View Full Version : Very small mandolin

Jun-19-2020, 1:55pm
I am working on restoring this old mandolin. As you can see in the pictures, it is quite small...scale length about 9.5 inches and overall length of about 20 inches. I have been unable to find any information about a mandolin this size. It's clearly not a toy, as someone I know had a grandfather who played it. Can you give me any information about this instrument? Where would I get strings for it? Anything you can tell me would be much appreciated. I don't think I have posted the picture correctly, but that's all the info I have about the instrument. 186708

Jun-19-2020, 2:19pm
I think that's what folks used to call a pocket mandolin or a piccolo mandolin. Think one octave higher in pitch than a mandola.


Jun-20-2020, 2:14pm
Pocket mandolins were also slender bodies but still GDAE.. 13" scale ,
Where Piccolo mandolins are CGDA an octave up from viola..

Id say @9.5" it's more piccolo. try the very lightest strings [.009" 1st]


Jun-20-2020, 2:35pm
Maybe the camera angle is misleading, but my eyeball says that it would be close to unplayable if restrung (and if it didn't collapse while being brought up to pitch). If you do try to restring it, be careful, and use the lightest mandolin strings you can find on JustStrings.com or other sites with a wide selection.

I suspect it would make a better keepsake than actual musical instrument. Good luck.

Jim Garber
Jun-21-2020, 12:10pm
It is a piccolo mandolin. I have a similar bowlback with that same scale. The one the OP shows sill need a neck reset as well as straightening out the top. It is possible that the top braces are loose. Attached for comparison is a standard Vega bowlback (13" scale); Leland Piccolo (10.5" scale ) and my unlabelled piccolo bowlback.

Frankly the 10.5" scale on my Leland is playable.


Dave Hanson
Jun-22-2020, 12:56am
Here in the UK we call it a pile of junk.

Dave H