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gretschbigsby
Feb-14-2004, 5:55pm
I came into one of these recently.... A stlye, oval sound hole, made by the Dayton Company of Dayton Ohio.... The label says "manufactured by Chas. B. Rauch, Patent August 22, 1911"

It has a very funky construction in that there is a false bottom that creates a second chamber with sound holes in the mandolin body... Carved back and top, binding, with inlay around in and around the sound hole. It has a black top, a mahogany colored back and white binding sandwiched between the top and back... The headstock has 3 designs inlaid into it... Its very loud, and old time sounding...

I'm told that there is a Gruhn book out there in which this mandolin appears on P. 99. I don't know much about it... I'm guessing that the back is mahogany, but I don't know...

If anyone has any information on this mandolin, the company or its construction, I'd appreciate hearing from you!

Thanks,

Bob

gretschbigsby
Feb-18-2004, 9:30am
I usually consider it bad form to be the only person to respond to my own post, but.... #I have learned some information about Dayton Mandolins and thought it might be worth posting it here in the event someone ever searches this topic...

A short description of these mandolins do, in fact, appear on P. 99 of Gruhn's Acoustic Guitars and Other Fretted Instruments... #I'm told it shows the "double boiler" construction of the sound chamber... #I'm going to buy a copy of the book now!

A MC member (thanks gb) turned me on to Phil Case. #He and Ann are an old time music duet out of Ohio, and he records with Dayton Mandolins, among other cool vintage instruments. #Here is their very nice website and there are some pictures of Phil's Dayton mandolins on it: #http://www.wso.net/dryrun/

Anyway, Phil has researched the Dayton Mandolin Company, and here is his response to my query (shared here with his permission):

"Thanks for contacting us. Here's what I can tell you about Dayton mandolins. According to a Xerox copy I have of their catalog, Style A mandolins supposedly have a spruce top and a birch back. The more upscale Style B has the mahogany back. Their choice of building materials probably fluctuated with supply. The catalog contains a lot of shaky spelling and grammar which would indicate that Charles B. Rauch, the
proprietor, spent more time working than he did in school. But certainly you're aware of the feature that makes Dayton mandolins unique: that sound board that bisects the body like an double boiler, dividing the sound chamber into two sections. This was Charles B. Rauch's feature for which he got his patent in 1911. He thought it would revolutionize
acoustic design, although it never really did.

# # Rauch had a small shop at 143 Apple Street in Dayton, Ohio from 1911 until around 1940. He and a few assistants made mandolins, banjos, a few guitars, and related instruments. For as long as they were around here and as many of their instruments still turn up, no one here knows too much about their production output figures or extent of distribution. The whole block where the shop building once stood is now a parking garage for a hospital. I know all this because I live in the Dayton area.

# # So far I've not been able to determine what serial numbers belong to what year. I don't know if the numbers just run consecutively or were set off differently for different instruments. My oldest one is serial #138 and I don't know if they started with 001 or 100. Either way, that one's got to be among the older examples. The inlay "The Dayton" doesn't
seem to appear on the mandolin pegheads until the serial numbers approach four digits, but it appears on all banjo pegheads, early and later. The pegheads bearing the Dayton name are more "snakehead"-shaped, which leads me to believe that they came into being in the late 1920s or early 1930s. Mr. Rauch might have been following the Gibson trend. Dayton mandolin pegheads prior to this were paddle-shaped like their Gibson counterparts.

# # There were three grades of mandolins offered: Style A, Style B, and the Student Special, which had a completely round body and looked like a huge Oreo with a fretboard. Style B was actually the top-of-the-line, more ornate mandolin (why not style A--who knows?). My Style B is serial
#1134 (almost 1,000 instruments after my Style A?). There have been some odd models over the years, too, like "The Dayton Heart", a heart-shaped mandolin. I have one of these and it wasn't made with the sound board and was given no serial number on the sticker. I saw an ad once in Vintage Guitar Magazine for a "Dayton Heart" tenor guitar. That has to be bizarre. You have an example of the work of a somewhat obscure, wonderfully weird, small Midwestern maker from the early 20th century. "

Interestingly, my Dayton Mandolin has a serial number of 384 and, although the label says A style, it has some of the inlay and binding of Phil's B style, but with the birch back and body shape of the A style, which probably indicates a later construction and usinig whatever was around the shop!

This mandolin has a real nice tone... #its quite loud, open and resonant... #I'd love to hear from any other Dayton Mandolin owners, and I bet so would Phil.

