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 Instrument GalleryMandolins & Banjos


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1950's Dixie Banjo Uke
A 1950’s all-metal banjo-uke, with a big and loud voice. Set-up in shop, the uke plays very well. Completely original, and in excellent condition. 6-3/4” head diameter.
With home-made case
SOLD

More photos:
> Front Detail
> Full Front Detail
     > Back Detail
> Full Back Detail
> Bridge Detail
     > Headstock Detail 1
> Headstock Detail 2
> Headstock Rear Detail
> Tuners Detail

 

KayMandola-0311-main-t
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1930's Kay Kraft Mandola
No Serial Number. Built by Stromberg-Voisinet in the late 1930’s, the Kay Kraft line included guitars, mandolins, and banjos. Over the years we’ve encountered many four and six string guitars, tenor and 5 string banjos, and a number of mandolins. However Mandolas and Mandocellos are quite rare, and this example is the only of its kind that we’ve as yet discovered. The instrument features a long 18.25” scale, arched spruce top and mahogany back. It’s entirely original but for newer Schaller tuning machines and is well set-up. Neck and frets are in good shape, body is crack free and well arched. With a tone somewhere in between a carved and a flat-top instrument this Kay Kraft Mandola offers something pleasantly unique.
With soft case
SOLD

More photos:
> Front detail
> Full Front detail
> Body Detail
> Fingerboard Detail
     > Back detail
> Full Back detail
> Bridge Detail
> Neck Joint Detail
     > Headstock detail
> Tuners detail

 

weymann-t_0909
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1920's Weymann No. 30 Mandolute
Serial # 23862. Pennsylvania-based Weymann & Son were a smaller-scale manufacturer of fretted instruments operative between 1864 and WWI. We infrequently stumble upon their guitars, banjos, and mandolin family instruments of many varieties. The Mandolutes were popular in their day, and are the most oft-encountered Weymann-branded instruments today. Apart from the very plain Model 20, all Mandolutes feature steam-bent tops and backs, fiddle-edge sides, and ornate hand-engraved front-side tuning machines. These instruments are larger bodied than a Gibson, L&H, or Martin mandolin, and as such have more bass response than you’d generally expect. Not a bluegrass instrument, the Mandolute is well suited for Celtic or Classic music, or solo work. This example is in excellent shape and completely original. It has the crack that all Waymann ML’s get on the bass side of the upper bout, but is otherwise without issue. The crack is glued, and the instrument is set up. Slightly excessive bow in the neck results in slightly high action, bit the instrument is quite playable regardless. Spruce top, figured maple back and sides; deep wine-red finish accented by finely patterned purflings, ivoroid binding, and inlaid pickguard. A refined and attractive mandolin with classy touches such as the hand-engraved tailpiece and tuner plates, gold-leaf headstock decal, and delicately carved bridge.
With original hard shell case, and some great "case-candy"
SOLD

More photos:
> Front Detail
> Full Front Detail
> Label Detail
> Case Open
     > Back Detail
> Full Back Detail
> Side Detail
> Case Closed
     > Headstock Detail
> Headstock Rear Detail
> Tuners Detail

 

A1-0211-main-t
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1916 Gibson A-1
Serial # 32944, FON 3322. The classic pumpkin top A, in excellent condition. By fiddle standards 95 years is quite young, but it’s still hard to conceive that this gorgeous mandolin dates from the First World War era. It is free of cracks and significant wear, the top is well arched, the neck angle is fine, and all the original hardware is intact. There is minor finish deterioration adjacent to the nut on the headstock face due to a strap that must have reacted with the shellac in that area. The nut is a vintage reproduction made in our shop, and the original tuning machines were installed backwards when we received the instrument. We’ve installed the tuners correctly, however there are left-over screw holes and minor impressions on the back of the headstock. Playability is excellent despite moderate fret wear, and the instrument is lively and even-toned. A very fine example.
With newer case.
SOLD

More photos:
> Front Detail
> Full Front Detail
> Bridge Detail
> Tailpiece Detail
     > Back Detail
> Full Back Detail
> Neckjoint Detail 1
> Neckjoint Detail 2
     > Headstock Detail
> Tuners Detail
> Bracket Detail

 

Elchuk-1110-main-t
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1945 Elchuk Mandocello
Styled after Gibson’s K-2 Mandocellos built two decades earlier, we suspect this instrument was commissioned by a musician who couldn’t find a Gibson K in Wartime Winnipeg, Manitoba. The last Gibson mandocellos were shipped from Kalamazoo in the late 1920’s, and certainly few, if any, voyaged northwest to the Canadian prairies. Although his instrument is exceptionally well built, nothing is known of the luthier, H. Elchuk. Surprising, considering the quality of the ‘cello. Elchuk appears to have been an experienced and gifted builder. From the carve of the top and back, the shape of the neck, and the perfectly mitered purflings, it’s clearly evident that he spent time measuring a ‘teen’s Gibson instrument for reference. And although not identical to a K-2, this mandocello is indeed remarkably similar in style and tone.
Figured maple back, rims, and neck, spruce top, bound rosewood fingerboard, bound tortoise-celluloid headstock and matching pickguard. Waverly tuners, rosewood adjustable bridge, cloud tailpiece, bound soundhole and sunburst finish. 24.9” scale, 1-9/16” nutwidth. In excellent and crack-free condition; finish wear as shown in the provided photos. Open back centerseam and neck heel joint both glued in our shop, refretted and set-up as well. Playability is excellent with low action and perfect frets. Low C tuner worm gear was replaced years ago, but with a reverse gear – it tightens counter-clockwise now. Haunting voice, great looks, and excellent playability; and bargain priced relative to a Gibson equivalent.
SOLD

