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Thread: No clue

  1. #1

    Default No clue

    I purchased this instrument at auction a few months ago, and can’t figure out who really made it. A small paper label inside says Bacon Professional, but it doesn’t look like the others I have seen. It has a second top under the visible one with soundposts. It is in great condition and plays well with good projection. The embossed leather case has the bull trademark of Maulbetsch and Whittemore.I suspect the instrument made by Vega, but can’t find another that looks like it.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: No clue

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  3. #3
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: No clue

    It appears to me that the neck was made in the Vega factory. I have not heard of Vega building a body with a double top, but I suspect that they were capable of building one if they wished to do so. The earlier Bacon Professional banjos were built by Vega. Later Bacon Professional banjos were built by Lange and possibly others before Bacon opened their own factory.

    Bacon contracted with at least 3 or 4 different builders over the years. There may have been more than one contractor who built mandolins for them. Some of their guitars appear to have been built by Chicago makers.

  4. #4

    Default Re: No clue

    Thanks for the input. Most of the Bacon mandolins I have seen were a different body shape, including the ones in the reprint of the 1924 catalogue.

  5. #5
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: No clue

    The mandolin you have pictured was probably built in the early 1910's, when Bacon was just getting started. Bacon started out as a more or less one man operation around 1906 or so, and had his banjos built by Vega until somewhere around 1912. Although your mandolin has a different body design, it bears several characteristics that we also see on the Vega cylinder back mandolins. Also, the semi-circular purfling on the body is identical to the purfling used on some of the upper-line Vega made Bacon Professional banjos.

    After Bacon's deal with Vega ended, he had some of his instruments built by others, and also set up a primitive shop of his own. They operated in that manner for several years.

    By the time the carved mandolins came out and the 1924 catalog was printed, Bacon had a more highly developed factory of their own, and their products and manner of doing business were very different.

  6. #6

    Default Re: No clue

    Cool information. I have Silver Bell and Senorita tenor banjos both mid late 1920s.

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