Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Found this Bohmann mandolin

  1. #1

    Question Found this Bohmann mandolin

    I found this at my aunt's house. According to her, she got it as a gift decades ago from her sister-in-law who bought it at a garage sale thinking it would be a nice shelf piece. It never made it to a shelf and has been sitting untouched in the corner of her dining room buried behind a pile of other vintage stuff since then.

    Pics here:

    (I'm new here so I hope that's the right way to link images. If not I'll edit it or something.)

    It has some damage, which I assume is the result of someone over-tightening the strings at some point. A few metal strings are missing, there's a big crack in the body, and the little metal bit at the bottom is lifted up. That said, it does have the advantage of being stored in a clean, climate-controlled place for the last 30-40 years.

    I did some basic googling of Joseph Bohmann and learned that this instrument is probably an earlier piece of his from around 1890, but I was wondering what you folks think of it as you probably know a lot more.

    No one in my family plays the mandolin (most of them don't even know what a mandolin is), but I've dabbled in electric guitar before. I was thinking maybe I could get it fixed it up and try to learn it, or if nothing else, finally get it on a shelf where it can be appreciated for its beauty and history. Would it be worth it, or too expensive?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	22DYS1a.jpg 
Views:	40 
Size:	1.18 MB 
ID:	182402  

  2. #2
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Default Re: Found this Bohmann mandolin

    Very expensive repair. If you want to learn mandolin, this is probably not the instrument to learn on.

    I doubt anyone's ever cracked a mandolin merely by overtightening a string. The string would break first. Cracks happen when instruments are stored without temperature control or humidification. More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Lyon & Healy Wood Thormahlen Andersen Bacorn Yanuziello Fender National Gibson Franke Fuchs Aceto Three Hungry Pit Bulls

  3. #3
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    40.1646 N, 74.2083 W

    Default Re: Found this Bohmann mandolin

    I agree with Martin on all points. Since it's not really a family heirloom I wouldn't spend the money it would take to bring that back to life. The best part about any Bohmann instrument is the label inside.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	bohmann.jpg 
Views:	33 
Size:	73.0 KB 
ID:	182421  
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  4. #4
    mando-evangelist August Watters's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    New Hampshire/Massachusetts/Oregon
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Found this Bohmann mandolin

    Agree, probably an 1890s. And not cheap to fix. Needs to be completely disassembled, repaired, and put back together. And when it's done, its market value will be quite low, much less than you spent. Hard to tell from the photos exactly what is needed, and what quality of wood was used.

    But OTOH, Bohmann was probably the USA's first mandolin builder, and there are interesting details here: shape of top, size of body, position of cant. This was the beginning of the experimentation in the new world that took a new direction away from the Italian designs. To me, this would probably be worth restoring, just for the historical value, and you'd probably get a pretty nice mandolin out of it. The best of Bohmann's instruments were pretty good, and the relatively simple appearance of this instrument doesn't mean much.
    Exploring Classical Mandolin (Berklee Press, 2015)
    Progressive Melodies for Mandocello (Amazon, 2019)
    New Solos for Classical Mandolin (Hal Leonard Press, 2020)

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts