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Thread: Bradbury Mandolin

  1. #1
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    I found a Bradbury mandolin in my mother's belongings. It has a flat back except for a small bowed area in the center. Date approximately in the early 1900's. It is pretty good condition and was told it could be restored to a good sounding instrument for a small investment. The case it is in is very unusual. It is tooled leather and has an end opening that shuts with a leather strap. It is heavily lined with a plush type lining.

    Any info would be appreciated. I can't seem to find any info online about it at all.

    I can post photos, if needed.

    Thanks
    Sandy

  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Sandy:
    Definitely post some photos. Very often these instruments from the period were made by a handful of manufacturers and can be indentified as such.

    Mugwumps/Mike Holmes lists two possibilities, assuming it is of American manufacture:
    Quote Originally Posted by
    Bradbury, Benjamin B. Brooklyn NY 1882-1890
    Bradbury - Kohler & Chase brand pre 1920
    Other than that we await your pics.

    Jim
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    What's best way to post pictures?
    Sandy

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    Hi Sandy,

    Grab a digital camara, snap a couple pics of the mando..... then upload them to your computer. After this would can attach the pics to your post here.

    Good Luck,

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    Bradbury was also a house brand of the Southern California Music Store and they subcontracted to various makers back east for the instruments that carried there label. At least some of which were made by Martin and the Larson brothers of Chicago.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (zstone @ Jan. 13 2006, 20:10)
    What's best way to post pictures?
    For more info, click here (from our fearless leader).

    Jim
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Sandy:
    Congratulations!. Your mom had good taste in mandolins. This bears exacting resemblance to a style 202 Vega cylinderback mandolin. Mahogany back and sides. Except for the back separation it looks like it is in good shape. Do you see any warpage on the top? That is one of the most common ailments of these mandolins.

    I assume that this is something you want to keep and play? If so, I would imagine that a competent luthier could get it in good playing condition for a reasonable amount of money.

    Here and follows are the photos you sent.

    I would love to see a closeup of the label.

    I checked again and Mugwumps has bradbury as a brand of Kohler & Chase. Holmes has no listing for a Kohler and Chase, tho there is Oliver R. Chase, Boston, MA 1882-1888 listed. I would surmise that Chase teamed up with Kohler and possible had Vega make this cylinderback under their brand name. It is esp likely since Vega was in Boston as well. This should date to about 1914 and after.

    Mugwumps has no mention od the Southern Music Company. Dan'l, where did you find that info?

    Jim



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    Another view, with the case. Std end opening leather case.
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    The bottom view showing the cylinder back.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Sandy:
    Very important! Do not put standard mandolin strings on this mandolin. Light gauge or even ultralight. Some folks like Thomastiks but use the Weich (light gauge) ones.

    Jim
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    Now there's a design that leaves little doubt as to origin!
    Bob DeVellis

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    There doesn't seem to be any warping on the top.

    I will try to get a picture of the label.

    Any idea on what a reasonable amount would be to repair and what the value is for an instrument like this?

    Thanks, Sandy
    Sandy

  13. #13
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Sandy:
    Reasonable amount depends on where you are, what your luthier charges and what is wrong with the instrument.

    If it is merely the back separating, then maybe $75-100. My experience is that it is always more than that. The frets may need to be levelled, the bridge adjusted, other small things.

    The worst on these tho is a warped top. next to that may be cracks but those are fixable.

    Jim
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  14. #14
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bradbury Mandolin

    Someone contacted me about another of these Bradbury cylinderback mandolins so I figured I would report back one little tidbit here. I am not sure where Mike Holmes got that Kohler and Chase connection, but there is some info on that music store:

    http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist/kandc.html

    It doesn't say where either Kohler or Chase came from but it could easily be the Boston area which would account for the connection to Vega.
    Jim

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  15. #15
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bradbury Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Mugwumps has no mention od the Southern Music Company. Dan'l, where did you find that info?

    Jim
    Since we're re-jiggering an old thread: Mike Longworth's Martin Guitars: A History mentions Martin building instruments for the Southern California Music Co. (SCMC) in the 1910's and '20's, and I saw a Larson Bros. guitar being sold on eBay labeled "Southern California Music Co."

    I don't know about the "Bradbury" house brand. Here's a link to the SCMC website. The store has been continuously in business since 1880.
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