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Thread: Vivitone Mandolin Registry

  1. #51
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vivitone Mandolin Registry

    Benjamin, this is so cool. The group of people here and the widespread generosity in knowledge sharing is so refreshing.
    Nice work on the registry!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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  3. #52

    Default Re: Vivitone Mandolin Registry

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
    Benjamin, this is so cool. The group of people here and the widespread generosity in knowledge sharing is so refreshing.
    Nice work on the registry!
    Nice work indeed ! I couldn't have said it better myself. I'm proud to bring my contribution.

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  5. #53

    Default Re: Vivitone Mandolin Registry

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The guitar is now presented in the folk music museum of Montluçon (France) MuPop.

  6. #54

    Default Re: Vivitone Mandolin Registry

    This is great work. Wondering where the link to the pictures are and is there a description of #3 Electric guitar?

    Thanks
    Lynn

  7. #55
    Registered User Benjamin T's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vivitone Mandolin Registry

    @1894Orville- here is what I have regarding #3 (I've removed a couple of names for anonymity sake) Spanish/Hawaiian/Acoustic/Electric guitar for a while. It's a 1933, maybe the third (the pickup assembly has a hand written in pencil "3" on it) of the ViviTone guitars. I got it from a CC to whom it was given by the estimable Mr. Loar in 1933. CC put an RCA jack in it, and the inventor of the Gibson humbucking pickup, gave me a couple of early 1930s 1/4" jacks as probably appropriate restoration bits and pieces.
    Raphael Ciani Galiano circa 1920
    Gibson F-5G FB 2003
    John D'Angelico 1933
    Vivitone Acoustic #338 circa 1933
    Gibson F4 1915 Blacktop
    Shutt/ Harmony Viol Mandolin circa 1930

  8. #56

    Default Re: Vivitone Mandolin Registry

    I just found this one hanging on a laundry room wall. It's been there for the last 50 years. Other than a couple small cracks in the headstock under the machine head screws and a crack in the pick guard at the mounting screw, it was in great condition. A new set of strings and it played like a dream. Could not believe that the body didn't warp or crack. It is serial number 549.Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #57
    Registered User Benjamin T's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vivitone Mandolin Registry

    Church Mouse that is awesome. Binding front and back! Found in a laundry room?!?!?!
    Raphael Ciani Galiano circa 1920
    Gibson F-5G FB 2003
    John D'Angelico 1933
    Vivitone Acoustic #338 circa 1933
    Gibson F4 1915 Blacktop
    Shutt/ Harmony Viol Mandolin circa 1930

  11. #58
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vivitone Mandolin Registry

    “Laundry room wall”? More details for this story?
    Jim

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  12. #59

    Default Re: Vivitone Mandolin Registry

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    “Laundry room wall”? More details for this story?
    It belonged to my mother-in-law. She played the mandolin, banjo and the Hawaiian guitar
    and in the early 1940's she won many music awards at various events. I dated her daughter all through high school and married her daughter in 1966. I knew that my mother-in-law played these instruments but never paid much attention to this Vivi Tone hanging on the wall. Her "good" mandolin was always in it's case so I just assumed that the wall hanger was not much more than that, a wall hanger. At the age of 93, she passed away last week, as did my wife of 52 1/2 years. They both died within 3 weeks of each other. In cleaning out the mother-in-laws house, the family never gave that old wall hanger a second glance. They were too focused on the "good" mandolin and other musical instruments. They knew that I played guitar and was asked if I would like to have that old wall hanger. I told them I would be thrilled to have something of hers, even if it was old and possibly junk. As it turned out, I guess I ended up with the better part of the deal.

  13. #60
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vivitone Mandolin Registry

    I am so sorry for your multiple losses. I am sure that many of the folks here (myself included) would be very interested in other aspects of your MIL’s musical history. What kind of music did she play on mandolin? And what was her main playing mandolin?

    This is also just another example the ViVitone instruments were not very well known or successful as mainstream mandolins.
    Jim

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  14. #61
    Registered User Benjamin T's Avatar
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    I, too am sorry for your losses. It would be interesting to hear more about your mother in law. In case you missed it, it looks like a few ViViTone guitars were built with reversible top saddles on the bridge for a "Spanish" set up. I've always wondered about the Hawaiian music craze here in the first half of the 20th century and the influence of slack key on bluegrass dobro. Lastly, after taking a look at the images of #549, it looks like it was pretty heavily played due to wear on the neck, bass side near the cloud tailpiece, and spruce back. Coooooool!
    Raphael Ciani Galiano circa 1920
    Gibson F-5G FB 2003
    John D'Angelico 1933
    Vivitone Acoustic #338 circa 1933
    Gibson F4 1915 Blacktop
    Shutt/ Harmony Viol Mandolin circa 1930

  15. #62

    Default Re: Vivitone Mandolin Registry

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I am so sorry for your multiple losses. I am sure that many of the folks here (myself included) would be very interested in other aspects of your MIL’s musical history. What kind of music did she play on mandolin? And what was her main playing mandolin?

    This is also just another example the ViVitone instruments were not very well known or successful as mainstream mandolins.
    Thanks Jim, The only song that I can remember off hand that she played was Under the Double Eagle, so I guess it would be safe to assume that her style would be blue grass or country. I believe that her main mandolin was a Gibson F4 style. Her Hawaiian guitar was a Gibson EH-150 Lap Steel Electric. Her banjo was a Gibson TB-11 Tenor - 1935.

