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Thread: Old Bacon

  1. #1
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    Default Old Bacon

    Hello all, new to the forum. I inherited my Grandmother's old Bacon mandolin, given to her by my Grandfather. It's a 2 point which I gather is the Artist model. It has the number 351 stamped on the top of the headstock. The label is long gone. I believe it's all original. It probably sat in its case in a closet for 40 or more years and is in absolutely marvelous condition. My local guy cleaned it up, adjusted the bridge and put new strings on it. The intonation and action are great. No cracks anywhere. I'll never be a picker but I love strumming chords on it, the tone is beautiful. Anybody know anything about these, such as the year built or materials used? The grain on the back looks like mahogany but I can't be sure.

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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    Welcome to the Cafe.

    If you can upload a few photos of front and back I'm sure the many experts here will give you a lot of great information about your mandolin.

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    Yes, they were made between 1921 and 1924 by the Bacon Banjo Co. in Groton, Ct. They can be very lovely instruments although they don't have the name recognition of Gibson or Lyon & Healy.
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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    Here's a 1924 Bacon catalog with a little more information.
    https://acousticmusic.org/wp-content...24-Catalog.pdf

    There was an earlier catalog (1921?) that I've also seen somewhere but can't find at the moment.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    Quote Originally Posted by druid View Post
    It's a 2 point which I gather is the Artist model.
    The two-point is the Professional model. Here is a 1921 ad showing both models.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    Wasn't some of those signed on the label by William Place Jr.? He was a friend of Lloyd Loar wasn't he, I may be mistaken but Gruhn has his Loar F-5 at the moment? Place must've been a monster player back then I'd guess? I've said it before but wouldn't it be nice if we had some recordings of him, Lloyd Loar etc... There isn't any that I know of, it would be nice!

    I just seen the above link to the artist Bacon's and yes Place signed them, too bad your label is missing

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    Thanks Jim. The 1924 catalog doesn't show the 4-point Artist model for some reason.
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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    Thanks everybody for the info. After studying the grain more on the back, it looks more like birch than maple to my eye, which doesn't really jibe with the 1924 catalogue for a Professional Model. But I've been wrong before! I need to get a new computer before I can upload any pics, the old Mac has a problem with IPhoto these days

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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    I have a question for you wise folks. I want to replace the old tuners but don't want to have to redrill the headstock. Stewmac makes a restoration tuner for old A style mandolins. Anybody know if they're the same tuners that Gibson used. I have to think that Bacon must have outsourced the hardware rather than produce their own.

  12. #10

    Default Re: Old Bacon

    It might be an idea to post a photo of your mandolin tuners. Here is a video from Stewmac- showing that the tuners are worm under the gear type- as in the 1920s.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSVAZThkNAI

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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    Thanks for sharing that video. Mine are the worm under gear tuners so they should fit like a glove.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    Here are the tuners of my 1921 Bacon Artist (on right) alongside the StewMac Golden Age ones. I checked the posts and they seem to be very close.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    . . . and I thought we'da heard from Old Sausage by now?

    I'd love to see the photos too! I think these are cool mandolins!

    f-d
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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    Attachment 180629Attachment 180630Here is my baby, with the Stewmac restoration tuners installed. I'm not sure of the exact year, I've been calling it a '22. They weren't an absolutely perfect fit, the mounting screws didn't line up perfect(toothpick fix) and the holes for the posts needed a little reaming but what a difference as far as tuning and staying in tune. Does anybody else play mandolin fingerstyle? I gave up picks almost 30 years ago when the kids were little and my wife was afraid I'd wake them. That was 27 years before I started playing mandolin. My Martin 12 string really is a cannon, but I haven't used a pick since.

  19. #15
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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    druid: your photos are not attached. Click on the third icon from the right above where you are typing and then find each photo on your computer and upload it.
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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    a second try
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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    Druid, you'll be wanting to send that over my way for a more thorough inspection.

    Seriously, I think all of us in this plectral circle (thanks for that advert, Jim!) are happy for you. That's some serious "wow". It is a lovely inheritance!!

  23. #18
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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    Yep, that’s a fantastic piece to have inherited! Play it, play it a lot!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  24. #19

    Default Re: Old Bacon

    Spain?!
    I’m in France, you may want to send it here. I can inspect it and play it A LOT. Then I’ll get it back to you in another 40 years, no problem.

    -that’s a serious mandolin though, I’d suggest doing three or four years of instruction with Peghead Nation, and others, and a Music College and various private instructors for you AND other family members. Then play the instrument at family reunions, Play ‘Liberty’ etc at thanksgiving and winter family holidays.

    Go for it. After all this time it has a lot to say, that poor instrument wants to sing!

    The ONLY thing I’m not sure about is the name.
    I like pigs, ha, ha!
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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    I’m in Michigan.....


    Name- Barb-E- Cue or Oscar Meyer...

    Nickname- “Thick slice!”
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  26. #21
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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    Anybody have an idea from the photos what year this mandolin was built? I don't know if there were any changes year to year. It sounds like it was a short production run, '21-'24.

  27. #22

    Default Re: Old Bacon

    Quote Originally Posted by druid View Post
    Anybody have an idea from the photos what year this mandolin was built? I don't know if there were any changes year to year. It sounds like it was a short production run, '21-'24.
    You mean this one about hundred years old? It looks better than me!

  28. #23

    Default Re: Old Bacon

    Quote Originally Posted by Gwen View Post
    You mean this one about hundred years old? It looks better than me!
    You’re joking of course.

    -oh, no. So easily I betray my Octave Mandolin!
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  29. #24
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    Quote Originally Posted by druid View Post
    Anybody have an idea from the photos what year this mandolin was built? I don't know if there were any changes year to year. It sounds like it was a short production run, '21-'24.
    Almost every Bacon I have seen with date on the label say 1921. Mine is #204 and says 1921.

    Here is a list of ones that had serial numbers from my jpeg files:
    051 Amateur
    056 Amateur
    108 Professional
    114 Artist 1921
    156 Amateur emando (Stillion
    161 Artist
    182 Professional - Elderly
    20X Professional
    204 Artist - JG 1921
    221 Artist
    221 Artist
    316 Professional - Chris Rorrer
    319 Professional
    321 Artist
    351 Professional
    424 Amateur
    432 Amateur/Student

    I would assume that the higher numbers were later.

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    Default Re: Old Bacon

    I'll likely never know for sure, not that it's that important, just curious. It's #351. I don't know the year when my Grandfather gifted it to my Grandmother, or whether it was new at the time. I'm just feeling incredibly lucky that it fell to me. I play it every day, connects me to my Mom and Grandmother. Even got to play it at Mom's funeral last year, at her request. "On Eagle's Wings"

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