Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 30

Thread: Alexander Dennis

  1. #1

    Default Alexander Dennis

    I'm new here AND new to Mandolins. I started to look for a guitar, which I haven't touched for 30 years and suddenly found myself fascinated by these!
    An antique store here has an "Alexander Dennis" which I could find nothing about.
    Being 2 hours away I emailed them and was told that was the name on it.
    Anyone?
    $150 ca
    circa 1930's
    Opinions? I see no option for truss rod adjustment. In my eyes not a good thing, but then, what do I know?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	man.jpg 
Views:	96 
Size:	11.1 KB 
ID:	154249  
    Last edited by Savemice; Feb-25-2017 at 9:19am. Reason: incomplete

  2. #2

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    [QUOTE=Savemice;1555949]I'm new here AND new to Mandolins. I started to look for a guitar, which I haven't touched for 30 years and suddenly found myself fascinated by these!
    An antique store here has an "Alexander Dennis" which I could find nothing about.
    Being 2 hours away I emailed them and was told that was the name on it.
    Anyone?
    $150 ca
    circa 1930's
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	man1.jpg 
Views:	88 
Size:	9.6 KB 
ID:	154250   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	man2.jpg 
Views:	89 
Size:	43.9 KB 
ID:	154251   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	man3.jpg 
Views:	71 
Size:	50.3 KB 
ID:	154252  

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	man4.jpg 
Views:	70 
Size:	52.0 KB 
ID:	154253  
    Last edited by Savemice; Feb-25-2017 at 9:22am.

  3. #3
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    16,075

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    Gosh, the only "Alexander Dennis" I could find via Google, builds buses in the UK. And I wonder how the seller knows it's "1933"?

    Other than that, it seems like a mid-line, pre-WWII mandolin, with heat-pressed top and back, missing a tuner button (not too difficult a repair), possibly the tailpiece cover. Lack of a truss rod is not a big issue if the neck's currently adequately straight; many older mandolins didn't have truss rods, and if they weren't over-strung, or subjected to damaging heat, they're still playable now.

    The price is reasonable -- if it's in good playable condition, which is hard to tell from the pics. There's wear on the back edge, but no apparent cracks. The bridge isn't adjustable, so you'd need to check if the action is at proper height -- not too high to fret easily, not so low that the strings buzz against the frets.

    It would be safer to have someone with some expertise accompany you to check out the instrument. You'll definitely need to replace the tuner button, install new strings, etc. Sorta a "mystery mandolin"; where is the "Alexander Dennis" label on it? Was that the name of a long-out-of-business music dealer, who had the instrument made? Was it an obscure Canadian luthier, who's left no footprint behind?

    Might be a good starter instrument, but also a bit of a risk. Let us know if you buy it.
    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
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  4. The following members say thank you to allenhopkins for this post:


  5. #4

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    Thanks!
    I wondered myself how he knew it's a 1933 model. Assuming there is a label inside we can't see.
    My google search was similar to yours. I was directed to buses, labs etc, which seems strange.
    From what you tell me and from what I see online, unless I am willing to do some work to it(which I am) I could likely find a much better deal in something newer that is easily adjustable and plays reasonably well as it is.
    I would LOVE to find something old. We live in a house built in 1904, so I'm attracted to old stuff. lol

    Since this isn't hand made or appearing of high quality to you, plus my being 2 hours away, I might just pass unless I can find more info on this.

    Thanks again. Really appreciate the feedback!

  6. #5
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.1646° N, 74.2083° W
    Posts
    23,342

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    The tuners look to be European. It looks as if the top might have been refinished. That converts to around $114.00 USD. It's cheap but it's not a huge bargain. Is there a reason you're attracted to this one?
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    The tuners look to be European. It looks as if the top might have been refinished. That converts to around $114.00 USD. It's cheap but it's not a huge bargain. Is there a reason you're attracted to this one?
    That is a good point. There is no special attraction to this particular one other than its obscurity. I tend to like that, but don't want crap either.
    I also suspected the top was refinished, and from the woodworking I do it doesn't look very well done. So...

    Maybe an Oscar Schmidt OM10e, Kentucky KM 160, Epiphone MM20, or even a Rogue RM 100A would be a better place to start.