  16. #63

    Default Re: Vivitone Mandolin Registry

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin T View Post
    I, too am sorry for your losses. It would be interesting to hear more about your mother in law. In case you missed it, it looks like a few ViViTone guitars were built with reversible top saddles on the bridge for a "Spanish" set up. I've always wondered about the Hawaiian music craze here in the first half of the 20th century and the influence of slack key on bluegrass dobro. Lastly, after taking a look at the images of #549, it looks like it was pretty heavily played due to wear on the neck, bass side near the cloud tailpiece, and spruce back. Coooooool!
    Thanks Benjamin, The MIL won several awards in her early years. The pictures posted here are the only items that I could find that showed her awards. Both came from The American Guild of Banjoists, Mandolinists and Guitarists. The blue ribbon was given at the 39th Annual Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio June 30 - July 3, 1940. She was born April 6, 1926 so that would make her only 14 years old when winning the blue ribbon. The red ribbon was for 2nd place for the same guild of AG&B that took place in 1938 and it was for solo contest on the Hawaiian guitar. She would have only been 12 years old then. Not sure how long that she competed after that time. I would guess that she played that Vivi Tone when she won those awards. I can remember her playing her instruments at the Nazarene church where she was a member of. I'm not a mandolin player, I play guitar in my church's praise team. But we do have mandolins and violins in our group, so maybe this will become a quest for me to learn something new.Click image for larger version. 

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  17. #64
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vivitone Mandolin Registry

    Sorry she has gone to the larger life. Boy, it sounds like she had a pretty interesting musical life before that! Very interesting collection of instruments to say the least.
    Have any of the rest of her instruments stayed in the family?
    What a fascinating story, heading out the door right now,but will re read all of this last addition when I get home!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  18. #65

    Default Re: Vivitone Mandolin Registry

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
    Sorry she has gone to the larger life. Boy, it sounds like she had a pretty interesting musical life before that! Very interesting collection of instruments to say the least.
    Have any of the rest of her instruments stayed in the family?
    What a fascinating story, heading out the door right now,but will re read all of this last addition when I get home!
    Thanks Timbofood, All of the remaining instruments went to my MIL's youngest daughter, my sister in law, who only wanted them to sell and get the money out of them. She didn't play any instruments, in fact, I'm pretty sure that she couldn't even play the radio. I'm sure they are gone by now. I was fortunate to have received the Vivi Tone. And I think the only reason was that nobody gave that old ratty looking wall hanger a second look was because they all thought it was junk. So it was decided that if I wanted it, then take it because they didn't want to deal with that old piece of junk. It was almost like they were doing me a favor by throwing me a bone while they all were feasting on the rest of the spoils. I am excited to get it on several levels, one being it was my MIL's and second, I want to learn how to play it. I've played guitar most of my life so I'm hoping that the transition won't be that bad. I did try the 5 string banjo but was struggling with the fact that the top string wasn't the bass string. It messed with my mind. I think if I would have stayed with it I probably would have over come the issues I was having but unfortunately, the banjo I was using was borrowed and the owner wanted it back and I didn't think that I was doing well enough to invest into one of my own. But now,,,, I have my own mandolin that has some history and I'm looking forward to learning it. Our praise team leader at my church where I play guitar, plays the mandolin, violin, cello and harmonica, he looked the Vivi Tone over and told me if I ever wanted to sell it, he would like to buy it. The repair shop that worked on it says in their humble opinion, it would be worth somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500.

  19. #66
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by church mouse View Post
    Thanks Timbofood, All of the remaining instruments went to my MIL's youngest daughter, my sister in law, who only wanted them to sell and get the money out of them. She didn't play any instruments, in fact, I'm pretty sure that she couldn't even play the radio. I'm sure they are gone by now. I was fortunate to have received the Vivi Tone. And I think the only reason was that nobody gave that old ratty looking wall hanger a second look was because they all thought it was junk. So it was decided that if I wanted it, then take it because they didn't want to deal with that old piece of junk. It was almost like they were doing me a favor by throwing me a bone while they all were feasting on the rest of the spoils. I am excited to get it on several levels, one being it was my MIL's and second, I want to learn how to play it. I've played guitar most of my life so I'm hoping that the transition won't be that bad. I did try the 5 string banjo but was struggling with the fact that the top string wasn't the bass string. It messed with my mind. I think if I would have stayed with it I probably would have over come the issues I was having but unfortunately, the banjo I was using was borrowed and the owner wanted it back and I didn't think that I was doing well enough to invest into one of my own. But now,,,, I have my own mandolin that has some history and I'm looking forward to learning it. Our praise team leader at my church where I play guitar, plays the mandolin, violin, cello and harmonica, he looked the Vivi Tone over and told me if I ever wanted to sell it, he would like to buy it. The repair shop that worked on it says in their humble opinion, it would be worth somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500.
    Play it im memory of your wife.

    May your path be as beautiful as the sound that may come from the instrument that you have received.
    Olaf

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  21. #67

    Default Re: Vivitone Mandolin Registry

    Thank you so much for the beautiful words.

  22. #68
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    What you have inherited is most valuable because it’s important to you. Maybe the inheritance isn’t best directed but, of this is yours, treat it as I’m pretty sure you will!
    Hoping for some “Wow, this little pearl is fun to play!”pictures!
    Love it Mouse, it is family.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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  24. #69

    Default Re: Vivitone Mandolin Registry

    Thanks Timbofood. I may not ever be any good at playing it but as long as it gives me pleasure, I'm good with that. It's like my old 1906 Ellington Upright grand piano I rescued. A local church was going to haul it to the dump, so I said I'd take it. Didn't know the first thing about a piano, only that it had black and white keys and was heavier than all get out. But I did know what notes make up a chord on a guitar, so I made up my own chord sheet for piano. And I know that how I play is not how one is suppose to play it, but you know what, it gives me pleasure to sit down and play it my way. I'll be able to get lots of help with the group I play with at church, since we have a couple mandolin players.

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