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Thread: Lyon and Healy frets: For the record

  1. #1
    Teacher, luthier
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    Oct 2017
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    Default Lyon and Healy frets: For the record

    I just completed re-fretting a Lyon & Healy style C. This is the 7th L & H carved mandolin that I have re-fretted. In the past, I've done two other style C's, 3 style B's, and one style A. The serial numbers varied between the low 100's and the low 2000's.

    Like all the others, this one had narrow T-frets. The crown width was about .037". The tang was serrated, somewhat like the tang we see on the 'teens Gibson oval hole mandolins, and quite different than the barbs we see on modern wire.

    I now understand why folks mistakenly assume that the L & H carved mandolins had bar frets. The .037" crown is narrower than the T-frets used on the old Gibsons; and close to the same width as the bar frets I've pulled out of old Vega and Martin mandolins.

    It's been a long time since I've seen an L & H bowlback mandolin, so I cannot say what type of frets were used on those older instruments.

  2. #2
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Feb 2003
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    lower alabama
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    Default Re: Lyon and Healy frets: For the record

    That was mine, the Style C. It turned out great! He planed the board, replaced the tiny originals with modern frets, did a fingerboard extension scoop that is invisible, and cut and fit a nice compensated bridge. The mandolin is far more playable now, and sounds excellent. Impeccable work and the charge was very reasonable.

    The old L&H mandolins are worth getting optimized for play, in my opinion. They have their own, beautiful, voice.

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