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Thread: Circa 1924 Lyon & Healy Style B with differences!

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Circa 1924 Lyon & Healy Style B with differences!

    I have no example of a style B at hand, but I wonder if the sides might have been taken from stock. There are some interesting features that caught my eye; I especially like the headstock overlay, with its carving and exposing the underlying neck construction. The purfling edging the back is far from perfect, in that it fails to maintain a regular distance from the sides of the instrument, but it does underscore the :"apprentice" aspect of the construction. The woods used seem to be of some quality, leading me to believe they came from factory stocks as opposed to being sourced by an amateur builder. I don't know if 2-piece backs were used in the B & C style instruments; it's been a while since I saw or handled one, and I have no readily available reference books.

    Since the price was presumably commensurate with the obvious discrepancies, I'd think the instrument would be well worth a decent setup/restoration. It does not lack for charm.

  2. #27
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Circa 1924 Lyon & Healy Style B with differences!

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    I cannot work out what is on the label- only its style.
    You can take a photo with a camera or a cell phone. The trick is just to get light inside. You don't necessarily have to restring it. I have shone a strong flashlight inside or taken it out in bright sunlight and get the right angle.

    It is interesting to compare the OP's with a standard one. Here are the two headstocks, side by side:

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  3. #28

    Default Re: Circa 1924 Lyon & Healy Style B with differences!

    Jim, I am going to take a close look again at that label. Bob A, this instrument, if it was an apprentice piece may have had to cover a number of aspects of instrument making- and that might explain why the back is two piece as a Style B does not have a two piece back. I think the wood is good quality but to reiterate, I need my luthier/repairer, to have a look at it, and one of the reasons, I have now posted this instrument here, is to get other opinions, as it may be a while before he can do this. I have another expert friend who is also a massively skilled luthier but he is so busy- although he is probably now "locked down", and he would give me answers. However, I have not seen him for three years. He came to my house with a whole load of rare 1840s guitars and their owners, and his own exact copy of one of them, last time I saw him. That was quite an event but for various reasons, mainly down to how busy he is, we have not met up, since then. His speciality is Stauffer, Panormo and other Romantic era guitar makers but he is massively knowledgeable over 200 years of stringed instruments.

  4. #29
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    Default Re: Circa 1924 Lyon & Healy Style B with differences!

    2 piece backs were indeed commonly used on all models of L & H carved mandolins.

    I have never before heard of apprenticeship mentioned in connection with any large American instrument manufacturer, not even in the 19th century. These companies had managers, foremen, and production line workers; just like they do today.

    I would be very surprised if any verifiable evidence of apprenticeship surfaced in conjunction with a company as large as Lyon & Healy or S. S. Stewart; especially taking the nature of these companies and their owners into account. Nor did Martin, Gibson, or Oscar Schmidt do it either.

    I do not have much faith that the "apprenticeship" paperwork existed. And if it did surface, I would take it with a large grain of salt.

    We could let this thread drag on and on like the one about the so-called "Virzi for Gibson" octave mandolin, but neither that instrument nor the one above is anything more than an old instrument with a false label.

    I do hope that it's a good instrument anyway.

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  6. #30
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    Default Re: Circa 1924 Lyon & Healy Style B with differences!

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    2 piece backs were indeed commonly used on all models of L & H carved mandolins.....
    The one-piece L+H As are the ones you remember but the 2-piecers can look quite nice, too.

    Mick
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  8. #31
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    Default Re: Circa 1924 Lyon & Healy Style B with differences!

    Now those are Lyon & Healy's.

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  10. #32
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    Default Re: Circa 1924 Lyon & Healy Style B with differences!

    Martin used to permit their workers to build an instrument for their own use; perhaps L&H might have been persuaded. Of course, an employee might have merely yaken the opportunity, alone with some company materials, on his own larcenous initiative. We will never know, but the L&H linkage seems to be present.

  11. #33

    Default Re: Circa 1924 Lyon & Healy Style B with differences!

    It certainly appears to have L & H in its DNA. However, I think the fact that it did not have the lyre tailpiece- which is branded as Lyon & Healy, spells out the fact, that even if it was made by an employee, it was never meant to be a current Lyon & Healy model- with L&H branding. At best it was a pastiche following certain style elements but not a reproduction of a Style B- nor was that the intention. As for the label, having looked at it again in detail, it reminds me of a banknote put through the wash in a jeans' pocket. Why it is like that, I don't know. It is possible that during a repair- and I can see what look to be small amounts of extraneous glue inside, it was wiped with some solvent. That's my best guess but I may be wrong. I guess this will remain a mystery and I do hope once it is set up properly it will be a good instrument and worth its price, which as I have mentioned was a fraction of what the seller on Reverb was looking to realise.

  12. #34

    Default Re: Circa 1924 Lyon & Healy Style B with differences!

