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Thread: Bruno bowlback mandola

  1. #1

    Default Bruno bowlback mandola

    No financial stake, and no opinion on the Larson attribution, but this sure looks like a nice (and rare) bowlback mandola. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-190...E/173692685184

  2. #2
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bruno bowlback mandola

    Thanks, Scot.
    I actually have one of these. I like the "Bluto-beard" scratchplate on these Brunos.
    It isn't a Larson.
    It is big.
    Price isn't so bad.
    Mick
    I uploaded a few images for posteriority.
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  4. #3
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bruno bowlback mandola

    Looks pretty much like my Washburn mandola, except for the headstock shape. Lark Street Music has or had a very similar one labeled "Ditson." I'd hazard a guess of Chicago-built for distributors like Bruno and Ditson.
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    mando-evangelist August Watters's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bruno bowlback mandola

    I got this one, and it arrived today, all in good shape. Heavy playing wear, but solid condition and no real damage.

    First impressions: good instrument, standard turn-of-century tenor mandola, with a big sound.

    As to the builder, I know what to expect. But does it matter?
    Last edited by August Watters; Feb-01-2019 at 10:47am.
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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bruno bowlback mandola

    Fair play to you, August. "Boomy" would be a good way to describe mine, as the Ebay ad says about yours.

    If y'all want to believe it is a Larsen, go right ahead......

    Mick
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  9. #6

    Default Re: Bruno bowlback mandola

    The seller mentions in his Larsen suggestion various reasons. Aluminium may have been very valuable- Napoleon III I think had some regalia made from it- keeping somebody busy polishing it! That would have been in the 1860s but new industrial processes led to the price plummeting. However, for a while, there would have been a novelty value by using this metal which had once been so sought after. There was some big banquet- also in France I think where the most highly exalted guests got aluminium artefacts and the lesser folk just good old-fashioned gold! Oh well, never mind!

  10. #7
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bruno bowlback mandola

    Quote Originally Posted by August Watters View Post
    ...As to the builder, I know what to expect. But does it matter?
    Not really. The "Larsen" attribution, even when questionable, does lead to higher asking prices, and the fact that the brothers never labeled their products "Larsen" opens the door for speculation.

    My bowl-back mandola, very similar to this one, is clearly labeled "Washburn," with the wooden badge used on late-1890's Lyon & Healy Washburn instruments. Here's one that Jake Wildwood fixed up, labeled "Ditson" -- I'm guessing from Jake's write-up that this is the one that used to be at Lark Street Music in NJ. Jake states confidently that this one is Regal-made, and it's not uncommon for the Chicago makers to build instruments for each other, so my Washburn may be Regal-made as well. So there's a possible builder for yours; those who associate Regal only with low-to-mid-range instruments, should be aware that they made some very nice ones in the early 20th century.

    As Mick knows, I've gotten a bit of push-back (a bit??!!) for speculating that certain labels for whom the Larsens built instruments, could imply that a certain instrument might be Larsen-made. I have acquired a Larsen-attributed Stahl flat-back mandola in the past month or so, and I'm confident this one's genuine. I was at a jam with bluesman Andy Cohen a week ago, and he brought his Larsen-made Prairie State guitar. When he saw my mandola, he took a pic of the two instruments side-by-side, and the details, including binding and inlays, were near-identical.

    That's really the only way to confidently attribute any instrument to the Larsen brothers -- to compare it to known Larsen instruments, and note similarities and differences. Or to have a photograph of one of the Larson brothers holding the instrument, as I have for my Stahl mando-bass. Such documentation, obviously, is rare...

    Attachment 174549
    Last edited by allenhopkins; Feb-02-2019 at 11:57am.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  11. #8

    Default Re: Bruno bowlback mandola

    lets see a picture of the larson mandola and the guitar

  12. #9
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bruno bowlback mandola

    Quote Originally Posted by ollaimh View Post
    lets see a picture of the larson mandola and the guitar

    Andy Cohen took the pic, hasn't shared it with me.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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