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Thread: ID the wood on this Sovereign?

  1. #1

    Default ID the wood on this Sovereign?

    https://imgur.com/gallery/Z3qYK2Y

    Just picked up this handsome old Sovereign in Sacramento, and Iím stumped (pun intended) on the wood they used here.

    My best guess is Koa based on searching around but I donít see the lateral flaming at all. Mahogany or oak perhaps? Iím curious.

    In the pictures you can see a line of red grain pass out of the heelóit almost looks like that dark stripe of grain is common to all the pieces here, like it was made from a single block, which I found interesting.

    Itís in really great condition besides some deterioration to the rope binding that Iím going to repair. The OHSC is pretty clean too, and it sounds great with those vintage Gibson strings holding place until I can snag some 90/10s. Very musical highs, with nice punchy barking low end.

    Any guesses on the value would be appreciated. But mostly curious what this wood is!

    Also how should I clean up the binding? Iím thinking some careful super glue for penetration and stability but I donít want it to leak into the side/top joint and give someone fits later.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: ID the wood on this Sovereign?

    It's probably Koa- the binding on the mandolin is typical of what you see on "Hawaiian" style instruments. I have an old Regal that is pretty much unrepairable that I want to show my luthier some time as a practical joke- but he's not been well, so I don't want to scare him- it's made of birch dressed up to look a lot like Koa and it has that "rope" binding as part of the masquerade. However, I think this is definitely a Koa instrument. Has that Sovereign badge been hammered on "on the piss" as we say in the UK- sort of less than horizontal?

    Here's thread on one- in far better condition than mine which has a massively warped top. I sincerely hope that George Gruhn- or one of his employees did not attribute this to Weymann!

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...he-Vernon-quot

  3. #3

    Default Re: ID the wood on this Sovereign?

    Oh interesting! I didnít know rope binding was part of the Hawaiian craze. I hope that birch fella there didnít pass as a Weymann as well! Iíll have to take another look at the name plate, I think the picture looks more crooked than the artifact but I wouldnít be surprised if it was a little cockeyed.

    The funniest thing about this mandolin is that the back brace right under the sound hole and the back lining is the same wood, but the upper braces and lining and the lower back brace are all spruce or birch I think. They wanted you to think it was fancier at a glance methinks! Maybe thatís how they constructed their spruce top mandos so they just kept to form for this one, but that one back brace! Seems fishy to me. Ha. Itís still a Stella at heart I guess.

    Would 500 be overly optimistic if I dialed it all in? Not finding much on Sovereign trade price but the all koa thingó(if it is, itíd be old growth right?)ó is cool enough for me. Just curious as I might want to trade sometime.

  4. #4
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: ID the wood on this Sovereign?

    Nice looking Sovereign! I was looking through my instrument photo file and recalled that I used to own a Sovereign (with pearloid fretboard):
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    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

  5. #5
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: ID the wood on this Sovereign?

    It looks like koa to me.
    And Oscar Schmidt did indeed build some koa instruments.

  6. #6

    Default Re: ID the wood on this Sovereign?

    My Sovereign is mahogany and has great tone and volume. It did not cost a lot and has its original Bull's Head case which is also in great order. I imagine as your mandolin is koa then it will attract a premium but it would be hard to suggest its value, I consider myself lucky to have got mine for such a low price.

  7. #7
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: ID the wood on this Sovereign?

    I concur on Koa. Pretty mandolin.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  9. #8
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    Default Re: ID the wood on this Sovereign?

    +1 on Koa. Absolutely. Nothing else has quite that grain pattern.
    Don

    2016 Weber Custom Bitterroot F
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    Default Re: ID the wood on this Sovereign?

    Another Koa here.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  11. #10
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    Default Re: ID the wood on this Sovereign?

    Quote Originally Posted by CFielder View Post
    https://imgur.com/gallery/Z3qYK2Y

    Just picked up this handsome old Sovereign in Sacramento, and I’m stumped (pun intended) on the wood they used here.

    My best guess is Koa based on searching around but I don’t see the lateral flaming at all. Mahogany or oak perhaps? I’m curious.

    In the pictures you can see a line of red grain pass out of the heel—it almost looks like that dark stripe of grain is common to all the pieces here, like it was made from a single block, which I found interesting.

    It’s in really great condition besides some deterioration to the rope binding that I’m going to repair. The OHSC is pretty clean too, and it sounds great with those vintage Gibson strings holding place until I can snag some 90/10s. Very musical highs, with nice punchy barking low end.

    Any guesses on the value would be appreciated. But mostly curious what this wood is!

    Also how should I clean up the binding? I’m thinking some careful super glue for penetration and stability but I don’t want it to leak into the side/top joint and give someone fits later.

    Thanks!
    I agree, it looks like Koa !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

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