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Thread: L&H Jupiter bowlback (I think). Need help identifying year/model?

  1. #1
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    Question L&H Jupiter bowlback (I think). Need help identifying year/model?

    Hey all,
    I was gifted this wonderful old bowlback by my fiancée for Christmas. It may not be the most well-preserved or top-of-the-line model, but I just appreciate the history this piece must have had, and it sounds great. I have a soft spot for instruments like this.

    My question is this - what model, and what year, do you all suppose it may be?
    It has a cloth interior with a faded square label that says 'Jupiter Trademark', etc., and no information on the headstock. It also does not have the metal plate on the back of the headstock to cover the tuners. The only thing I've discovered in researching is that Lyon & Healy apparently made it? I could be wrong.

    I really do not know much about these, but any information that could be sent my way, I appreciate it! Thanks, all.


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  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: L&H Jupiter bowlback (I think). Need help identifying year/mo

    The tuners aren't original, probably built by Lyon and Healy in Chicago before 1930. Jupiter was an L&H Trademark.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: L&H Jupiter bowlback (I think). Need help identifying year/mo

    Mike's right on the L+H provenance and it's likely to be pre 1910, I think. The tuners may be replacement or original, but they do seem upside down--at least relative to the era. My L+H Washburns from this time period are worm gear under. These might simply have been put back on upside down or else are altogether replacements as suggested. Don't know when tuners changed over as a whole--though I should, it's been discussed here enough. Do they turn the "right" way?

    In Bob Carlin's book on Regal mandolins he has reprints from his 1901 Regal catalog which look quite similar to Red Hand's mandolin. In Bob's book he says that after L+H purchased Regal they sold off their existing stock under their label. I can't recall whether this wound up being the "Lakeside" or "Jupiter" brand mandolins, or maybe both.

    So my working theory is that this is an Indianapolis Regal-made (or partially made), L+H finished and / or branded mandolin. With muy sketchioso mounted tuners. Our scanner has fallen one or two driver updates behind Mac OS so I can only reference the pages (45-49) that I'm looking at in Bob's book.

    As always, looking forward to being wrong….

    Anyhow, yeah, you're right it is a budget line model, but it looks in quite playable condition. With a set of Extra Light (09-32) strings and a proper pick, it should play quite nicely. Your fiancé is to be applauded (and treasured.) Fair play to her….

    Mick
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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: L&H Jupiter bowlback (I think). Need help identifying year/mo

    I'd agree with these gentlemen.

    It's not a high-end fancy inlaid bowlback - but in good playing condition these simply decorated mandolins from L & H can sound quite good. I have a very similar mandolin, and it's aged quite nicely, with a sweet tone, and the action is still easy to play.

    BTW, I have come across mandolin with reverse gear machines. They are uncommon, but I've seen a few.

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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: L&H Jupiter bowlback (I think). Need help identifying year/mo

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    In Bob Carlin's book on Regal mandolins he has reprints from his 1901 Regal catalog which look quite similar to Red Hand's mandolin. In Bob's book he says that after L+H purchased Regal they sold off their existing stock under their label. I can't recall whether this wound up being the "Lakeside" or "Jupiter" brand mandolins, or maybe both.

    So my working theory is that this is an Indianapolis Regal-made (or partially made), L+H finished and / or branded mandolin.
    ..... and a proper pick,
    Your theory may be worth looking into - these instrument were likely sold from maker to maker as need be, and jobbed around a lot, not to mention labels that identify the seller, not the maker.

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    Default Re: L&H Jupiter bowlback (I think). Need help identifying year/mo

    And it came with a case! Very unusual in that age instrument! Your fiancé is a keeper for such a great (and thoughtful) gift.

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    Default Re: L&H Jupiter bowlback (I think). Need help identifying year/mo

    Those tuners may be correct in their orientation as far as the tuners go, they were probably worm over tuners that were available after the mid-twenties. I'm sure the mandolin came with worm under tuners originally. That's why they look odd. Whoever did the repair just used what they had laying around.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: L&H Jupiter bowlback (I think). Need help identifying year/mo

    Mike, I think you are right. Just checked on my Martin and the slant / cut of these gears is in the proper orientation for the worm-over style. Flipped a Washburn over and the gear threads are still slanted to the left. Duh. I could have done that easily before my first post.

    Mick
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