More photos:
> Front detail
> Full Front detail
> Heel detail
> Seam detail
     > Back detail
> Full Back detail
> Pickguard detail 1
> Pickguard detail 2
     > Headstock detail
> Tuners detail 1
> Tuners detail 2
> Bridge detail

 

A4-0211-main-t
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1917 Gibson A-4
Serial # 35003, FON 3419. Truly an outstanding mandolin, this A-4 is completely original and in remarkable condition. With its beautiful Handel tuners, richly hued sunburst finish and fine craftsmanship, it is an instrument to behold as much as it is to play. It is crack-free, and shows only very light wear to finish and frets. All hardware is intact and in excellent condition and the tuners work smoothly. It has a loud and warm voice with plenty of tonal character, and it has just enough throat to appeal to the sometimes bluegrass player, too. Set-up in our shop, the instrument plays comfortably with 11-40 gauge strings. A particularly lovely mandolin.
With original hardshell case
SOLD

More photos:
> Front Detail
> Full Front Detail
> Case Open
> Case Closed
> Soundhole Detail
     > Back Detail
> Full Back Detail
> Bridge Detail
> Pickguard Detail
> Tailpiece Detail
     > Headstock Detail
> Tuners Detail 1
> Tuners Detail 2
> Neckjoint Detail 1
> Neckjoint Detail 2

 

F5-FB-1210-main-t
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2003 Gibson F5-G-FB
Serial # 31219020. The F5-G is a dressed down F5 model, without back or headstock binding, but with all the tone the F5 is known for. The FB in the name likely stands for ‘fingerboard binding,’ which is not standard for the F5-G, but present on this example. Additionally, the finish on this instrument is sunburst on all sides, rather than the opaque lacquer standard to the F5-G – a nice touch, especially considering how beautifully it highlights the gorgeous figured maple of the back and sides! A particularly good sounding instrument, this F5 has a pronounced growl in the mids and open and warm basses. Long sustain, excellent volume and cut, but mostly a whole lot of richness in tone. It’s in very fine condition, with no cracks or repairs. The top’s finish shows some impressions from an improperly positioned bridge, and there is a lacquer craze line stemming from the bottom of treble f-hole. Neck and frets are good, action and set-up are perfect. Pearl nut, Schaller tuners, silver-plated engraved tailpiece, pearl headstock logo and flowerpot inlay.
With hardshell case
SOLD

More photos:
> Front Detail
> Full Front Detail
> Fingerboard Detail
> Tailpiece Detail
     > Back Detail
> Full Back Detail
> Neckjoint Detail
> Bridge Detail
     > Headstock Detail 1
> Headstock Detail 2
> Tuners Detail

 

VegaMandocello-1010-main-t
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1920 Vega 403 Mandocello
Serial # 37926. Imagine plucking the strings of a piano with a guitar pick. That’s about as close as we’ll be able to take you in our efforts to describe the tone of this “cylinder-back” Vega Lute Mandocello. These interesting instruments were built in the late 1910’s into the mid 1920’s by the Vega Company of Boston. The light build, folded flat top, and extra air volume afforded by the back’s rump add up to an airy and resonant voice, with notes that sustain forever. It’s a very difficult instrument set down. The ‘cello features a guitar-sized neck and body, with 26” scale, 1-9/16” nut, and 14.5” width across its lower bout. Spruce top, figured maple back and sides, inlaid celluloid pickguard, rosewood fingerboad and Waverley strip tuners. Crack-free body, however there is one cracked and repaired top brace. Tailpeice and bridge appear to be replacements, finish is intact but shows areas of wear. Neck has some relief but not too much, and set up is quite comfortable. Some top deflection is visible between the bridge and tailpiece and again on the pickguard. These are rare instruments, and finding one that’s crack-free and playable is hard to do.
With original hardshell case
SOLD

More photos:
> Front detail
> Full Front detail
> Case Open
> Case Closed
     > Back detail
> Full Back detail
> Soundhole detail
> Bridge detail
     > Headstock detail
> Tuners detail
> Neck Joint detail

