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Thread: Requesting information on a Maurer new model 5248

  1. #1

    Default Requesting information on a Maurer new model 5248

    I am requesting help from y’all on a family heirloom. I am going to get it restrung with light gauge strings per other thread advice. I would love to know some history though. It has a Maurer brand on the inside with the new model number being 5248. Any assistance would be great. Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Requesting information on a Maurer new model 5248

    Most, if not all instruments with a Maurer stamp were made by Carl and August Larson of Chicago between approximately 1900 and 1940.
    They were talented instrument builders. Their guitars bring thousands of dollars on the used instrument market if they are in good condition. Their mandolins, while they are excellent instruments, are not as valuable.

    To give you any more information, we would need to see clear pictures of the front, back, peghead, and fingerboard of the instrument.

  3. #3
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Requesting information on a Maurer new model 5248

    I have a Maurer New Model bowlback that I bought on eBay about ten years ago. It has a prominent label from a Milwaukee music store, Rohlfing Sons. When I bid on it I realized that it resembled some Larson-made bowlbacks and when I received it there was a Maurer brand inside on the neck block. While waiting for the OP here are a couple of photos of mine. One supposed clue to Larson determination is the strip of ebony or dark wood under the fretboard.
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  5. #4

    Default Re: Requesting information on a Maurer new model 5248

    Thank you for sharing those amazing pictures. Can you give me an approximate date when it was made and any additional information? I am so excited to learn about my grandfather's instrument.


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  6. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Requesting information on a Maurer new model 5248

    For as much info as you can get, check out the Larson Brothers Guitar Registry web site. On the Maurer page there is a flatback mandolin with SN4025. I can't find any serial number on mine. If it had a stamp in the neck block it is faded to oblivion. I can only guess it was made at the turn of the last century circa 1900.

    It is also possible that yours, a much simpler instrument, may have not been made in the brothers' shop. The headstock resembles mandolins made by or for the Lyon & Healy Company but that company had its own factories and also may have farmed out manufacture to other shops as well.

    From the About page on the Larson site:
    The Larson brothers set out from the ashes of the Cubley factory in search of work and found employment across town at Maurer Mandolin and Guitars. Robert Maurer was a music teacher and seller of guitars and other stringed instruments. The Larsons toiled as Maurer’s minions until 1900, when August and two investors purchased the ailing owner’s factory for $2,500. A few years later, the brothers most likely bought out the other investors and set out as partners in Maurer & Company. Carl and August were the company’s owners and its only two employees.
    And a correction on my comment above on the fretboard (from that same page):
    Next, check out that unusually thick ebony fingerboard. Most Larson fingerboards are bound, and always in an unusual way: The brothers bound only the top half of the edge of the fingerboard, leaving a strip of ebony running lengthwise below the binding.
    If you want to play it, of course, you'll have to replace those missing frets.
    Last edited by Jim Garber; Jul-21-2020 at 3:16pm.
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    Default Re: Requesting information on a Maurer new model 5248

    According to my sources, Robert Maurer went into business in the 1880's, and put the Maurer stamp in all instruments starting in 1897. August Larson bought the Maurer shop in 1900. From that date on, all instruments with a Maurer stamp were built by Carl and August Larson. At least some Maurer instruments made earlier than 1900 may have been built by others.

    5248 is a serial number. Our references for Maurer serial numbers are sketchy, but they suggest that the instrument might have been made in the mid to late 1910's. By the 1920's, bowl back instruments were fading out of style, and the demand for them was small.

    Your instrument has plain appointments, at least for a bowl back mandolin. The back is Brazilian rosewood, the top is spruce, possibly from Michigan or the northeastern states, the fingerboard is ebony, and the neck appears to be mahogany from Central America.

    There may be some debate about whether your instrument was indeed made by the Larsons. It is plainer than most of their work. To me, the style of the colored wood borders appears to be similar to the wood borders on many instruments that have been confirmed to be Larson products. To confirm your instrument, it would be necessary to have it inspected in-hand by someone familiar with the Larson's work who can examine it both inside and out.

    At any rate, what you have there is a nice bowl back mandolin in very fine condition for its age. It is not a particularly valuable instrument, but it is a nice instrument.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Requesting information on a Maurer new model 5248

    Many thanks to both of you Rcc and Jim. The information has added a lot of memory value to my grandfather's mandolin. My brother and I use to pretend play it when we were kids to the laughter of my grandfather.

    One last question. What gauge of string should I use to have it restrung? I want to learn how to really play it

    Thanks again,

    NickeG

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Requesting information on a Maurer new model 5248

    You will need an extra-light gauge set of strings.
    Any of the following would be suitable: GHS A240 "Ultra Light," Ernie Ball 2323 light, or La Bella 770L. You're looking for a set with a .009" first string.
    Note: D'Addario [a popular string maker] does not make an off-the-shelf set suitable for this type of mandolin.
    The mandolin should have the missing frets replaced and be inspected for loose braces before you string it up.

  10. #9
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Requesting information on a Maurer new model 5248

    Those strings are certainly fine. If you want to get the ultimate strings that sound wonderful on bowlbacks, my favorite sets are Dogal Calace RW92b Dolce strings. Bernunzio currently lists them as out of stock but they usually carry them. You will have to get that mandolin worked on anyway before stringing.
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