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Thread: 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

  1. #1

    Default 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

    This is pretty exotic to say the least and it is not a Washburn! There has been a headstock repair and someone made off with the tailpiece- or it broke.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/22533206847...Bk9SR-bMz_LTYg

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  3. #2
    Registered User BillWilliams's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

    Exotic indeed!

  4. #3
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    Default Re: 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

    Interesting, but not a Maurer.
    While the body shape is somewhat reminscent of Maurer, nothing else is.

  5. #4

    Default Re: 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

    Maurer was a guess on my part and I don't suppose it is Stahl, either, so it is a bit of a mystery. I suppose the headstock shape does look somewhat like a Washburn bowl back but nothing else does, it seems.

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

    I think Jim Garber, tongue in cheek, referred to this type mandolin as a ďboatbackĒ .

    Iíve got one, also unlabeled, which otherwise has nothing much in common with this as far as details go. Enough Larson-like bits on it, though, to bluff an eBay sales ad, but I canít imagine it was made by them.

    No guess on this. If I was only looking at the front, that particular top curvature looks like something from the Schmidt / Weymann orbit.

    Iíve seen some of their instruments with that familiar L+H / Washburn headstock profile.

    If I was on a TV game show, that would be my wild guess.

    One thing I like about my boatback is that the maple neck has a deep guitar-like heel, which this one appears to have.

    A rock solid connection with a deeper neck block without a hint of any troubles we see in that area of bowlback neck joints / top distortion.

    The Tree of Life fretboard bling on this one is familiar enough, as is exotic scratch plate, but I donít know if Iíve seen them used together before.

    Iím not familiar with Mauer making instruments for others. They certainly might have, though if it were a Mauer, Iíd expect to see a label.

    Mick
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  8. #6

    Default Re: 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

    This mandolin appears to be very similar as to have been made by whoever made the mandolin in question- it is a Wurlitzer:

    https://cargocollective.com/StevenBr...itzer-Mandolin


    This Wurlitzer mandolin is credited to Regal. The headstock certainly suggests Regal but nothing else does, to my mind. The body and heel are similar if not the same to the mandolin in question.

    https://reverb.com/item/7765707-wurl...mandolin-1920s

  9. #7
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

    The pickguard on the Wurlitzer might identify the maker. It is different than the others. That pickguard on the others doesn't look familiar to me. At least nobody has suggested Carl and August yet.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
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  10. #8

    Default Re: 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    The pickguard on the Wurlitzer might identify the maker. It is different than the others. That pickguard on the others doesn't look familiar to me. At least nobody has suggested Carl and August yet.

    Indeed!

    "Don't go there!"

  11. #9
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    Default Re: 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

    Uhhh . . .

    You already did when you cited Maurer. August and others bought the name and shop from Robert Maurer in 1900, and by 1904 or '05 he and Carl had full ownership of the name. It's in the history books.
    It was their house brand until the mid 1930's, when it was replaced by the Euphonon brand.

    Maurer instruments had a stamped brand rather than a label, at least from 1905 on. The instrument in the first post bears no resemblance to Maurer mandolins.

    For the record: Maurer style 30. Identical mandolins were also sold under the Stahl brand.

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    A plainer model was also made-- style 15. While at least some of them were in maple, the back and sides were stained a deep dark brown. Their tops had purflings of multiple black-white lines. One of them lives about an hour's drive south of me.
    Last edited by rcc56; Sep-17-2023 at 2:55pm.

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

    I'll take a minute to post a few photos of the Wurtlizer boatbacks that Nick linked to.

    The second one is the mandolin Reverb attributes to Regal.

    It is interesting that a number of makers, including Italian ones, experimented with this body style without it really catching on.

    Mick
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    Default Re: 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

    I have this "boatback" in my files, attributed to the LarBros.

    Not attributed by me, mind you, as that is not any file naming convention I have used.

    But there was a time around here when just about any mandolin of unknown origin was attributed to the Larsons.

    Bob Hartman's book only compounded things.

    I'm as dubiousal about this boatback being a Larson as I am about mine.

    My boatback has a great profile neck and is super nice to play, but the sound goes down below deck and stays in the hold.

    Mick
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  16. #12

    Default Re: 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

    I had a look at Robert Hartman's book before I made my post and it was clear that the mandolin could not be from the Larson brothers. Its MOP flourishes were similar to some photos of Maurer mandolins- and I know they were bought in and could be used by any maker, but I wrote "Maurer?" in the headline to give the post some sort of context because it was clearly not a Washburn. Anyway, some interesting photos and discussion about matters although the maker of the mandolin is still a mystery.

