Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 40

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

  1. #1

    Default Circa 1924 Lyon & Healy Style B with differences!

    I bought this mandolin in December and before posting it, I had wished to take it to my repair expert who is also a luthier. However, he has been very ill since I made the purchase, and now we are in the grip of the Coronavirus, I have no idea when he can do the work to convert it back to right had play and fix a few other issues, like the separation in the back and possibly make a new bridge.

    Anyway, the mandolin was originally sold in the USA and the best pictures are all here when it was still right hand playing:

    https://reverb.com/uk/item/5702834-v...deco-headstock

    My first observation is, that the seller did not know his way around a ruler, the scale is exactly 13 inches. This mandolin has never had the large vulcanised fibre guard as there would be an insert- or tell tale signs of one and they cannot be found. Furthermore, the tailpiece is not a replacement for the lyre version- it has not carried one. If it had, there would be signs on the top and a hole on the end for a screw, as that version of the tailpiece extends down further than the hinged example we see- which was used by Lyon & Healy. There is what I believe is called a "stringer" on the top and the back. The back is two piece. The headstock is a slightly different shape to others and the top and back do not have such a pronounced arch.

    The seller in the UK told me that this was an apprentice piece, made for passing out as a fully fledged craftsman and presumably, this was made to prove his skills. Unfortunately, he put the documents into the case of another mandolin he sold and they were not returned. There is a label which is extremely faded/worn and it looks like this one- which is from a mandola worked on by Jake Wildwood. Again, it is not typical. The Waverly tuners suggest about 1923 or 1924, and we know that the 13 inch scale also dates these instruments.

    Anyway, it is slightly enigmatic, it has a good tone- I can play the odd chord and notes but I am having to wait to get it into hands far more skilled than my own. Here is the style of label:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	lhdola-25.jpg 
Views:	42 
Size:	330.4 KB 
ID:	184417

  2. #2
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    1,564

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

    Methinks the seller was "stretching the truth."

    This mandolin appears to be Lyon & Healy inspired, but the shapes, proportions, and details of execution do not conform to any Lyon & Healy or Washburn product that has come to my attention.

    A likely explanation is that it was indeed handmade by an individual, but I see no reason to believe that the maker had any direct connection to the L & H company.

  3. The following members say thank you to rcc56 for this post:


  4. #3

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

    You could well be right, as I wrote, it is enigmatic and as such may not be something made by Lyon & Healy. Having written that, the celluloid binding on the board and other things do conform to their output but that does not mean it was made by the company. This is, of course, why I wanted to post it up here. My repair man is not necessarily going to be able to confirm who made it. I know someone who was for decades the stringed instrument expert for a very large auction house and he might be able to confirm or deny who made it. However, I think getting opinions here is going to be very useful.

  5. #4
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    1,564

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

    Well, anything is possible.

    But I have a style C in my hands now. For example, the fingerboard extension is quite different, and the fingerboard and body bindings are thinner and much more rounded. The rosette and soundhole binding, while similar in style, are different in their proportions. The plate carving is very different. The list could go on and on.

    Also, note that the shape and proportions of the body points is different from a style B [if you'll google up some images, you will probably be able to see the differences].

    In short, almost all of the details are different.

    I've owned a style B and a style C, and worked on six other L & H's that I can remember. I have seen quite a few others.
    In short, if I was asked to write an appraisal or letter of authentication, I would describe your mandolin as "mandolin with carved top and symmetrical 2 point body, loosely based on the design of a Lyon & Healy style B."

    Others may think differently.

  6. #5

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

    I understand, what you have written is reasonable as it does differ in so many ways. This business about the apprenticeship is of interest because this was not in the auction detail- which was virtually the same as the Reverb listing- including the scale length error- which looked obvious to me once it had arrived, so I grabbed a ruler. This was not something that caused me major concern although it was irksome, as I prefer sticking to the longer scale. If that original paperwork was available, then that might clarify things- it was mentioned in correspondence after the mandolin had arrived in my hands. As I have mentioned, there was no pickguard or lyre tailpiece ever, I could ascertain that- it is just commonsense and looking at the available evidence. As you mention, others may offer a viewpoint but getting it looked at by a skilled luthier was something I would have wished to have done from day one but Xmas and illness prevented that from happening.

  7. #6
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    1,564

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

    Well, let's put it this way: An oval hole Martin style 20 mandolin bears a closer resemblance to an L & H style B than your instrument does.

    But putting the pedigree aside, I hope you have a good sounding mandolin.

  8. #7

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

    I will know all about its tone and volume once I can play it- which may be quite a while yet! Certainly, picking strings and the odd basic chord, which is all I can do, and I do not know a left-handed mandolin player, it appears to have some promise but until I can play it properly, that's conjectural!

