View Full Version : Porako Mandolin

Dan Margolis
Feb-17-2011, 10:56pm
Check this out:

http://i934.photobucket.com/albums/ad188/guitarmando1/th_PorakoMandolin.jpg (http://s934.photobucket.com/albums/ad188/guitarmando1/?action=view&current=PorakoMandolin.jpg)http://i934.photobucket.com/albums/ad188/guitarmando1/th_PorakoMandolin1.jpg (http://s934.photobucket.com/albums/ad188/guitarmando1/?action=view&current=PorakoMandolin1.jpg)


A Porako mandolin, 1925.

No financial interest. I thought that it was cool.

Ed Goist
Feb-18-2011, 12:50am
That's a really unique, interesting, and attractive design. I wonder what the headstock looks like.

Jim Garber
Feb-18-2011, 7:48am
The same mandolin (possibly) was at the Vintage Fret Shop in New Hampshire some time ago. He spelled it Porayko. Here are some pics and description.

Porayko mandolin, by Peter Porayko, of Hamilton, Ontario (used, c.1930s.) This very sweet sounding mandolin has a very unusual and surprisingly ergonomic body shape, and is bordered with pearl inlay. Oversize hardshell case is included.

Dan Margolis
Feb-18-2011, 8:05am
Same one.

Jim Garber
Feb-18-2011, 8:45am
VFS asked $1500 tho prob came down in price. I remember it because I like oddball mandolins. However, oddballs that look cool but maybe don't sound or play that way are not all that interesting.

Ed Goist
Feb-18-2011, 4:28pm
Well, I must say that the simple headstock shape is a little bit of a let down, and seems out of place on that mandolin...
Where's the curve?
The back is beautiful, though.

Feb-27-2011, 12:43pm
Cool ! Reminds me of this one:

Cary Fagan
Feb-16-2012, 1:17pm

This one is for sale in a Toronto classified ad. Spelled Porayko. Apparently it's from the 30s and he was in Hamilton. The listing shows a period photo of the seller's mother-in-law in a large mandolin orchestra dressed in ethnic Eastern European costumes

Cary Fagan
Feb-16-2012, 1:18pm
Here's the back.


Cary Fagan
Feb-16-2012, 1:24pm
The label.


Mar-12-2012, 5:49pm
Here's a little bit-- a very little about Peter Porayko from the folks at the public library in Hamilton.
He and his wife were both born in Galacia -- a place that no longer exists, since it was a fabrication around the time of Hapsburg dynasty. Galacia occupied parts of eastern Poland and western Ukraine. Under the Hapsburgs it was a semi-autonomous region. Germans and Russians fought on it and over it during WWI. I couldn't find Peter Porayko's origin of birth town on old Galacian maps, but my guess is that they were from modern Ukraine. After the war, Galacia was divided into an eastern and western half and then dissolved. He and his wife were likely part of a massive exodus of Galacians in the 1880s and 1890s to Canada and the US. The exodus seems to have been driven by dire economic conditions and changes in government that in effect opened the doors to emigration. I've wondered if the body style came from the home country. A fine builder from Vermont, Joseph Campanella Cleary has done work on this instrument, fixing a loose brace and improving intonation.

Cary Fagan
Mar-12-2012, 9:36pm
Totraver, I've copied and posted your post on the other Porayko thread. I've sent you a message with the link. But just in case it's:


doc holiday
Mar-13-2012, 9:14am
Interesting looking mandolin & builder history...It's Galicia...BTW

Jim Garber
Jun-21-2012, 1:04pm
It looks like that original Porayko mandolin (http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/57530) is for sale in the classifieds.

Jan-17-2014, 9:36pm
Here's one on Craig's List:

Jan-17-2014, 10:25pm
From the Toronto CL listing.

At that price, someone should ride on over and buy it. Quick.


Jim Garber
Jan-17-2014, 10:29pm
Here's one on Craig's List:

I have a feeling that this is the very same one that Cary had above. Check out the pattern on the pickguard. Here is the description (before it disappears from CL):

This remarkable mandolin was built by the luthier Peter Porayko in the early or mid-1930s. It was owned for most of its life by a woman who played in the Hamilton Mandolin orchestra before it came to me. I did a little restoration on it but it is in fine condition--no cracks, sinkage, or warping-- and plays easily and well.

The spruce top and quilted-maple back are hand-carved and graduated. The beautiful neck is slim and fast. The pickguard is genuine tortoise-shell. It has a wonderful oval-hole sound for old time, Irish and other kinds of music and yet is not too tubby. It even has a decent bluegrass chop. It's very light. Comes in the original case.

I believe it is worth considerably more than this but Peter Porayko has been all but forgotten as a builder. I've tracked down 5 other mandolins of his still being played. You're welcome to give it a try.

Jan-17-2014, 10:38pm
Looks like a dead ringer. Maybe this is Cary selling it? The ad writer sounds pretty knowledgeable. That could be our man, CF.

Or maybe not....you figure he might have put the word out around here.


Cary Fagan
Jan-18-2014, 12:11am
Geez, that was quick. Yes, it's mine. Of course I've thought of putting it up on the cafe (where I would have put a higher price on it, frankly) but didn't want the bother of shipping. I've not been playing it lately but my F5 exclusively instead and it seems a shame to just have it hang there. Not sure whether there is someone around here who will recognize its quality and uniqueness but we'll see.

Cary Fagan
Jan-21-2014, 12:01pm
Just an update to say the mandolin was sold to a very active player who likes vintage and unusual instruments. So it is going to a good home.