Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 40

Thread: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2022
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    11

    Default 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    I just acquired this 1898 Martin style 6 (or so what my research uncovered). #267 It is missing some binding, and the bridge cover plate. But is overall in sound shape, the action is a little high, but I believe with a little work it would be a nice instrument.

    My big issue is I'm a guitar and bass player. I've built and repaired guitars for decades non-professionally. I could repair it myself, but feel it is too historic a piece to mess with it. I'd really rather trade it for an equivalent condition old guitar or electric bass than go through the hassle of listing it online, PayPal etc. My questions are 1) Am I nuts or unrealistic to expect a straight trade? 2) What would you value it at (I think give or take 1000 usd given binding repair, maybe neck reset) 3) What do you suggest?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20220726_151521.jpg 
Views:	162 
Size:	1.01 MB 
ID:	202318   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20220726_124442.jpg 
Views:	90 
Size:	581.4 KB 
ID:	202317   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20220726_124446.jpg 
Views:	95 
Size:	1,019.5 KB 
ID:	202316  

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20220726_151411.jpg 
Views:	78 
Size:	600.6 KB 
ID:	202315   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20220726_151100.jpg 
Views:	83 
Size:	526.8 KB 
ID:	202314   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20220726_151044.jpg 
Views:	84 
Size:	696.7 KB 
ID:	202313  

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20220726_151055.jpg 
Views:	81 
Size:	633.4 KB 
ID:	202323   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20220726_151110.jpg 
Views:	80 
Size:	915.0 KB 
ID:	202322   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20220726_151155.jpg 
Views:	66 
Size:	299.0 KB 
ID:	202321  

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20220726_151024.jpg 
Views:	76 
Size:	1.44 MB 
ID:	202320   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20220726_151436.jpg 
Views:	83 
Size:	750.5 KB 
ID:	202319   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20220726_151358.jpg 
Views:	90 
Size:	1.65 MB 
ID:	202312  


  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2022
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    Should I clean it? Or not. I think that nearly all of the blemishes are just surface grime. A few have told me don't touch it. But in guitar restoration, a mild cleaning is not a big deal. Except for electric guitars, which nowadays people seem to like them "reliced". I don't know attitudes about this in the mandolin world, or what the right thing to do is in regards to such an example of an early Martin.

  3. #3

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    What a magnificent instrument! Cash was invented as barter is difficult and I think it unlikely you will be able to get a guitar that you like that way- even with some cash changing hands but you could try it. I think a light clean is not an issue but leaving it alone will not be a negative as the instrument does not need burnishing- it speaks for itself as it is. I think getting it repaired by an expert is the best idea- whether that is organized by you or someone down the line but if repairing it increases its value substantially, you might want to do that and have the knowledge that it is in good playing order when you sell it.

  4. #4
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    5,950

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    Fair play to you, B. Covey.

    I'm usually not a fan of the blinged up Martin bowlbacks, but this one catches my eye.

    What will catch folks' eye is your first photo, which shows the mandolin's neck woefully out of position and a pretty impossible playing action.

    Unfortunately, these mandolins don't have a truss rod or any unobstrusive means to adjust the action.

    I've seen some Martin bowlbacks that have had an imbedded steel bar in the neck under the fretboard to ostensibly add some stiffness.

    As you hint, a neck reset is likely needed to get this playable as the bridge / saddle doesn't appear to offer any wiggle room.

    And the neck is pretty far out.

    The good news is that the neck is likely attached to the neck block via a dovetail or similar joint.

    I have done extensive repair work on a range of US and Italian bowlbacks (that were my own) so I've got some sense of what this will take.

    The bad news is that all that bling and the cowling at the neck / bowl joint will make any such repair that much more complicated and certainly expensive.

    It looks as if the neck rotation upward is a consequence of some top sinkage, or the two events are intertwined.

    But that will need repair attention, too.


    The market for bowlback mandolins in the States is a small one as it is. For a mandolin needing this level of work it is likely to be even smaller.
    And to make it even harder to gauge value, the number of folks willing to take on this scope of work is exceedingly small.


    $1K price and $1K in repairs yields you a $2K Martin 6. Might be worth it to someone, but it will be a small pool.

    Trading with another builder / luthier who would relish the task might be the lucky way to go.

    Maybe trading it for a guitar or bass that also needs extensive work might reel in some ringers.


