What Instrument Was This?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by teletimetx, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Came across a photo in the steel guitar forum that was pretty amazing, really.

    Got to thinking (for a change) and realized that some of the instrument makers have had to make some pretty interesting things to try to keep up with the times. I'm just going to post the ad copy below and solicit some wild guesses as to what instrument is being described. I'm sure some of you experts might hit it on the first try, but I wouldn't have. The more stuff changes, the more ad copy stays the same. I have left out a few obvious details...

    and no googling the ad copy either, c'mon, just make a guess. No one will care, really. After enough guesses, I'll post the ad from which the copy comes, if'n some smart pony hasn't already done that...

    ...and if you can guess the right instrument and show up at one of my gigs, I'll let you buy me a beer!

    Ad copy:

    "Straight grain, graduated spruce sounding-board, ivoroid bound. Maple rim and back; deep, rich Sheraton-brown finish. Satin finish ebonized top. British Honduras mahogany, reinforced non-warpable neck: veneered headpiece with “xxxxx” in pearl; solid ebony convex finger-board with seventeen frets; pearl position dots. Ivoroid sound-hole inlaid with two colored purfling rings. Sturdy machine-heads. Ebony nut. Perpendicular compensating maple bridge; adjustable ebony string saddles."
     
  2. elpico

    elpico Tele-Holic

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    huh... I'm stumped. I'm not familiar with a single instrument with that strange collection of specs. Ebony nut? 17 frets? Adjustable ebony saddles? Every one of those is foreign to me. "Ivroid" suggests it's not a super old timer since that means plastic and they used the real thing before plastics took over. Still have no idea though.
     
  3. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Mandolin? Some kinda fiddle w/ frets?
     
  4. Norton72

    Norton72 Tele-Afflicted

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    Dobro?
     
  5. Stringbanger

    Stringbanger Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Sitar?
     
  6. Dave Hicks

    Dave Hicks Tele-Afflicted

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    "Sheraton brown"? reinforced neck"? Inlaid rings around a soundhole? Sounds like a 20's Gibson oval-hole mandolin.

    D.H.
     
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  7. Peter Rarebit

    Peter Rarebit Tele-Meister

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    17 frets makes me think a banjo or a mandolin. or a ukelele.
     
  8. micpoc

    micpoc Friend of Leo's

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    "adjustable ebony string saddles"

    That's the most interesting detail to me; no idea, though. "Sheraton brown" suggests Gibson.
     
  9. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

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    Neapolitan mandolin.
     
  10. WigWam

    WigWam TDPRI Member

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    I'm guessing some sort of mandolin.
     
  11. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    The "satin finish ebonized top" and "17 frets" have me stumped. The 17 frets excludes typical mandos and dobros
     
  12. HoodieMcFoodie

    HoodieMcFoodie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Ukelele.
     
  13. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  14. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Close but no cigar: 18 fret mandocello:

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Everyone who was sniffing around the mandolin tree was very close.

    Gibson_mandobass_.jpg

    It's the Gibson Mando-bass! Demonstrated here by Eleanor Camp. One bit of interesting trivia I found doing some trivial research, was that some mando-bass players recommended using a stiff leather pick. Hmmm, might have to try that.

    I've never seen anything like this. Saw a bass-sized banjo once - and that was enough - but there is apparently an existing specimen in a musical instrument museum, in Vermillion, South Dakota. Vermillion is a notable place to me only because it is the birthplace of my father...

    The various sized members of the mandola/mandolin family were very popular during the days of mandolin orchestras, (see the Wiki entry) which apparently were common prior to WWI, then slowly faded away.

    Here's a photo from the museum by Larry Jacobsen, with the cutline info below.

    Gibson_Mandolin_Family,_National_Music_Museum,_Vermillion,_South_Dakota.jpg

    I have a minor interest in the mandolin group, in that I occasionally play an Airline electric mandola, made by the Eastwood group - same folks that recently supported a guitar design by John Backlund, a member here. That little electric mandola has an 18" scale and the sweetest little mini-humbucker.

    Here's the photo info on what's in the photo:

    • Photo by Larry Jacobsen Precise listing: Gibson Mandolin Family, National Music Museum, Vermillion, South Dakota front: left to right[in other photo]NMM 10052. Mandolin by Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Company, Kalamazoo, ca. 1904. Style F-3. Serial number 3617.NMM 6070. Mandolin by Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Company, Kalamazoo, 1914. Style F-4, Artist's Model. Serial number 17800.NMM 6086. Mando-cello by Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Company, Kalamazoo, 1924. Style K-4, Artist's Model. Serial number 76996.NMM 6098. Mandola by Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Company, Kalamazoo, 1917. Style H-4, Artist's Model. Serial number 33609.NMM 2883. Mando-bass by Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Company, Kalamazoo, 1916. Style J. Serial number 25936.NMM 6192. Mandolin by Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Company, Kalamazoo, ca. 1904. Style A-4. Serial number 3121. (See also: NMM 4085)NMM 6085. Mando-cello by Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Company, Kalamazoo, 1914. Style K-2. Serial number 17984.unknown mandolin rear: left to right NMM 2817. Harp guitar by Carl and August Larson, Chicago, ca. 1917. Symphony Style 5. No serial number. Distributed by W. J. Dyer & Bro., Minneapolis. NMM 2766. Ukulele by Stromberg-Voisinet Co., Chicago, ca. 1930. Aero-uke. “Built in the shape of an airplane.” NMM 2774. Kite Mandolin by F. Lang, Chicago, patented April 28, 1908.upper: right Photograph: The Cornell Glee, Banjo, and Mandolin Club ay Cornel University, Ithaca, New York, 1895–96.References Checklist of Mandolins by Gibson. National Music Museum. Checklist of Plucked Stringed Instruments by Carl and August Larson (The Larson Brothers). National Music Museum. Checklist of Ukuleles. National Music Museum. Thread: Early gibsons. Forum. Mandolin Cafe (July 03~18 2008).
     
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  16. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Now I want one!

    EDIT: using an inflation calculator, I see a $150 mando-bass in 1916 is equal to almost $3300 today.
     
  17. Buckocaster51

    Buckocaster51 Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    Mandolin orchestras had to be fun.
     
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  18. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Two of the details I left out: weight: 16 pounds, packed for shipment 85 pounds!

    Hey, Orville, bust out the mule team, we got a mando-bass headed for Canada!
     
  19. overlock

    overlock Tele-Afflicted

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    I'll bet these lads had a ball too:

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Grabsplatter

    Grabsplatter Tele-Holic

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    Much as I now want, and need a Gibson Mando-Bass, it does look like someone tried crossbreeding EB-0s and small boats.
     
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