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Thread: An evening with the Martin harp mandolin

  1. #26
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: An evening with the Martin harp mandolin

    There was also an inexpensive "Lyre" type tailpiece that looked similar to this that was used on some bowlbacks. I assumed that's what it was until I saw the piece in its entirety. I'm wondering it it has another use as a bookmark or something. I agree that someone liked the way it looked but I'm pretty sure it had a specific purpose and it isn't what it's being used for now. I can't find another one like it so hopefully someone else might have some information. I'm reminded of an armrest I have on an old tenor banjo that I thought was broken but a friend showed me it was a place to store your pick. That piece is well made and engraved rather nicely.

    Thanks for the pictures Polly. This is the kind of stuff that some of us dearly love.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  2. #27
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: An evening with the Martin harp mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    As I posted above, that mandolin has an older style four-post mandolin tailpiece and that "lyre" thing is called a sleeve guard. More common for the bowlbacks of that era.
    Enlighten me, it may be called a sleeve guard, how does it protect the sleeve and what is it attached to?

    Jim Garber for the win.

    I see how it's supposed to work.

    I actually saw a similar banjo tailpiece strung the same way but assumed it was part of the original tailpiece and didn't even think about it being an add-on.

    I could see that causing some issues it you had any sort of rattle.
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    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Oct-16-2020 at 4:20pm.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  3. #28
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: An evening with the Martin harp mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Enlighten me, it may be called a sleeve guard, how does it protect the sleeve and what is it attached to?

    Jim Garber for the win.

    I see how it's supposed to work.

    I actually saw a similar banjo tailpiece strung the same way but assumed it was part of the original tailpiece and didn't even think about it being an add-on.

    I could see that causing some issues it you had any sort of rattle.
    I bought a few bowlbacks from the UK that came with those. I assume they were usually after market and the purpose was to stop the sleeve of your shirt or blouse from getting caught on the windings of the strings on these open tailpieces. Same purpose, sort of, or tailpiece covers.
    Jim

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  4. #29
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: An evening with the Martin harp mandolin

    The way the one on the OP's mandolin is sitting it wouldn't protect you from anything

    Installed correctly it would cover up those pesky string ends on the loops.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  5. #30

    Default Re: An evening with the Martin harp mandolin

    Hi Mike!
    After speaking with the archivist at Dickinson, we located one more photo of the glee club from the following year's yearbook, and the caption-which names the owner of the harp mandolin and his hometown of Shamokin, PA(where Gaskins was located). Here is more detail:

    The photo appears on page 204, representing the combined musical clubs. The person listed who played the harp mandolin was J. Malcolm Gillespie, who was a student at the law school rather than the college. Here is the link to the yearbook: http://archives.dickinson.edu/microc...arbook-1903-04

    Another photo of the harp mandolin appears in the yearbook for the previous year, 1902-03 academic year. The photo appears on page 206, and J. M. Gillespie is again listed as the musician playing the instrument. Given the fact that the harp mandolin is not mentioned in any other years before or after these two, it’s likely that the instrument belonged to J. Malcolm Gillespie. Here is the link to the 1902-03 yearbook: http://archives.dickinson.edu/microc...arbook-1902-03

    We don’t have too much additional information about Gillespie, since he was enrolled at the law school (the law school is now a part of the Penn State University system, so the Penn State University Archives might have some more information about him), but he is shown on page 270 of the 1902-03 yearbook, and his hometown is listed as Shamokin, PA. He was also a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, so their national organization’s archives might have some information about him as well. In doing a quick online search, I did find a notice in a Sigma Chi quarterly magazine that Gillespie had married a Miss Trummeter on June 8, 1904, and that the couple planned to live in their hometown of Shamokin, PA.

  6. #31
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: An evening with the Martin harp mandolin

    Thanks Polly, we usually don't get that much information about the owner of a vintage instrument.

    For posterity we will add the photo and the page identifying the owner for the next person that comes looking for information about this instrument.
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  7. #32
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: An evening with the Martin harp mandolin

    Thanks, Polly for those wonderful image and info. I see some Weyman bowlback mandolins there which makes sense since the college was in PA and so was Weymann and Martin. Here are the photos, in case the links change and I have included zoomed-in details.

    Whoops... Mike beat me to it.
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    Jim

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  8. #33
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    Default Re: An evening with the Martin harp mandolin

    A quick search on Ancestry.com turned up Mr. Gillespie's obituary.

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    Dated March 16 1950.
    Last edited by mclaugh; Oct-27-2020 at 10:36am. Reason: Omission

  9. #34
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: An evening with the Martin harp mandolin

    Here is a closer picture of the one at the Martin Museum. I took this late last fall. Well... not that much closer than Jim's

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    Having something to say is highly over rated.

    The entire staff
    funny....

  10. #35
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: An evening with the Martin harp mandolin

    It is a wonderful mandolin, and of course I would love to own it.

    But the truth is that i am very happy it is owned by someone with the personality to equal the mandolin. It is fitting. It could be owned by a more reserved and dower mandolinner, (like myself according to some). Or worse yet, a collector who hides it away somewhere.

    If anyone I know was the embodiment of the spirit in which that mandolin was conceived, it would be Jess.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

    The entire staff
    funny....

  11. #36
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: An evening with the Martin harp mandolin

    I am not sure which individual is pictured. It is not Fred, nor is it the one in the museum. From http://vintagemartin.com/Gaskins.html

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    Having something to say is highly over rated.

    The entire staff
    funny....

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