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brunello97
May-01-2006, 8:23am
I bought an ebay mandolin the other day, a deep-dish flatback, a type which I have seen referenced here I believe as -tug boat- or -shovel bowl- or something that I could not recall for a proper search here or on google.

I'm enclosing some photes for any help identifying this model and any background information anyone might have.

[img=http://img145.imagevenue.com/loc31/th_89294_mysterymando_2.JPG] (http://img145.imagevenue.com/img.php?loc=loc31&image=89294_mysterymando_2.JPG)[img=http://img148.imagevenue.com/loc137/th_89301_mysterymando_3.JPG] (http://img148.imagevenue.com/img.php?loc=loc137&image=89301_mysterymando_3.JPG)[img=http://img147.imagevenue.com/loc176/th_89307_mysterymando_1.JPG] (http://img147.imagevenue.com/img.php?loc=loc176&image=89307_mysterymando_1.JPG)

It is decent enough shape, a few top cracks to fix and a little delamination in the back, but the v-shaped neck, which is built like a little Louisville Slugger (maple not ash) seems fine.

The pickguard, (probably some cellulose type material?) is cracked and curling up a bit. Any idea of this can be gently softened and persuaded to lay back down?

thanks,

Mick

Jim Garber
May-01-2006, 12:37pm
Mick:
I termed them "boatbacks" when I got this one (attached). I figure mine is a product of some Chicago firm, possibly Lyon & Healy.

The only other configuration I have seen like this was mandolins made by Luigi Mozzani. Possiblt this was a simpler way to produce a mandolin with a bowlback sound capacity.

Jim

Jim Garber
May-01-2006, 12:39pm
Here is the back of a 1945 Mozzani boatback.

Jim

Jim Garber
May-01-2006, 12:43pm
BTW, Mick, I would think it would not be worth it to fix that crumbling pickguard. I would, just replace it with a repro.

Others can chime in here.

Jim

brunello97
May-01-2006, 4:40pm
Thanks, Jim. I figured you might be in the know on this. Does all that depth provide a good bottom end? How does yours sound? Any idea of the era these were produced? The closed tuners suggests a perhaps earlier date. Any idea when those finally gave way completely to the open tuners?

Typical of me, a million questions. I exchanged a couple of emails with Hubert who seems encyclopedic in his L+H knowledge. He said he was planning an upcoming book on the subject, which I look forward to.

The boatbacks seem vaguely reminiscent of the Weymann mandolutes, but appear to have a deeper body. Your boatback certainly looks like a good example. Beautiful wood, it appears. I thought to give saving the pickguard at least a try. With the heavy dark stain on the back, the maple neck, and the very pumpkin top, the yellow-orange pickguard makes a great color statement. I found a source for some celluoid pickguard material, but it is the purple-red type. The yellow orange just looks great.

These mark an interesting transitional phase in mandolin design. I am happy to have been able to turn one up.

Mick

BTW. I got the neck back on and reset on the unlabled L+H from a few weeks back. It is set up and playing nicely. I'll post a picture soon (and then duck.) Cosmetically, I have a ways to go with my skills but I am moving ahead. If the mandolin "SS Minnow" winds up sounding as nice, I'll be very happy.

Jim Garber
May-01-2006, 7:51pm
These mark an interesting transitional phase in mandolin design. I am happy to have been able to turn one up.
I don't think of these as a transtion, but more of an offshoot -- a way to avoid the tedious handwork in making a bowlback of multiple strips without the strips. The Mozzani I showed you above was from 1945. Mine is prob from the teens or twenties. Flat backs went at least as far back in time as those.

Jim