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Thread: Looking For Information on a Vintage Bowl Back Mandolin

  1. #1
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    Default Looking For Information on a Vintage Bowl Back Mandolin

    Hey All,

    Someone in my area is selling this mandolin for $100. Have inquired for more information. Is it worth a look?

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    Thanks

  2. #2
    Registered User G7MOF's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking For Information on a Vintage Bowl Back Mandolin

    It's always worth a look.
    I never fail at anything, I just succeed at doing things that never work....


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  4. #3

    Default Re: Looking For Information on a Vintage Bowl Back Mandolin

    It appears to be American made (Regal?) but that's all I can comment other than its tuners are new replacements- which may mean it is playable. Obviously, checking it out for wear and other ravages over 100 odd years are the key. If it is in good order then I would imagine $100 is a fair price but if it needs repairing then that is a different story.

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  6. #4
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking For Information on a Vintage Bowl Back Mandolin

    You'll need to ask/check on the neck. If it's warped, it's a nice wall-hanger. If it's playable, $100 is about what many of these go for.
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  8. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking For Information on a Vintage Bowl Back Mandolin

    I can't quite tell from the photo, but it looks like the tortoise celluloid from the pickguard needs to be replaced. If so, factor that into any issues that the others have mentioned. If you can do the repairs yourself it might be OK. Otherwise, you may be looking at more that $150 total costs.

    Do you want a bowlback? There are plenty around and you might do well with this one as a player but it is not really anything special though could be fun to fool around with.
    Jim

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  10. #6
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking For Information on a Vintage Bowl Back Mandolin

    I assume there's no label inside, and no manufacturer's logo on the headstock...?

    No obvious cracks; check the bowl for separations between the ribs. How many ribs does it have? Less expensive instruments, in general had fewer, a dozen or less.

    The new tuners would warn me that the last owner may have used "modern" -- i.e., too-heavy -- strings on it. A crucial question is whether string tension has pulled the neck forward, or damaged the neck joint. Check neck angle and string height.

    The bridge also looks non-original; bowl-back bridges tended to be thinner and longer.

    Jim G's questions about whether you want a bowl-back are to the point. Bowl-backs can be fairly versatile, but few play bluegrass, blues, rock, jazz, or similar styles on them; their "voices" are less suitable for those genres, is the general opinion. They are very well-suited for classical and certain ethnic musics. Also, they're a bit harder to hold than flat-backs, though that's not a disqualification, IMHO.

    If the instrument's currently playable and doesn't need repairs, $100's not excessive. And it could be a Regal; the headstock shape and tailpiece cover conform to some Regal models. I've never seen one pictured with that particular pickguard inlay, but most US manufacturers used a variety of pickguards, whatever was on the market.
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    Default Re: Looking For Information on a Vintage Bowl Back Mandolin

    Thank you everyone for the information. Decided to pass on it. As stated above it might be fun to fool around with but I don't really have to have it.

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