    Incredibly, and I don't know how it happened but I ran into this on the internet. I would imagine that the Reverb seller was the buyer. Obviously, the tailpiece was added after purchase. I don't know if those screw holes lead someone to suggest what the tailpiece style might have been. I don't think it would be a Lyon & Healy tailpiece but I may be wrong. This auction ended on June 12 2017. The link does not seem to work- I have posted it below. There is no mention of any apprentice passing out exam in the blurb- no detail at all but the seller says "unidentified maker"- and yes, no label inside! So, there you go- the mandolin has been bought and then attributed to L & H with a dodgy label added for good measure. $688 it was sold for- and the seller that sold it then was in Chicago- that's promising!

    https://www.ebay.ca/itm/ANTIQUE-MAND...orig_cvip=true


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  13. #35
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Circa 1924 Lyon & Healy Style B with differences!

    The link got messed up. Try this one. Click on the completed auction at the top of the page. Phew!

    Interesting... I don't see a label in the sound hole photos.
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  14. #36

    Default Re: Circa 1924 Lyon & Healy Style B with differences!

    Jim, yes that works! So, there you go- I have added a bit more detail to my post but it's a mandolin with an added dodgy label. I would be interested if anybody could shed light on what those holes might mean regarding a tailpiece- be it L& H or not, but my opinion is that an L & H lyre tailpiece would leave a screw hole quite close to the binding. One thing for sure, is that the label is a fake. I paid what this seller got for this back in 2017. Anyway, there's no point me contacting the Reverb seller for more info as it seems we're dealing in moonshine.

  15. #37
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    Default Re: Circa 1924 Lyon & Healy Style B with differences!

    This one looks more like a carved top. Thoughts? Retracting that thought....

    Dude, do you have instrument in hand? Just stick your finger in the sound hole and feel around. You can tell if it's carved or not. Doesn't take a mysterious unavailable greatest luthier in the world to tell you that. A canted top looks like a canted top, just like an Italian bowlback. There's a cant (however subtle) just South of the bridge.

    FTIW I bought an unfinished rim set, back and neck for a Martin mandolin a few years back. Sitting in the "to do" pile. No doubt it's a Martin. The smell would give it away. Where it came from or how, no idea from the seller.

    Strange prototypes let out on to the market? We've seen stranger things here.
    We had a unrelated discussion about Lyon and Healy selling things with and without labels and using parts "swept up off the floor" (as Mike E so hilariously puts it) into hybrids that cross pollinate known model types.

    Reminds me of when the Brits had a plan to make a fiberglass copy of Stonehenge and set it out across the road from the original to try and keep down the wear and tear from the tourists.

    Mick
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  16. #38
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    Default Re: Circa 1924 Lyon & Healy Style B with differences!

    Nick, I think you have a really cool L&H inspired mandolin there. I hope it plays well and brings you joy.

    I have myself have been inspired by L&H and have built two mandolins based on an American Conservatory bell shaped tiple. Here are the pics of the flat top with the style B headstock.
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    Last edited by Charles E.; Mar-25-2020 at 6:57pm.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  18. #39

    Default Re: Circa 1924 Lyon & Healy Style B with differences!

    Charles, thank you, and all being well, it will be fixed up- once the world emerges from this miasma.

    Mick, I have followed your suggestion. I have a hand carved oval hole Regal Custom Shop mandolin, and the top feels slightly rough to my finger, while the upstart "L & H" feels a lot smoother doing the same test. I just assumed my guy has X-Ray eyes! All joking apart, I defer to an expert because that way I don't build up my hopes too high before he has made a considered judgment based on experience rather than my wishful enthusiasm.

    I would be interested if anybody has an idea regarding the tailpiece that used four screws to hold it in place. I am certain the Lyre style uses just three- as per the Waverly cloud type for mandolins. In fact, three screws is pretty much the norm, I would think- four seems to be excessive but the area around the holes, where the tailpiece would have been, suggests that it was quite small but I may be wrong.

    Back in 1963 as kids, we visited Stonehenge and got up close to the stones and we had no idea, back then, that this would be a privileged position in the future. They were definitely not fibreglass back then! Now, as you can't get close to them except for dawn on the Summer Solstice if you belong to whatever group holds them sacred, they may as well be.

  19. #40

    Default Re: Circa 1924 Lyon & Healy Style B with differences!

    With regard to the "four screw" tailpiece, I have been a little dopey. The hinged tailpiece it currently has- a sort used by Lyon & Healy has three screws on a relatively small plate screwed into the mandolin. However, there is a fourth screw that goes through the hinged "wrist rest" cover plate and holds it down. I think the four screw holes in relative close proximity shown from the eBay auction photo above, prove that this mandolin was made new with exactly the same tailpiece as it currently has on it. Again, this proves it never had a Lyre tailpiece as I have always thought.

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