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Thread: c1913 Bruno Cello Mandolin Style D

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    Registered User gweetarpicker's Avatar
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    Default c1913 Bruno Cello Mandolin Style D

    The last two weeks I posted videos of two different Stahl brand octave mandolas. This week I decided to post a video of a Bruno mandocello (also thought to have been built by the Larson brothers). Again, I figured most folks would never get the chance to hear these instruments since they are so rare.

    https://youtu.be/tAoJWVJtXlo


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    Default Re: c1913 Bruno Cello Mandolin Style D

    fantastic video. i got your book. it's got incredible detail. this instrument is beautiful

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    Registered User gweetarpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: c1913 Bruno Cello Mandolin Style D

    Thanks so much. The book was a big project for sure and lots of fun to do.

    I really like the look and tone of the Bruno cello, not quite as loud as some but tons of sustain and a sweet tone. There was a similar tenor mandola (called a tenor mandolin in the catalog) that surfaced a while back, but I have never seen a Bruno mandolin or piccolo mandolin with that three point reverse scroll body shape.


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    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: c1913 Bruno Cello Mandolin Style D

    I confess I've never really liked those "smerf scrolls". However, on an instrument of that size, it works rather well. Sounds cool too - nice job!

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    Default Re: c1913 Bruno Cello Mandolin Style D

    Muy coolioso. Thanks for posting the video and the Bruno ad.

    Here's an image of a Bruno mandocello and mandola from my files just to flesh out the discussion. I have the mandola cross listed as "Larson" though I have no certainty of that. The label is "Bruno". Not that I've ever seen a Larson label....

    Mick
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    Registered User gweetarpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: c1913 Bruno Cello Mandolin Style D

    To my knowledge, the Larson brothers never labeled instruments with their own names. Instead they built instruments for retailers, manufacturers and distributors under brand names such as Stahl, Dyer, Euphonon, Maurer, Stetson, Prairie State and others (the Larsons later owned and ran Maurer & Co. after Robert Maurer left the instrument building business). A few instruments with no labels have also been attributed to the Larsons, possibly individual orders. Folks try to ascertain the "Larson status" by looking at build characteristics. The Bruno mandocello has some of the build characteristics of the Larsons, and Bob Hartman (grandson of Carl Larson and author of a book, The Larsons' Creations Guitars and Mandolins) is fairly certain that this example was built by the Larsons. In fact, he has a picture of a Bruno mandola (like the one in your photo or possibly the very same instrument) in his book.

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    Default Re: c1913 Bruno Cello Mandolin Style D

    Quote Originally Posted by gweetarpicker View Post
    ... a video of a Bruno mandocello ...

    https://youtu.be/tAoJWVJtXlo

    Very nice! Sounds more like a cello composition than the classical guitar transcriptions I've heard do, I guess because the stringing is the same as a cello.
    Last edited by jesserules; Nov-08-2017 at 3:30pm.

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    Registered User gweetarpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: c1913 Bruno Cello Mandolin Style D

    I like Bach's solo cello suites very much so I just got the cello scores and played some of my favorite sections from the first and third suites on the mandocello. I tried to keep the fingering the same as on cello. Of course, there is not much you can do to imitate the bowing patterns and vibrato but it's still fun to play.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: c1913 Bruno Cello Mandolin Style D

    Matthew: it sounds very nice and excellent playing! What is the scale length of your Bruno m'cello?
    Jim

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    Registered User gweetarpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: c1913 Bruno Cello Mandolin Style D

    Jim: When I measure to the 12th fret and multiply by two I get about 24 1/2", same as the Stahl and Bohmann mandocellos (or is it mandocelli?). Actually you can find the approximate scale length of a number of different mandocellos on one of the sample pages from my book (page 58, use the arrows to scroll through the sample pages) that is posted on my website.

    Also I am kind of hoping someone will come up with a photo of a 3 point reverse scroll Bruno mandolin or piccolo mandolin. It seems odd that the only family members I have seen are the mandola and mandocello.



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    Default Re: c1913 Bruno Cello Mandolin Style D

    Quote Originally Posted by gweetarpicker View Post
    The last two weeks I posted videos of two different Stahl brand octave mandolas. This week I decided to post a video of a Bruno mandocello (also thought to have been built by the Larson brothers). Again, I figured most folks would never get the chance to hear these instruments since they are so rare.

    https://youtu.be/tAoJWVJtXlo


    www.vintagefrettedinstruments.com
    Nice video! It's good that you explain all things.

  14. #12
    Registered User gweetarpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: c1913 Bruno Cello Mandolin Style D

    Thank you for the kind words. I wish I really could explain all things!

    The unusual design of the Bruno seems to work well. In general, I don't think the Larsons built many carved instruments, perhaps a small number of Bruno three point mandolins and Stahl violin shaped mandolins, a few Prairie State archtop guitars, perhaps a few other rare examples.

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    Default Re: c1913 Bruno Cello Mandolin Style D

    George Gruhn attributed a reverse scroll model mandolin that was more ornate than the typically known Regal examples to the Larson's several years ago in a book. It was assumed that if you saw a mandolin family instrument like this that was carved and perhaps used better wood that it wasn't made by Regal. The design was patented by Frank Kordick in 1914. He was the president of Regal. In the last few years Bob Carlin brought out his book Regal Musical Instruments 1895-1955 and I am more than convinced that these instruments were all built by Regal. They were building some very high quality carved instruments with some complex inlay. It was their patented design and they certainly didn't need anyone else's help building these.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User gweetarpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: c1913 Bruno Cello Mandolin Style D

    It seems the reverse scroll body shape has been subject to ongoing debate. Kordick's patent was for a reverse scroll two point body shape while the Stahl, Maurer, Euphonon and Bruno examples have three point bodies. Based on his research, Bob Hartman attributes these three point instruments to the Larsons. Regal certainly built a number of reverse scroll mandolins though most appear to have two body points as in the patent.

    That said, Hartman recently sent me photos of a pair of three point reverse scroll Regal branded mandocellos and one three point reverse scroll Regal branded mandolin. He had not seen these instruments in person to evaluate their build characteristics so he didn't have an opinion on who made them.

    I agree that Regal could build a great mandolin if they wanted. Also it is worth noting that there was a close relationship between all the builders in Chicago at the time. The Larsons certainly could have been asked to build a small number of fancy mandolins for Regal. Either way, it doesn't take away from the cool look and great tone of the nicer reverse scroll mandolins.

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    Default Re: c1913 Bruno Cello Mandolin Style D

    Thanks for posting! That’s a very cool MC, indeed, and sounds very nice. I think I prefer the tone of my Weber, and it’s certainly louder, but hard to beat the cool factor of a 1913 3 pointer with Brazilian and that funky reverse scroll! Of course, the fully carved f-holed Weber is a very different beast altogether, so not a fair comparison with respect to tone or volume...

    Thanks again!
    Chuck

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: c1913 Bruno Cello Mandolin Style D

    Seems like we have yet another category of Larson attributions: "Possibly Not Made by Larson."

    Mick
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    Default Re: c1913 Bruno Cello Mandolin Style D

    I think the Larson's built some stellar instruments, just not everything that is attributed to them.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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