 

whyte-t_0310
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1901 A.C Fairbanks Whyte Laydie No. 2
Serial # 20936. A.C. Fairbank’s Whyte Laydie models were introduced in 1901 – the same year this particular example was built. The Whyte Laydie No. 2 has become the most revered and oft copied frailing banjo ever, so we’re naturally quite pleased to offer this fine first-year issue to you. A wonderful sounding banjo, we have it set up with Nylgut strings and are quite smitten. This early version features the smaller 10-3/4” head diameter and shorter scale (26”) than the later examples, original ivory 5th string tuner, thicker neck carve, long dowelstick flange, “Patent Allowed” No Knot tailpiece, and gorgeous original Consalvi inlays. The headstock overlay has been restored, as most have been, but the inlay is original and intact. Neck and rim finish are original, minor headstock seam repair, replaced rim binding (with original Vega binding transplanted from another instrument – it fooled us), 3 hooks replaced with original Vega parts. Original ebony fingerboard, inlays, and frets are in very fine condition; the banjo plays very well and without buzz. Pre-fire Whyte Laydie models are highly sought after instruments, and this banjo is quick to exhibit why.
With new deluxe hard shell case
On consignment
SOLD

More photos:
> Front Detail
> Full Front Detail
> Neck Front Detail
> Neck Back Detail
     > Back Detail
> Full Back Detail
> Headstock Detail 1
> Headstock Detail 2
     > Fifth Detail
> Tailpiece Detail
> Badge Detail
> Dowel Stick Detail

 

ACentury-0910-t
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1934 Gibson A-Century
FON 827-4. Well folks, this is it! Being the pinnacle of "cool", a Century-of-Progress Mandolin would make a splash in any condition; well, this one takes the cake and swallows it whole. Any visitor to our Gallery pages knows that we have had the good fortune to handle some extraordinary instruments here at Folkway. This mandolin is absolutely the cleanest vintage instrument we have ever seen, let alone held. This one has NEVER been played, and yes, those are the original strings. The mother-of-countertop still has the factory oil-sheen on the fingerboard. The original case is without any wear or even dust. Unfortunately, we do not know the story, and we weren't there when the tomb was cracked open and the pure clean air of 1934 was breathed once more. This is a MINT condition instrument, and looks exactly the way it did when it left Kalamazoo almost 80 years ago. No set up or adjustment has been done to this instrument, but we would accommodate the requests of the next owner.
With original chipboard case
SOLD

More photos:
> Front Detail
> Full Front Detail
> Case Open
> Case Closed
     > Back Detail
> Full Back Detail
> Detail 1
> Detail 2
     > Headstock Detail
> Tuners Detail

 

f4_tnail_0709
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1920 Gibson F-4
Serial # 55737. What’s better than a near-mint condition F-4? If you’re into oval-hole mandolins, not a heck of a lot! This under-the-bed special is 89 years old this year, and that’s hard to believe. With almost no playwear, no cracks, repairs or issues, and only a few very minor dings to show, this instrument is about as clean as they come. The finest mandolin offered by Gibson at the time, the F-4 was built with gorgeous tonewoods and finished to the ‘n’th degree. Richly hued sunburst finish, intricate pearl and abalone flowerpot headstock inlay, pearl nut, ivoroid bindings, fretboard extension, and perfectly-fitted tortoiseshell celluloid pickguard each add to beauty of the instrument. Original frets are almost free of wear, set-up and action are lovely thanks to an in-shop setup and bridge fit, its top arch is perfect, and the original tuners work smoothly to boot. It’s a looker, sure, but it plays real nice too! Warm, rich, and balanced, the treble notes ring fat and full right up to the soundhole. About the only thing we can find wrong with this F-4 is the footprint of where the bridge sat, in the wrong place, for the better part of a century.
With its original hard shell case (and original key!)
SOLD

More photos:
> Front detail
> Case Open
> Case Closed
     > Back detail
> Full Back detail
     > Headstock detail
> Tuners detail

 

Mandobase-1010-main-t
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1930's Favilla Mandobass
No serial number. The Favilla brothers opened their New York city shop in the 1890’s. Although the company changed locations numerous times over the years, they remained active in fretted instrument building until the 1970’s. At the height of the uke boom of the 1920’s, Favilla Brothers were employing some 50 employees and building many thousands of instruments a year. The mandobass presented here likely dates from sometime between the two World Wars. The original tuners were made in Czechoslovakia, indicating a post 1918 build, while the balance of design elements seems to point to the 1930’s. The numbers 1929 are handwritten in pencil on one of the back braces, and could be indicative of the year of manufacture – but that’s as accurate we can be.
The instrument features a 25” wide body of solid spruce and mahogany. The back is bookmatched, the top is a three-piece bookmatch. The celluloid pickguard is inlaid in the top, and the body is otherwise simply appointed with single-ply bindings and and a lovely sunburst finish. The two-piece mahogany neck has an unbound rosewood fingerboard with pearl dot inlays and a rosewood head veneer with pearl logo. With a scale of 40”, the instrument’s string length measures half way between that of a fretted bass and an upright. Endpins at the tailpiece and on the lower treble bout allow two different playing positions. The bass plays well, and sounds warm and thumpy – it’s a perfect choice for a fretted bassist who’s looking for that upright sound without wanting to learn a new instrument!
Sorry, no shipping.
SOLD

More photos:
> Front detail
> Full Front detail
     > Back detail
> Full Back detail
     > Headstock detail
> Tuners detail

 

f-12-t_0210
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1950 Gibson F-12
Serial # A 4717. FON 9841. An exquisitely well preserved F-12. This mandolin is completely original and unmodified, 100% intact, and in excellent playing condition. Rare to find one of these instrument in such fine shape that’s not been converted to an F-5! Carved figured maple and Sitka Spruce, longneck design, adjustable ebony bridge, rosewood dot-neck fingerboard, gold hardware. Finish is in excellent condition, as is the body but for 1” of back seam separation by the tailpiece. Warm and chunky tone, perfect setup. A remarkable instrument.
With original hardshell case in similar condition, with original key.
On consignment
SOLD

More photos:
> Front Detail
> Full Front Detail
> Case Open
> Case Closed
> Case Detail
     > Back Detail
> Full Back Detail
> Bridge Detail
> Headstock Detail
> Tuners Detail
     > Detail 1
> Detail 2
> Detail 3
> Detail 4

 

paramount-tnail_0909
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1929 Paramount Style B Tenor
Built in New York by William Lange and Co. the Paramount’s label decrees “Piano Volume, Harp Quality Tone.” We think it sounds a lot like a Tenor Banjo. A lovely and somewhat ornate tenor from the tail-end of the banjo boom, the Style B features many of Lange’s developments and design elements, with more simple inlay and marquetry work. Walnut veneered three-ply maple rim, 24 brackets, arched-top tone ring, nickel-plated parts; walnut neck with pearl inlaid rosewood board. Completely original including Paramount angle-adjustable tailpiece, Page geared tuning machines, Rogers head, armrest, and period Elton head-warmer light unit (we’ve rewired the lights with 16 gauge lamp cord for safety). 19 fret 22-7/8” scale neck. The banjo plays well up to the 12th fret, but there are a few dead spots further up the neck. Apart from an old repaired and stable heel crack the instrument is in very nice condition, and comfortably set up.
With original Zipper-lined hard shell case,
SOLD

More photos:
> Front Detail
> Full Front Detail
> Case Open
> Case Closed
> Detail
     > Back Detail
> Lights Detail
> Lights On Detail
> Inlay Detail
     > Headstock Detail
> Tuners Detail
> Heel Detail 1
> Heel Detail 2

 

majestic-t_0310
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1920's Majestic Tenor Banjo
Little is known of the Majestic brand of Banjos, and unfortunately we’re unable to garner any more details through the examination of this tenor. It is an undated and unnumbered instrument of fairly high quality; with a 28 bracket all-metal rim assembly, engraved flange, mutilaminate maple and ebony neck and an ebony fingerboard with pearl inlays. The instrument is surprisingly warm in tone, and it plays well thanks to a somewhat recent refret and set up. Interesting (and possibly original) lever activated mute fitted to the dowel-stick; 3/16” hole through the heel presumably for strap attachment, original Page geared patent pegs.
With original hard shell case
SOLD

More photos:
> Front Detail
> Full Front Detail
     > Back Detail
> Full Back Detail
     > Tuners Detail
> Detail

 

a1-t_0410
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1917 Gibson A-1
Serial # 37700. It's hard to believe that this pumpkin top A-1 is closing in on its first century. The instrument is completely original, intact, uncracked and unrepaired, and perfectly playable. We suspect the strings that we replaced during set up are at least fifty years old. No seam separations, original pickguard, tailpiece, bridge, and tuners are all in excellent condition; no top sinkage, frets are in good condition, and the action is slinky. There is a little bit of finish wear on the back of the neck, minor dings and dents here and there, and some crazing to the old shellac finish. Not too bad for an instrument in its 90's! With its chunky neck and chunky tone, this A-1 is a perfect old-time instrument. Expect a loud and warmly voiced mandolin with a wide v-shaped neck. Carved spruce top and birch back, bound top and ebony fingerboard, The Gibson logo inlaid in pearl, ivoroid button Waverly tuning machines, tortoiseshell celluloid pickguard with intact mounting bracket; "The Gibson" engraved nickel-silver tailpiece.
With 1940's era chipboard case.
SOLD

More photos:
> Front Detail
> Full Front Detail
> Tailpiece Detail
     > Back Detail
> Full Back Detail
     > Headstock Detail
> Tuners Detail

 

a40-t_0410
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1952 Gibson A-40
FON Z1715-38. Dollar for dollar, this A-40 can’t be beat. It’s in wonderful and original condition, plays perfectly, and – most importantly – it really sounds good. It’s not an F5, but it’s not trying to be. More lively than a 20’s A, but richer and warmer than most F’s, this instrument’s tone is far more interesting than its low price suggests. Crack-free, and set-up in shop. Original throughout but for changed tuners buttons. The pickguard is a little cupped, so you might choose to take it off if it gets in your way.
With original chipboard case
SOLD

