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Thread: can anybody identify the manufcturer of this mandolin?

  1. #1
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    Default can anybody identify the manufcturer of this mandolin?

    I recently acquired this instrument through a barter for skilled labor deal.
    It appears to be built about the turn of the century.
    No identifying marks but an inlaid star @ the head between the tuners. The tuners appear to be original and I believe the bowl is Brazilian Rosewood.
    The4 gentleman I received this from repairs stringed instruments,
    believes it to be manufactured by Vega, reason being , he thinks Vega use to use an inlaid star as their mark.
    I've looked through hundreds of Bowlbacks and still haven't come across one with this mark.
    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank You,
    Lukabrasi
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  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: can anybody identify the manufcturer of this mandolin?

    I don't think Vega. I think Lyon & Healy/ American conServatory. The flowers are after-market and possibly the start as well. It looks like the#603 on this catalog page from around 1912.
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    Jim

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    Default Re: can anybody identify the manufcturer of this mandolin?

    Thank you for the information,
    I do realize the floral painting is probably by the, (or one,) of the owners and not original to the instrument, I do like it though. Sort of makes it a folk art piece as well.
    I was still looking for the inlaid star on the page you sent, which I didn't see. Do you think somebody may have done that as an after market thing as well?

  4. #4
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: can anybody identify the manufcturer of this mandolin?

    My typing is terrible: see above... I meant to say "The flowers are after-market and possibly the star as well."

    I believe that the star inlaid into the headstock was later in Vega's instruments, like after the 1920s and never appeared on bowlbacks AFAIK. Pictured: headstock of a cylinder back mandolin with inlaid star and silkscreened logo on 1939 electric mandolin.
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    Jim

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    Default Re: can anybody identify the manufcturer of this mandolin?

    Sorry Jim, I must have read over the star/start. I do appreciate your knowledge and time.
    I don't suppose you would care to guess its value.
    I was thinking anywhere between $200 and $400.
    Thanks,
    Lukabrasi

  6. #6
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: can anybody identify the manufcturer of this mandolin?

    Depends on the condition. However, despite all our efforts, midrange bowlbacks don't get much respect at least in North America.
    Jim

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    Default Re: can anybody identify the manufcturer of this mandolin?

    Jim
    I just had the chance to listened to your samples,
    Real nice, REAL NICE
    Lukabrasi

  8. #8
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: can anybody identify the manufcturer of this mandolin?

    Thanks, Lukabrasi!
    Jim

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    Playing lately:
    Ca. 1923 Washburn (L&H) Pro A -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- 1904 Embergher Type 3 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo

  9. #9
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: can anybody identify the manufcturer of this mandolin?

    It still amazes me how much unbelievably beautiful rosewood came out of the US east coast and GreatLakesRim bowlbackmakers from the turn of the 19th/20th C. No comparison to what was being used in Italy at the time. We were apparently getting the good stuff. Even on mid/lower models, these bowls were totally lickable. Maybe it was sourced through Grand Rapids/Chicago furniture makers? The rainforest was being decimated, I know, but many the modest US bowl has truly incredible wood. The low prices that these fetch is a shame for a variety of musical, craft and environmental reasons.

    Mick
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    Fix-R-Up-R Jake Wildwood's Avatar
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    Default Re: can anybody identify the manufcturer of this mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    The low prices that these fetch is a shame for a variety of musical, craft and environmental reasons.
    It's about word-of-mouth reputation more than anything else, methinks.

    Even people who have never held or tried to play a bowlback before repeat to me the "they're hard to hold" line when I talk about one. Most change their opinion after actually playing one that's properly setup and after learning a few positions that make them comfortable for extended periods.

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