    Good luck!

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Open Road
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2022
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    Yeah, that certainly makes sense. I have been thinking of the option of investing in it and bringing it to a reputable professional. But It kind of bothers me though, as I've restored old guitars, including several Gibsons, and an old 20's Martin. Which all had higher value than this. Then the idea of paying money to someone and not being quite happy with the results would bother me. Conversely, I'm unfamiliar with bowlback mandolins, and really would rather spend my time on my true love, guitars. And this is a truly remarkable piece.

    I could sell it as is I suppose, but then I would lose the existential satisfaction of bartering. In my ideal situation, someone would trade a 60's Harmony electric, or a dusty parlor to refurbish. An off the wall hollow body bass from Japan. Even an abused Fender bass neck All things which I would really dig restoring. And the person exchanging would have the equal experience. But I suppose cash is indeed a tool. But then selling invokes the specter of nitpicking buyers. People intent on profit versus people just passionate about instruments. I suppose they aren't exclusionary, but it would be nice that someone excited for this got it and loved it.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    NE Florida
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    The Johnson & Boak book, Martin Guitars: A Technical Reference, says that only 3 #6 mandolins were made in 1898 and only 3 in 1896. I wonder if Martin would be interested in buying it for their museum. Or you might list it for sale at UMGF.com. It's too bad the playability is what it is.

    I sent you a message.

  7. #7
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    17,352

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    You have a real rarity; per Longworth's book, only 106 Style 6 mandolins were made over 25 years, 1896-1921. I think you should contact a vintage instrument dealer, and talk about what kind of deal they might be willing to make -- knowing that #267 needs some serious restoration. There's not an established vintage dealer that doesn't have a back room full of "projects" that may or may not end up being restored. Some will be sold "as is" to aspiring restorers or repair-persons.

    A good luthier/repair tech with bowlback experience could accomplish the neck re-set and binding restoration, and sell the instrument at a profit. If the dealer had something in the back room that met your criteria for a restoration project, you could work out a barter transaction. Given the mandolin's rarity, a vintage dealer might be excited just to see it. Your requests as listed above are quite modest; a fully-restored Martin #6 is probably as valuable in the marketplace as any US-made bowlback, and what you're looking for could be basic run-of-the-mill stuff -- Kay Kraft parlor guitar, e.g.

    I'd start with a few phone calls or e-mails, test the waters, see if you arouse some interest. It's a "diamond in the rough," but still a gem.
    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

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2022
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    Thank you everyone so much for your advice, suggestions and comments!
    I really would like someday to find a win/win situation and deliver this to where it would be loved and appreciated.
    I am happy at least to show it to mandolin lovers in this forum.
    In much the same way I enjoy looking at old electric guitars in other forums.

  9. #9
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    5,950

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    Quote Originally Posted by B.Covey View Post

    I could sell it as is I suppose, but then I would lose the existential satisfation of bartering. In my ideal situation, someone would trade a 60's Harmony electric, or a dusty parlor to refurbish. An off the wall hollow body bass from Japan. Even an abused Fender bass neck All things which I would really dig restoring. And the person exchanging would have the equal experience.....
    Well, I certainly understand where you're coming from there as more and more of that has been coloring my life.

    I think when I was a kid my Daddy said: "When you're young you have plenty of time and no money. When you're older you'll have money but you'll wish you had more time."

    He's been dead right.

    Someone you might contact is our long unseen friend here, Jake Wildwood. He does all types of instrument repairs and has an eclectic eye for old guitars and perhaps basses, too. He's done bowlback restorations as well and might just be interested.

    The other (long shot) option might be mi hermano, Esteban, over in Houston. He's a bass player and seems to endless be collecting basses.
    He has no interest in mandolins so he'd likely give it to me.

    I'd call that a win-win-win. Just joking, I don't think I'm up for tangoing with all that bling.


    FWIW I like the idea of it pulling back into Nazareth, too.


    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Open Road
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

  10. #10
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    5,950

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    A good luthier/repair tech with bowlback experience could accomplish the neck re-set and binding restoration...
    When you meet this person, Allen, please send along the contact information........

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Open Road
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

  11. #11
    Likes quaint instruments poul hansen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Danmark
    Posts
    472

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    It's your mandolin, so you can do whatever you want to it. Clean, restore, etc.

