View Full Version : What is it?

Jun-21-2009, 2:46pm
Hi all, I just inherited my Grandfather's old mandolin, and want to get it back up to playing condition (It has been hanging on the wall for decades.) I have no idea who made it or when, though, could ya'll help me out? I have some pictures attached. They're a little blurry, sorry.

Looking through the sound holes, the interior is totally bare, no stamp or writing or supports of any kind. The only distinguishing characteristics are the black and white pattern around the edge, and the screw pictured next to the end of the neck.

Thanks for any help, and if you've got any tips on what needs to be done to make it playable again that'd be more than welcome! Right now I've replaced the strings, but the action is pretty high, and the strings (the A string mostly) seem to vary in pitch when struck.

Jun-21-2009, 9:01pm
It was made by Kay in Chicago. The shrinking tuner buttons date it from the late 40's to the late 50's. It was made "for the trade" with no brand name on it. How does the neck joint look? These were infamous for being loose.

John Bertotti
Jun-21-2009, 9:18pm
I bet that will be a fine mandolin once it's fixed up a bit. I bet you have a loose neck though strings varing in pitch mankes one wonder. Are the tuners tight?

Jun-21-2009, 9:58pm
The neck joint is loose after all. I guess no surprise there, so that's why it's so hard to fret? I find myself really having to press down on even the 1st and 2nd fret in order to get it to play right. I'm planning on taking it to a luthier on tuesday, let's hope it won't cost an arm and a leg to fix. Thanks for the info!

The tuners are tight so far as I can tell, but the nut and bridge have been worn pretty deep. I'm guessing that's could be causing it, but after ~40 years in a basement, it wouldn't hurt to replace it anyway.