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Thread: My wife has stored it for years,no markings I can see

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    Default My wife has stored it for years,no markings I can see

    My wife has had this mandolin for many years and we came across it as we were cleaning out our storage locker. Yes, one of those locker finds! I don't see any manufacturer name,markings or serial numbers inside the bowl. We were wondering if anyone knows what company made it and around what year it was manufactured? Thank you for checking it out. Click image for larger version. 

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    Mando-Afflicted lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: My wife has stored it for years,no markings I can see

    I don't know much about the Bowl Backs, but they sure seem to be well made in this era. This one is in very good condition it appears. Many players and owners on the
    M.C. will have good insight. If I had it, I would string it up with a new set and play the life out of it! Nice photos.
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    Default Re: My wife has stored it for years,no markings I can see

    Quote Originally Posted by lflngpicker View Post
    I don't know much about the Bowl Backs, but they sure seem to be well made in this era. This one is in very good condition it appears. Many players and owners on the
    M.C. will have good insight. If I had it, I would string it up with a new set and play the life out of it! Nice photos.
    Thank you lflngpicker for your reply and comments. It is in pretty good shape, tucked away for many years and appreciating some fresh air.

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    Default Re: My wife has stored it for years,no markings I can see

    Be sure to string it with extremely light strings. More will damage it.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: My wife has stored it for years,no markings I can see

    Thank pops1 for your recommendation about the strings.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: My wife has stored it for years,no markings I can see

    My non-expert guesstimate is that it's an inexpensive US-made instrument, probably over 100 years old. It has a relatively low number of wide ribs or staves in the bowl; they're made of alternating woods -- I think maple and mahogany -- which was most common around the turn of the 20th century. It has little ornamentation and almost no binding around the top, other indications of an entry-level mandolin.

    There seems to be some top damage, with what appear to be (repaired?) cracks on either side of the strings below the bridge. Without a side view, hard to evaluate the neck angle or string height. Bowl-backs are somewhat susceptible to top sinkage or deformation of the neck/body joint, which can pull the neck forward. If this one's been stored in a locker for a long time, without controlled humidity or temperature and under string tension, it could have sustained some damage from environmental factors.

    You may never be able to attribute its manufacture -- though I'm sure some Cafe bowl-back mavens will have much more insight than I have. Large American factories, especially in the Chicago area, turned out many unlabeled instruments to be sold by brick-and-mortar and catalog dealers. These can sometimes be tentatively ID-ed by structural similarities to models in manufacturers' catalogs; others seem more "generic" and one just has to guess.

    Awaiting one of the bowl-back experts to weigh in...
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: My wife has stored it for years,no markings I can see

    Four-string tailpieces are unusual on later vintage American mandolins but I have seen some Bohmann mandolins from the early period with that tailpiece. Circular soundhole is also unusual. I agree with Allen that it is a budget wholesale mandolin usually sold by the 1/2 dozen to stores to put their labels on (or not). My gut tells me that it was made pre-1900 but no clues as to who made it.

    Best string set to start with would be GHS A240 ultralight set. They are reasonably priced and work quite nicely an are available in the US.
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    Default Re: My wife has stored it for years,no markings I can see

    Does it really have a two-piece top instead of a bent top? The photos make it look as if the top's wood grain isn't continuous across both sides of the bend. If so, that's the first "bent top" that's actually a two-piece top that I've ever seen.

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    Default Re: My wife has stored it for years,no markings I can see

    Quote Originally Posted by rickbella View Post
    Does it really have a two-piece top instead of a bent top? The photos make it look as if the top's wood grain isn't continuous across both sides of the bend. If so, that's the first "bent top" that's actually a two-piece top that I've ever seen.
    I highly doubt that. Most likely amateur repair of the top with replacement part. Cant/crease is usually cut away slice along the length and the top is bent at the proper angle.
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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: My wife has stored it for years,no markings I can see

    I agree with Rick. The bottom and the top sections are two different pieces of wood. Grain lines clearly are not lined up, esp on the treble side.
    Also, on bent tops, the cut is made on the inside of the top. This clearly shows a cut on the top side and not a very pretty one at that.
    Last edited by Charles E.; Jul-11-2020 at 6:41pm.
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    Default Re: My wife has stored it for years,no markings I can see

    So appreciative for the replies and comments. Just in case a few more photos would help? I will add them.
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    Default Re: My wife has stored it for years,no markings I can see

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    I agree with Rick. The bottom and the top sections are two different pieces of wood. Grain lines clearly are not lined up, esp on the treble side.
    Also, on bent tops, the cut is made on the inside of the top. This clearly shows a cut on the top side and not a very pretty one at that.
    Wow. That would be muy weirdioso if you are right, and my guess is that you are. But the mismatched grain suggests an alternative method.

    Super strange and interesting looking mandolin. Overall proportions are delightfully odd.

    Scratchplate and round sound hole make a wonderful pairing.

    I only hope it strings up and plays nice and easy. If so, this would be one to play a lot.

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