    I would prefer it untouched. That way, I can see what's wrong with it and what should be done. And the worst job in a restoration, is to remove and fix "repairs" that previous owners have done. OR professionnals that sand and laquer everything to look as new.

    And I can restore it to the level I prefer.

    If you ever come to Europe, bring i with you and I'll buy it or give me a good price, so I can afford the local VAT on US goods. ;-)
    Kentucky KM-805..........2 Hora M1086 Portuguese II(1 in car)
    Hora M1088 Mandola.....Hora M1087P Octave
    Richmond RMA-110-VS .Noname (German?) mandolin
    Pochette Franz Janisch...2 Pocket
    Puglisi Pocket 1908........Puglisi 1912
    Mandolinetto Neapolitane 1910
    1 Mandriola...................Cannelo G. Mandriola...Böhm Waldzither 1921
    Johs Møller 1945............Fangel 1915................Luigi Embergher Studio 1933
    Marma Seashell back......Crafton.......................Luigi Embergher 5bis 1909

  12. #12
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    29,535

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    I had a 1902 Style 6 a few years ago. (Pictured below) A lovely instrument and I admired the incredible workmanship that went into it. I did have it worked on by my luthier and it was playable. But frankly, it really doesn't sound better than any rosewood bowl Martin of that period. Pearl work doesn't contribute much to acoustics. I sold it eventually to another MCer a few years ago. However, take what I am going to say with a grain of sodium chloride...

    I know everyone in this thread is excited about this mandolin and rightly so. However...even though we bowlheads have attempted to perk up interest in this style of mandolin and have done as best we could over the years, it is still a hard sell in the vintage market especially in North America but even in Europe.

    In addition, it is very hard to find luthiers who know how to restore these bowlbacks unless you want to ship it off to Europe. Believe me I have other quality bowlbacks that are sitting in my closet needing some work.

    Honestly, this is a collector's instrument. Probably a completist type of collector may need it to fill in the style 6 space in his/her collection. Frankly, I would not think this is a mandolin that a virtuoso player even one chow plays classical would be interested in.

    As for rarity, and this is a quote maybe attributable George Gruhn: "Well, the Bubonic plague is rare, but I wouldn't spend much to obtain it."

    If I were you I would sell it as-is. Unless you really want to play it, don't put any money into it, assuming you can even find someone who has the skills, knowledge and willingness to restore it. Just my 2 cents.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	martin6_compos.jpg 
Views:	37 
Size:	251.1 KB 
ID:	202346  
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  13. The following members say thank you to Jim Garber for this post:


  14. #13
    Teacher, repair person
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    3,306

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    You might want to contact George Gruhn and discuss your options.
    He can consign the instrument, and his shop can repair it competently.
    Expect their repair rates to be high.
    If their terms don't suit you, remember that you can always say no.

    I will mention that the original bindings on this instrument are probably real ivory rather than celluloid grained ivoroid.

  15. #14
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    29,535

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    I will mention that the original bindings on this instrument are probably real ivory rather than celluloid grained ivoroid.
    Right... and so is the bridge and saddle. Mine was too. So might be problematic selling it to anyone outside the US, even Denmark...
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  16. #15
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    5,950

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    ...I know everyone in this thread is excited about this mandolin and rightly so. However...even though we bowlheads have attempted to perk up interest in this style of mandolin and have done as best we could over the years....
    Jim, you'll probably recall the "Eugene Effect" on Martin bowl prices after he was on here touting the splendids of his Martin 5 (or maybe it's a 6).

    Or at least that's why I tell him I can't afford one anymore.

    I think it might still be his main axe.


    I don't mean to be a grump, but I do think Martin had a pretty heavy hand when it came to bling. I enjoy the fretboard inlay, and of course the bowl fluting, but the the headstock, scratchplate and top banding where the fretboard meets the soundhole is too much for my eyes.

    Much too fussy a design composition for me. An odd collection of disparate bling elements.

    Maybe I'm spoied by the iconic cleanliness of much of Martin's design output.

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Open Road
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

  17. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2022
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    Forgive my late night musings.
    Ivory bindings, yes. As is the bridge. I believe the pickguard is probably tortoise. These are materials they used back then. It certainly bothers me that apparently intelligent and self aware creatures were killed for decorative purposes. But at the same time, it is what this instrument would need as a restoration. I was patina matching old ivory piano keys from a destroyed 19th century upright at a friend's. This type of veneer might possibly be an appropriate thickness for the ivory binding sections missing. Better than to see the material go to waste in a landfill. Ivoroid wouldn't be right in this case, imo.

