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Thread: Odd Oscar Schmidt 12 string (four courses) mandolin

  1. #1
    Registered User CWRoyds's Avatar
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    Default Odd Oscar Schmidt 12 string (four courses) mandolin

    Hey all,

    I came across this odd Oscar Schmidt 12 string mandolin at a store in Marin.
    It has four courses of three strings.
    Was this layout common at some point, or is this just an oddity of the time?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Mandolins: Northfield 5-Bar Artist Model "Old Dog", J Bovier F5 Special, Gibson A-00 (1940)
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Odd Oscar Schmidt 12 string (four courses) mandolin

    There have been quite a few of them for sale on ebay. Also, they were made in Germany over the years. As OS was originally a central European maker, I don't know if the mandolins made in America were influenced by the activities in Europe at that time- the mandolin craze swept both continents.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Oscar-Schmi...EAAOSwxU9dcCRb

  3. #3
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odd Oscar Schmidt 12 string (four courses) mandolin

    These are often called "mandriolas." Schmidt built quite a few of this type of instrument; however, they were always a small minority of mandolins built. Sometimes a number of the courses were strung in octaves; I believe unison tuning was the most common.

    For melody playing, they tend to sound a bit muddy (in my experience), but they do have a full chordal sound. I haven't seen a mandriola that I would date as post-WWII, at least not a US-made one. The ones offered for sale on-line tend to be German-made, as NickR mentions.
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    Default Re: Odd Oscar Schmidt 12 string (four courses) mandolin

    I can only imagine the challenge of keeping one in tune.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Odd Oscar Schmidt 12 string (four courses) mandolin

    I came upon a pre 20s Gibson A model 12 string in Mexico a few years back.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odd Oscar Schmidt 12 string (four courses) mandolin

    There was a 12 string Gibson in We Buy Guitars n 48th Street in NYC many decades ago. I assume someone bought it. Also, Mandolin Brothers had a D'Angelico 12 string.

    Here's one of the videos of Andy Statman playing it:
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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odd Oscar Schmidt 12 string (four courses) mandolin

    Here's a photo of a Gibson 12 string from 1963, apparently.

    And a link to a discussion about it.

    Appears to have been up at Elderly for awhile.

    Does it resemble the Mexican or New Yorkan versions y'all have seen?

    Mick
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    Registered User CWRoyds's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odd Oscar Schmidt 12 string (four courses) mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    Here's a photo of a Gibson 12 string from 1963, apparently.

    And a link to a discussion about it.

    That is a little different.
    It is basically a 12 string guitar, up an octave.
    That is 6 courses of two strings.
    The one I posted is four courses of three strings

    Although, I guess you could cut a new nut and bridge to make it four courses of three.
    Mandolins: Northfield 5-Bar Artist Model "Old Dog", J Bovier F5 Special, Gibson A-00 (1940)
    Fiddles: 1920s Strad copy, 1930s Strad copy, Liu Xi T20, Liu Xi T19+ Dark.
    Guitars: Taylor 514c (1995), Gibson Southern Jumbo (1940s), Gibson L-48 (1940s), Les Paul Custom (1978), Fender Strat (Black/RWFB) (1984), Fender Strat (Candy Apple Red/MFB) (1985).
    Sitars: Hiren Roy KP (1980s), Naskar (1970s), Naskar (1960s).
    Misc: 8 Course Lute (L.K.Brown)

  10. #9
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odd Oscar Schmidt 12 string (four courses) mandolin

    Lowell Levinger has an A-4 12 string mandolin in his online museum. I don't think that was the one I saw on 48th Street. I seem to remember an orange-topped A1 body.

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  12. #10

    Default Re: Odd Oscar Schmidt 12 string (four courses) mandolin

    I have a Mexican instrument called a tricordia that has 12 strings in 4 courses, tuned in unison. It has a deep body and I believe that it is used more as a rhythm instrument. I picked it up at a pawn shop on lunch break from jury duty a few years back. I'll try to find some photos and post them. I don't play it much, but it was worth the price of admission.

    - Denis

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