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Thread: Not a Mandolin...But WHAT IS IT?

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Not a Mandolin...But WHAT IS IT?

    The top and back are both fully braced--top has at least two (one just past the end of the fingerboard and the other under the bridge area; two on the back-one visible through the sound hole and one across the lower bout). The strings are not permanently attached in any way and are "real musical strings" (but very old). See images below. I do agree that the peg winding is not "professional" but I don't think that sheds light on the issues at hand.
    Well then, that being the case, you don't have anything to lose by trying some light gauge mandolin strings on it, and see what you get. You could start with mandolin tuning, but you will find it too floppy to be playable. then just sneak the tension up a bit at a time, until you get a playable note. Then see what notes you have. I bet cgda would work, a 4th above mandolin, when using mandolin strings. What do I have to go on? Absolutely nothing! But my guess is as good as anyone else's at this point. If this thing was mine, that's how I would proceed. YMMV.

    What a kick it would be at a gig to put away your regular axe, pull this out from under your coat, and start wailing' on it!
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  2. #27
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    Default Re: Not a Mandolin...But WHAT IS IT?

    I'm going to go with piccolo mandolele or
    sopranino mandolele. It would be tuned GDAE, and be small like a uke.

    Or it was a poor man's mandolin; the builder saved on wood and strings...?

  3. #28
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    Default Re: Not a Mandolin...But WHAT IS IT?

    Quote Originally Posted by JL277z View Post
    I'm inclined to agree, especially since the strings are inconsistently wound onto the pegs. Look closely at the 2nd string peg and the 1st string peg (enhanced pic below). The 2nd string is wound backwards compared to the 1st string. Not a 'normal' configuration among most musicians, I'd say, unless there was some extenuating circumstance... maybe they wanted to avoid having the 2nd string cross directly on top of the 1st string peg, which seems to be happening over on the other side where it looks like the 3rd string crosses over top of the 4th string post.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    While there is no consistence, I had a friend with a Flamenco guitar with violin tuners that would wind the two E's backwards. It kept them straighter thru the nut and was easier tuning.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  5. #29
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Not a Mandolin...But WHAT IS IT?

    I would think it's a custom one-off child's instrument or a decorative instrument, maybe used in a comedic minstrel show, as previously suggested. Why so well made? Probably a requirement of the customer - or perhaps something a luthier required of his apprentice.

    You may never have an answer, but it's a fun conversation piece that elicits plenty of conjecture!
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  6. #30
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Not a Mandolin...But WHAT IS IT?

    The tailpiece is pretty impressive. It had to be a one off. It almost looks like a violin player wanted something to use a plectrum on instead of a bow. It looks pretty serious.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  7. #31
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Not a Mandolin...But WHAT IS IT?

    Obviously it's a Schmergel Mini-Devastator.
    Never say "bouzouki" to a TSA agent...

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  9. #32
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Not a Mandolin...But WHAT IS IT?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Ostrander View Post
    Obviously it's a Schmergel Mini-Devastator.
    Sacrilege!!
    Allen Hopkins
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  10. #33
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Not a Mandolin...But WHAT IS IT?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Ostrander View Post
    Obviously it's a Schmergel Mini-Devastator.
    No, those have 5 strings (four long and one short) and a skin or plastic head.

    -- Don

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  11. #34
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Not a Mandolin...But WHAT IS IT?

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    No, those have 5 strings (four long and one short) and a skin or plastic head.
    Heresy!!
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  12. #35

    Default Re: Not a Mandolin...But WHAT IS IT?

    Quote Originally Posted by multidon View Post
    Not buying the machete conclusion. Any that I have seen pictures of were invariably guitar shaped.
    Yep, I had one briefly. It had a tendency to go sharp.

  13. #36

    Default Re: Not a Mandolin...But WHAT IS IT?

    Quote Originally Posted by Petrus View Post
    Yep, I had one briefly. It had a tendency to go sharp.
    Nice one

  14. #37
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Not a Mandolin...But WHAT IS IT?

    Yeah, but it had a good chop and was a nice axe.
    Jim

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  15. #38
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    Default Re: Not a Mandolin...But WHAT IS IT?

    Late comer to this thread. Nothing to add, except, holy c@#$ this is one strange story. Seems like someone put serious work and care into this, but why? Is it an alien artifact? My tinfoil hat must be around here somewhere....

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