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Thread: Old Mandolin - Help Identify

  1. #1

    Default Old Mandolin - Help Identify

    Hello mandolin experts,

    This instrument has been in my family for many years and we have never known much about it. Unfortunately, there appears to be no name or markings on the mandolin or if there is I cannot find them. The tailpiece is stamped “Pat’d Oct 26, 66.” In any case, here are several pictures of the instrument. If any additional information or pictures are necessary for identification do not hesitate to ask. Any information on my mandolin would be greatly appreciated!

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  2. #2
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old Mandolin - Help Identify

    Think the tailpiece patent date is 86, rather than 66; probably no US mandolin tailpiece patents from 1866. Nice tailpiece, though.

    My observation, FWIW, is a low-to-mid-price US-made mandolin from the late 19th or early 20th century. Bridge is a later replacement. It has a rosewood body, and a "decent" number of ribs; the number of ribs in the bowl is a rough indicator of quality. On the other hand, it has little ornamentation, and the better instruments from that era were festooned with quite a bit of mother-of-pearl.

    There were many mandolins being produced domestically in that "golden age" of mandolin popularity. Quite a few were built in the Chicago area, but I'm not expert enough to attribute this one to any Chicago manufacturer.

    Seems in good shape, with the neck still at an appropriate angle. The clunky more-modern bridge is 'way too high, resulting in unplayable action at the higher frets; I'd replace it with a more appropriate bridge of a lower height. (The bridge should be "floating," meaning that it's held to the top only by string tension, and not glued to the top.) Put some extra-light strings on it and enjoy it as a family heirloom, but don't expect it to have any great commercial value.
    Allen Hopkins
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  4. #3
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old Mandolin - Help Identify

    I think Allen is right on with his general attributions.

    Worth calling attention, though, to the high quality rosewood used on the bowl of a very "low to mid-priced" mandolin. Those were the days.....

    Mick
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  6. #4

    Default Re: Old Mandolin - Help Identify

    Thanks for the help!

    It is very much appreciated.


  7. #5
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old Mandolin - Help Identify

    This is such a cool looking mandolin that I couldn't resist doing something with those pics. Hope the OP doesn't mind.
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    "If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility." -Longfellow

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  9. #6

    Default Re: Old Mandolin - Help Identify

    Don't mind at all.

    Cool pix!

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