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Thread: Well - I gambled. But what did I win? - pretty old mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Well - I gambled. But what did I win? - pretty old mandolin

    Hi all,

    I gambled and won a very pretty looking bowlback mandolin on eBay. I was curious if any of you had any clues on what I'm going to get in the mail?

    Here's the link to the completed auction:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-8-St...vip=true&rt=nc

    I figured for 115, I wasn't out too much if it turned out to be a clunker.

  2. #2
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Well - I gambled. But what did I win? - pretty old mandolin

    "two strings missing" - it will need a new set of strings (light strings, I'll say) anyway. Those tuner machines will most likely need some lubrication. Everthing else seems to be good to go.
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  3. #3
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Well - I gambled. But what did I win? - pretty old mandolin

    It looks pretty nice to me and you got a decent deal. Looks like a lower end but decently made Lyon & Healy product hopefully in good playing condition. The price was right if it doesn't need too much. String with GHS ultra lights A240 set available from just strings.com

  4. #4

    Default Re: Well - I gambled. But what did I win? - pretty old mandolin

    I noticed some cracks in the wood around the tail piece, maybe some finish cracks close to bottom of the bowl(close to the tail piece)
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  5. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Well - I gambled. But what did I win? - pretty old mandolin

    I do like the birdseye maple bowl.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Well - I gambled. But what did I win? - pretty old mandolin

    the bird's eye maple is beautiful. looks plain other wise. I have seen two mandolins that looked a lot like that and one had a A stathoupoulo brand on the inside(it wasn't for sale)--so keep your hopes up. the other was an "empire state". I don't know who made empire state. both sounded good. the maple makes a nice sound if it has a good spruce top.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Well - I gambled. But what did I win? - pretty old mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by mgap View Post
    I noticed some cracks in the wood around the tail piece, maybe some finish cracks close to bottom of the bowl(close to the tail piece)
    I noticed that too - hope it's nothing big. The seller also said there was light through one seam, that he hadn't noticed until I'd asked him to look.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Well - I gambled. But what did I win? - pretty old mandolin

    Yeah - first thing that'll happen is it'll go to my local luthier's shop for a full checkup and set up. I figure the quicker I get it into the pro hands, the better. Now if I could just find a case that won't set me back farther than mandolin will, life would be good.

  9. #9
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Well - I gambled. But what did I win? - pretty old mandolin

    Sorry, it is not a Stathoupoulo or an Empire State. I am pretty sure it was made by Lyon & Healy as a wholesale mandolin to be sold in stores. The pickguard shape and the headstock is very characteristic of L&H. Here is a page of their mandolins from circa 1912 catalog. These are a little fancier but you can see what I mean.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Jim

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  10. #10
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Well - I gambled. But what did I win? - pretty old mandolin

    The cracks around the tailpiece do not look terrible and that is an extra piece that gets glued onto the bowl. Rib separations in the bowl might be of further concern.

    My favorite bowlback case is one sold by ebay seller violinking. it is a lightweight foam case (but very protective) and with shipping used to cost about $65. However last time i could not find that seller on eBay. I had an email address tho and my friend was able to get one recently:

    $45 each, Shipping is $25. total $70.

    Violinking8@aol.com or houstonbrass@aol.com
    or call 281-300-3678.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
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    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  11. #11

    Default Re: Well - I gambled. But what did I win? - pretty old mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    The cracks around the tailpiece do not look terrible and that is an extra piece that gets glued onto the bowl. Rib separations in the bowl might be of further concern.

    My favorite bowlback case is one sold by ebay seller violinking. it is a lightweight foam case (but very protective) and with shipping used to cost about $65. However last time i could not find that seller on eBay. I had an email address tho and my friend was able to get one recently:

    $45 each, Shipping is $25. total $70.

    Violinking8@aol.com or houstonbrass@aol.com
    or call 281-300-3678.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks! I'll see if I can track one like that down.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Well - I gambled. But what did I win? - pretty old mandolin

    I am.. stupidly.. excited for this to arrive. To the point where I'm checking the tracking every few hours.