    Although this level of inlay is also wildly over the top for my tastes, I think the inlay artist(s) presented a certain dignity in the design of #267's fretboard. I don't imagine records exist of the names of who did what at Martin in 1898. But cheers to those who worked on this.

    I also agree that this is unlikely to be many player's main instrument. Which is a little sad somehow, considering the effort in creating it. I certainly suspect it would sound surprisingly good restored based on other threads. It currently has a horrible mismatch of strings, different ages too. However I plucked it a bit, and it was bell like, and it reverbated on several notes, and I could sense what others say about these old Martin bowl backs. I loosened the strings to take the tension off things, while I consider options. I don't imagine it having new strings until it is ready for them, so maybe I'll never hear it's true capability.

    After some personal messages, I like the suggestions that Martin be offered a chance to study and document it or even trade for it if they had an interest. I respect C.F. Martin & Company's impact on music and their role in our culture. I know they produced some outstanding instruments over the years and probably have a killer collection. And similar examples no doubt. Despite #267's flaws, it still represents their top catalog offering at a formative and transitional time when the 19th century was closing and the 20th century was dawning. I'll message them just for kicks. I'll also message a few other dealers and collectors just to get their takes.

    Thanks again so much for everyone's input. Many valid perspectives. It is certainly a notable piece, if anything.

  18. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to B.Covey For This Useful Post:


  19. #17
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    29,535

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    I am sure the Martin folks would love to see it. I visited there in 2013 and took a bunch of photos in the museum which I shared in these forums then. Here are some relevant ones. The super pearly bowlback is a style 7 from 1902, even fancier than a style 6. From the fact that no two of these fluted Martins look alike I would assume they were special custom order and the customer paid top dollar.

    The mold pictured below is for a style 6 or 7 so both your and my former mandolins were built likely on that same mold.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	mandolin_grp1.jpg 
Views:	30 
Size:	181.4 KB 
ID:	202367   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	mandolin_grp2.jpg 
Views:	29 
Size:	199.2 KB 
ID:	202368   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	style7_special.jpg 
Views:	27 
Size:	146.0 KB 
ID:	202369  

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	bowlback_bowl_style6_7.jpg 
Views:	26 
Size:	196.9 KB 
ID:	202366   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	bowlback_mold_bottom.jpg 
Views:	25 
Size:	99.7 KB 
ID:	202370  
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  20. #18
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    17,352

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    When you meet this person, Allen, please send along the contact information........
    Mick
    Well, I've had good experience with Bernie Lehmann at Lehmann Stringed Instruments here in Rochester. Basically, he builds guitars, but he's done quite a bit of work on mandolins (built my 10-string, fanned-fret 2-point) as well as lutes, rebecs, and other Renaissance instruments, both construction and restoration.

    I'm planning to bring him my Waldo mandocello which has developed a crack along the cant in the top. Dave Stutzman gave up on it, and he's done some bowl-back work for me. I'll know more about Bernie's "chops" when he's had a crack at it. Like other Waldos, it has f-holes, so repair access will be quite a problem.
    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

  21. The following members say thank you to allenhopkins for this post:


  22. #19
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    29,535

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    Jim, you'll probably recall the "Eugene Effect" on Martin bowl prices after he was on here touting the splendids of his Martin 5 (or maybe it's a 6).

    Or at least that's why I tell him I can't afford one anymore.

    I think it might still be his main axe.
    It was an unusual Martin bowlback called a style 6a, made for Joseph Handley of Lowell, MA was a rather plain 6 with fluted bowl and a side-mounted simple pickguard. 39 of them were made from 1903-1920. (from Johnston/Boak books).

    Here are a few pictures of these. The first one is Eugene's. I think he may still have it. The second is very odd with a strange unique peghead. I am not sure whatthe story is on that one.

    It is a very appealing mandolin. Simple but well made for playing.

