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Thread: Can anybody Identify this instrument? No markings

  1. #26
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anybody Identify this instrument? No markings

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    I can find this stock photo, I think it may be the one referred to. The museum it came out of has a limited online presence as far as I can tell.
    Strange... I see your longer link but it just takes me to the Alamy homepage. I think this is the one you are talking about?

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #27
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anybody Identify this instrument? No markings

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    FWIW, I agree with Mike..I'm thinking the tuners and tailpiece were later modifications. Possibly along with the fretboard and headstock cover.

    Just guessing, obviously.

    Might those three pins be reinforcing the bowl to neck block connection?

    Mick
    I keep wondering if this was put together from pieces of other instruments. The body just looks "Greek" to me, but the peghead and neck seem to be something else. Plus the paint job, large number of string slots, etc. all don't add up.

    A theater prop?

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  4. #28
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anybody Identify this instrument? No markings

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Strange... I see your longer link but it just takes me to the Alamy homepage. I think this is the one you are talking about?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    That's an older Greek lauto aka Istanbul lute.

  5. #29
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anybody Identify this instrument? No markings

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Strange... I see your longer link but it just takes me to the Alamy homepage. I think this is the one you are talking about?

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	AA83C021-3AB8-4A33-8EE5-93B6F5267D64.png 
Views:	34 
Size:	3.87 MB 
ID:	189645
    Yes, is the link not working? I was trying not to post a marked up image.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  6. #30
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anybody Identify this instrument? No markings

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    A theater prop?
    That actually might make sense.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  8. #31

    Default Re: Can anybody Identify this instrument? No markings

    The substantial wear on the frets and neck show that this has been played a great deal. The floral design is identical to the Greek lute. Same artist I think. I think this is original and from the same luthier as the Greek instrument and although the machine heads and bridge and nut look as if the have been replaced, the format, I believe is original and designed to be used. I will probably string it as discussed earlier and try to play it. I was concerned that it might be a historic instrument and maybe I should not work on it further.

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  10. #32
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anybody Identify this instrument? No markings

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lempriere View Post
    The substantial wear on the frets and neck show that this has been played a great deal. The floral design is identical to the Greek lute. Same artist I think. I think this is original and from the same luthier as the Greek instrument and although the machine heads and bridge and nut look as if the have been replaced, the format, I believe is original and designed to be used. I will probably string it as discussed earlier and try to play it. I was concerned that it might be a historic instrument and maybe I should not work on it further.
    It might very well be a historic instrument just not in the US. If you're comfortable with sending a picture I'd send them to the Museum that the image you found was from in Greece. My take on what I think has happened thus far is that I think it originally had friction tuner pegs and a different tailpiece and bridge. Someplace along the line someone decided they'd rather have machine heads and did some alligator dentistry to get them on on there. They may come back and tell you it's not Greek. I'd go that route first. If it has historical significance in another country you should attempt to find that out.
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Nov-04-2020 at 7:08pm. Reason: Fixed typo. I'm fluent in typo.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  12. #33

    Default Re: Can anybody Identify this instrument? No markings

    Yup, that makes sense. I will contact them and see what they have to say. I’ll update ASAP.

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  14. #34
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anybody Identify this instrument? No markings

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Yes, is the link not working? I was trying not to post a marked up image.
    It didn't work on my iPhone this morning—it kept going to the homepage of Alamy site. Now it goes to the right page. I just found it by a search and posted a screen shot.

    Actually the bowl of the OP instrument does look like it might be of Greek construction.

    Mike L: can you post some measurements? Is this longer scale than a mandolin or not?
    Last edited by Jim Garber; Nov-04-2020 at 11:30pm.
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  16. #35

    Default Re: Can anybody Identify this instrument? No markings

    The soundboard inside the soundboard is what confuses me the most about this instrument.

  17. #36
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anybody Identify this instrument? No markings

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lempriere View Post
    The substantial wear on the frets and neck show that this has been played a great deal. The floral design is identical to the Greek lute. Same artist I think. I think this is original and from the same luthier as the Greek instrument and although the machine heads and bridge and nut look as if the have been replaced, the format, I believe is original and designed to be used. I will probably string it as discussed earlier and try to play it. I was concerned that it might be a historic instrument and maybe I should not work on it further.
    I'm not sure that the frets show wear or a lack of filing and polishing, and the paint job does not show much wear, nor does the soundboard near the soundhole. It may not have been played as much as one may think.

  18. #37

    Default Re: Can anybody Identify this instrument? No markings

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	189701Under the few strings that I have fitted the wear looks real to me. Also the back of the neck has been repainted and lacquered by me. Images of frets 1 and 2 and original condition of the neck attached.

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  20. #38
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anybody Identify this instrument? No markings

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lempriere View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	189699Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	189700Click image for larger version. 

Name:	C0E2C8F2-643B-4B06-A9C0-42EA9EDA2474.jpg 
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ID:	189701Under the few strings that I have fitted the wear looks real to me. Also the back of the neck has been repainted and lacquered by me. Images of frets 1 and 2 and original condition of the neck attached.
    Could be Mike...but it also could be pre-existing fret and neck wear from before it was joined to that particular body. And why is the paint not worn the same way as the frets?

    This is what puzzles me. I've seen a lot of vintage ethnic lutes and I've never seen anything quite like this.

    And I could be wrong and this is a single-maker as-is item, just not familiar to me.

  21. #39
    Jo Dusepo, luthier Dusepo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anybody Identify this instrument? No markings

    Thanks to the member who brought this thread to my attention. I've not been on mandolincafe for a while. Anyway, here's my thoughts...

    The picture above is a lavta (in Turkish) AKA politiko laoto (in Greek), which this is very unliklely to be as those have 7 nylon/gut strings in 4 courses (lowest single like an oud) and a neck with a whole octave's worth of microtonal tied frets. This has 14 steel ones and would have long ago collapsed if it was only built for 7 nylon ones. It also has fixed metal frets with western intervals joining the body at the 10th fret, a carved body (vs the constructed bowl of a lavta) and 5 courses.

    The bridge and nut look like they are gut for 5 courses. My initial thought was some kind of mandriola until I noticed the 5 courses. Also of note is that it lacks the canted soundboard. I also thought it might be an altered Greek baglama or tamburitza, but the neck and fingerboard are shorter and far wider than these would usually be.

    A few other options:

    * It could indeed be a mandriola which has been altered for 5 courses, or a custom extended range version with 5 courses.

    * It could be an unusual member of the charango family with steel strings and a less guitar-like shape.

    * It could be a vihuela de conchero. These are bowl-backed instruments used in Native American festivals in Mexico. They traditionally were made of arrmadillo shells but nowadays usually use wooden carved bodies. They can have 4 (mandolina de conchero), 5 (vihuela de conchero) or 6 (guitarra de conchero) courses, and often will have widely varying numbers of strings in each course. They have a lute-like shape unlike the charangos with their usual more guitar-like shape, and almost always use steel strings.

    * It could be an unusual member of the south American bandurria family. These would usually however have only 4 courses.

    * It could be an unusual member of the Philippine bandurria family. These would usually however have 6 courses.

    * It's a custom or original design.
    I am a luthier specialising in historical and world stringed instruments. You can see more info at my website.

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