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Thread: United Faux Resonator Mandolin Circa 1940

  1. #1

    Default United Faux Resonator Mandolin Circa 1940

    I am sticking this up because these come with a myriad of brand names. I remember reading they were made by Regal- but Noah Miller put me right- he had to convince me when I had posted up one with the Artistic brand! Now, I need no convincing as this has United on the headstock. Enclosed Kluson tuners which were around in the very early 1940s. Anyway, I hope this helps solidify the fact that these were made by United of Jersey City. I have a Santacilla mandolin- great volume and tone- which has this headstock shape so I am now of the opinion it must also be a product of United.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Uni...cAAOSwL6JdiTmr

  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: United Faux Resonator Mandolin Circa 1940

    There's nothing faux about the resonator. They were built like that, it's not a cone like a dobro type thing. They also aren't real spectacular. It's hard to believe but Martin built some guitars the same way for a company that owned the design. The mandolins were sold under the Blue Comet name and several others as well.
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  3. #3

    Default Re: United Faux Resonator Mandolin Circa 1940

    They seem to be quite common- perhaps, they are more robust than a normal flat top from the era. Some sellers seem to think they are rather valuable- there has been one on ebay forever- attributed to Harmony and down for a cool $695. I take your point that it is not actually a faux resonator- it is a different form of resonator design and as you mention- no cone. This one below is a faux resonator. I am not going to hazard a guess on the maker! When in doubt- like that $695 example- choose Harmony- or possibly Regal!

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/1930s-Vecto...YAAOSwFZddi7K1

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: United Faux Resonator Mandolin Circa 1940

    The model in the original post was supposed to be an advancement in the technology. To me it's like the 1949 Buick's with the holes in the side of the hood. It looks good but doesn't really do anything for the performance. The actual faux resonator in the last post is one of those things that is hard to define as anything other than putting lipstick on a pig. It was all flash. Marketing without performance.

    Regal generally gets blamed for the things nobody can positively identify
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User nmiller's Avatar
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    Default Re: United Faux Resonator Mandolin Circa 1940

    The mandolins are common under other names, but anything with the United name is a rarity. Not valuable, but rare. The factory built a run of guitars (and, apparently, mandolins) to debut under their own name at a NAMM show - they were a spectacular flop. This was sometime around 1950, give or take a few years. Those tuner covers were used on guitars at least through the late 1940s, so it's possible they were still making them for mandolins at that date too.

    Sorkin sold it under the Beltone brand as the "Res-O-Lute" mandolin, claiming that the patented "grommet" feature-eyelets "amplify" the tone (the quotation marks are theirs). If you think of a banjo resonator instead of a National mandolin, calling it a resonator makes some sense even if it's misleading to modern players.
    www.OldFrets.com: the obscure side of vintage instruments.

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    Default Re: United Faux Resonator Mandolin Circa 1940

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    ... It's hard to believe but Martin built some guitars the same way for a company that owned the design.
    Mike: In your attached photo, where is that tubular plexiglass display case located, possibly the Martin museum? (Yeah, I should know, but haven't gotten there yet!)
    - Ed

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: United Faux Resonator Mandolin Circa 1940

    Quote Originally Posted by EdHanrahan View Post
    Mike: In your attached photo, where is that tubular plexiglass display case located, possibly the Martin museum? (Yeah, I should know, but haven't gotten there yet!)
    Yes, it was in the Martin Museum. Back in 2003 I stopped at Martin for the tour. The museum was in temporary space at Martin HQ and they had it spread across several rooms with these cases and some others as well. I understand the museum is now in it's permanent location but I haven't been there. The pictures I posted several years ago are here.

    You should take a day and go down for the tour. It's pretty cool. Last time I was there they were using the original building in downtown (if there is a downtown) Nazareth as a place where you could buy wood and parts. I bought a bunch of NOS pickguards and such. If it's still open that's a neat place to stop.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: United Faux Resonator Mandolin Circa 1940

    The Museum appears to be at the factory and the original building appears to house the Guitar Maker's Connection selling luthier supplies.

    https://www.martinguitar.com/about/visit-us/
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: United Faux Resonator Mandolin Circa 1940

    Looking at the original auction, now marked "ended," I ran across this McCormick "resonator mandolin," which looks remarkably unlike anything I've seen before.

    If four equally-spaced soundholes constitute a "resonator," I guess it qualifies, though I don't really see how. I have seen other faux resonator instruments with the comma-shaped soundholes in the shoulders, I think.
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    Registered User nmiller's Avatar
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    Default Re: United Faux Resonator Mandolin Circa 1940

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Looking at the original auction, now marked "ended," I ran across this McCormick "resonator mandolin," which looks remarkably unlike anything I've seen before.

    If four equally-spaced soundholes constitute a "resonator," I guess it qualifies, though I don't really see how. I have seen other faux resonator instruments with the comma-shaped soundholes in the shoulders, I think.
    Looking at the screw holes around the top, I think it was something similar to this one but missing the cover plate.
    www.OldFrets.com: the obscure side of vintage instruments.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: United Faux Resonator Mandolin Circa 1940

    Quote Originally Posted by nmiller View Post
    Looking at the screw holes around the top, I think it was something similar to this one but missing the cover plate.
    They just need to buy a hubcap and they should be good.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: United Faux Resonator Mandolin Circa 1940

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    It's hard to believe but Martin built some guitars the same way for a company that owned the design.
    They built them for Paramount (formerly Rettberg and Lange). One here at Gryphon.
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: United Faux Resonator Mandolin Circa 1940

    Yup, couldn't remember. New York boys. I believe Paramount was a Lange marque. I don't know if it was the company name.

    It was in August 1920 that the company was granted a U.S. Patent for its new "Paramount" banjo, and this instrument, (designed by William L. Lange) made its first appearance in 1921.
    http://savethebanjos.com/Lange%20History%20addendum.htm

    This guitar probably came a little later.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: United Faux Resonator Mandolin Circa 1940

    Isn't this special.

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: United Faux Resonator Mandolin Circa 1940

    And one of the resonator mandolins like a Blue Comet. This one is labeled Medalist..

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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