Bob

atetone
Feb-19-2004, 1:04am
I have seen a few of these pop up in the last year or so. 2 on ebay and one was in the classifieds here just a couple of weeks ago. The one on the classifieds was listed by Peter Mix of Rigel as I recall.
I think they were all in the $500 TO $800 range.
I have never seen or played one but find them interesting. I am curious as to wether they are any good. Does that double top actually do anything?

gretschbigsby
Feb-19-2004, 10:27am
To be honest, I haven't been playing too long, but I've played guitar for a while and kind of think that I have a decent ear. I like the way this mandolin sounds very much. It is loud, resonant, woody-- just what I was looking for. It sounds like some of the old Gibson that I've played, at much less money... I can't tell you how much the "double boiler" has to do with the sound though...

It has a nice, chunky neck too, which is a plus for me. I prefer it to my A-9, but I'm more inclined toward old instruments and the oval sound-hole type of sound and vibe.

David Aumann
Mar-18-2009, 9:19pm
I have just acquired a Dayton Mandola. It's pretty much identical to the
left hand Dayton in the Lowell Levinger museum pictures, except that it has a bridge which is not compensated, bone topped ebony.

When I got it, the neck dovetail had given way so it was unplayable. I
removed the fingerboard (same as the left hand mandolin pattern board) to
get a look at the dovetail, and coaxed it apart with a small amount of hot
water. It was indeed a bad fit. I had to make two 3 mm tapered wedges and
install them at the bottom of the dovetail to make the neck fit
properly.Then I had to make a shallow ramp for where the fingerboard
extends over the body so the fingerboard would reinstall perfectly flat. I
had to touch up the alligator-skin finish to cover the worn area where a
previous owner had the bridge in the wrong spot. And I had to do some
touching up to the neck joint area after its previous poor gluing attempt.

But now it works and is quite a nice instrument. Scale length 40.2 mm, or
about 15 3/4". Quite a high bridge - almost 1", I'd say. Serial #1046.

I took a few photos of the dismantled neck joint in case anyone wants to
look at them.

I'm not sure how the internal soundboard works ... I guess it's just
sympathetic vibration (?) Whatever the case, it has a nice mellow tone,
easy action and a rather long sustain. Interesting construction. The back
looks like 5 or 6 floorboards glued together and then hollowed out, so you
see side grain and end grain depending on where you view the sides. A bit
like early Gibson theory.

Anyhow, thought you may be interested ...

Cheers from Down Under,

David Aumann

MikeEdgerton
Mar-18-2009, 9:28pm
Can you post a picture? We are seriously lacking Dayton pictures.

mandolooter
Mar-19-2009, 8:26am
yep some pic's would rock!

David Aumann
Mar-21-2009, 9:21pm
As requested, a few pics of the Dayton mandola, style B, #1046.
I've shown peghead (front and back), instrument (front and back), neck joint and the "alligatoring" which a few of these instuments exhibit.
I have more pics if anyone's interested, including a few of the dismantled neck joint.
Cheers, David Aumann.

MikeEdgerton
Mar-21-2009, 9:31pm
Great, thanks.

jeff mercer
Mar-21-2009, 11:23pm
Here is a Dayton guitar up on Ebay..seller lists it as a "Premier by Dayton", but unfortunately provides very little in the way of details..

Has that Orville-era look about it though, doesn't it ?

Interesting instruments, these..obviously following Gibsons' lead, but adding their own touches..Ebay 120384057333..Have a nice Dayton :)

MikeEdgerton
Mar-21-2009, 11:36pm
Wow, I never saw any Dayton Guitars. Too bad they didn't offer more information. I think it might be earlier than the 30's.

jeff mercer
Mar-22-2009, 5:45pm
Thanks for linking that, Mike..

Yep, I agree about the date..It's probably teens, and possibly even earlier. Just the overall shape & the oval soundhole is VERY reminiscent of early 1900 Orville-made Gibson guitars..

jeff mercer
Mar-22-2009, 7:22pm
Oops..forgot to ask..David Aumann, whereabouts "Down Under" are you ?
I'm in Sydney, & it's always handy to know of good mando repairpeople..you certainly appear to know what you're doing..if you're in the bluegrass/country scene, I dare say we'd know some of the same people :) . Let me know, could you ?

Jim Garber
Mar-22-2009, 7:58pm
Here's a Dayton heart mandolin, it was on eBay last year and I was high bidder under reserve. I called the dealer and they wanted a few hundred dollars more than I thought it was worth. They had it at the Philly guitar show last fall and I played it -- essentially unplayable with neck warped or needing reset. Too bad because it was an interesting looking one.

Jim Garber
Mar-22-2009, 8:00pm
Here is a mandola that showed up on eBay in 2006.

jeff mercer
Mar-23-2009, 1:06am
Nice pics, Jim..so we know the Dayton Co. offered mandolins, mandolas and guitars ( remember, during this period, the guitar was sorta considered a member of the mandolin family, and nowhere near as popular as it soon became )..

Wonder if there is a Dayton mandocello out there somewhere..or, better still, a Dayton Mando-bass :) !