More photos:
> Full Front Detail
> Full Back Detail
> Detail
     > Headstock Detail
> Tuners Detail
     > Case Open
> Case Closed

 

tg1-t_0610
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1930 Gibson TG-1
FON 78. With its Cremona sunburst, bound body, banjo headstock and tuners, and bound fingerboard, this TG-1 is a fine looking machine – but it’s real beauty in its tone. We have is tuned in fifths with a low E bass note, and it just fills the room with this set up. It’s an exceptionally light guitar with a very resonant back; you’ll want to keep it away from your belly to get all the goodness out of the guitar. Lots of overtones and warmth, nice sustain and ring. A few top and back cracks have all been repaired, nicely set up with a full height bridge and low saddle, little wear on the original frets. 100% original but for the tuner buttons. A wonderful vintage Gibson tenor.
With original chipboard case
SOLD

More photos:
> Front Detail
> Full Front Detail
> Detail
     > Back Detail
> Full Back Detail
> Bridge Detail
     > Headstock Detail
> Tuners Detail

 


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1933 c. Bacon Senorita Tenor
Serial # 30562. Fred Bacon's Groton, Connecticut base company began manufacturing banjos in 1921, after marketing his own line of Fairbanks and Lange built instruments for some fifteen years. By 1922, David Day was hired on as Vice President which signaled the start of the B&D brand. The company's "Silver Bell" banjos would go on to become amongst the most desirable instruments of the banjo's golden from of the mid and late 1920's. But only a decade later - after years of depression, lagging banjo sales, and a hurricane that would ultimately spell the end of the line for the company, Bacon's trademarks and assets were sold to Gretsch and the quality of Bacon instruments would fall dramatically. The mid-level Senorita model was introduced in 1931, and featured a simple rim / tonering combination, pearloid clad resonator, rim, fingerboard and headstock. The instrument is in excellent condition and plays and sounds very nicely. One of its original tuners was non-functional, so we replaced all four, but will happily include the originals with instrument. The tailpiece is a Richelieu replica of the Oettinger original, and the skin is obviously a replacement.
With period softshell case
SOLD

More photos:
   Front detail   Back detail   Headstock detail
   Full Front detail   Full Back detail   Tuners detail
   Case Open   Case Closed

 

1870banjo-t_1209
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c.1870 LEFTY Minstrel Banjo
Perhaps the only one of its kind, this Left-Handed minstrel banjo dates from sometime around the Civil War. A simple but beautiful instrument, this 5 string has ivory and pearl inlays, rosewood and mahogany neck, and a spun metal over wood rim. Heavy wear on the fingerboard attests to the legacy of this instrument, but it maintains excellent playability to this day. With its beguiling and warm voice, well developed patina and years of wear any left handed musician or vintage instrument collector would find this banjo infinitely appealing. We can’t tell you much about the history of this one, although we suspect it started life as a 6 string with the extra peg in the center of the headstock. The pearl inlays on the headstock and at the base of the neck are quite old, but do not match the ivory inlays on the fretboard. There is heavy wear on the fingerboard, however the instrument is well set up and plays perfectly. Bridge, tailpiece, and likely the skin and pegs are replacements. We’ve never seen another Civil War era banjo, and it’s likely we won’t again once this one is sold.
SOLD

More photos:
> Front Detail
> Full Front Detail
> Rim Detail
> Neck Joint Detail
     > Back Detail
> Full Back Detail
> Fingerboard Detail
> Detail 1
     > Headstock Detail 1
> Headstock Detail 2
> Tuners Detail
> Detail 2

 

tb1-t_0310
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1933 Gibson TB-1
FON 9486. Whether you choose to play this tenor as it was designed for or convert it to a flat-head 5 string you’ll likely be quite pleased. As it sits, it’s a powerful and rich tenor tuned CGDA, with a recent refret and excellent playabilty. Original Grover tuners work well, neck angle and fit are perfect. 5/8” rim with no separations, replaced flange, tension hoop and tailpiece. Original brackets, armrest, resonator, and bolts. Resonator appears to have been oversprayed, rim and neck finish are original. 19 fret, 23” scale neck.
With 1960’s Gibson hard shell case
SOLD

More photos:
> Front Detail
> Full Front Detail
> Rim Detail
     > Back Detail
> Full Back Detail
> Resonator Off Detail
     > Headstock Detail
> Tuners Detail
> Detail 1
> Detail 2

 

harmony-t_0210
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1973 Harmony H8025
Nearly new, and pretty much unused, this cool looking Harmony mandolin is a great beginner instrument for anyone who digs vintage instruments. Set up in shop, it plays great; but a few tuners are fairly stiff. Solid spruce top, solid birch back and sides, rosewood fretboard, gloss finish.
With original case
SOLD

More photos:
> Front Detail
> Full Front Detail
> Detail 1
> Detail 2
     > Back Detail
> Full Back Detail
> Detail 3
> Detail 4
     > Headstock Detail
> Tuners Detail
> Detail 5

 

a3_thumb_0709a
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1920 Gibson A3
Serial # 61413. This A3 has a warm and chunky oval-hole tone that fills the room. The sweet trebles hypnotize while the bass notes deliver a knock-out punch. It is a truly beguiling mandolin. This elegantly styled white top A3 is in beautiful condition; and, besides the replacement end pin, is all original. Folkway has lovingly glued a small top crack, re-glued an end of the top brace and set it up. The first three frets have been previously replaced and this instrument is an easy and delightful mandolin to play. Factory finish is original and in nice shape; and the instrument has an interesting shellac top-coat on the sides (perhaps a finish touch-up done by Gibson prior to the completion of the instrument). An inch of back binding has pulled away in the waist more recently, and there is some minor finish chip-out along to top's bass-side edge. Perfect top arch, original tuners work well, nicely fit bridge, and a comfortable V neck with a 1-3/16" nut. With its great looks, excellent tone and playability, this one is a hard instrument to put down.
With original hard shell case
SOLD


More photos:
> Front detail
> Case Open
> Case Closed
     > Back detail
> Full Back detail
     > Headstock detail
> Tuners detail

 


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1939 Kalamazoo KH-21 Mandola
FON EK-2433. A truly rare and interesting instrument. Mandolas of any brand were uncommon in the late 1930's as the Mandolin craze was pretty much all but dead by the outbreak of WWII, and there wasn't very much call for any mandolin-family instruments; especially the C-tuned Mandola. So what a curiosity this Kalamazoo-branded instrument really is. It shares the same appointments as many Kalamazoo instruments - sunburst top finish and dark back and sides, single-bound body, bound fire-stripe pickguard, and simple tailpiece and Kluson 4-on-a-plate tuning gears. It has a braced arched top and back, Brazilian rosewood fingerboard and bridge, and a bone nut. It has a small and well-repaired crack in the back that may or may not have been locally oversprayed. The repair is very attractively done and does not deter at all from the beauty of the instrument. It plays very well, and has a warm tone with lots of sustain and woodiness. There can't be too many of these instruments out there, especially in this fine condition.
With original case
SOLD

More photos:
   Front detail   Back detail   Headstock detail
   Full Front detail   Full Back detail   Tuners detail
   Case Open   Case Closed

 


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2002 Nuhn F-5
Serial # 035201. William Nuhn is a tool and die maker who's turned his eye for detail and precision skills to carved instrument building for more than a decade. A local of nearby Kitchener, Ontario, players in our area have long known of Nuhn's masterful creations; however, he is a well kept secret south of the Canadian border. This fern F-5 was the luthier's own instrument for the last few years, and is being offered with a full lifetime warranty. Meticulously hand carved Sitka spruce and Northern Maple, Nuhn's meticulousness in evident in every aspect of this instrument - from scroll to bridge. Stained in a luscious Cremona sunburst and finished in Nitrocellulose lacquer, bound with grained ivoroid, and inlaid with a traditional fern motif, this is a classy instrument on all accounts. An excellent Bluegrass instrument, the Nuhn is loud and cutting, but maintains it's richness at any volume. Lots of headroom, and a lot of that chunk that we like to hear in a good F-5. Soft V neck carve, flat fingerboard, 1-1/8" nut, and 13-7/8" scale.
With hard shell case
On Consignment
SOLD


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1921 Gibson F-4
Among the finest instruments we have ever had the pleasure of offering for sale is this Gibson F-4 mandolin. Instruments with this tone quality are rarely this clean. Absolutely original and nearly unplayed, even the original frets are like new. The case is that clean, too! The vivid sunburst is completely unfaded and the subtly flamed maple seems to light up from inside. In pictures these style 4's can look a little garish, in person, everyone who has seen this instrument has dropped their jaw. This was the top of the line when it was made in 1921; the very next year the F-5 usurped that role. Personally, (cash aside!) I'd take this over an F-5, and this is pretty much the holy grail for anyone who doesn't play bluegrass. We repaired a clean "Bill Monroe" crack on the headstock scroll, and a loose end on the single interior brace. I'm glad to report there is no top sinkage, and the crack is all but invisible now, with no finish touch up. This is indeed one of the very best sounding mandolins I have ever played: loud, rich and full, lots of sustain, no mushiness and a big warm bottom end.
SOLD

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1922 Gibson TB
FON 11513-12. A warm and expressive instrument, the tone of this early TB is particularly irresistible. It's almost as simple a banjo as you could ask for, with the exception of its dowel-stick and coordinator rod set up, but it sounds like a million bucks. 10-1/2" head; 18 fret, 22" scale length neck, ebony fingerboard with pearl dot inlays, maple neck and tone-rim, and geared tuners. The tailpiece, bridge, and head are new (original bridge and broken tailpiece supplied), and the rest of the instrument is original and in excellent condition. Excellent set up, nice frets, and a good neck angle.
With original hard shell case
SOLD