  9. #8
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    1,564

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

    Surely there is someone in your area who can cut a new nut, rough out an ebony bridge, and work a little glue into any open seams. If your luthier is unavailable, you might try a violin repair person.

  10. #9
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    27,047

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

    That is definitely a strange one. It almost looks in the Reverb listing that it has a flattop with a cant. But you say it is carved top and back?

    Also, odd that Lyon & Healy have the serial number on the label but no style letter. So this was converted to left-hand playing?

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	ezgif-6-979695a4e0e0.jpg 
Views:	24 
Size:	280.7 KB 
ID:	184424
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  11. #10

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

    There may be somebody who can do the work but when you have the best guy in the land, I would prefer to wait- even though I am generally, impatient!

    Jim, I am assuming it is hand carved but maybe any assumptions should be discounted- it was converted by the person I bought it off- who bought it from the Reverb seller. That is one of the reasons, I would wish to have it looked at by someone that I trust with over 55 years of experience. Here's one of his bigger restorations- a very very large mandolin, made by Kay!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uzC5KC_260

  12. #11
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine Beach FL
    Posts
    4,622

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

    I don't think that instrument has anything to do with Lyon and Healy. Proportions are all wrong and the workmanship too crude. It is someones idea of what a L&H would be.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  13. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    122

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

    The earliest Styles A-C (with the lowest serial numbers) did all conform to the 1914 patent filing design shape, including the pickguard.

    I have file photos of a Style C #11, and a Style B #11 (even though that states 'Spec' on the label, which may (or not) have been a separate numbering scheme), both again pretty much standard instruments. Same goes for the #11 mandocello (no pics of that one, unfortunately).

    But - I also have a vague photo of a Style B #2, with an AC-like 'ashtray''tailpiece, a brownish white bound top, plus a bound non-extension fingerboard and a regular stairstep headstock and pickguard. I am not convinced that one is original BTW. I have no clue what the OP's mandolin represents, but it looks much less L&H-like than Style B#2.

  14. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,683

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

    The top of the instrument under discussion is not carved. This was a gross misrepresentation by the seller, and the price is way beyond reasonable for what has been received. It's certainly not a L&H Style B, whatever else it may be. If I had purchased it as described, I'd expect a full refund.
    Last edited by Bob A; Mar-23-2020 at 4:34pm.

  15. #14

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

    I did not pay that much for this mandolin- and the seller I bought it off did not pay that asking price as shown at Reverb. I think the seller I bought it off was disappointed with the auction as I was the only bidder and had expected to be outbid as I bid the opening price only. Maybe, that would have been a good thing, I don't know. I did want my repair man to give his opinion on the build quality and confirm whether it was hand carved or not but that will have to wait. You can see that the Reverb description does not state it is carved, and this description was pretty much used in the auction when I bought it. Of course, one would assume that if it was a Style B, it would be hand carved, which is why I need an expert opinion. Certainly, I am not surprised by what has been discussed here as I had my concerns that it may have been made by a Lyon & Healy employee, it may have not but it did not conform to Style B specs for sale as such.

  16. #15
    Mandolin & Mandola maker
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Bega NSW, Australia
    Posts
    1,191

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

    i would have to agree with every one else that this is definately not a Lyon and Healy, and the seller has been somewhat loose with the truth. Just about everything is wrong. It looks like a flat top from the pictures and the style A B and C's were carved with quite a high arch. The bindings are wrong, the purphlings around the soundhole are wrong, the bridge is wrong, the tailpiece is wrong (although that could have been replaced), no pickguard holes in the fingerboard is a red flag, the strip down the back is wrong, strip down the center of the neck is wrong, fingerboard extension is wrong, headstock is wrong etc etc.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
    http://www.petercoombe.com

  17. #16
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    27,047

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

    For historical purposes:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	ezgif-6-98a34d53aa98.jpg 
Views:	37 
Size:	238.5 KB 
ID:	184437 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	ezgif-6-cd335f3f16d0.jpg 
Views:	35 
Size:	207.5 KB 
ID:	184438 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	ezgif-6-f0a4f3dcc8af.jpg 
Views:	34 
Size:	245.9 KB 
ID:	184439 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	t9lt5teljvmhjhmqzdna.jpg 
Views:	29 
Size:	225.5 KB 
ID:	184440 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	sdlfbafijec7qllrhaa0.jpg 
Views:	29 
Size:	212.8 KB 
ID:	184441
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  18. #17
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    5,320

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

    Is a photo of the label available to see?

