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Thread: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

  1. #1

    Question What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    Hi, everyone! I was recently poking around an antique store and I stumbled upon this particular instrument which I think is a mandolin, but I'm not one hundred percent sure.

    Any information anyone can give me about this instrument, I'd sure appreciate it!

    The tuners are spectacular, and the prong at the top is so unusual! I current play a bowlback Suzuki Mandolin and a Loar, but this thing was just so cool I couldn't help wanting to pick it up and play it!

    Thanks again!

    For some reason I can't seem to add more than one photo, so here are links to more!
    https://ibb.co/9hgVFVL
    https://ibb.co/hWyhbs3
    https://ibb.co/Bt09y0H
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    Last edited by TJGilbert21; Oct-18-2020 at 9:17pm. Reason: Adding links to more pictures

  2. #2
    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    Gotta love the Headstock.
    Any info or hints on the label?
    2020 The Loar Supreme LM700 VS

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    Looks like a Portuguese guitar (or guittar)
    to me:



    Can't vouch for all the historical facts in the video, but some useful info.

    On the other hand, it's smaller than the instrument in the video. Mandolins, even Portuguese mandolins, seldom are made with the distinctive "Preston" tuners, but here's a thread that describes one.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    Isn't it fantastic? Unfortunately, there was little I could glean in the way of a label. Inside the body was a sticker that appeared to be in Spanish, but it seemed like someone else had stuck it in as an advertisement of some sort rather than the official label. Now that I think about it, that seems absurd. Who would go through the trouble to do that? It must've been the label, but nothing jumped out at me as an actual brand name. I wish I had taken a closer look!

  5. #5

    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    Wow! This is almost PERFECT! But it definitely had eight paired strings like a mandolin, and was significantly smaller than that guitar! I thought it may even be a mandola perhaps, but I wasn't sure. But dang, that's right on the nose!

    That thread post seems to make it perfectly clear that this is a very similar Portuguese mandolin!! So cool! I really appreciate you finding that info for me! I wonder if I can somehow figure out a value for this kind of thing?

  6. #6
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    Quote Originally Posted by TJGilbert21 View Post
    Wow! This is almost PERFECT! But it definitely had eight paired strings like a mandolin, and was significantly smaller than that guitar! I thought it may even be a mandola perhaps, but I wasn't sure. But dang, that's right on the nose!

    That thread post seems to make it perfectly clear that this is a very similar Portuguese mandolin!! So cool! I really appreciate you finding that info for me! I wonder if I can somehow figure out a value for this kind of thing?
    That part is easy. Generally a small fortune. An extremely small fortune. If you find the right buyer it might get you enough to buy lunch someplace. As amazing as it seems to be they aren't really sought after.

    A past thread on the mandolin version with Preston tuners can be found here.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  8. #7

    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    Hahaha Thanks, Mike. I actually only wondered about the value because I'm considering buying this one, and I don't want to be spending more than a lunch's worth if I don't have to on it!

  9. #8
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    It is a Portuguese mandolin, a bandolim in Portuguese. The main drawback to the peacock tuners is that they need loops on both ends and there is a special tool sold in Portuguese music shops to put the loop on the un-looped end.

    Cheers

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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    A friend of mine acquired a similar instrument with those tuners, and we borrowed a wee tool from an angling friend who used it to tie fflies, if I remember. Msndolin strings are a lot harder to twist than fishing line, so not really a success!
    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

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    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    You need a “alicate para torcer cordas“. It’s one instrument I’ve so far resisted, I can reccoment listening to the Fado music of “Mariza” - a bit like bluegrass with more chords!

  14. #11
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    Quote Originally Posted by TJGilbert21 View Post
    Hahaha Thanks, Mike. I actually only wondered about the value because I'm considering buying this one, and I don't want to be spending more than a lunch's worth if I don't have to on it!
    Well, in that case the value is what you're willing to pay to own it!
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  16. #12

    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    I think they’re quite beautiful, but be aware that if you put one of those in a case and go out to the park then you’re going to need a Concealed Carry Permit.
    The good thing though is that you could play it badly to a very attentive audience for hours and not get a single heckler.

  17. #13
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham McDonald View Post
    It is a Portuguese mandolin, a bandolim in Portuguese. The main drawback to the peacock tuners is that they need loops on both ends and there is a special tool sold in Portuguese music shops to put the loop on the un-looped end.

    Cheers
    Hah, Graham... you beat me to it. The only thing I can add is that the tuner are called Preston tuners originally made for 18th century citterns.

    The mandolins are a lot rarer than the guitarras.

    Oh, also, Fernandez Music (in Washington State, USA) has the tool used to create the second loop. Of course, I haven't a clue where the OP is located geographically.
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  18. #14
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    Currently available from FolkReps in Portugal.
    "Hand-Manufactured to order, please allow 15-30 working days to dispatch." (nfi)
    Portuguese bandolin
    Portuguese bandolin - hard case included

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    Last edited by Jacob; Oct-19-2020 at 10:24pm.

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  22. #16
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    It’s bad enough to have 8 or 12 strings but to have to do that extra loop for each one. Yikes. I suppose the advantage back in the old days was to have fine tuning since the alternate would have been violin style pegs. However with modern tuners all that is moot. I love the funky way they look but...
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    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    Fortunately, I’m told that you can buy strings with loops on both ends nowadays. It’s called progress!

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    Fortunately, I’m told that you can buy strings with loops on both ends nowadays. It’s called progress!
    Yes, but would they work with that mandolin. It looks like you have to put the loop on about the right length to get to the tuner hook with little leeway and no place to put the extra length like we would wind on a post.
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  26. #19

    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    It appears to have 8 strings on it already. I would be very careful not to break them.........

  27. #20

    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    They’re probably like old cars, the more you work on them, the more you like them.

  28. #21
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I love the funky way they look but...
    These always remind me of that horror scene at the zoo in the movie "Cat People". Never have been able to shake that image.
    Ugh.

    Mick
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    Registered User tonydxn's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this amazing-looking instrument?

    One thing you have to watch out for if you do buy this is that typically, Portuguese mandolins have a much longer scale length than normal. Mine is 370mm (14.5 inches), but they can be longer. Use only ultra-light strings or the neck will bow. The combination of long strings and light guages give the sound an unusual ringing quality which I love.
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