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Thread: Frank Benko F5 copy

  1. #26

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Ive done some more cleaning of the label inside this is what i see

    Label is oval in design












    Top in largest letters is Radiona
    Middle in same size letters is Frank Benko
    Bottom 359? Dominione ????? Que.


    Outside the label design but still on the label is pencil markings which i previously did not see. Dont make no sense to me

    6
    X11
    42

  2. #27
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Well, Que. could be Quebec, supporting the notion of its being a Montreal-made instrument.
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  3. #28
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Quote Originally Posted by phillysphinestsportscards View Post
    Ive done some more cleaning of the label inside this is what i see

    Label is oval in design

    Top in largest letters is Radiona
    Middle in same size letters is Frank Benko
    Bottom 359? Dominione ????? Que.

    Outside the label design but still on the label is pencil markings which i previously did not see. Dont make no sense to me

    6
    X11
    42
    Yes! Sounds like Martin is right. Address would be 359 Rue Dominion, Montreal, Quebec. Those numbers could very we'll be the date he completed it. I would guess it, given the fact that he was European, that it was 6/11/42 -- November 6, 1942.

    So IIRC he arrived in Canada two years before. This could be an early commission which might explain workmanship that looks less impeccable than the A model on 12th Fret's blog.

    Joe: did your grandfather-in-law live in Montreal? Possibly he bought this second hand.

  4. #29
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Joe, it needs some serious love to be put right but, the right person will get things sorted out.
    Yeah, I know what you mean about not having all the electronic chops, when I get fouled up I call my twelve year old grand daughter!
    Good luck and thanks,for the improved pictures.
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  5. #30
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Has anyone tried to get in touch with Grant at the 12th Fret? Since he knew Frank personally, and claims they've had 30 or 40 Benko instruments through the shop over the years, he's got to know a thing or two.
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  6. #31

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    Has anyone tried to get in touch with Grant at the 12th Fret? Since he knew Frank personally, and claims they've had 30 or 40 Benko instruments through the shop over the years, he's got to know a thing or two.
    I emailed them a good day before I listed it. Never heard back.

  7. #32

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    i have a musical acquaintance who found a frank benko A 4 Gibson copy in a montreal junk store--ah the old days when everything showed up in montreal junk stores(they are almost all gone now). it was very well made and a cannon of a player. a truly great mandolin.(had been hard played and needed a refrett) this f 5 looks like it will need a lot of repair but I bet it is worth it. I might bid if I was looking for an f but I have too many mandolins right now judging by the a I have heard(by benko) I would gamble that f will come out of a top repair man's shop sounding like a great mandolin.

    I also saw a benko laouto-a greek bass bouzouki, made in Chicago--if I remember. it was beautiful but had had very poor repair and I wasn't as flush at the time.

    I am tempted but it's probably too much for me.

    contacting grant at the 12th fret , or dave wren, who now makes his own instruments but was at the 12th fret, would likely yield a lot of information.

    benko also made a number of Balkan instruments that are very sought after by Balkan players. there was a set of tamburitiza instruments of his that were played by a Vancouver bassed Croatian band. all top quality.

  8. #33
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Currently at $625.
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  9. #34
    Registered User JH Murray's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Rue Dominion is in the Little Burgundy district of Montreal. The great jazz pianist Oscar Peterson grew up in that neighbourhood. A lot of immigrants settled there.

  10. #35

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Thank you all for the great information, Ive learned alot from you all. The auction is ending in 3 hrs and had surpassed what I had hoped for ( starting bid lol) I now know mandolins can be quite valuable and will be keeping my eye open for them in the future

  11. #36
    Registered User houseworker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Finished at $930 + shipping. Might well have drawn more bidders if it had been a 10 day auction rather than 3. Did anyone here win it?

    The seller's Wurlitzer Lyric saxophone would also have benefited from a longer listing and (critically) some decent pictures. Providing it was low pitch (no way of telling from the listing) the buyer got a bargain.

  12. #37
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    I was just in the 12th Fret last week. sorry I didn't know about this. Love to see one of his mandolins. It would be interesting to compile a list or information on early Canadian luthiers. I've posted about Peter Porayko who built mandolins and other instruments in Hamilton, Ontario, from the 1930s. Also an immigrant from Eastern Europe (Eukraine).
    Cary Fagan

  13. #38
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Went for $930 with 20 bids. If what's been said about Benko's work here holds up, someone got a bargain.

    By the way, it seems weird to me that eBay sellers often think that throwing in a couple of old packages of strings found in the case, enhances the value of an instrument. So what if they're "Gibson strings" -- other than listing "Gibson" will get hits from those potential bidders searching on "Gibson mandolin"?

    There's a certain amount of anecdotal interest in old strings, picks, and other ephemera that sellers throw in, but that fact wouldn't make me raise my bid $1.00.
    Allen Hopkins
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  14. #39

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Curious how it might compare with a 50's Gibson F-5?

    Reminds me, somewhat, of a luthier in Nashville in the 50's & 60's, JW Gower, who made a living making Martin copy guitars. His gimmick was he charged about half of what a Martin would cost. Pretty nice guitars.

