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Thread: S.S.Stewart, New York

  1. #1
    giuseppe severini
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    Default S.S.Stewart, New York

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    Registered User Pete Summers's Avatar
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    And?

  3. #3
    giuseppe severini
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    I know nothing about this instrument. I am fixing it for a friend, but can you tell me something?
    Bye, G.

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    Giuseppe, from what I know the Samuel Swain Stewart company began in Philadelphia in the late 1870s. Stewart made his name making banjos, many of which are still highly regarded. He passed in the late 1890s. His company name was purchased by a firm named Buegeleisen & Jacobson (around 1915) who were located in New York (hence the two cities on your label.) You'll see both SS Stewart and B+J labeled mandolins but it is most likely that other companies made the instruments.

    Your mandolin looks like many a model that came out of Chicago, the headstock and body shape being most similar to instruments made by Lyon + Healy, but more likely by Regal. (The incestuous nature of the main Chicago instrument companies makes some identifications difficult for me.) My hunch is that yours was made in the 1915-25 range. (A bit broad timeframe, I know, but the quality of this style mandolin dropped off in the mid-late 20s.)

    I've had a few similar canted top/flat back mandolins from Chicago. Some, with nice spruce tops and rosewood or mahogany backs can sound quite nice. Yours looks like it has a nice ebony fretboard (if I am seeing it correctly) which is also a nice feature. I've got a set of Dogal Calace strings on a Chicago spruce/rosewood mandolin and it sounds very very sweet.

    Questi possono buoni mandolini. Migliaia di questi sono stati fatti, ma possono essere reali tesori. Spero che il tuo uno.

    Mick
    Last edited by brunello97; Apr-10-2012 at 10:17pm.
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  5. #5
    giuseppe severini
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    Thank you very much Mick!
    The fingerboard is really the best part of the instrument, being real ebony.
    The top is not bad, the ebony bridge is nice, the bone nut too, the rest is not special.
    When I finish the restoration I will let you know about the sound.
    The top was seriously bent around the sound hole, at the sides of the fingerboard, and I had real trouble to flatten it.
    What do you think about the way (upside down) they used to put the machines on mandolin heads before WWII in USA?
    I see that they began putting them the right way only after the war. i know this could be quite a delicate matter, but can you say honestly what do you think about?
    Un caro saluto,
    Giuseppe

  6. #6
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    Quote Originally Posted by giuseppeseverini View Post
    What do you think about the way (upside down) they used to put the machines on mandolin heads before WWII in USA?
    i don't think that was a regular practice in the US -- I assume you are talking about tuners that turn the opposite from what we are now used to. hey, my prized 1904 Embergher has tuners that turn the wrong way. I figure there is some story there, like Luigi said to his assistant -- fit this mandolin with those tuners after lunch and he may have had a little too much vino...
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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    Giuseppe, I don't think it is a 'sensitive' topic at all. My US and European mandolins tuners turn the same way, whether the tuners are above or below the gears. For instance, the tuners on my '16 Gibson are set up (and turn the same) way as my '03 Vinaccia and Puglisi. As well as my Vegas and Favillas from the same era.

    Mick
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  8. #8
    giuseppe severini
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    OK, it is what I expected to listen, more or less, really !
    But what do you think about my Steward mandolin?
    Average value?
    I saw a similar mandolin at Guitar center, in Manhattan, last week. Really better, "Washburn model" for 600 $
    G.

  9. #9

    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    You guys who live in America are SO fortunate to be able to find gems like this tucked away in stores and attics all over the country.

    Envious, that's me.

    ron

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    Registered User billkilpatrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    ciao giuseppe - may i ask how this mandolin came to be in your hands in sicily? - bill

  11. #11
    giuseppe severini
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    Hi !
    The instrument is not mine. It is of a friend of mine in Manhattan. She bought it years ago in an auction!
    Bye
    Giuseppe

  12. #12
    Registered User billkilpatrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    ahhh - reason i ask is because a friend of mine here in toscana gave me her grandmother's bowlback mandolin - made in the u.s. and shipped to her, where she lived at the turn of the last century, just south of naples. there's "ruggine" between poste italiane and the u.s. mail service in that it is not permitted to send or receive musical instruments between the two. i suspect this was caused - way back when - by immigrant italians manufacturing musical instruments in the u.s. and flooding the market here.

    once or twice, when i was a kid in new york, i went down to the bowery with a friend of mine to look for used guitars in pawn shops. i remember seeing many, many bowlback mandolins but wasn't (alas) interested in buying them.

  13. #13
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    That looks to me like Regal mandolin that was built for the trade and labeled by SS Stewart. This was a common practice in the US. The value on a good day would be somewhere between $100.00 and $300.00 US depending on the condition. The same style mandolin with other labels or no label at all is available regularly on eBay. These are not rare. A person that collected the marque might be interested simply because of the label.

  14. #14
    giuseppe severini
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    Very interesting indeed. Mandolins like drugs. Excellent!
    Thank you very much
    Enjoy Italy
    G.

  15. #15
    giuseppe severini
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    Thank you very much.
    G.

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    Per coincidenza, ecco un altro Stewart mandolino on the ebay.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-S-S-...#ht_500wt_1221

    Looks like a mahogany back and sides, maybe? Hard to tell about the neck condition, but the back repairs look simple enough. For $99 this would probably be a fine enough mandolin.

    Mick
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    For $99 this would probably be a fine enough mandolin.
    Needs a bunch of work... tuners rusted, back warped and open near neck joint. The side view of the neck might indicate warpage also. The open bid might be OK if you want a small project. Not too shabby tho I guess esp if the top is not warped -- can't quite tell that.
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    Jim

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  18. #18
    giuseppe severini
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    Wow ! it looks exactly the same. $99 it's really too hi prize. There is too much work to do for uncertain result.
    I have finished repairing mine and I am going to put very very light strings on it. (0.30, 0.22, 014, 010) It looks to me really very weak. The strings they put on it were so thick they caused obviously the instrument to warp and bend.
    G

  19. #19
    giuseppe severini
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    E' ugualissimo al mio ! grazie!
    G.

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Needs a bunch of work... tuners rusted, back warped and open near neck joint. The side view of the neck might indicate warpage also. The open bid might be OK if you want a small project. Not too shabby tho I guess esp if the top is not warped -- can't quite tell that.
    Could be a Jake special. The tailpiece could go for $50. The side view you posted, Jim, does make the neck or top look iffy, but it is hard to tell. If the back is half off, getting it off to rebrace the top would be pretty straight forward. Se il collo.. una storia diversa.

    Mick
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  21. #21
    giuseppe severini
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    Il "collo" e' ... STORTISSIMO !!!
    si vede bene.
    G.

  22. #22
    Registered User billkilpatrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    quanto mi piace, giuseppe, ma sarebbe meglio parlare in inglese - i moderatori si innervosiscono -

  23. #23
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    Man, I need to learn Italian... this Google translate does not cut it!!

    Man, ho bisogno di imparare l'italiano ... Google translate questo non serve!
    Jim

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  24. #24
    Registered User billkilpatrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    jim - i know just the place! - time it for the olive harvest and we'll work something out!

  25. #25
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: S.S.Stewart, New York

    Jim, I have an nice little "Italian Word a Day" app on my phone. Trouble is, with every new word I learn, I forget one. (Just like in English.)

    Bill, do you have olive trees?

    Mick
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