View Full Version : Ditson Mandolinette

Mar-08-2004, 8:47pm
I'm having fun with my digital camera. Heres an old Mandolinette labeled Ditson, but who made it??

Mar-08-2004, 8:50pm
Heres another angle.

Mar-08-2004, 8:52pm
And heres the front http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Mar-08-2004, 8:55pm
Last one http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif

Bob A
Mar-08-2004, 10:13pm
I don't know who made it, though Martin did some work for Ditson. But it sure is gorgeous. Drop me a note when you get tired of it!

Mar-09-2004, 9:27am
In doing some web searches I found this in regards to Lyon & Healy:

The Chicago-based company was an outgrowth of the Oliver Ditson Company of Boston, a multi-faceted concern that published music and distributed instruments. In the 1860s and 70s, Ditson realized that he could sell more of the music his company published if there were more retailers around the country. Thus, he encouraged enterprising associates, including two of his sons, to seek opportunities for developing music stores in various cities. Ditson, it seems, helped these associates scout out potential locations and provided encouragement and, no doubt, helpful advice. Two of his proteges from Boston went to Chicago in 1864: George Washburn Lyon and Patrick Joseph Healy.

Don't know if this helps or not.

Bob DeVellis
Mar-09-2004, 9:42am
There are a number of possibilities, including Martin and Vega. If it ever gets taken apart, a dovetail neck joint would speak in favor of Martin and a tapered tenon, in favor of Vega. It's also possible that Ditson had some other jobber, perhaps another shop in Boston, turn these out. John C. Haynes had the biggest factory in town (Boston) and made instruments sold under others' brand names, so that's another possibility. I don't know the "look" of Haynes/Bay State instruments well enough to guess if he's the guy. It's a beauty, in any case. Speaking of neck joints, how's the neck angle?

Jim Garber
Mar-09-2004, 9:53am
Gregg Miner, in his usual way has ammased almost everything you need to know about mandolinettos on this page (http://home.earthlink.net/~gcminer/mandolinetto.htm). There is even a Ditson that resembles yours.

You did not post a headstock shot of yours tho. He has one that does resemble a Martin style mandolin. However, my gut feeling is that it #was not made by Martin. The top grain looks too coarse and Martin would most likely have made the back and sides out of rosewood, not maple.

It is interesting that yours has a circular soundhole. Most I have seen have oval ones. The original mandolinetto, built by Elias Howe Company (http://home.earthlink.net/~minermusic/eliashowe.htm), I believe had a carved or steam-bent top. It looks like yours is flat.


Mar-09-2004, 10:26am
That is a lovely bit of work. Lyon & Healy did build a great many flat-topped mandolinettos, I think mostly for their American Conservatory brand. Yours looks much nicer than the American Conservatory pieces I've seen. I would love to see the headstock. The headstock on the piece pictured at Gregg Miner's site linked above (a piece that is indeed very similar to yours, Michael) looks conspicuously Vega-like.

Jim Garber
Mar-09-2004, 10:32am
Frank Ford took a field trip to visit luthier Rick Turner (http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/FieldTrips/RickTurner/turner3.html) who, it turns out, is an afficionado of mandolinettos.

Scroll down to see a collection of them in all sizes on the wall.


Mar-09-2004, 10:37am
Thanks Bob, Eugene and Jim, you guys are always a wealth of information.The neck angle is not good, it will need a reset to #correct it. I also have a pic of the headstock that I'll post this evening .Overall the instrument is in excellent condition with no cracks or finish issues http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Bob DeVellis
Mar-09-2004, 2:03pm
Here's another place with

Howe-Orme information. (http://bellsouthpwp.com/r/d/rdevelli/The%20Elias%20Howe%20Co.htm)

Mar-09-2004, 9:18pm
Heres a picture of the headstock and fingerboard http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif