View Full Version : How to find out what type of mandolin is?

Mar-24-2009, 6:57pm
I have a mandolin that I was told was an experimental Kalamzoo. The man I bought it from said that it was bought in the 1930's by a man in Nacadoches, Tx. The mandolin had been in that area ever since. It is a little wider than most A style mandolins and is just a sunburst finish. It has a very large sound to it. There are no serial numbers and nothing on it gives a name. It plays well and I love it but I am interested in finding out. I am going to take some pictures and send them when I can.

Bill Irvin

Mar-24-2009, 7:18pm
Hi Bill, welcome to the Cafe! :)

You know, just recently I saw a photo of an old (prewar I think) Gibson sort of A style. The body was wider that any 'standard' A model I've ever seen and there was something in the description that said it was a 'wide body'. Kindly sounds similar to your K'zoo. :grin:


Mar-24-2009, 8:30pm
Post some pictures, Gibson products are pretty easy to recognize. Kalamazoo was a Gibson second line.

jeff mercer
Mar-24-2009, 10:18pm
Sounds like one of those '37-'41 A-50's, yet the lack of any markings is a bit of a worry..I've seen some pretty funky Japanese copies of the wide-body A-50, some with "Hondo II" on the headstock, some with no marking at at all..

Here's hoping it's a Gibson product, but pics will tell the story..:popcorn:

barney 59
Mar-26-2009, 7:58pm
The A-50 when first produced in 1933 had an 11 1/4" wide body and at only an inch + wider than a standard A it's stumpy shape made it look wider. I think that was the A-50 until the war when they began to produce the A-50 with a standard (normal?)body size/shape. They are not all that uncommon but I think the mandolin craze was over when these were first produced. I would expect to find a label, a serial /production number or a logo someplace. Anything is possible with Gibson but they were pretty good at putting their mark on things. What the markings mean sometimes is a challenge.