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Thread: Need help identifying please

  1. #1

    Question Need help identifying please

    My grandad is having me get rid of some musical instruments we've had in the family for generations. This banjo-mandolin has no markings that I could find, an enclosed back, and very odd placement of the tuning strings. The tunings strings actually point down instead of to the side. The drum part seems to be leather? It also has a waxed/oiled canvas carrying case, but rather than unzip all the way down, it zips around the bottom and the neck slides down out of the fitted neck of case. The man who owned it was from Philidelphia around the 1920's so I'm guessing the instrument is from there as well (although there is also a lot of family from Germany). Sorry that I didn't get better pictures.Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Need help identifying please

    Its a mandolin-banjo or a banjo-mandolin. The zero-fret suggests that it’s European. There’s nothing unusual about the tuners “pointing down” - look at any classical guitar - this is because it has a slotted headstock. The label gives the game away “ban-mandolin” snd could the “KR 75” be the purchase price in “Krona”? Don’t get your hopes up in terms of value.

  3. #3
    Likes quaint instruments poul hansen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help identifying please

    Yes the kr. 75.- could be DKK or SEK or NOK except we would use komma not point for the øre(cent)
    Kentucky KM-805..........2 Hora M1086 Portuguese II(1 in car)
    Hora M1088 Mandola.....Hora M1087P Octave
    Richmond RMA-110-VS .Noname (German?) mandolin
    Pochette Franz Janisch...2 Pocket
    Puglisi Pocket 1908........Puglisi 1912
    Mandolinetto Neapolitane 1910
    1 Mandriola...................Cannelo G. Mandriola...Böhm Waldzither 1921
    Johs Møller 1945............Fangel 1915................Luigi Embergher Studio 1933
    Marma Seashell back......Crafton.......................Luigi Embergher 5bis 1909

  4. #4
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help identifying please

    Slotted headstock and zero fret are strong indicators of European origin; label appears to be in English, although "banjo" and "mandolin" could be words found in a variety of languages. If you take off the resonator (the "back") you may find a maker's label inside, though quite probably not.

    The "drum part" or "head" as it's called, is most likely calfskin, and it could well be original. That said, it's probably a 75-100-year-old basic model; European-made instruments with small "pots" are not particularly desirable on the used-instrument market. The canvas "case" was also common for entry-level instruments. More of a curiosity than an in-demand vintage instrument, IMHO.
    Allen Hopkins
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    Stradolin Vega banjolin
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  5. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help identifying please

    This resembles a lot of the British-made mandolin banjos I have seen. Sort of resembles this William Temlett one pictured here with the exception of the zero fret and that it has five strings. I would hesitate to attribute it to that maker since there were lots of others that look like that and not sure if the headstock is completely similar but I might guess made in the UK near the turn of the last century.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Need help identifying please

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    If you take off the resonator (the "back") you may find a maker's label inside, though quite probably not.

    IMHO.
    ....... assuming you can take the back off. On many of these, the neck is simply screwed onto the resonator and the head and its metal ring screwed into the top edge of the resonator. Effectively, there is no back to take off.

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  8. #7

    Default Re: Need help identifying please

    Thank you for the replies. I wasn't sure if it was going to even be worth trying to sell, and going by the comments it probably won't. But it is a very fascinating piece of history to maybe display in the house. again, thank you

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Need help identifying please

    Good idea. I’ve often been asked how much an old instrument is worth and often replied “As much as you’d pay to hang it on the wall”.

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