  8. #7
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.1646° N, 74.2083° W
    Posts
    23,342

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    Starting with a playable instrument is always best. People tend to think that getting an older instrument will be better. It isn't always the case.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  9. #8

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    There was actually an Alabama ALM 50-S sunburst, never played, for 250$ cad on kijiji. I made it halfway to the city and was informed it was sold. That's where this started.

  10. #9

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Starting with a playable instrument is always best. People tend to think that getting an older instrument will be better. It isn't always the case.
    That's what I believe too. If its terribly difficult due to not holding tune, buzzing, bad action etc it becomes less enjoyable.

  11. #10
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.1646° N, 74.2083° W
    Posts
    23,342

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    Get Rob Meldrum's free setup book and buy something to start with.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  12. #11
    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Grass Valley
    Posts
    529

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    I always advise getting an instrument that plays well because that's what YOU want to do, right?!

    That instrument looks like way more trouble than it's worth, (acknowledging a mutual appreciation for vintage things.)

    Personally I favor the Kentucky brand for entry level mandolins. I've had hands on two Rouge brand mandos & definitely disliked both. Eastman does a nice job.

    Use this forum to your best advantage as we are all quite the enthusiasts and happy to chime in!

    Billy

    billypackardmandolin.com
    Billy Packard
    Gilchrist A3, 1993
    Weber Fern, 2007
    Gibson F4 Hybrid #1, D. Harvey 2009
    Gibson 1923 A2
    Numerous wonderful guitars

  13. #12

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    Well thank you kindly everyone! "Chime in"
    Agreed. It looks like more trouble than it's worth, and from this forum it seems that proper setup is key.
    Me thinks I might just have to but an instrument from here!
    Have also seen a lot of great reviews on Kentucky's as far as entry level models go.

  14. #13

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    "Buy something and buy something that plays well" yes...
    I am looking at 2. One on the low end of my budget, one on the high end.
    #1 Epiphone MM 20 a/s
    Easy to find value and reviews on
    $150 cad

    Mid Missouri M1 serial # 2112
    A fellow who mainly sells violins has 5 Mandolins for sale as well
    $ 280 cad

    I have no reference point as to playability and can't find much in the way of reviews for this one.

    I will keep what I buy.

    Opinions please!

  15. #14
    Registered User Eric F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    2,195

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    Get the Mid-Mo, in the name of all that's holy. That's one heckuva bargain.

  16. #15
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    DFW, America
    Posts
    3,273

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    I'll second getting the Mid Mo. Those are great instruments.
    ...

  17. #16
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Beaverton, OR, USA
    Posts
    1,399

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    Mid Mo. Unless something is wrong with it.

    Welcome to mandolincafe!
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

  18. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Pacific NW, slightly outside BC
    Posts
    658

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    Pix of the neck joint, bridge area (from above and from the side), frets 1-5 (from the side) and tailpiece area would be good, those are the usual trouble areas, along iwth tuners that can only be turned with pliers.

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...-Michael-Kelly The usual advice is to get one of the 3 brands Eastman, Kentucky/Rover (same importer), "The Loar", or a flattop mandolin (search the cafe for makers like MidMissouri/Bug Muddy, redline, Howard Morris). Always ask about those potential trouble areas.

    refs: http://www.mandozine.com/media/instr...ide/index.html

    http://www.giannaviolins.com/esmando...Beginner1.html

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...in-Buying-Tips
    The Keepers: Kentucky km900, looking for next one
    Yamaha piano, clarinet, violin
    Stage1 pedal steel, some banjos and a dobro don't get played too much

    Shopping/monitoring prices: Yamaha brass, single/double reeds

  19. #18

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    Quote Originally Posted by gtani7 View Post
    Pix of the neck joint, bridge area (from above and from the side), frets 1-5 (from the side) and tailpiece area would be good, those are the usual trouble areas, along iwth tuners that can only be turned with pliers.

