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Thread: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

  1. #1
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    Interesting instrument on eBay. NFI.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Rare-OSCAR-S...item419c2a08a2

    The word Tremolina doesn't come up in a search of the cafe. For posterity:
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    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
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  3. #2

    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    Interesting instrument. I tried Google, but couldn't find any additional info. I can't help but wonder if the unusual tailpiece is designed to create some "Tremolina"? I've never seen one--maybe they all imploded due to the top tension.....

  4. #3
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    The unintentional Gelas mandolin. Looks like the top is holding up but the neck is giving way.

    Mick
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    I'm wondering if there is some mechanism inside that corresponds with the huge bridge.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

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

  6. #5
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    Here's an article in the 1903 Music Trade Review about an instruction method for the OS tremolina being issued. It's not much help in describing what was unique about the instrument, just saying it's a "simplified" mandolin (?); the rest is just advertising puffery.

    Searching "tremolina mandolin" for images, I found one of another instrument being sold on Canadian eBay for parts/repair. It had the bridge removed, and there were two holes in the top corresponding to the two ends of the bridge. Perhaps the "simplified" aspect of the tremolina was that the bridge was permanently located by pins fitting into the holes, rather than floating, so that bridge location and intonation would be less of an issue.

    Jus' speculating...

    LATER: another Music Trade Review article on the tremolina, which says that there was a keyboard attachment that went across the strings, and "enables the player, even if he be a beginner, to produce the tremolo, so characteristic in the mandolin music, to perfection." There's a drawing, which seems to show some kind of a pointed pick-like attachment.
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  8. #6
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    Cool find Allen.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

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

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  10. #7
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    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    It would be interesting to find one that still has the "keyboard attachment" to find out how it works. The picture also shows "cheater" marks on the fretboard. Looks like it attaches over the bridge.
    Don

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  11. #8
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    Here's some screencaps from Allen's links:

    Mick
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    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    Kinda like a mando version of a Marxophone??


  13. #10
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    Must be a trick of the perspective, but it looks as if the strings are not parallel. At least in the pic of the sound hole.
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  14. #11

    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    One of these Tremolina mandolins turned up on eBay in the UK and it appears I was the only bidder. Judging by the metal ware, the case is original- early 1900s I assume judging by the patent date.

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    More photos at the auction: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Rare-amp-...p2047675.l2557

  15. #12

    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    Here are most of the photos at that link:

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  16. #13

    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    With the patent dates in the photo, an interested person might be able to understand what the missing mechanism did and reconstruct it. Not me.

  17. #14

    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    Not me either! It has arrived and the German tuners are not original- they made me think it may have been made in one of the other OS factories in Europe. Anyway, they have gone and I put on some quite nice Waverly tuners with brass plates that I had- it now tunes up okay! I had to do some work on the frets before I restrung it- the edges were sharp and they really needed a polish. The only real issue is the old ebony nut is a mess and I think I will get a new bone saddle as I want to shift the strings over a fraction and the action is too low near the nut as well although it does not buzz. Anyway, it is a nice rosewood instrument and the case is definitely contemporary- a British Reliance which makes me think the mandolin may have been sold in the UK when new. It sound quite nice but I think a new nut with eight slots rather than about 16 will be an improvement.

  18. #15
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    Not me either! It has arrived and the German tuners are not original- they made me think it may have been made in one of the other OS factories in Europe. Anyway, they have gone and I put on some quite nice Waverly tuners with brass plates that I had- it now tunes up okay! I had to do some work on the frets before I restrung it- the edges were sharp and they really needed a polish. The only real issue is the old ebony nut is a mess and I think I will get a new bone saddle as I want to shift the strings over a fraction and the action is too low near the nut as well although it does not buzz. Anyway, it is a nice rosewood instrument and the case is definitely contemporary- a British Reliance which makes me think the mandolin may have been sold in the UK when new. It sound quite nice but I think a new nut with eight slots rather than about 16 will be an improvement.
    Time for some new photos, Nick, and a hands-on description of what that bridge is all about.

    A thank you in advance, sir.


    Mick
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  19. #16
    Barn Cat Mandolins Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    I really like the look of this instrument. The simplicity just does it for me. I'd suggest posting pictures in the 'Flatbacks of Note' thread for future reference. Thanks for sharing this with us.
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  20. #17

    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    Mick

    The bridge is covered by the plate that slides off. As you can see in the photo above, there are four hooks and the strings pass through grooves in the bend- that is the saddle. Now, from my perspective, the gap between the strings is less than ideal. I have fitted a new Tusq nut and the gap there is greater than on the saddle but the tone is now immensely improved- as is where the strings fall. Where the bend on the bridge is located, the metal drops vertically into a slot in a piece of wood that sits on the top and that creates the string height. The bridge on mine is at an angle- so it is compensated but that may be a later innovation- I have not unscrewed the bridge and do not intend to do so- I am a "leave well alone" exponent most of the time. It could be possible to make new grooves- or move one over per course to widen the strings but again that's not for me. I sent some photos to my luthier and he commented that it looked like a nice instrument. He could do that and being rosewood- which the original instrument is not (and could not possibly play due to the action and scale length- but probably would if that timber baulk was removed) is now a reasonably playable instrument. Mine has an action of about 1.9mm under the E strings and just 2.3mm under the Gs. I slide in coins to get these measurements.
    I would be very surprised if the frets were original but it has a very pleasing tone and I am happy with it. The seller who I think is the guy who sold the Victorian tuners to a friend that led me to posting that old news story on Reuben Reubens a while back- he of the banjo festooned home, has commented that when I am finished, I will have the best playing Tremolina mandolin out there. If the one Mike posted up has been remedied, then mine and that one are probably the only two that play- and I would reckon that the rosewood would give mine the edge! I think the Tremolina was made to cash in on the burgeoning mandolin craze but did not take off- and those sold were soon converted to the conventional style of play but I don't think there is a huge stash of them that were consigned to wardrobes or cupboards!
    One final thing, the mandolin has the tuning stamped in below the nut- GDAE but above the nut I have discovered the letter L above the nut. I think that signifies it is pure L to learn to play the mandolin!

  21. #18

    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    Here are a few more photos- not that great but you can see the brass tuners which have been clipped and the end strip which you don't see on many mandolins- if it shows!

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  22. #19

    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    Bob Clark

    I have done as you suggest.
    I have also finished what I intend to do in terms of tweaks- I have filled a few of the deep cracks in the board but others have already been filled with some kind of filler that I think are best left alone- the filler is not black!
    I am pondering using a hack saw or file to make a few new indentations in that copper bridge affair. The G strings have a 1.85mm spacing at the nut- 1.5mm at the sound hole and even less where they are held by the hook over the bridge. I thinks it would be easier to play if I did this. Sadly, I cannot move three of the strings- that is one per course on to the saddle part as they just immediately drop back into the slot when tuned up. One of the E strings allows me to do this- the hook lines up perfectly for this to work- the others do not.

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  23. #20

    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    I may have the wrong concept, but I think you could widen the string spacing without grooving the bridge, if you just put spacers behind the top, that is, between the strings in a pair. As long as one string locates in an existing notch, it should all stay put. Since the spacers are not in the acoustic path, wood or plastic or metal can work.

  24. #21

    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    Richard, I did think of that and started to cut some wood to do this then decided that the cover might not slide over what I was making. It is possible that metal or plastic might do the trick as they will be more robust and less tall. I will see if I can find some donor material to make this a possibility.

  25. #22

    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    I have used a brass ball end off a guitar string and used that as a spacer- I have had to file it down to the level of the strings to get the cover on. It has made it easier to play on that course but I don't know if I will do two more- a bit of a chore. I can see it being impossible to get this back in during a change of strings and I don't think I would wish to do this job again. As I mentioned, the E strings are okay with a widened gap and no spacer. I may have to cut a very small groove with a hacksaw to get around this problem.

  26. #23

    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    Here are two better photos. I filled some big cracks in the board using some Sugru black mouldable glue. Some may raise their eyebrows but it seems to have done a decent job. As I mentioned, I put on those brass plate Waverly tuners and replaced the very messed up nut and a whole host of small jobs- fret levelling and polishing- filing the edges of them and some cosmetic work. It plays really well now- especially after making the spacers which are just above the string hooks in the bridge- the strings are now more sensibly spaced over the sound hole.

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  27. #24
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    Looks nice, NicK. I guess you really are a fan of that Sugru!
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  28. #25

    Default Re: Oscar Schmidt Tremolina

    Sue, you ought to as well as a Sue! I decided I needed some to fix a case and experimented with it on the mandolin. There are other cracks on the board that have been filled with something that is not black- but removing it was going to do more harm than good, so it is still there and is visible in the photo. A chunk of the board end was missing by the nut due to previous activity and I was able to work it in with a sharp knife. Ideally I would have had the Sugru when I fitted the nut as it would have been a far better time to do the job- but that got me thinking and I had the case to fix which needed plenty.

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