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Thread: Wurlitzer mandolin

  1. #1

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    Hello, Everyone!
    A friend of mine just started playing and borrowed a Wurlitzer mandolin from a friend. It's an A-style. Looks like it was built in the 1920's.
    Has anyone heard of this type of mandolin? I can't find any information on it except that Wurlitzer didn't actually make the mandolin...another company made them.
    It sounds really nice.
    Thanks in advance,
    Laura
    "With all those curves, there have to be strings attached."
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  2. #2
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    Wurlitzer was a distributor, and as you said they didn't make the mandolins. They were built for them by a number of companies. If you can post a picture I might be able to identify the builder. Most of them were pretty generic. I played a Wurlitzer guitar that was built by Martin several years ago at Gruhn's in Nashville. Beyond that one I've never seen a Wurlitzer instrument that was built by a high-end builder.

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    I am the friend with the Wurlitzer. I will post a photo tomorrow. My friend is lending it to me for a while. She says it was her grandfather's and she believes it is from 1919. I don't know where she gets that year but that is what is in head. I am looking forward learning more about it.

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    That date is possible the Wurlitzer business actually started in the mid-1800's.

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    Wurlitzer did a lot of stencil horns*, too. I played a Wurlitzer tenor saxophone once, which looked to me like a Conn.


    *In the world of brass instruments, a "stencil horn" is when a manufacturer makes a horn for someone else, changing only the engraving pattern.
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    I had a Wurlitzer electric piano when I was a kid. It looked just like a traditional piano only it was electric and not as heavy... Great for an apartment.
    I've played alot of Wurlitzer Organs through the years! They're very nice instruments.

    I never knew that they made or distributed other instruments except accordians until I read this message thread.
    You just keep on learning at Mandolin Cafe...
    HarmonyRexy

  7. #7

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    As has been said, Wurlitzer commissioned their house brand from a number of different makers. #I've seen many more that look to be by Chicago builders (Lyon & Healy or pre-depresion Regal) than Martin. #Martin only built guitars for Wurlitzer from 1922-1924; I'm not certain when the Martin-made mandolins were commissioned, but I wouldn't be surprised if they coincided.




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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    I just searched my computer files and folders, and I can't find the pictures, but I had a guitar come through my shop a year or so ago that had a Wurlitzer stamp and a Martin stamp. (I hope I kept the pics and they are on some sort of storage medium around here somewhere.)
    I had already known of the Wurlitzer/Martin connection, but I'd never seen one with both stamps.
    I'm curious to find out if this mandolin is a Martin or something else.




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    Well, I don't know that much about Wurlitzer mandos, but my shop is and has been for about 30 years in the old Wurlitzer piano factory in DeKalb, IL. I've wandered through virtually every square foot of it and have never seen one mando part, other than in my shop.

    I did find many years ago, though, a huge Honduran mahogany beam stuck off above a door. About 4" thick. I got quite a few guitar necks out of that.




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    Hello, I have a 1920's Wurlitzer Banjo-Mandolin and really love it! Birdseye Maple with MOP fluer inlay in the headstock. I was told by the folks at Spruce Tree Music , where I picked it up, that it looked like a Lyon and Healy manufacture, but I've also seen Stewart Mando's with the same neck from that era.I think what really impresses me is the longevity of many instruments manufactured during the years of the roaring 20's.

    Good luck on the quest! Best, DZ

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    I have a late 60's small bodied Wurlitzer acoustic. It has a bolt on neck. It is an entry level instrument.

    Take a look at the top of this page for a write up and photos of a Wurlitzer bowlback.

    http://www.frettd-treasures.com/musmando.html




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    According to Mr. Gruhn all of the Wurlitzer's built by Martin had both stamps. I think they just built guitars for them. The majority of the Wurlitzer mandolins I've seen looked like Regal and L&H models as well.

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    Here is a photo of the mandolin in question. Please let me know if you would like other shots or more detail. My friend who actually owns the instrument will be very excited and grateful for the information.

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    Hey, how do I post an image?

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    Click this link for instructions. Getting the image to the correct size is the main challenge for a lot of people, and it's hard to explain because there are so many ways to do it in so many different computers.

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    If resizing is a problem, here is Germain's tutorial.

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    Thanks. Here it is.


  18. #18

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    Definitely a Chicago make. #My money is on a pre-depression Regal for this one. #The proflie is also very similar to some instruments of the Leland brand that in some cases can be definitely credited to Lyon & Healy, although some of them look more Regal-esque. This binding job strikes me as more like Regal.




  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by (DiegoMoon @ May 20 2006, 07:48)
    According to Mr. Gruhn all of the Wurlitzer's built by Martin had both stamps. I think they just built guitars for them. The majority of the Wurlitzer mandolins I've seen looked like Regal and L&H models as well.
    I'm pretty certain I've seen some flat mandolins built by Martin for the Wurlitzer house brand: a koa style A comes to mind. I'll try to remember to dig in my old files soon.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    The Wurlitzer catalogs I have (numbers 111 and 132) do carry Martin mandolins but they are clearly marked Martin. Longworth makes no mention of a Martin made Wurlitzer-branded mandolin tho he does mention guitars and ukuleles.

    The Leland mandolin that Swolock's resembles dates from about 1912-13.

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    I would take that mandolin to be a Regal built in Chicago. You can't just go by the binding, all of the Chicago builders (Harmony, Regal, L&H, et al) were eating from the same trough and buying from the same suppliers.

  23. #22

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    Indeed.

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    I just took in a Wurltizer mandolin. I will post some photos, but it might be a day or two.
    It a beautiful instrument with Walnut back and sides, very different from the Martin style shown above.
    Trevor
    The Acoustic Music Co (TAMCO) Brighton England
    Over 100 mandolins in stock.
    www.theacousticmusicco.co.uk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by (trevor @ May 25 2006, 12:23)
    I just took in a Wurltizer mandolin. I will post some photos, but it might be a day or two.
    It a beautiful instrument with Walnut back and sides, very different from the Martin style shown above.
    "I just took in. . . ."

    As an owner of two cats, one a stray and one from a shelter, "taking in" has a special meaning for me here in the Midwest U.S.: we take in those things we wish to cherish and care for. What a great way to think about an elderly mandolin!

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    Tom,
    You got it, I take them in, look after them for a while then find them a good home, often I miss them when they are gone.

    Can anyone help?



    Trevor
    The Acoustic Music Co (TAMCO) Brighton England
    Over 100 mandolins in stock.
    www.theacousticmusicco.co.uk.

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