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1957 Fender Mandocaster
Serial # 00465; pots dated 45th week of 1956; neck date 7/57; body date 12/56. I can't think of a single reason why anyone wouldn't want to take this Fender mandolin home. Talk about cool! With its blond mini-Strat body, maple V neck, single pickup, little bridge cover and cute Kluson four-on-a-strip button tuners, this little electric mandolin certainly tops my list of vintage instruments we've had to offer in recent memory. The package includes the instrument's original tweed hardshell case, leather strap, and SRV-curly cord. There's a good deal of finish wear on the body and neck, but this one is an unmodified and original example. In very good shape overall, we only had to re-solder the string ground and set it up. The pickguard has a small crack by the tone knob, there is a bit of fret wear on the first few frets, and matching thumb and fingernail wear on the neck and fingerboard. Lightweight, resonant, and lively.
With original hard shell case
SOLD

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1920's Conqueror Tenor Banjo
We can't tell you too much about this one - Conqueror was a brand name owned by C. Bruno & Sons, and they were likely built by Regal in Chicago. This tenor featured here has an 11" head, spun solid maple resonator, 17 fret 20-3/4" scale neck, pearl inlays, and friction pegs. Wooden rim with simple brass ring, nickel-silver flange and 20 brackets. It has original arm-rest, and Presto tailpiece, however the tension hoop and all of its hooks and nuts have been replaced. Nicely set up and very playable, with perfectly level original frets. A good looking and loud tenor.
With original hard shell case
SOLD

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1905 Larson Mayflower Mandolin
The Larson Brothers built all kinds of instruments during the first part of the twentieth century - guitars, harp guitars, and mandolin family instruments of all shapes and sizes. Pictured here is a bowl back mandolin which originally carried the "Mayflower" brand name - although the label was ling ago lost. Most bowl-back mandolins we see are not in this fine condition, their age having turned against them; however, this one seems to have escaped the effects of time and is in excellent original condition. Its playability is perfect, and it is a very fine sounding traditional instrument. 34 Brazilian rosewood ribs, multiple-bound spruce top with inlaid abalone-bound genuine tortoise-shell pickguard and abalone rosette. Original French polish finish, original tailpiece, bridge, nut, and enclosed tuners. 13" scale, 1-1/8" nut, 1950's era hard shell case
SOLD

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1924 Gibson Tenor Lute
Serial # 76700, FON 11172A. Definitely a curiosity of the Loar era, the Tenor Lute was offered between 1924 and 1926, although all known examples bear 1924 serial numbers. The Tenor Lute has the distinction of being the only Master Model-labeled instrument that was not part of the Style 5 line and it does not bear a Lloyd Loar signature label. Its F holes and elevated fingerboard are Style 5 features, but that's where Loar's improvements end. The Tenor Lute has a Mandola body with carved spruce top and carved birch back and sides. Its maple neck is akin to that of a Style 3 banjo, complete with Moccasin headstock, dot-neck ebony 24 fret fingerboard and 20-3/4" scale length. The instrument is in excellent condition and has no cracks, separations, or top sinkage. Its pickguard is missing, but it is otherwise completely original. Grover G-82 tuners are in good working order, fingerboard and frets are level, and it plays very nicely after being set-up in shop. We have replaced the original bridge with a better sounding ebony adjustable unit, but will include the original with the instrument. Tuned to G Octave Mandolin tuning, the instrument has a lovely tone. Its body is too small to produce a great deal of bass response, but the trebles are certainly nice to listen to! Imagine an octave mandolin with only 4 strings, and you'll have an idea of the Tenor Lute's tone. Among the rarest of Gibson's 1920's Mandolins, very few Tenor Lutes are known to exist. Here is a chance to round up your Master Model collection!
With original hard shell case
SOLD

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1984 Grit Laskin Cittern
Serial # 300884. Perhaps better called a 10 string octave mandolin with a high B, this Laskin Cittern is a versatile and enchanting instrument. Five courses of strings tuned G-D-A-E-B allows for a seemingly infinite variety of voicings and hand positions, while its 20" scale length and roomy flat-top body offers warmth, richness, and ample volume. Built for Canadian Folk / Roots band Tanglefoot, the band's logo was engraved on the pearl heel cap. The instrument's intricate inlay features a turn of the century river driver or log jam worker steering a log with a "peavey"; and, even though the instrument is some 25 years old, Laskin's aptitude for artistic inlay work was already very well developed. The cittern is built finely curled maple and quartered spruce, tastefully purfled with alternating maple and rosewood, and bound with rosewood. Ivoroid bound ebony fingerboard, ivory bridge, bone nut, and improvised 10 string Schaller tuners. Structurally, the instrument is in excellent condition, however there is significant crazing in the lacquer finish and the back of the neck has seen much of its lacquer flaked-off. There is some pitting on the first five or so frets, particularly under the E and B strings, but despite this the cittern plays remarkably well.
With original hard shell case
On consignment
SOLD

