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Thread: J.howard foote favorite

  1. #1
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    I recently inherited an 1894 J. Howard Foote "Favorite" Bowlback Mando and was wondering if anyone might be able to tell me more about it. It is in decent shape aesthetically, I suppose, but not very playable though, as it's action is unbelieveably high. However, it does have great tone. It his hightly inlaid with a real tortise pickguard, ivory tuners and ebony & ivory bridge. I need to add it to my insurance policy and I was wondering if anyone knows what this might be worth?
    Michael Kelly Legacy F

  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    I also have an unplayable Foote mandolin but it is plainer (I think) than you describe. I paid little for it since it needs work and I bought it mainly for the parts.

    First-- how do you know that the pickguard is real tortoise and the tuning pegs ivory? More likely even early on, the pg was plastic and the tuners bone. Does this one have lots of inlaid pearl on the fretboard and elsewhere?

    In any case, it would be good to post some pics. If it is very ornate it might be worth something. However, in general, American bowlbacks are not worth all that much, if it is not in playing condition. Might cost you a few hundred dollars to get it so, but that might involve a neck set which can be expensive. It is prob worth $100-200 as is, but you would have to get it appraised for insurance purposes.

    Jim



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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Here is my Foote mandolin. There is a serious crack on the top otherwise not too bad. I doubt it is worth (to me) putting a hundred or so of work into it. In any case, it is a decent mid-level American bowlback.

    BTW it looks like the pickguard on mine is backed by some sort of foil -- a technique used on some Italian instruments to give the tortoisoid plastic some sheen.

    Jim



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    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
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    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  4. #4
    Registered User Mandophile's Avatar
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    Default Re: J.howard foote favorite

    hmmm. well twelve years later...I'm sure that by the year 1894, Foote was making his own stuff but before that he only imported mandolins.
    Foote opened a branch store c. 1868 in Chicago and was the "sole American agent for French instruments." His Chicago store was of interest to me because Clarence L. Partee ("Cadenza" editor & publisher) learned to play on a French-made mandolin and I'm guessing it was something imported by Foote. We're talking early 1880s when Partee was living in Chicago. How's that for a wild leap into the soup?

  5. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: J.howard foote favorite

    I think I used to play that tune "Wild Leap into the Soup."
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
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    19th Century Tunes
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    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

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