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Open Road
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

  19. #18
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine Beach FL
    Posts
    4,622

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

    Post # 1, according to the Pleijsier book on L&H and Washburn the label is circa 1917. Coming from a background in violin restoration, labels are the first and easiest things to fake.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  20. #19
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    1,564

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

    The top and back appear to be slightly arched, but not carved. And it is not similar to the Washburn two point flat models either.

    I believe this is a hand-made mandolin with false label.

  21. #20

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

    Pleijsier shows that label as 1917. However, the photo that came from Jake Widlwood's blog of the same style of label is from a mandola that Pleijsier dates as from 1922- Jake dates it as 1920s. I have my doubts about the label but if it was a fake, I would expect it to be from a more common label but that is not necessarily the case, I know but more likely. Perhaps, somebody can confirm the date these mandolas were made but I think the 1917 date in the book for that label style perhaps is just too precise and could be widened.

    As I have mentioned earlier, it is frustrating, that I have not been able to get the workmanship assessed. However, I am pleased to get all the input so far because it helps me with my knowledge and understanding of what it might be. From memory, and sadly, I did not copy the auction detail, the seller mentioned the apprenticeship aspect in the sale- and it was in a message to me that he mentioned that this paperwork had been lost. Certainly, an instrument made for a passing out examination would not necessarily be a Style B slavishly copied- as this clearly is different in many ways. The question that I need to be answered is over the quality of the build- one would expect an instrument that was going to be assessed by one's superiors, should be of a very high build quality. Some here have expressed doubts over this and that's why I want my luthier to look it over and repair it- as well and make it playable for me. I can live with it not being an L & H mandolin- although I can't say I am pleased if it is not one! It may remain an enigma, I suppose I could contact the seller on Reverb to discuss the apprenticeship details and see what response I might get.

  22. #21
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    27,047

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

    NickR: maybe I did not read your posts carefully enough but I assume you have never yet had this mandolin in your hands to examine it but sent it directly to your luthier? Was the auction listing online? You can look up an older listing possibly on archive.org to get the details. Not always but possibly. Or contact the seller?

    L&H was similar to Gibson in that they were all over the place. Even worse in some ways since they restarted their serial numbering a few times which makes everything moot. But they seemed to stick close to specs for a model of a particular era especially for the L&H line of the lettered mandolins.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  23. #22
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Beautiful Salem County, NJ
    Posts
    1,701

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

    In some ways, the initial confusion regarding what it may or may not be is a shame if it diminishes the instrument in your eyes, because what it is seems pretty good. By that I mean, take away all its potential L and H history and just look at for what it is. I think it's a good looking, older flat-top. Assuming it sounds good, it is an instrument I sure wouldn't mind owning. And I am betting it will sound good.

    I hope you didn't pay too much for it but even if you did, it is yours now. Get it back to playing order, string it up and give it a go. I am betting that in no time, you'll be happy you have it.

    Best wishes,

    Bob
    Purr more, hiss less.

  24. #23

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

    Jim and Bob. Jim, it was sent to me but I was hoping to get it into the hands of my luthier within three weeks- after Xmas. However, he was taken ill over Xmas and has been more or less in isolation since then- and now we are in lock down! I wanted his opinion on its build quality and the "carved or not" question. Bob, I do think it is a pretty good mandolin- it has that separation on the back and some very small cracks on the board. The neck is true and there are no cracks, elsewhere. It sounds good but until it is converted back to right hand play- and a new bridge fitted, I cannot play it. Ideally, it could be proved to be made at Lyon & Healy by an employee because it is clear it is at best only superficially like a Style B. I think it is of that era with those arrow end tuners. I found an early 20s Lyon & Healy banjolin with a similar headstock and tuners- I thought I had saved the photo! I will look for it again!

  25. #24
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    27,047

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

    There are many mysteries out there from these musical instrument manufacturers of that era. I would not be surprised if this was indeed made in the L&H factory though so many of the details do not correspond to the bulk of mandolins made in that era that the label points to. Could be a very early prototype of the G series mandolins or an employee attempt with a purloined label. Or neither.

    I have a Vega flattop mandolin that is also an oddball: has a Vega label but is marked on the pickguard "Amati." I have seen three others like it in store web sites, but never in a catalog. I have asked a few experts and no one knows the story of that one either, but it doesn't look like other Vega flattops.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  26. #25

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

    I cannot work out what is on the label- only its style. It may be possible to read more detail- I was hoping my luthier might find out more when it is unstrung. I suppose I could unstring it but I wanted to show it to him strung up and I don't know if I can be bothered to string it back up again! It plays as a left-hander but the bridge is way too low and I would like a new bridge. I have bought an old one on eBay that might be fine- it is on its way but maybe making a new one would be better. It all depends on what the man with the skills decides when he's fit again- his immune response is, he says "on the floor"- so he really is at risk from infection.

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
  •