View Full Version : Tennessee brand bowlbacks?

Martin Jonas
Aug-28-2004, 9:57am
As some of you may recall, I have been trying to get a vintage bowlback for my mother to replace her old Miroglio that she has been using for the past 50 years. I had bid on a number of candidates on E-bay, but have been outbid on the promising ones. Now, she has been visiting a music shop in the nearest small town, who have offered her a Korean-made bowlback for 450 Euros (this is in a remote part of Germany). This bowlback is about five years old, very sturdy construction, with a spruce top and flamed maple back, and has the brand name "Tennessee". Other than the logo at the headstock, no label whatsoever, and no information on whether top and/or bowl are solid wood or laminate. She says it's very heavy and chunky, very different from our respective Italian bowls.

My own feeling is that this is unlikely to be a satisfactory instrument, but I was wondering if anybody here has come across the Tennessee bowlbacks. I had never heard of them before and the only reference I can find on the net is at the sites of two Australian retailers, who sell new "Tennessee TU-5 bowlback mandolins" for AU$550, i.e. rather less than the price quoted to my mother for a used one. Any comments? Anybody else ever seen these?

(who would prefer to keep looking for that elusive Ebay bargain, but who might need some arguments to persuade his mother).