Love this sort of sleuthing..much fun :popcorn: !

Cheers,
Jeff.

violmando
Mar-23-2009, 7:44am
Dayton is home to the Classical Mandolin Society Convention in October; it would sure be nice to have a Dayton mando or two to show there....We're trying to find out more about the company. The original Dayton Mandolin Orchestra was directed by Charles Rauch of that company, you know. Pretty cool! Yvonne

David Aumann
Mar-23-2009, 8:44am
Hi there Jeff Mercer. I live at Heathmont, in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Yeah, I follow the bluegrass scene, and play mandolin in a slightly irreverent group called Fat Chance and the Bluegrass Playboys. http://www.myspace.com/fcatbp Do you play in a group?
Cheers, David

Jonmiller
Mar-23-2009, 9:20am
I have and performed quite a bit with a "The Dayton" plectrum banjo, it has the same 3 hump head stock as pictured on the mandolin, it is all birdseye maple.

jeff mercer
Mar-23-2009, 6:14pm
Ok..so Mandolins, Mandolas, Guitars...& Banjos :)..wonder what else is out there ?
ViolMando,
If I come across any Dayton mandolins for sale, I'll give you a heads-up. They don't seem to surface very regularly, but their obscurity..well, until we started discussing them here :whistling:..may mean you could pick one up relatively cheap.

Hey, David
Not in a group, as such, been working as a sideman the past 15 years or so..toured with Slim Dusty for 8 years, then 4 years on the road w/ Sara Storer ( who I notice is a friend on your MySpace page !), some of which included working w/Troy Casser-Daly ( ditto!), and currently working with James Blundell..off on Thursday for a 10-day Qld run..only 1 night off, but it's on Hamilton Island :mandosmiley:

Funny we haven't run into eachother, but I'm sure we will..would love to see your Dayton 'dola..did you pick it up here in Oz, by the way ?

David Aumann
Mar-23-2009, 9:16pm
Hey Jeff, The Dayton mandola came off eBay for USD$325. I'd been contemplating building one for a while, just to try one out. Half-considered a Michael Kelly secondhand for $650 but that's still over a grand AUD. This one owes me a bit over $500, and its 15 3/4" scale is closer to a mando's scale than some others. Put heavy d'Addarios on it and it sounds fine. Long sustain, not incredibly loud, a bit "old-timey", sort of mellow. I'm pretty happy with it. Cheers, David.
PS Enjoy Hamilton Island. Tough gig, but someone has to do it!!

And yeah, I like vintage instruments!! Heads up would be lovely, thanks!

David Aumann
Jan-24-2011, 1:32pm
That Dayton guitar is back on eBay ...
http://cgi.ebay.com/1930s-PREMIER-USA-STEEL-STRING-made-DAYTON-/180607187204?pt=Guitar&hash=item2a0d06f904

David Aumann
May-15-2011, 8:00am
Did anyone else notice another Dayton instrument surface on eBay? It's a banjo mandolin, with lots of pictures.
http://cgi.ebay.com/DAYTON-STRING-INSTRUMENT-CO-BANJO-MANDOLIN-3187-/270747685915?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f09d1d41b

Scott Tichenor
May-21-2012, 9:31am
Here's one that just hit eBay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/230794802049). Not very familiar with them so glad to find this thread.

Mike Black
May-21-2012, 12:21pm
Here's one that just hit eBay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/230794802049). Not very familiar with them so glad to find this thread.

The bridge on this one was about 20 cents off. I'm glad that they could fix it. :)

Jim Garber
May-21-2012, 1:53pm
From the other Dayton thread:

New Website: www.daytonstringinstruments.com (http://www.daytonstringinstruments.com/)

CES
May-21-2012, 2:39pm
I saw that, too, Mike, and it cracked me up!

JIMHOTSHOT
Jun-04-2015, 7:29am
I usually consider it bad form to be the only person to respond to my own post, but.... #I have learned some information about Dayton Mandolins and thought it might be worth posting it here in the event someone ever searches this topic...

A short description of these mandolins do, in fact, appear on P. 99 of Gruhn's Acoustic Guitars and Other Fretted Instruments... #I'm told it shows the "double boiler" construction of the sound chamber... #I'm going to buy a copy of the book now!

A MC member (thanks gb) turned me on to Phil Case. #He and Ann are an old time music duet out of Ohio, and he records with Dayton Mandolins, among other cool vintage instruments. #Here is their very nice website and there are some pictures of Phil's Dayton mandolins on it: #http://www.wso.net/dryrun/

Anyway, Phil has researched the Dayton Mandolin Company, and here is his response to my query (shared here with his permission):

"Thanks for contacting us. Here's what I can tell you about Dayton mandolins. According to a Xerox copy I have of their catalog, Style A mandolins supposedly have a spruce top and a birch back. The more upscale Style B has the mahogany back. Their choice of building materials probably fluctuated with supply. The catalog contains a lot of shaky spelling and grammar which would indicate that Charles B. Rauch, the
proprietor, spent more time working than he did in school. But certainly you're aware of the feature that makes Dayton mandolins unique: that sound board that bisects the body like an double boiler, dividing the sound chamber into two sections. This was Charles B. Rauch's feature for which he got his patent in 1911. He thought it would revolutionize
acoustic design, although it never really did.

