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Thread: Banjo Mandolin - I've joined the club

  1. #1

    Default Banjo Mandolin - I've joined the club

    I'm lying in a nice hotel bed on Mother's Day with a raging cold. My cell makes an odd sound and informs me that an item I've been watching for weeks has just reduced its price by $30.
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    Since my wife is out on the Plaza (Santa Fe) buying my Mother's Day present for her I decided that I should also be thoughtful and purchase a Father's Day present from her. Besides, I could blame the delirium. I think I can get away with under $300.

    I've owned probably a dozen drum sets with calfskin heads going back to at least the 1920's. Their sound has never been duplicated by synthetic heads. The first thing I noticed on this was a calfskin head in unbelievably good condition by the best maker of such heads. Rogers started in 1849 exclusively as a maker of calfskin heads. They didn't start making drums until 1930. It is a big deal that calfskin heads made 80 to 100 years ago are in pristine condition and indicate that extraordinary care was likely used with this instrument.

    I was intrigued by the evolution of the position markers as they descend the fret board. I just plain like the style, the appearance.

    It has Orpheum tuners but to my mind it doesn't matter who made it because it was thoughtfully and beautifully made.

    Dropping the wife at the Salt Lake City airport tomorrow morning and then my son and I are headed to California to drive up the coast on 1 and 101 back to our home. I hope to kick this cold in the next couple days. My early Father's Day present will be awaiting my return.

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    199? Ike Bacon F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Oscar Schmidt banjo mandolin
    200? Olympia OM6-SW
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

  2. #2

    Default Re: Banjo Mandolin - I've joined the club

    Here's question for you banjo people. 20 tension rods on a 10.5" head? Seems like a lot. Is this normal?
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ID:	176729
    199? Ike Bacon F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Oscar Schmidt banjo mandolin
    200? Olympia OM6-SW
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

  3. #3
    Registered User
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    Default Re: Banjo Mandolin - I've joined the club

    Some of the old timers thought the more tension rods the better the quality of the banjo.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Banjo Mandolin - I've joined the club

    In case anybody has a good guess on maker, here's the tailpiece:

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ID:	176730
    199? Ike Bacon F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Oscar Schmidt banjo mandolin
    200? Olympia OM6-SW
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

  5. The following members say thank you to Greg P. Stone for this post:


  6. #5
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Banjo Mandolin - I've joined the club

    Your missing the tailpiece cover, it should just be the plain jane what do they call it Cloud? type made by Waverly more than likely, they made loads of them as they put them on mandolins as well. Nice find!

  7. #6
    Registered User
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    Default Re: Banjo Mandolin - I've joined the club

    My favorite stings for these are two sets of tenor banjo strings. I feel they sound better with lighter strings more like a banjo would have, it is a banjo after all.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  8. #7
    Registered User
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    Default Re: Banjo Mandolin - I've joined the club

    Nice find, and awesome to have it awaiting your arrival home! Safe travels!!
    Chuck

  9. #8
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Banjo Mandolin - I've joined the club

    Just a caution: the "club" may be what your neighbors use on you, when you wail away on your mando-banjo at 2 a.m. Even with skin heads, these can be a bit piercing.

    As to maker: inlays definitely look Orpheum-esque (see this #1 on eBay; headstock shape differs, and all the Orpheums (Orphea?) I've seen have been labeled on the headstock. Perhaps a "trade quality" instrument made by Rettberg & Lange and not sold as an Orpheum? Just speculating...
    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

  10. #9

    Default Re: Banjo Mandolin - I've joined the club

    My closest neighbor has two excavators and a bunch of other heavy equipment. I'll be experimenting with this in my workshop, an insulated cargo container 150 feet from the house. So the only one in danger initially will be myself. Of course once I get a sound I like everyone will have to hear it.

    I'm seriously thinking about never changing the strings on this. I'm also going to play around with attaching a bass ported chamber to the back. This will probably be much adieu about nothing but a tuned port or a folded horn to boost the bass would be cool.

    That ebay link is a great reference. I thought exactly the same thing: Orpheumesque! I even like the headstock elaboration which reminds me of top of a mandolin back, below the neck. I like to think that some eccentric craftsman liked an Orpheum and did his own take on it. Your theory is probably more likely.

    Checked into a hotel early today in Fort Bragg, CA. The drive from Reno was tiring with constant precipitation. A mountain pass was closed for a while and we waited with hundreds of big rigs until the icing had been dealt with and finally two state troopers led us through at 30 MPH. The trip up Route 1 on the Pacific coast is fascinating but the constantly changing speeds and twisting and turning wore me out. And I bought another unusual mandolin today but will wait 'til I get home to unveil it.
    199? Ike Bacon F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Oscar Schmidt banjo mandolin
    200? Olympia OM6-SW
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

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