    I'm taking lessons on the mandolin - I have a morgan monroe in mahogany which is a really beautiful instrument. My instructor knows I want to play when I go to ren faires and music festivals. I really like medieval music. So we've been learning tunes that fit that. It's a nice change from the jigs and reels and slides I practice on the whistle.

    A big part of me is super amused that I'm gravitating to really, really old mandolins, but my preferred whistles and flutes are made of carbon fiber.

  13. #13
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Well - I gambled. But what did I win? - pretty old mandolin

    Getting a playable (we hope!) bowl-back should make you fit in with the Ren Faire crowd, even though a century-old bowl-back is still a bit too "modern"-looking.

    I played a Ren Faire near Phoenix a few years ago, and was a bit taken aback watching musicians with 12-string Yamaha guitars and (really) an electric fiddle. Their garb was pretty authentic looking, their instruments not at all. And I'd purchased a bowed psaltery especially for the occasion...
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Well - I gambled. But what did I win? - pretty old mandolin

    I have a bowed psaltery! And a kantele. I'm trying to sell the Psaltery tho - I just don't enjoy tuning 33 strings. The Kantele is from musicmakers and is a lot of fun to twiddle with.

    As far as the century-old mando looking too new.. yeah. You're right. But it's closer than an f-hole morgan monroe! Frankly, the faires in my area aren't terribly strict - and it doesn't seem like the patrons really know that O'Carolan tunes are not nearly old enough to be authentic.

  15. #15
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Well - I gambled. But what did I win? - pretty old mandolin

    Yeah, the one I played at seemed to think Robin Hood and Queen Elizabeth I were contemporaries, and that armored knights co-existed with pirates from the Caribbean. I didn't complain, 'cause I was getting $400 and my air fare. I had a Washburn bowl-back mandola that looked lute-like, the psaltery, and a soprano recorder, so I felt pretty "authentic" as far as that went. Better than that electric fiddle!
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Well - I gambled. But what did I win? - pretty old mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Yeah, the one I played at seemed to think Robin Hood and Queen Elizabeth I were contemporaries, and that armored knights co-existed with pirates from the Caribbean. I didn't complain, 'cause I was getting $400 and my air fare. I had a Washburn bowl-back mandola that looked lute-like, the psaltery, and a soprano recorder, so I felt pretty "authentic" as far as that went. Better than that electric fiddle!
    I know what you mean. The actors / volunteer staff have to at least try to be accurate, but the fact is.. There were no jugglers juggling rubber chickens or toilet plungers in Tudor-era villages.

    But, it's fun! There are several small faires in this area, and only one is very picky. The others.. well, if it looks okay at 5 feet away, it's cool.

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  18. #17

    Default Re: Well - I gambled. But what did I win? - pretty old mandolin

    Well! I got the mandolin in the mail today. It had a few more issues that I could see than were described in the photos or the ad.

    However, I took it in to the shop and showed it to the luthier. He had some things to say - I'll attempt to sum them up:

    First, there is a number - 8518 on the bottom of the neck brace - you can see if it you look into the sound hole and peer up the neck on the inside. No makers mark that we could find.

    One of the braces inside the body below the sound hole is loose.
    The neck is solid and straight.
    The tuning machines have rivets, rather than screws. According to Kent, that places the mandolin in the early 1900s, late 1800s.
    There's one pretty large separation on the faceplate, and two places on the staves that are split.

    The neck needs cleaned and tiny cracks in the finish on the neck need filled. Everything is black with tarnish as well. He said the neck is dyed mahogany.

    Overall, he said that with everything it needs it was still a good deal - and that before strings, getting it playable should run me about 150-200. I still need to find a case, but overall, he said I got a good deal. The birds eye maple is really really beautiful in person.

  19. #18

    Default Re: Well - I gambled. But what did I win? - pretty old mandolin

    Waiting very very impatiently to get this one back from the luthier.

    Hobgoblin music has a decent looking case for 115 btw!

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