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...-Michael-Kelly The usual advice is to get one of the 3 brands Eastman, Kentucky/Rover (same importer), "The Loar", or a flattop mandolin (search the cafe for makers like MidMissouri/Bug Muddy, redline, Howard Morris). Always ask about those potential trouble areas.


    refs: http://www.mandozine.com/media/instr...ide/index.html

    http://www.giannaviolins.com/esmando...Beginner1.html

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...in-Buying-Tips
    Really appreciate all of this. I have a MUCH better idea of what to look for now, especially where this specific instrument is concerned.
    I think I can safely make that 2 hour drive now and "not be at the mercy of", if you will.
    I've seen pics of his violin collection. Extremely well kept. Looks like he works from his house too.
    These are the posted pics. Doesn't look so bad from here!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	midmo.jpg 
Views:	67 
Size:	39.8 KB 
ID:	154346   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	midmo1.jpg 
Views:	44 
Size:	35.8 KB 
ID:	154347   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	midmo2.jpg 
Views:	55 
Size:	34.8 KB 
ID:	154348  

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	midmo3.jpg 
Views:	57 
Size:	39.0 KB 
ID:	154349   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	midmo4.jpg 
Views:	36 
Size:	32.3 KB 
ID:	154350  

  20. #19
    Registered User NEH57's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    North Cotswolds, Uk
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    As an aside....it appears there is a Canadian Violin maker/restorer in Quebec by the name of Dennis Alexander.....

  21. #20

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    Quote Originally Posted by NEH57 View Post
    As an aside....it appears there is a Canadian Violin maker/restorer in Quebec by the name of Dennis Alexander.....
    That's interesting. If anything I'm curious! Thanks!

  22. #21
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    23,153
    Blog Entries
    52

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    Between the two get the Mid-Mo. If it is in decent shape it could well make you happy for ever. If it needs work, the work will make it into something that could make you happy for ever.

    Sometimes the traditions and passions we adopt are old, even if the paraphernalia is newer. Getting something old for the sake of the vintage-ness is kind of a new tradition. (Just messing with your mind - I know what you mean.)
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  23. The following members say thank you to JeffD for this post:


  24. #22

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    Often the discussion here steers people away from "entry level" vintage instruments due to the potential for problems that a person new to mandolin might not be aware of. The other question, which is just as important, is "do vintage instruments appeal to you?" Sounds like they do. If that is the case, I'd say go for it, PROVIDED the instrument is in good playable condition. It's fun to have something not everyone else plays, IMHO.

    OTOH, everyday on eBay vintage mandolins are sold for under $100, some under $50 that may or may not be playable. Some may be bargains, some certainly would not be. I would buy knowing maintenance/repair is probably likely.

  25. The following members say thank you to Jeff Mando for this post:


  26. #23

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    Those old bar frets arent very comfortable to play. I have a very similar 30s Regal hanging on the wall which I restored a number of years ago--looks kinda nice there which is a good thing since I never play it.
    You're in Canada apparently? Twelfth Fret in Toronto has the best selection of mandos in the country. Give your approx location and I might suggest other stores. Music stores. Stay away from antique stores unless you are seeking overpriced wall ornaments.
    Welcome to the quest. It never ends.

  27. #24
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    B.C. Canada
    Posts
    911

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    ok,,, finally this is something that I do know a little bit about.
    Alexander Dennis was a luthier in Winnipeg who built some mandolins.
    I bought mine about 12 years ago I think and at that time I did manage to find out just a little bit about him and I know that he built more than just yours and mine. I think he built some violins but my memory is fuzzy about that. That is all I know.
    The only other one I have ever seen is sitting in my house in pieces. Dried out to nothing.
    The one I have was a sort of copy of a Gibson teens A model but it is flat top.
    The back wood on it is a really well figured maple.
    It fell apart but there is enough there to make 2 or 3 pickguards which is my plan for it.

    So there you go,,, you now know everything that I know about him.

  28. #25
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    23,153
    Blog Entries
    52

    Default Re: Alexander Dennis

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    I'd say go for it, PROVIDED the instrument is in good playable condition. It's fun to have something not everyone else plays,.
    To me that is the whole thing. I know when I began I did not know which of the many and various issues with which I struggled were necessary, and which were due to problems with the instrument. It takes a lot of dedication and fortitude to stick with it through the finger pain necessary to develop callouses, even on a great instrument - I would just hate for potential beginners to give up not knowing they were struggling against an impossibly warped neck or bad set up or something. And we don't hear from them. They just move on and take up golf or something.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  29. The following members say thank you to JeffD for this post:


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •