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Thread: Bradbury mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Bradbury mandolin

    I have this sweet Bradbury #1383 mandolin. Does anyone have any info on Bradbury?
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  2. #2
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bradbury mandolin

    The Mugwumps Index of American Musical Instrument Makers lists Benjamin Bradbury in Brooklyn NY 1882-1890, and there are a couple of Bradbury parlor guitars for sale on Reverb (here's one with the same label). Your mandolin looks like other turn-of-the-20th-century flat-backs, though I would on quick (and semi-uninformed) inspection date it as later than the 1890 Mugwumps cited.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Bradbury mandolin

    Thanks, I appreciate the info. Other than a couple repaired cracks, the instrument is in great shape and plays very nicely.
    Can you steer me towards some images of turn of the century instruments for comparison?

  4. #4
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bradbury mandolin

    Here's a Google search on "1900 flat back mandolin images": unfortunately, it includes quite a few bowl-backs, but there are similar-appearing instruments by Regal, Larson brothers, other makers.

    There's another "Bradbury" mentioned in the Mugwumps index, and also discussed in this thread about instruments associated with the Southern California Music Co., in the early part of the 20th century. Skip all the discussion of Martin mandolins -- yours doesn't look like anything Martin ever built -- but the design and label graphics of yours look a lot more like 19-teens-'20's than they do like 1880's.

    One of the issues that frequently arises in trying to ID instruments, is that major manufacturers built for music stores, distributors, and even individual musicians, and labeled their instruments with the retail sellers' names. For example, you find Martin-built instruments labeled Wurlitzer, Ditson, S S Stewart, Wolverine, and at least 20 other brands. Apparently Southern California Music used "Bradbury" as a brand name, and that may have been the origin of your mandolin.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  5. #5
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bradbury mandolin

    Bradbury, of course, is also the name of iconic LA building, featured in the penultimate scene in Blade Runner and numerous other movies.

    The name may well have inspired some local value for SoCalMuCo shoppers oblivious to any association with an obscure NY maker or future science fiction author.

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  6. #6

    Default Re: Bradbury mandolin

    Thanks for your input...we might just be left wondering on this one.

  7. #7
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bradbury mandolin

    The three Bradbury mandolins in my files—2 cylinder back and one bowlback—all were made by Vega probably in the teens of the last century. And that thread that Allen links to above shows mandolins made by Lyon & Healy and Martin for Bradbury so they were probably not a manufacturer but ordered from other makers.
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