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Thread: Fanchon? Waldo?

  1. #1
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    Apr 2018
    Duluth MN

    Default Fanchon? Waldo?

    Wife brought home a mandolin for me.As a guitar player who really likes Ukulele now and has a couple Mandolin too. At first glance though awww what is that.And after much searching found you all over here.And seems I have a Bowlback. I also found it is probably a Waldo but it says Fanchon on the front.Any info would be appreciated.Seems playable and flat around the F holes. I am adding some pictures.

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Fanchon? Waldo?

    In your 2nd picture (the side view), the action (string height) looks quite high, whereas the bridge already looks sort of low (not a whole lot more room to take material off the bridge in order to lower the strings). For me anyway, that would hinder playability. I don't know just exactly how short that style of bridge can be, and still function.

    That's all I got, I don't have any info about the brand itself, hopefully someone else will.

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  4. #3
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    Rochester NY 14610

    Default Re: Fanchon? Waldo?

    Check out this thread, which has a pic of a pickguard nearly identical to yours, but labeled "Waldo" instead of "Fanchon."

    Google yields no references to Fanchon musical instruments, which leads me to believe that this was custom-labeled for a customer or distributor/music retailer. As you've found, Waldo instruments have a risk of top collapse, caused by the fact that the f-hole construction prohibited a strong cross-brace of the top. I bought a Waldo mandocello, and have kept it strung very lightly to avoid that problem. The tailpiece of mine, however, pulled off; I got it fixed, and my repair guy strengthened the tail block at the same time.

    If your top is solid and flat, and if you can get a set-up that allows ease of play -- and if you keep your strings extra light -- you may have a good bowl-back player. I love the fancy inlay work, so prevalent on century-old instruments, and so rare and expensive now.
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  6. #4
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Mar 2003
    Westchester, NY

    Default Re: Fanchon? Waldo?

    It is most definiteley made by Waldo and even has the "infamous" Waldo Warp™. The tops on those were notoriously thin and barely braced so they often warped around the soundholes. I agree with Mr. Hopkins as to who Fanchon was.

    Paul Ruppa is the Waldo expert and I am sure he would love to see this.

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  8. #5
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    Apr 2018
    Duluth MN

    Default Re: Fanchon? Waldo?

    Hey thanks for the quick replies.
    As for the bridge, yep it is already cut past the Bone? and into the wood. And a closer look shows some frets are near worn or someone took them down to nothing. Seems the rest is pretty good and inside is a black tar like coating.I don't think it would take much to get it to play some chords and play low on the neck. I'll ad a couple more pictures.
    And thanks again.
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