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Thread: MAS attack - L Yosko labeled turn of the century mandolinetto

  1. #1
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default MAS attack - L Yosko labeled turn of the century mandolinetto

    Well, I can't call it a compulsive purchase, because I wasn't waking up from a nap, but it was kind of impulsive. I'd been casually looking at two of these mandolinettos, mainly because when I bought my Octofone, the seller had one that he offered me, and every time I see one I feel a little ping of regret (or is it a MAS flare-up)

    One was in Canada and I pretty easily let that one go by because of potential import issues.

    I know very little about these, except I've read that many were made by Regal.

    It's labelled L Yosco Mfg company (mis-spelled in the post title), 74 3rd Avenue, New York,Banjos Mandolins,and Guitars, which seems to be a company that mainly made banjos and guitars, so I suspect it was made elsewhere. Any thoughts?

    Here's what I found at vintagebanjo.com

    The Iosco familly emigrated from Italy to the US in 1877 and Rocco Lorenzo Iosco (b 1869) changed his name to Lawrence Yosco.
    He began maufacturing fretted instruments, at the turn of the 20th C and by 1919 had premises at 204 W 34th Street, NY. In that year he was granted a patent on his "double rim" banjo, effectively a resonator with a 3" void built into the rim.
    While Yosco made Italian style bowl backed mandolins, guitars and 4 string banjos, no 5 string models appear to have been made.
    It's pretty beautiful; the seller says solid tight grained spruce top, Brazilian rosewood back and sides (one minor crack), rosewood fretboard and good frets. Here's how he describes the sound, "sound is loud with lots of sustain....a lot of these mandolinettos dont sound that great,,,,this one has excellent quality of sound...sweet,balanced, and good volume..it rings out forever and is loud"

    The fitted case looks very cool. I can't wait.

    Here's a few pictures:

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    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

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  3. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: MAS attack - L Yosko labeled turn of the century mandolinetto

    Probably in New York, there was a large instrument manufacturing presence there.

    Mugwumps lists them as active 1900 through 1930 and more:

    Yosco, Lawrence L. New York NY 1900-1930+
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  5. #3

    Default Re: MAS attack - L Yosko labeled turn of the century mandolinetto

    This one just popped up on Goodwill, sold for $300 with lots of bidding. Unusually for this site, it was identified as a mandolinetto, which must have instigated vigorous bidding. No maker name given but a hint it was US patent applied. It could just as easily appeared as ‘child’s guitar’ ‘mini guitar’ or ‘uke’ and would have been easily missed - and much cheaper. Thought about it, but the onset of winter has me rushing like a squirrel to get the house in order.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: MAS attack - L Yosko labeled turn of the century mandolinetto

    The bridge is the same as the one on my Strad-O-Lin.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  7. #5

    Default Re: MAS attack - L Yosko labeled turn of the century mandolinetto

    That looks really great Sue. I look forward to your appreciation of it once it has arrived.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: MAS attack - L Yosko labeled turn of the century mandolinetto

    Vey cool, Sue. You are doing quite well as a mandolin accumulator.

    I love the smaller more experimental or shops like Iucci, Yosco, Mango etc. A friend of mine discovered the double wall banjos that Yosco and converted quite a few for modern use. I have not seen many other Yosco non-banjo instruments so yours is very cool. I love the eccentric scratch plate.
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  11. #7
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: MAS attack - L Yosko labeled turn of the century mandolinetto

    Thanks, Jim. I find it interesting that it comes from New York and has the same bridge as my SOL. Makes me wonder if there might be some kind of connection. Or maybe that's just a common bridge style of the time period. I'm guessing it might be a tad newer than turn of the century if he was in business from 1900-1930+ and built bowl back mandolins. I did some googling and didn't see anything except a few of those banjos and a couple examples of a guitar called "Colossus" around which there seems to be a bit of controversy as to whether they were built by or for Yosco.

    I'm in the sweating stage now (not that big of a fan of shipping instruments). It shipped yesterday, is supposed to be here tomorrow, yet there are no updates in the tracking info beyond "received by shipper".
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: MAS attack - L Yosko labeled turn of the century mandolinetto

    Quick report. I've had the mandolinetto for awhile now, but wasn't sure that it wouldn't need to go back as I was a little uncertain about the neck join. It went up to Jake Wildwood's today for an inspection. The neck turned out to be okay, but a couple wonky previous repairs needed to be finessed and a reinforcement added upstream of the brace in the upper bout. A bit of unexpected old glue mess was cleaned up, and a good setup with ultralight strings put it in tip top shape. It sounds great. Similar to a bowlback, Jake said.

