View Full Version : Got an old mandolin from my mothers aunt that I wanted some help

Aug-09-2013, 11:14am
Hi all.I recently got an very old mandolin from my mothers aunt wich I can not see to find any information about other between the tuner screws it says warg and Drgm wich i read means pre war Ii.So I wonder if someone could mabye find what kind of mandolin it is.Im adding some pictures of it.105270105271105272

Aug-09-2013, 11:29am
Well, it's German. If it is prewar it's in nice shape. Not valuable, maybe worth $300 or so.

Aug-09-2013, 1:58pm
Thanks for the information.Im guessing its prewar yeah chause her husband had it for ages and that is a very long time ago.Anyway cheap or not it got a very nice sound and is nice to play on :)

Aug-09-2013, 3:54pm
This European Guitars website (http://www.euroguitars.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1091&sid=39fe2a95f8f855f5c533cbd941a11c45&start=10) mentions tuners labeled "Warg DRGM." The "DRGM" label indicating patent registration across all German states, was in use up to 1952, apparently, so the mandolin needn't be pre-WWII.

Here's (http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/153158) another mention of a guitar-banjo with similarly labeled tuners. Doesn't tell you anything about the mandolin's manufacturer, only that some German tuners labeled "Warg" were used.

Aug-09-2013, 6:05pm
I think $300.00 is pretty generous.

Bernie Daniel
Aug-09-2013, 7:28pm
I think $300.00 is pretty generous.

I wonder about that. Those look like some pretty nice woods --if they are solid?

Aug-09-2013, 7:36pm
I think $300.00 is pretty generous.
I'm in a magnanimous mood.

Aug-10-2013, 10:16am
I wonder about that. Those look like some pretty nice woods --if they are solid?
Not entirely sure what you mean about solid.And $300 is not so much but then again ive just recently started playing.Ive read somehting about some calling them bowl backs but the back isnt entirely round as the bowlbacks ive seen on pictures.

Aug-10-2013, 9:10pm
Not entirely sure what you mean about solid...Ive read somehting about some calling them bowl backs but the back isnt entirely round as the bowlbacks ive seen on pictures.

"Solid" in the context Bernie D used it means "not plywood." Some inexpensive mandolins are made of laminated wood, generally felt to be acoustically inferior to those made of "solid" wood.

These German mandolins, which have a shape that (for obscure reasons) is generally called "Portuguese" in Europe, are not what we generally call "bowl-backs." I can't improve on what Martin Jonas wrote in an eight-year-old Cafe thread:

...Although these "bulgeback" flattop instruments were called "Portuguese" mandolins during their heyday in Germany from about 1910 to 1970, they have only a very superficial relationship to any actual Portuguese mandolins. Although (more or less) flatback mandolins have been around for a long time, evolving from the older cittern, this particular incarnation was launched in Germany with the popularity of the Wandervogel movement in the 1900s and 1910s, a youth movement that was into folk music and hillwalking, usually at the same time. As you can't play a bowlback while walking, they developed a flat model that, with a strap, can be played while standing and walking. They have always been strictly amateur mandolins for folk music; and although some of them are well-made and intricatly inlaid, none that I have heard has had a particularly refined tone, and none were made for the professional concert market. As it happens, my grandparents were in the Wandervogel, and I have inherited my grandfather's 1920s "Portuguese" mandolin. This particular one is quite tasteful (many are not) and is "Majestic" branded (a US banjo, mandolin and guitar brand made under license in Germany). This one does have an interesting tone, not refined and with little sustain, but with a certain tenor-banjo-like rawness and percussiveness that is well-suited to old-time music and the more raucous type of Irish (and German, for that matter) dance music.

There probably is a more graceful term than "bulgeback," but I can't find it.

Marty Jacobson
Aug-10-2013, 10:09pm
Dave Hynds - who knows these things like few else - calls them "domed backs".

FWIW, I've never seen maple like that on a pre-WWII instrument, or a finish from back then that hadn't checked. That finish looks a lot like poly (which would put it into the 60's or 70's, depending on when Hora or whomever it was that made it switched to poly.)

Aug-11-2013, 5:17am
The neck may well be Beech, a common European Hardwood, said to be harder and more stiff than maple. Although this is not a Bluegrass Instrument, I don't see why it couldn't have the potential to sound as nice as any other Flat-top. I have seen a few variations of the back inlay pattern, though only in photos. It is likely a well made instrument.

Bob Clark
Aug-11-2013, 6:57am
If you look at the sides of the instrument, the body looks a little deeper than other flat tops, and that's without taking the dome of the back into consideration. I really like the less-refined sound of flat tops and I'll bet that with its slightly larger body, this one sounds pretty good. To the OP: any chance you can post a sound clip for us? I'd really like to hear it. I think you have a very interesting instrument there. Who cares what it is worth? Play it and enjoy it!

Best wishes, Bob