# # Rauch had a small shop at 143 Apple Street in Dayton, Ohio from 1911 until around 1940. He and a few assistants made mandolins, banjos, a few guitars, and related instruments. For as long as they were around here and as many of their instruments still turn up, no one here knows too much about their production output figures or extent of distribution. The whole block where the shop building once stood is now a parking garage for a hospital. I know all this because I live in the Dayton area.

# # So far I've not been able to determine what serial numbers belong to what year. I don't know if the numbers just run consecutively or were set off differently for different instruments. My oldest one is serial #138 and I don't know if they started with 001 or 100. Either way, that one's got to be among the older examples. The inlay "The Dayton" doesn't
seem to appear on the mandolin pegheads until the serial numbers approach four digits, but it appears on all banjo pegheads, early and later. The pegheads bearing the Dayton name are more "snakehead"-shaped, which leads me to believe that they came into being in the late 1920s or early 1930s. Mr. Rauch might have been following the Gibson trend. Dayton mandolin pegheads prior to this were paddle-shaped like their Gibson counterparts.

# # There were three grades of mandolins offered: Style A, Style B, and the Student Special, which had a completely round body and looked like a huge Oreo with a fretboard. Style B was actually the top-of-the-line, more ornate mandolin (why not style A--who knows?). My Style B is serial
#1134 (almost 1,000 instruments after my Style A?). There have been some odd models over the years, too, like "The Dayton Heart", a heart-shaped mandolin. I have one of these and it wasn't made with the sound board and was given no serial number on the sticker. I saw an ad once in Vintage Guitar Magazine for a "Dayton Heart" tenor guitar. That has to be bizarre. You have an example of the work of a somewhat obscure, wonderfully weird, small Midwestern maker from the early 20th century. "

Interestingly, my Dayton Mandolin has a serial number of 384 and, although the label says A style, it has some of the inlay and binding of Phil's B style, but with the birch back and body shape of the A style, which probably indicates a later construction and usinig whatever was around the shop!

This mandolin has a real nice tone... #its quite loud, open and resonant... #I'd love to hear from any other Dayton Mandolin owners, and I bet so would Phil.

Bob

Hi from the \north of England, I have a Dayton short scale tenor mandola model B and I love it, it gets much more use than my teens Gibson A series mandolin. It has a big woody sound and the internal soundboard seems to be the reason. I keep it to lower E tuning E,B,F#,C#. the tuning associated with Yank Rachel as blues is my thing. I love it and would never part with it, regardless of value, which I imagine to be high as the build quality is equal to Gibson.

Jim Garber
Jun-04-2015, 8:59am
JIMHOTSHOT: I don't have a clue of value esp in the UK. Here in the US they are not very well known and I am not even sure what one would sell for here. I have never played one of those carved top mandolins. The only Dayton I played (sort of) was a heart-shaped flattop that was in bad shape -- not really playable. A mandola, of course, would be even rarer. Can you post some photos here?

goaty76
Jun-05-2015, 6:34am
Was Dayton the first company to use the fairly new (at the time) Gibson design as basis for their instruments? I was first going to ask if they were the first to make Gibson copies but they are not exactly copies but more of inspired by. Though Gibson's lawyers might have disagreed.

Phil

mandolinface
Sep-28-2016, 10:36am
I have been playing my Model A (Serial #370) all over Oregon for the last 10 years and it has finally started falling apart. I've been told it needs a neck reset and the head pieces are coming apart. It gets lots of attention at festivals. I seem to remember that there is a web page where you can register your Rauch mandolin, but I forget the address.

rmcdow
Aug-16-2017, 11:47pm
I have a Dayton banjo mandolin that I recently assembled before undertaking the small set of repairs needed on the instrument. It has an aluminum head,
which has a few tabs broken on it, and I'll replace it in the course of the other repairs.
It's an interesting instrument, very well made, the action of the original bridge is a bit high for me, so I put a lower bridge on it than is pictured here.
160090

JIMHOTSHOT
Nov-01-2020, 6:45am
Here is a mandola that showed up on eBay in 2006.

Hi, I now own this style B mandola. I keep it tuned to mandolin tuning down grom G to E, like Yank Rachel often did, it is a fantastic istrument and easliy as good as my 1918 Gibson A in tone and build quality.