Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Identify a Tater Bug Mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Identify a Tater Bug Mandolin

    Hi all. I'm new here and this is my first post. I purchased this tater bug from my neighbor's estate auction a couple of years ago. As you can see, the inside label is gone so I was just wondering if anyone here can help identify this one.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20220606_105135469.jpg 
Views:	32 
Size:	211.1 KB 
ID:	201372   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20220606_105230530.jpg 
Views:	41 
Size:	1.29 MB 
ID:	201373   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20220606_105450899.jpg 
Views:	25 
Size:	551.9 KB 
ID:	201374  

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20220606_105501234.jpg 
Views:	22 
Size:	639.3 KB 
ID:	201375   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20220606_105526739.jpg 
Views:	26 
Size:	473.5 KB 
ID:	201376   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20220606_105535802.jpg 
Views:	51 
Size:	919.2 KB 
ID:	201377  


  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    29,398

    Default Re: Identify a Tater Bug Mandolin

    I believe this is a Florentine model by Luigi Ricca. It was their budget model. Here is a catalog page.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	ricca_04.jpg 
Views:	27 
Size:	142.6 KB 
ID:	201380
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  3. The following members say thank you to Jim Garber for this post:


  4. #3
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    5,894

    Default Re: Identify a Tater Bug Mandolin

    If indeed a Ricca, as Diego suggests, the label might have looked something like this.

    A bit of the outer oval ring appears visible.

    Strange that it appears to have been scratched away....

    Mick
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Ricci_Luigi-#4-Label.jpg 
Views:	8 
Size:	231.8 KB 
ID:	201381  
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Open Road
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

  5. The following members say thank you to brunello97 for this post:


  6. #4

    Default Re: Identify a Tater Bug Mandolin

    That does look like that's what this is. Any idea of today's value? I'm not wanting to sell it, my grandson is interested in learning to play it. Just wondered if it was appropriate for an 8 year old.

  7. #5
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    4,646

    Default Re: Identify a Tater Bug Mandolin

    It seems not to have the original bridge.

  8. #6
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    5,894

    Default Re: Identify a Tater Bug Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    It seems not to have the original bridge.
    It looks to have some sort of compensated saddle, even though the strings slots seem a bit haphazardly spaced.

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Open Road
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

  9. The following members say thank you to brunello97 for this post:


  10. #7
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    4,646

    Default Re: Identify a Tater Bug Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    It looks to have some sort of compensated saddle, even though the strings slots seem a bit haphazardly spaced.

    Mick
    It appears to me that someone cut down a bridge for an archtop mandolin. I could be wrong.

  11. #8
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    5,894

    Default Re: Identify a Tater Bug Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    It appears to me that someone cut down a bridge for an archtop mandolin. I could be wrong.
    You may be right, David.

    I can't ID what the apparent white stripe of material is north of the bridge / saddle.

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Open Road
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

  12. The following members say thank you to brunello97 for this post:


  13. #9
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Howell, NJ
    Posts
    25,480

    Default Re: Identify a Tater Bug Mandolin

    Is a taterbug mandolin worth less than a bowlback mandolin? Asking for a friend.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
    --J. Garber

  14. The following members say thank you to MikeEdgerton for this post:


  15. #10
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    5,894

    Default Re: Identify a Tater Bug Mandolin

    Mike..."taterbug" falls in there somewhere just South of "Gibby" as a virtual reproduction of fingernails on a chalkboard.

    Gibby is certainly worse, but the margin is close.

    There are others which I'm working hard not to call to mind. The penultimate rooftop scene of Ghostbusters comes to mind.

    I think referring to a mandolin by the name of a particular pest for the common Solanum tuberosum should cause the price to increase.

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Open Road
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

  16. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to brunello97 For This Useful Post:


  17. #11
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    17,332

    Default Re: Identify a Tater Bug Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    ...I can't ID what the apparent white stripe of material is north of the bridge / saddle....
    I'm hypothesizing that some material was added under the bridge to make fuller contact with the flat top of the mandolin, since the bridge looks like it was designed for an arched-top instrument.

    As to market value: $200-250, maybe? I'm not familiar with the maker Luigi Ricca, but this appears to be a entry-level instrument, as Jim G says. Assuming that it's playable.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  18. The following members say thank you to allenhopkins for this post:


  19. #12

    Default Re: Identify a Tater Bug Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by bevken86 View Post
    That does look like that's what this is. Any idea of today's value? I'm not wanting to sell it, my grandson is interested in learning to play it. Just wondered if it was appropriate for an 8 year old.
    Here is my suggestion.

    The double mandolin strings can be challenging to push, but according
    to reports Sierra Hull started when she was young. Get your grandson
    a lesson. If he likes to pursue it, craigslist usually lists modern flat top
    (and back) mandolins in the $100 range. Buy him one of those to learn
    on. If your grandson follows through you will have made a wise investment.
    If not you aren't out much.
    Thanks,
    sounds_good

  20. #13
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    5,894

    Default Re: Identify a Tater Bug Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    I'm hypothesizing that some material was added under the bridge to make fuller contact with the flat top of the mandolin, since the bridge looks like it was designed for an arched-top instrument.

    As to market value: $200-250, maybe? I'm not familiar with the maker Luigi Ricca, but this appears to be a entry-level instrument, as Jim G says. Assuming that it's playable.
    Allen, Ricca was involved in the piano making business in the NY / Northern NJ region, I believe before and for some period congruent with his mandolin production.

    Some very nice mandolins and some very modest ones came out under his label.

    It appears he had some talented folks working for him including one GM DeJulio who made some very ornate mandolins touting himself as the "late foreman at LRicca".

    I owned a quite beautiful mid range Ricca for awhile, which for the life of me I don't know why I sold.

    I believe Diego G owns one or more Riccas and can likely fill in and / or correct my sketch outline above.

    For those interested in the Italian / Italian-American influence on US mandolin-making, Ricca e nel bel mezzo di esso.

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Open Road
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

  21. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to brunello97 For This Useful Post:


  22. #14
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    29,398

    Default Re: Identify a Tater Bug Mandolin

    Methinks the bridge is by some reptilian dentist from yesteryear and that the real saddle is the white part and the rest is merely using the non-BB bridge to raise the action over the soundboard.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  23. #15
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    29,398

    Default Re: Identify a Tater Bug Mandolin

    I sold all my Riccas to another MCer a few years ago. I think the mandolin biz was overtaken by the profitability of the piano biz at least by the turn of the last century which is about when LR moved his manufacturing facility to NJ.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  24. The following members say thank you to Jim Garber for this post:


  25. #16
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    5,894

    Default Re: Identify a Tater Bug Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Methinks the bridge is by some reptilian dentist from yesteryear and that the real saddle is the white part and the rest is merely using the non-BB bridge to raise the action over the soundboard.
    So it's like a double-decker bridge?


    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Open Road
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

  26. #17
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    29,398

    Default Re: Identify a Tater Bug Mandolin

    Or a bridge that functions similarly to a zero fret, i.e., one part raises the strings and the other separates them properly.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  27. #18
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    5,894

    Default Re: Identify a Tater Bug Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Or a bridge that functions similarly to a zero fret, i.e., one part raises the strings and the other separates them properly.
    That's the familiar setup on the iconic Vega bridges and the DeMeglios with a brass saddle.

    Having a compensated string spacer as on the Ricca just adds that much more compensation.

    You've got to keep 'em separated.



    Mick

    Del and boys would like pull off a pretty sweet BG comp. Nice guitar hook.
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Open Road
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •