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Thread: Mohawk mandolin

  1. #1
    Registered User Seppo's Avatar
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    Default Mohawk mandolin

    Hi,

    my friend just paid $25 for this a-model mandolin and asked if I had heard of those?
    The logo looks quite modern to my eye and I did not find anything Mohawk mandoin related online exept a banjo mandolin with different logo design.
    The instrument seems to be quite basic Gibson influented a-model.
    Can anyone help with any historical info of this 8-string instrument that popped up
    in Finland? The odd handmade nut looks like someone had tried to change it into an eight string guitar type instrument.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Mohawk mandolin

    The tailpiece looks very German to my eye. The tuners look like they are old Waverly units but the metal buttons suggest this is not the case. It may be from the far east- Japan but it is a mystery. We have seen mandolins that look to be central European- the old Eastern Bloc but were made in Japan- and this may well be one.

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  4. #3
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mohawk mandolin

    Could this be a clue? Mohawk brand guitar strings made in Germany, attributed to c. 1948.

    There also apparently was a Mohawk brand of instruments made in the UK:

    Mohawk was a Francis Day and Hunter (FDH) brand name used for lap-steel guitars and banjos sold in the UK in the 1950s. These instruments were made in England. The origin of the Mohawk brand name most likely originates from three of the founders of FDH: Harry Hunter and brothers William and James Francis. William and James were members of a leading London music hall troupe the Mohawk Minstrels. Harry Hunter also joined the Mohawks in 1874.
    Source: Francis Day and Hunter catalog 1953


    From guitarlist.com. The article does not mention mandolins.
    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

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Mohawk mandolin

    My great grandfather had a one man band and we have three of his instruments- two mandolins and a banjo. He was involved in show business- or the Music Hall as it was called back then- vaudeville in the USA. After my grandmother died, I found some of his things that related to the music world he was immersed in. I found five business cards from members of the Mohawk Minstrels and I stashed them away and they vanished. However, I found another which I still have. The card has a devil holding a banjo- much bigger than him and the card has MOHAWK MINSTRELS and WALTER HOWARD on it. On the vellum of the banjo area it states THE VERY PECULIAR F.O S. The card also has a question: Who the ( ) are you? Where I have made the gap, the devil's leg on the card is positioned. I have to admit even after so many years, I am annoyed to have lost the other cards from those Mohawk Minstrels.

    The second, third, fourth and fifth photos at this site are from his things.

    http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/WalsallTheatres.htm

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Mohawk mandolin

    I have found a photo of the card I described above. It is with the Horwath's midgets card that is seen at the website. Ronnie Earl's real name is Horvath! Swopped the W for a V.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #6
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mohawk mandolin

    I agree the tailpiece looks German. Also note that the nut looks cut incorrectly and may be some sort of soft wood. You may need to get a decently made nut in order to play this mandolin. It looks relatively decently made.
    Jim

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  12. #7

    Default Re: Mohawk mandolin

    Metal tuner buttons on a mandolin really makes me think of Japan. This Japanese mandolin has a truss rod and the Gibson style tailpiece- unlike this mandolin with its German looking item. https://diamondguitars.nl/product/ib...e-a-mandoline/

    Then there is this one- no truss rod and single piece tailpiece- not the same as this Mohawk but the same type. More metal tuner buttons. Ten photos in total.

    https://touch.adverts.ie/mandolins/1...-case/15664031

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  14. #8
    Registered User Seppo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mohawk mandolin

    The guy who is fixing my friend's Mohawk said that the tuners are equal with 1940s Levin tuners that he has seen often since we are Sweden's neighbors.
    The top is not solid wood I also heard.
    When the mando is ready for playing they promised to send more detailed pictures here.
    Thank you all with helping with this.
    Seppo

  15. #9
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mohawk mandolin

    The tuners don't look Japanese to me. They have those nice slot head screws on the cogs.

    At first glance I assumed it was an Asian import. After looking at the tailpiece and the tuners I can see it isn't. I think it's a 50's-60's instrument. That nut is quite amazing though.

    You need to add a few more mounting screws on the tuners. I wonder if the tuners are original?
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Sep-14-2020 at 11:49am.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  16. #10

    Default Re: Mohawk mandolin

    Your friend is correct- here is one such Levin mandolin:

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vintage-L...AAAOSwhBtfWUTK

    Do you think the mandolin was made by one of the Finnish makers?

  17. #11

    Default Re: Mohawk mandolin

    Here is a Landola mandolin. None of the metalware is the same and it is an oval hole instrument. The company may have made an f hole mandolin but I did not see any in my quick search.

    http://vaa.auction2000.se/auk/w.Obje..._1938&inO=69.5

    It seems that the metal button square end Waverly style tuners were used on the less expensive Levin instruments. The more expensive models had tuner units that look similar to Waverly bell end tuners and come with plastic buttons. Some are engraved while others are plain plates.

  18. #12
    Registered User Seppo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mohawk mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    Your friend is correct- here is one such Levin mandolin:

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vintage-L...AAAOSwhBtfWUTK

    Do you think the mandolin was made by one of the Finnish makers?
    In Finland we've had Landola/Munkers mandolin & guitar factory but Levin is in Sweden.
    Here's a Levin model with lots of 'Mohawk' similarities.
    http://www.vintage-guitars.se/Levin/...dolin_info.php

  19. #13

    Default Re: Mohawk mandolin

    Basically, that late 1930s Levin is a copy of the Gibson A50 which was a new model from Gibson right down to the pickguard with its white beading. Like the Gibson, it has a hand carved top- you mentioned your Mohawk has a laminated top. The thing is, that Gibson A50 has been a template for other makers- not least in the Far East to copy for decades- I once had a Kentucky version made in Korea. Likewise, your mandolin is in the A50 groove- but it is a relatively inexpensive mandolin whereas I think that Levin was pricey, while the Gibson A50 cost $50 when launched in about 1933- a fairly expensive instrument!

  20. #14
    Registered User Seppo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mohawk mandolin

    The Mohawk is soon ready to ring. Here are some photos of it's new look.Click image for larger version. 

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  21. #15
    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mohawk mandolin

    Right on! Time to play some tunes

    Happy picking!

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