  17. #13
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    Default Re: 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    I had a look at Robert Hartman's book before I made my post and it was clear that the mandolin could not be from the Larson brothers. Its MOP flourishes were similar to some photos of Maurer mandolins- and I know they were bought in and could be used by any maker, but I wrote "Maurer?" in the headline to give the post some sort of context because it was clearly not a Washburn. Anyway, some interesting photos and discussion about matters although the maker of the mandolin is still a mystery.
    Well, remember that "Washburn" was a model made by Lyon and Healy and not a maker in its own right. Keef's book on L+H does a fairly thorough job of tracking the evolution of the Washburn models from bowlbacks to flatbacks to carved tops. I don't recall any boatbacks but will have to double check. I would be surprised.a

    The headstock certainly looked like the one L+H used on Washburn bowlbacks, but I have seen it a few times on Schmidt bowls...which had me wondering if OSM was involved...along with the Schmidt / Weymann-esque body shape.

    I'm fishing with that, of course.


    Yeah, the Mauer / Larson attributions can be muddled enough on their own.

    Bob Hartman's book is a great resource, in many way, and contributes to the muddling in others. He has acknowledged here that he feels he over
    did it with LarBros attributions in the book, though he wasn't particular about just what he was walking back.

    But....this isn't a Larson nor should this conversation be distracted that way.


    Yeah...basing attributions on MOP isn't the firmest ground as those Tree of Life fretboards were certainly bought from a supplier along with other bling and even hardware items.

    Rather than using the "Mauer" name to ID the thread, I might have preferred "1920's Boatback? Looking for Maker ID" or something like that, which would dial the conversation in to topic of real new interest.

    Who made these various boatbacks? We've had a number of conversations about them over the years but they've been strewn around in various different threads rather than condensed / compiled in a single thread such as the "Bowlback--or Flatbacks--of Note" threads.

    "Boatbacks of Note"? Might be a short thread.

    What is interesting is that the various boatbacks that have floated in bear little or no resemblance to one another. Which suggests to me, at least, that various makers might have been trying their hands at them.


    Mick
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  18. #14

    Default Re: 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

    “ My boatback has a great profile neck and is super nice to play, but the sound goes down below deck and stays in the hold.”
    Excellent imagery, Mick!
    How about bowl backs that are soupy, or miss all the pins;A that rates a D; F that ….?

  19. #15

    Default Re: 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

    Mick, thank you for your input. I don't think I would have majored on the body's shape in the headline as it might have just been a bit too obscure to garner interest- except for a few with specialist knowledge. The mandolin itself is certainly worth discussing even if it is not worth what the seller is asking! I agree about the headstock shape and L& H bowl backs with a similar shape but so much else is so different that it may just be a shape that someone liked- and got a maker to copy it. We know that Wurlitzer did use a number of makers for its mandolins.

    This mandolin is "no longer available" it seems.

  20. #16
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    We know that Wurlitzer did use a number of makers for its mandolins.
    Well, this begs the question: did Wurlitzer commission mandolins from different builders or did it "shop" from builders making instruments for the trade to fill out it's inventory.

    I have a Wurlitzer labeled flatback which is identical to the "Leland" line of mandolins (of which I have 6 or 7, depending on state of repair) which have been, erroneously in my book, attributed to the LarBros. I'm pretty convinced they are a Vega product for reasons I've set out in numerous threads here.

    The Wurlitzer / Leland has a mahogany back as opposed to a rosewood back on all the "Leland / L+H" mandolins. The sound is a bit muddier as to be expected.

    Super interesting cross pollination of design, marketing, branding etc. that I have yet to figure out, if I ever will.

    Wurlitzer sold all kinds of instruments besides mandolins. How they contracted instruments for resale is a story in its own right.


    Mick
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  21. #17

    Default Re: 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

    Mick this Wurlitzer is rosewood it seems according to the seller
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    https://www.ebay.com/itm/11570565993...3ABFBM5OmRwtVi

  22. #18
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    Default Re: 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

    Thanks, Nick.

    That looks like rosewood to me, too, and is nearly identical to a few of the "Leland" flatback mandolins that I have. Again, I'm of the opinion, for various reasons, that these are made by Vega.

    Again, I think Wurlitzer was likely selecting instruments from its sources rather than uniquely commissioning them, but I'm not sure just what the subtle differences between the two methods of acquistion might have actually been.

    This one appears in prime condition, though $1100 might be a bit rich for me to acquire yet another.

    The two piece mirrored RW back is very nice. I have one or two of the Lelands with full one piece rosewood back which have some shrinkage cracks in them perhaps from the wide board used. The seller notes that there are back cracks in the rw on this one two.

    Those MOP fretboards have always felt a little creepioso under my fingers, though I have never owned one to play long enough to get that out of my system.

    IMHO are exceptionally good sounding mandolins, once available for 1/3 of that price.

    I keep repeating the tale....Carlo Aonzo borrowed one of mine during a workshop some years ago and refused to give it back. Offered me his in exchange.

    True story, but take that for what it's worth.

    Mick
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  24. #19

    Default Re: 1920s Maurer Brand Mandolin? Flat back.

    Mick, this mandolin has been up on eBay for quite a while so maybe he will take an offer. Interesting observations! Thank you.

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