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Thread: Unusual Pocket/Travel Mandolin. Any Info on builder?

  1. #1
    Barn Cat Mandolins Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Unusual Pocket/Travel Mandolin. Any Info on builder?

    A friend sent me pictures of his Grandfather's mandolin and when I saw them, I knew we had something unusual.

    First, it's a pocket or travel mandolin rather than a full-sized mandolin. The body measures 11" x 5.5" and about 1.5" in depth. It is also not a piccolo mandolin because it's scale length is nearly 14".

    Second, it has the most extensive use of MOTS I have ever seen. Peg head overlay, fret board, sides and back are all MOTS.

    Third, for a MOTS instrument, the bling is really pretty nice; metallic gold, white and black binding looks good.

    It has no label or visible markings.

    It also has a fitted hard-shell case.

    What I know about his Grandfather is, he was in the Navy, and later became an embroiderer. My guess is, this is from his Navy days. My friend greatly values this instrument as a family heirloom. I hope to see it one day to give it an in-hand evaluation. I'll upload some pictures in the next few posts, in addition to this one.

    I have to admit, this instrument really interests me on several fronts. Any information you can offer (age, builder, country/region of origin) would be appreciated.

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  3. #2
    Barn Cat Mandolins Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unusual Pocket/Travel Mandolin. Any Info on builder?

    And a few more photos. I am pretty intrigued, and glad he told me about it.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unusual Pocket/Travel Mandolin. Any Info on builder?

    Poul Hansen, one of the MCers in Denmark has a few of these, though nothing quite as mother-of-toilet-seat-y as this one. It would look lovely on any wall.
    Jim

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    Barn Cat Mandolins Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unusual Pocket/Travel Mandolin. Any Info on builder?

    Actually Jim, I'm hoping Poul will chime in. He's another one who appreciates these little instruments.
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unusual Pocket/Travel Mandolin. Any Info on builder?

    I've not seen one of these that wasn't European. My "Holdrio" is German-made, though English labeled for export to the US.
    Allen Hopkins
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unusual Pocket/Travel Mandolin. Any Info on builder?

    Bob, do you realize how many toilet seats had to die to make that instrument? Heck, if that was for sale I'd buy it just to own it.

    I'd love to know the story. "We were all out painting the town after three months straight on the ship and I woke up with this mandolin".
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unusual Pocket/Travel Mandolin. Any Info on builder?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    ..."We were all out painting the town after three months straight on the ship and I woke up with this mandolin".
    Under those circumstances, people have waked up with a lot worse.


    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
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    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: Unusual Pocket/Travel Mandolin. Any Info on builder?

    I got one made in Denver .. Leo Brand seen it advertised long ago in DG's zine after I got it, used in SFO.
    took it on bike trips like my 97 pub crawl Up Irish & Scottish coasts.

    13' scale 20" long overall
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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    Barn Cat Mandolins Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unusual Pocket/Travel Mandolin. Any Info on builder?

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    I've not seen one of these that wasn't European. My "Holdrio" is German-made, though English labeled for export to the US.
    I think this one is of European origination, Allen. Not sure though. I was hoping one of our experts would know something about it. The owner was an immigrant to the US from Italy, I believe.
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    Barn Cat Mandolins Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unusual Pocket/Travel Mandolin. Any Info on builder?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Bob, do you realize how many toilet seats had to die to make that instrument? Heck, if that was for sale I'd buy it just to own it.

    I'd love to know the story. "We were all out painting the town after three months straight on the ship and I woke up with this mandolin".
    Hi Mike,

    I think this was before toilet seats made it to the Threatened and Endangered Species list, but I'm not entirely sure. Actually, I wonder if MOTS was used as an 'artistic' choice, or perhaps the thought that it might be more resistant to changes in humidity. Sort of a fore-runner of carbon fiber. (Probably not, I know but it's a fun thought). Like you, if it was for sale, I'd probably buy it just to have it.

    And as Allen points out in the next post, people have woken up with worse!
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    Barn Cat Mandolins Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unusual Pocket/Travel Mandolin. Any Info on builder?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    I got one made in Denver .. Leo Brand seen it advertised long ago in DG's zine after I got it, used in SFO.
    took it on bike trips like my 97 pub crawl Up Irish & Scottish coasts.

    13' scale 20" long overall
    Hi Mandroid,

    Sounds like a good size for bike trips. I had a Weber Sweet Pea but when I found I was playing with others I would meet along the way, it just didn't have enough punch. When I need something small to travel with, I now take one of my piccolo mandolins, a fourth above a mandolin (octave above a mandola) and 22" overall length. Fit inside a Concert Uke bag. Fun little instrument yet holds its own in a group. Left hand needs to be pretty accurate though, with the 10.5" scale!
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    Barn Cat Mandolins Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unusual Pocket/Travel Mandolin. Any Info on builder?

    Still seeking information. Do these enclosed tuners tell us anything? How about that narrow metal strip between them on the back of the head stock? Shape of the scratch plate? How about the excessive use of MOTS? Does that suggest a time period? I'd really like to be able to tell my friend something about his Grandfather's instrument. It a beloved heirloom of his family.
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