  15. #40

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    ...it seems weird to me that eBay sellers often think that throwing in a couple of old packages of strings found in the case, enhances the value of an instrument...
    It doesn't enhance the instruments value but it doesn't hurt the auction and is kind of thoughtful... it says they are new strings in vintage style so they probably bought them new...

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  17. #41

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    if the buyer is willing to put another $930 into it, I bet he got a deal. benko was a great maker, thus was probably an early one so maybe not quite up to the level of the fifties but still looks great

  18. #42

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    Curious how it might compare with a 50's Gibson F-5?

    Reminds me, somewhat, of a luthier in Nashville in the 50's & 60's, JW Gower, who made a living making Martin copy guitars. His gimmick was he charged about half of what a Martin would cost. Pretty nice guitars.
    J.W. Gower was the nuts and bolts man behind Grammer guitars--they were his design. There are some Gower Guitars that are dead ringers to The Grammer and built a decade before Grammer began. Billy Grammer was a well liked Opry member that seemed to have managed to get most of his friends to buy Grammer Guitars. Porter, Dolly, Wilburn Bros. Bobby Bare,JR etc. Check out those old 60's -70's shows and you'll see that there are an astonishing number of Nashville cats playing Grammers. They say that they never gave them away as endorsements(but those Wilburn Bros certainly would have wanted a deal!). I'm not positive but I'm pretty sure Billy Grammer did not make guitars himself.
    Benko being a good maker or not them heal cracks --that's a game changer and effects the value of any mandolin.

  19. #43
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    I hope that someone here did win this one or that Joe can direct the new owner (after the transaction is complete) to this thread so we can have a report as to how it is in person, construction details, and how they intend to restore it and how it plays and sounds after the work is done.
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  21. #44

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I hope that someone here did win this one or that Joe can direct the new owner (after the transaction is complete) to this thread so we can have a report as to how it is in person, construction details, and how they intend to restore it and how it plays and sounds after the work is done.
    Yes I would be glad to. The buyer has told me he plans on restoring it. Unfortunately I can not disclose who the buyer is. All I can say is its well on its way to Texas and I will direct the buyer to this thread and this website.

    To the person commenting about the gibson strings. I do not deal in instruments at all. In fact I tripled my knowledge on them just from reading all the responses here. The strings were simply in the case already when I got it. I just happened to read the thread about putting the word gibson in the title long after i had listed it. Glad I did though lol . Im into yard sales and flea markets alot and in the future I will be keeping an eye out for mandolins in particular especialy anything Gibson, branded or F5.

    Thank you once again everyone for your help.

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  23. #45
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Coupla Benkos turned up at Bernunzio's today, an A-model with bound f-holes and a short-scale mandocello or possibly an OM -- John has it cello-strung CGDA.

    Very nice instruments, reasonable prices. Here's the A and here's the 'cello. I played both of them -- briefly -- and they seemed good value for the money.
    Allen Hopkins
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    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
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    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
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  25. #46

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Coupla Benkos turned up at Bernunzio's today, an A-model with bound f-holes and a short-scale mandocello or possibly an OM -- John has it cello-strung CGDA.

    Very nice instruments, reasonable prices. Here's the A and here's the 'cello. I played both of them -- briefly -- and they seemed good value for the money.
    mega cool instruments. of course as a cannuck i remember people finding these in junk stores for a couple hundred bucks so its hard to shell out those prices. however the junk store finds are probably over.

    the A looks a lot like my friends, but his was round sound hole. a really nice instrument. this one is in much nicer shape.

    i recently was told that the chicago benko instruments were probably made by franks youger cousin, who he taught for a while.

  26. #47
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    I have the 34 Joe Wilson getting restored/modernized, I'd like this Benko F-5 to restore! Has whoever got this had her fixed? Let me know as I would love to make this one playable-its rough but I see the potential! PM me if interested as I will get it done!

  27. #48

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    In the mandolin case was also a wired thing that when i googled it I beleive it to be a guitar pick up. It says The Turner co cedar rapids model nxc 1957 , would yous happen to know what thats about? I dont think it goes to the mandolin but was in the case with it.
    I enjoyed the comments about the Turner microphone/pickup. My wife's grandmother and aunts worked for Turner Microphone for many years, one of them till it closed in the late 1970s. Most of their microphones were for public address systems and ham radio. John B. Turner was a prominent mortician. He or his son started the company to produce microphones because they could not find a decent microphone to use in their funeral homes.

    A lot of them were used by the military during WWII and on aircraft radios because a major avionics manufacturer is still located here.

    They also produced embalming machines for many years.
    Last edited by CarlM; Nov-27-2019 at 1:17am. Reason: added last line

  28. #49
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    I have a Benko A style with F holes.
    I think it was a Centenial model or something like that.
    I can't really remember right now but I think he built an F hole and an oval hole of this model.
    I have the F hole one and I know that at one time Twelfth Fret in Toronto had the oval hole.
    I would love to get the oval hole one for a matching set.
    Now I might be wrong in stating that there was only one of each built in this model.
    I can't remember but I do know that they are pretty unique.
    Anyone have the oval in their closet?

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  30. #50
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Any photos of the A model-or any other pix? I love these old odd balls!

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