortable and easy to play, compared to other F-style mandolins.
The J Bovier F5-T has an ebony adjustable bridge. This is a very solid bridge that can be adjusted to any playing style. With some mid-range mandolins you might need to adjust the height of the strings to get more chop or clarity, depending on your playing style.
The J Bovier F5-T comes with a set of very reliable high-quality tuners. This is a big plus, as it will maintain the tuning of your instrument during long rehearsal sessions and live shows. In my opinion, the tuners on the J Bovier F5-T are of a way higher quality than those on any other mandolin at that price.
Pros & Cons
My Experience with the J Bovier F5-T
I played the J Bovier F5-T a few times and I really liked what I’ve seen so far. It’s a very pretty mandolin with a professional and clean sound. The build feels really robust and high quality. I personally really like the unique design on the headstock, which I haven’t seen on other mandolins.
This model also has very high-end hardware, including the tuners, tailpiece and bridge. This mid-range mandolin really feels like an expensive professional one when you take it in your hands. I was impressed with its quality, which was surprising coming from a small, almost unknown company.
The F5-T doesn’t require too much maintenance, although I recommend changing the strings and adjusting the bridge if needed. This will enhance the overall playability and tone clarity.
The J Bovier F5-T looks and feels like a custom mandolin, which will certainly attract players who want something different. Although some J Bovier models might be a little expensive, most of them are well worth their price.
The J Bovier F5-T has a rich and woody tone, which sounds better with each day, as the wood settles down and gives more harmonics and undertones. This model has the biggest voice and volume of all J Bovier mandolins.
This mandolin also has an amazing chop and great sustain, which makes it a perfect mandolin for rhythmic and solo performances. The J Bovier F5-T has a very versatile tone, and it can be used for almost any musical style.
J Bovier F5-T Warranty
Some online retailers offer a 2-year limited warranty, but this could vary depending on the website.
Where to Buy the J Bovier F5-T
As I mentioned before, J Bovier is a very small company, which means that most of their instruments might be sometimes difficult to find. But nowadays there are thousands of online retailers and music stores that offer many different mandolins, including J Bovier models.
Let’s take a look at some of the options we have here.
Amazon is one of the biggest companies on the whole planet. This was made possible by their commitment to the idea of online retail with an easy interface and accessible shipping all around the world.
Amazon started in 1994 as an online book retailer, but was able to expand to other products. Nowadays you can find almost any type of product, including acoustic instruments like mandolins.
One of the most useful features there are the customer reviews. That’s where you can find the real pros and cons of any particular model, which will make your decision so much easier.
There are several online retailers that are trying to compete with giants like Amazon and eBay. Some of them have been quite successful in finding their own unique niche.
A small website specializing in acoustic instruments like violins or ukuleles might have a much better selection of mandolins. This is why it’s worth your time to check some alternatives to Amazon and eBay.
Your Local Store
In your local music store you’ll probably find a limited selection of instruments, and more so uncommon instruments like the mandolin. But if you do, you can spend some time there and try out as many models as you want.
This is the best way to make sure your future instrument fits your playing style. You can also count on useful advice from the vendor, if you’re lucky enough to find a mandolin expert working there.
The J Bovier F5-T is an amazing mandolin for a surprisingly low price. It can outgun much more expensive models from Kentucky, The Loar or Eastman, as the sound quality is practically unbeatable.
If you’re looking for a unique and custom mandolin for a reasonable price, this model will exceed your expectations.
If you liked this read or have any doubts about the J Bovier F5-T or any other J Bovier models, feel free to drop a comment or share this article on your favorite social media.
Thank you for reading!
Stay safe, have fun, and as always, good luck with your sonic adventures!