    I asked him if he thought it was made by or for Yosco, and he said definitely by, it's pretty unique.

    The case, he surmised, was converted from a 1895-ish trumpet case, he guessed in the 1970's by someone who was familiar with violin cases. It's a very cool case.

    I'm pretty happy with it, and looking forward to playing it
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: MAS attack - L Yosko labeled turn of the century mandolinetto

    Fair play to you, Sue.

    Such a curious looking instrument. The hefty upper bout on the mandolinetto is just great...along with the assymetrical scratchplate.
    How weird and wonderful is that?

    Nice to think Jake has looked it over as well.

    That will be a lot of fun to play.

    Drop a dime and put some Dogal Calace Dolces on it.

    Let us know how it sounds.

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    Default Re: MAS attack - L Yosko labeled turn of the century mandolinetto

    That “weird and wonderful” scratchplate is so weird that I think it was a patch job over pick damage, and like Topsy - just growed.

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    Default Re: MAS attack - L Yosko labeled turn of the century mandolinetto

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard500 View Post
    That “weird and wonderful” scratchplate is so weird that I think it was a patch job over pick damage, and like Topsy - just growed.
    Could be.

    That blotch pattern celluloid(?) is very similar to some new material I've purchased for replacing scratchplates on a couple old bowlbacks.

    The thin gap between the scratchplate and the top cutout / recess maybe suggests a DIY job.


    As Hunter Thompson said: "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."


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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: MAS attack - L Yosko labeled turn of the century mandolinetto

    I think it could be as well. Jake and I didn't discuss that, but I had made note of the gap when I got it. The instrument has had alot of previous work by at least three repair persons (including the work done yesterday). Some looked a little on the diy
    side, like a glue job with fingerprints left in it on the side. That got cleaned up yesterday, thankfully. I was afraid it was going to need a neck reset, but he said it had already been done and was okay.

    It sounds real good to me, though, and I was assured that I didn't overpay, so I'm happy.

    As I said previously, I couldn't find anything similar online. Jake said he's seen a few mando related Yoscos, but nothing real similar.
    Last edited by Sue Rieter; Nov-04-2022 at 5:35pm.
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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: MAS attack - L Yosko labeled turn of the century mandolinetto

    I spent some time yesterday looking into the Yosco family. Here is a picture of Bob Yosco, who was brother to L Yosco, the builder. Bob was a fairly renowned mandolin player. What kind of mandolin is that that he has in the picture? I would think that if his brother was building mandos, he would have played one of those family instruments.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The "L" in L Yosco apparently stands for "Lawrence", but have also seen "Louis." Besides being a builder, he seems to have been a touring guitar and banjo player.

    Pretty interesting, but I still haven't seen any pictures of other Yosco mandolin family instruments.

    The mandolinetto is so easy to fret (probably due to the ultralight strings). It's amazing and pretty fun.

    I feel like I should learn how to play some of this Yosco related music now. Anybody have any sheet music for "Spaghetti Rag"?
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

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    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: MAS attack - L Yosko labeled turn of the century mandolinetto

    Here is a Yosco bowl back from Fred Oster's shop in Philadelphia. It is serial no 601 and Fred dated it to 1920.

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  22. #15
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: MAS attack - L Yosko labeled turn of the century mandolinetto

    duplicate, oops
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  23. #16
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: MAS attack - L Yosko labeled turn of the century mandolinetto

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham McDonald View Post
    Here is a Yosco bowl back from Fred Oster's shop in Philadelphia. It is serial no 601 and Fred dated it to 1920.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks for that, Graham. I'd looked in the back of your book, but Yosco isn't indexed. I flipped through this morning and found this picture and your paragraph about Mr. Yosco.

    That's pretty cool looking instrument, it is much fancier. Love all the bling.

    There is unfortunately no serial number on the label in mine.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  24. #17
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: MAS attack - L Yosko labeled turn of the century mandolinetto

    A few things slipped through the indexing process. You don't realise they are not there until you go and look for them....

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  26. #18
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: MAS attack - L Yosko labeled turn of the century mandolinetto

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham McDonald View Post
    Here is a Yosco bowl back from Fred Oster's shop in Philadelphia. It is serial no 601 and Fred dated it to 1920.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I could not find that om Fredís site. Do you have a link? Was this on his site in the past?
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