    BTW the book referenced above corroborates my sometime memory that style 5 was the fanciest production mandolin and all those higher were custom orders. All the pearl work was sent out to outside artisans for these super fancy ones.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	1908Martin_unID.jpg 
Views:	27 
Size:	20.9 KB 
ID:	202371   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_7845.jpg 
Views:	24 
Size:	40.3 KB 
ID:	202372   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_7848.jpg 
Views:	14 
Size:	36.0 KB 
ID:	202373  

    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  23. The following members say thank you to Jim Garber for this post:


  24. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    NE Florida
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    "It was an unusual Martin bowlback called a style 6a, made for Joseph Handley of Lowell, MA"

    I had a 1920 Martin Style 2 bowlback that Mr. J.A. Handley ordered from Martin. A bit of info about Mr. Handley:

    Joseph A. Handley, who collaborated with Martin on the development of the Style 6A*, which never appeared in Martin catalogs. Handley worked as a music teacher in Lowell and Southborough, Massachusetts, in the first half of the 20th century. Handley’s family moved when he was a young boy from New Hampshire to Lowell, where his father worked as a machinist. In 1880, Handley worked in a bobbin shop at age 11, when his father became disabled, while his siblings worked as a mule spinner, in a variety store, in a cotton mill, and in a carpet mill, reflecting Lowell’s employment opportunities in the textile trade.
    * The Martin 6A was delivered to F. G. C. Printed on paper label with gold border affixed to inside of bowl: FROM / J.A. HANDLEY / LOWELL, MASS. F. G. C. is inlaid in abalone on the headstock of the Style 6A.

  25. The following members say thank you to GoingHome for this post:


  26. #21
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    17,352

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    Again consulting Longworth's book, he shows 39 Model 6a mandolins made between 1903 and 1920. Here's what Longworth wrote about these instruments:

    There were quite a few style 6a mandolins made. This was evidently a minor variation of the model that was not cataloged. These were made primarily for Joseph A. Handley of Lowell, Massachusetts who is known to have suggested the move of the pickguard to the side from its old position between the bridge and the soundhole. This was the variation that caused the style 6a.

    Pardon my redundancy with the above two posts. It was quite common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries for Martin to build special model instruments for individual dealers, teachers, or even well-known musicians. Different from the "tribute" models they've built in latter years -- guitars designed or ornamented to honor well-known players, from the Car Guys to Joan Baez.
    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

  27. #22
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    29,535

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Again consulting Longworth's book, he shows 39 Model 6a mandolins made between 1903 and 1920. Here's what Longworth wrote about these instruments:

    There were quite a few style 6a mandolins made. This was evidently a minor variation of the model that was not cataloged. These were made primarily for Joseph A. Handley of Lowell, Massachusetts who is known to have suggested the move of the pickguard to the side from its old position between the bridge and the soundhole. This was the variation that caused the style 6a.

    Pardon my redundancy with the above two posts. It was quite common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries for Martin to build special model instruments for individual dealers, teachers, or even well-known musicians. Different from the "tribute" models they've built in latter years -- guitars designed or ornamented to honor well-known players, from the Car Guys to Joan Baez.
    Allen: all the information from the excellent Longworth book (which I also own) was incorporated into the two volume Martin Guitar set by Richard Johnston & Dick Boak, published in 2008/9. That where the info I quoted came from in my post above.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  28. The following members say thank you to Jim Garber for this post:


  29. #23
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2022
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    Hmm. Lowell, Massachusetts isn't terribly far from where I found this mandolin in New Hampshire. It has been here in a family's possession for a while. 22 years between these instruments. My imagination wants to paint a story where Handley, whose family moved from NH, at some point saw this mandolin and said to himself "Someday I'm going to have one like that!" Then became successful and treated himself to his mandolin desire.

    Of course it's probably not even close to the truth. But this is just one aspect of the allure of these old pieces. The stories behind them. Many of my best friends play. The same for most reading this. The people who played these old treasures back then are quite likely to be people we would be friends with if we met them.

  30. #24
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    5,950

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoingHome View Post
    ...In 1880, Handley worked in a bobbin shop at age 11, when his father became disabled, while his siblings worked as a mule spinner, in a variety store, in a cotton mill, and in a carpet mill, reflecting Lowell’s employment opportunities in the textile trade.
    Or the dangers working therein.

    Wonderful to know that JA Handley made it through his time in the mills with his hands and fingers intact and become a bonafide enough mandolinist to order his own models.

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Open Road
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

  31. #25
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    29,535

    Default Re: 1898 Martin Style 6. What should I do?

    Hey you learn something new every day. I didn’t know what a mule spinner was: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinning_mule
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •