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Thread: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

  1. #1
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    Default F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    So a co-worker of mine (an excellent classical and jazz bass player) showed me his new baby, a lovely upright bass with a really nice full sound that has a repair label of " Reworked by F.E. Coulter 1940" inside.
    I guess Coulter was a mandolin builder, as well as violins and other things as well.

    He did a little searching and came across this site, describing Coulter's shop and some other political wanderings.

    Anyway, some interesting history and thoughts from a luthier back in the 30's, and a little story about Fritz Kreisler as well.

    Here's the site:

    http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb....-folklore.html

    Anyone seen any of his mandolins?

  2. #2
    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
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    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    I couldn't get the link to work.
    Bill

  3. #3

    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    Quote Originally Posted by jwold View Post

    Anyone seen any of his mandolins?
    I own one .

    BTW, here's a working link for what I think was meant to be posted above:

    http://#######.com/cmouno

    I found this post when doing a search for Coulter. Years ago I spent hours trying to find out anything about him and came up empty. Now it seems there's a little more info out there - great!!

    My great-grandfather was the original owner of a Coulter B-524 built in 1924 (and repaired by him in 1939). He played it, guitar, and banjo semi-professionally for a good portion of his life. The guitar and banjo (I don't know if they were Coulters) went to far-distant cousins who I've never met, but the mandolin went to me.

    The reason this all comes up again for me now is that my 13 year old son (already an advanced trumpet player) has taken a sudden interest in mandolin.

    Although I played brass all the way into college, I've not played anything since.

    If anyone is interested in seeing pics of this mandolin, let me know. It's not in good shape and is not a particularly "pretty" instrument (consistent with the builder's philosophies it seems), but it is interesting.

    EDIT: apparently my posting of URL's is blocked, so the one I included is invalid. It's an easy Google search, but if anyone wants the link shoot me a PM.

    Mike
    Kansas City

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    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    I've seen and worked on some of the Coulter's instruments. He was located in Portland Oregon in the early teens. He experimented with instruments as he built and repaired. One of the oddest things he did that I saw was a stacked sound post system for violins. he would have a stack of sound posts starting with the bottom one about the size of a dime and then progressively smaller until he got the top one, a standard sound post size. Each one was about 5/8" high.. It was hide glued to stay assembled except for the top small one. It was set like a traditional sound post. His mandolins and guitars that I had, had odd sized F holes and in the case of one of his guitars that I worked on, the sound-hole was behind the bridge... None of his instruments impressed me with sound.. KC Waite of Pioneer Music in Portland is quite knowledgeable of Coulter and used to have a large collection of his instruments.. That's all I know... Kencv
    KMUZ Community Radio
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  5. #5

    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    F.E. Coulter is my great-grandfather. I have 3 of his instruments (banjo, small ukelele, & violin), but none of them are in great repair. I think that I'm attaching a gif of the URL that shows the interview with him about his career. This site is hard for me to figure out. Click image for larger version. 

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    Jane

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    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    Jane, I'd appreciate being sent that URL that did not work for me from what you posted.. I'd like to know a bit more about him.. Thanks, Kenc
    kenc@wvi.com
    KMUZ Community Radio
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  7. #7

    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    Ken try THIS LINK.
    Bill Snyder

  8. #8

    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    Here are some pics.








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    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's




  10. #10
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    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    Bill, Thanks for the link.. very interesting story of Mr. Coulter.. Must be the water in the Northwest. Kenc
    KMUZ Community Radio
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    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    Whoa...that brace on the back of the neck...

  12. #12

    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    It is a bit medieval looking.

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  14. #13

    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    this is too cool...
    KSMIKE, Here is my F.E. Coulter mandolin. My Great Grand Father also played semi professional in a band. He played the Mandolin, Pre War Gibson Master Toner Banjo, Tenor Sax. Here at the pic of the Mandolin I have.

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  15. #14

    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    Wow, yours appears to be 2 years older than mine, and in much better shape. But, you don't have that cool neck brace!

  16. #15
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    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    Looking at that neck brace I'm guessing that guy knew my grandfather

    They were neighbors within a few blocks about that time and it looks way too much like the stuff he used to do.

  17. #16
    Registered User BlueMt.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    If my Granddad had been involved there would be bailing wire somewhere.
    Eric

  18. #17
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    Here is the link to that page in the original post:
    Frank Evans Coulter - Oregon Folklore Study.

    He must have been a real character and spinner of yarns and BS -- looks like he tried the Taylor thing of making an instrument out of packing crate wood. Very entertaining page.

    It sounds like he was a preacher and a self-taught luthier. I wonder if he really put that metal neck brace on that mandolin. "Hey wood, metal,what's the difference. Those hoity-toity luthiers who actual care what kind of wood they use...."
    Jim

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  19. #18
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    Strange!!!

    Here's something else I'm doing to produce the depth of sound now wanted. On guitars I place the sound-holes on the edge of the face to aid in giving volume. And here's a mandolin with a rounded back, that I turned by hand to produce the "roll" in playing. I took this instrument out to a mandolin-player friend of mine in the hospital, when it was finished. His eyes just lighted up when he saw it. He played that mandolin the last thing he did, then he put it on the pillow beside him, so they told me, and went to sleep forever.
    Whatever does he mean by "I turned by hand to produce the "roll" in playing."
    Jim

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  20. #19

    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    I'd just like to say again how awesome this thread is. I tried for years to find any info on Coulter without any success.

  21. #20
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    I just checked my files and there was yet another Coulter mandolin, same design from 1913 on craigslist about a year ago. I have attached the photos they supplied.
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    Jim

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  22. #21

    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    Hi Everyone,

    Sorry to be late to the party. I also have a Coulter instrument. Attached are some pictures. It is almost playable. Almost. It is set up for 5 courses of 1, 1, 2,2,2. It looks like Coulter started with tuners on a plank and then changed to the planetary tuners.

    As an aside, Marc Silber has a Coulter guitar.

    we should get all these pictures in one place.

    Best regards,

    Joshua
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  23. #22
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    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    I would guess the "roll" in "roll in playing" should be spelled "role", which then makes more sense. I've seen a number of the guitars over the years, and there was a local builder a few years back who made some copies of one he had.

  24. #23

    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    RE: F.E.Coulter, Portland, Oregon

    I have a violin that he repaired in 1908. Sounds like he had a long career.

  25. #24

    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    Cool! Do you have any pics of it that you could post?

  26. #25
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: F.E. Coulter Luthier from 1930's

    Nice to resurrect this thread over time. There is a short listing in Wenberg's The Violin Makers of the United States:

    Coulter, F.E.; Portland, OR. Violin maker, repairman, and dealer. Worked there c. 1900-1924. Own model with mother-of-pearl ornamentation. Unusual appearance and poor workmanship.
    Jim

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