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Thread: Help identifying an estate sale mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Help identifying an estate sale mandolin

    It’s pretty beat up, but was very affordable. The label is mostly worn off, and I couldn’t see a serial number through the F-holes. Does anyone know what it could be?

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  2. #2
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help identifying an estate sale mandolin

    Not sure what the label said, but the mandolin is from the Kay Co. (formerly Stromberg-Voisinet) in Chicago.
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  3. #3
    Registered User TonyEarth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help identifying an estate sale mandolin

    Coincidentally, the tailpiece, shape, and segmented f-holes look a lot like the mandolin in this other recent post:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...ketplace-finds

    and as the poster there noted, the style of these is similar to Strad-O-Lins, but I don't actually know anything on the matter, just stumbled into the other post and did a bit of googling.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Help identifying an estate sale mandolin

    Thank you for the tip on Kay!

    This one looks remarkably similar: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...identification

    No idea the date on the estate sale one, though. Didn't see any numbers. (And I wish I knew what the label said).

  5. #5

    Default Re: Help identifying an estate sale mandolin

    The tuners -made by Kluson have riveted gears which dates the mandolin to the mid to late 1940s.

  6. #6
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help identifying an estate sale mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by TonyEarth View Post
    Coincidentally, the tailpiece, shape, and segmented f-holes look a lot like the mandolin in this other recent post:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...ketplace-finds

    and as the poster there noted, the style of these is similar to Strad-O-Lins, but I don't actually know anything on the matter, just stumbled into the other post and did a bit of googling.
    Actually, the f-holes are a but different. This one has apostrophe-shaped end holes on each F-hole and the Strad-O-Lin has completely circular ones. They are both segmented though, so there is a similarity.
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  7. #7
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help identifying an estate sale mandolin

    The headstock shape is the dead giveaway of who made it. The tailpiece was a standard Waverly cloud shaped tailpiece that was used by every major manufacturer including Harmony, Kay, Regal, Gibson, and Martin.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  9. #8
    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help identifying an estate sale mandolin

    Mike,
    I am ignorant of the headstock you obviously recognize. Would you mind enlightening me.

  10. #9

    Default Re: Help identifying an estate sale mandolin

    The asymmetrical headstock shape was introduced by Kay in the early 1930s when the company was known as Kay Kraft and you can see it on guitars as well as mandolins and the shape was used for at least 20 years although more latterly, it only featured on mandolins, like yours. Here is an early example on a guitar with the pearlette plastic overlay on the headstock.

    https://reverb.com/uk/item/38404240-...coustic-guitar

  11. #10
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help identifying an estate sale mandolin

    I have always called it a “foot stock”.
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  13. #11
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help identifying an estate sale mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by red7flag View Post
    Mike,
    I am ignorant of the headstock you obviously recognize. Would you mind enlightening me.
    It's a Kay exclusive. If you see that shape on a headstock no matter what name is on that headstock it was built by Kay. It's one of the very things that will always identify a builder even if the instrument isn't marked.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  14. #12
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help identifying an estate sale mandolin

    I just did a search of the late Mike Holmes Mugwumps Encyclopedia using the known letters of "alte". Got hits on 13 , all the first name "Walter". I'm going to guess that water-slide decal was put there by a school or teacher that bought a for the trade instrument to sell to their students.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  15. #13
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help identifying an estate sale mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    I just did a search of the late Mike Holmes Mugwumps Encyclopedia using the known letters of "alte". Got hits on 13 , all the first name "Walter". I'm going to guess that water-slide decal was put there by a school or teacher that bought a for the trade instrument to sell to their students.
    Alte means old in German so that is definitely true.
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