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1924 Gibson A-Jr Snakehead
Serial # 77035, FON 11185A. A particularly interesting Loar Era A-JR thanks to its unique factory original light brown finish. Most Jr's were finished with a dark brown stain, however a few examples such as this one have surfaced over the years. It seems that for a short while in 1924, possibly coinciding with the switch from birch to maple, Gibson used a stain which nicely complimented the figure of the wood. The Jr. was Gibson's most affordable mandolin at that time, similar to an A- but without top binding or rosette, and with a simple clamshell tailpiece. This example is completely original, but is unfortunately without its pickguard. It is very playable, and nicely set up; nice top arch, full height bridge, and good neck angle. This mandolin has the volume and cut you'd expect from a maple instrument, but maintains the warmth you generally associate with oval hole Gibsons. Its back center seam was professionally re-glued, and a few inches of back / side separation have been properly dealt with as well. Just a little playwear to the finish on the back of the neck and left of the bridge.
With newer hard shell case
On consignment
SOLD


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1965 Gibson RB-250
Serial # 533140. Introduced in 1954, the RB-250 went on to become the best-selling banjo Gibson ever produced. There were a great many variants of this model through the years, but the most notable changes occurred in 1969 with the redesign to a fiddle-shaped headstock, 2 piece flange, and different fingerboard inlays. This particular example is likely a mid-1960's instrument and features a 40 hole flathead tonering, 1/2 rim, double co-ordinator rods, bowtie inlays, dove-wing peghead, bound ebony fingerboard, four-screw resonator attachment, and Kluson tuners. It's in excellent condition and is set up well. Spikes at frets 7, 8, 10. Very fine sound.
With newer hard shell case
On Consignment
SOLD


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1926 Gibson A
Serial # 83371. From the early post-Loar era, this A model mandolin features the same adjustable bridge and truss-rod that were introduced by Llyod Loar just a few years earlier. The back and sides are maple (another Loar introduction) rather than birch, as was previously used by Gibson on all their carved instruments. All told, this Model A is much more akin to a Loar period Snakehead than to the instruments built before '22 and after '28. And it sounds like it too. This is about as loud an oval hole mandolin as you can find. Although tonally it is very dissimilar to an F-5, it can carry its own in terms of sheer volume.
The instrument is in excellent overall condition, but does show finish wear on the back of the neck and on the top under where your arm would rest. It has been played, and it has been well cared for throughout its life. Completely original but for a bone nut that we've made for it, the instrument has a fabulous look and feel. The neck and frets are bang-on (the frets were lightly dressed by us, too), and the action is slinky low. The top is in good shape and shows no signs of sinkage.
With original hard shell case
SOLD

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1922 (Circa) Lyon & Healy Style A Professional
Serial # 1797. The favorite vintage American instrument amongst Classical Mandolinists, the Lyon & Healy Style A Professional was offered for a period of roughly twenty years beginning in 1917. The first incarnation of the Style A had a symmetrical body, but was very soon replaced by the asymmetrically pointed instrument pictured here. The model was built in very limited numbers, branded first as the Lyon & Healy Style A Professional, then from 1923 as the Washburn Style A, and in 1928 (when Tonk Bros. acquired Lyon and Healy) the model was renamed the Washburn "Deluxe". Quality deteriorated somewhat after the Tonk Bros. acquisition, and today the pre-Washburn asymmetrical Style A's are the rarest and most desirable non-Gibson Mandolins from that era. Similar to the instruments built by Gibson, the Lyon & Healy mandolins featured carved plates, akin to those standard in violin building for the previous two centuries. They are exceedingly fine instruments, but not well suited to Bluegrass, as they were designed to be bright and clear, rather than percussive and loud. The Style A was built by some of the finest craftsmen of the day, as is exemplified in the details of the mandolin pictured here. Lyon & Healy's best mandolin line consisted of three models, Styles A, B, and C; Style A being the most ornate (and most expensive) of the trio. Its top and back are meticulously carved of spruce and figured maple, with all sides bound in triple layers. Its most striking features are the violin-like carved scroll headstock, with inlaid tuning machines covered by a black "Vulcanized Hard Rubber" cover, and its ornately engraved tailpiece cover. The new Bakelite-looking "Hard Rubber" was also formed into the instrument's pickguard, neck reinforcement, and tuning machine buttons, while ebony was chosen for the fingerboard and bridge. This Style A is in absolutely stunning and original condition. It is both breathtaking and perfectly preserved, with no cracks, structural issues or finish wear. We have replaced its original bridge with a custom fabricated height-adjustable and intonated part that fits exactly within the footprint of the original, which we will furnish with the instrument. We chose to replace the bridge as it was both too high and without compensation, which made the instrument mostly unusable. This mandolin is now very playable, with original fretwork that is in excellent condition and a very comfortable set up. It has a scale length of 13 inches and a bone nut 1-1/8" wide. Very fine sound, with surprising volume and fullness. It is unlikely that you will ever find another Lyon & Healy Style A professional in comparable condition.
With original hard shell case.
NOT FOR SALE


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1960's Framus Mandolin
No serial number. The Bavarian pumpkin-top, complete with a Gretsch-inspired cat's eye soundhole! Pear-shaped body with extra-deep sides (2-1/4") add extra warmth and bass response to this laminate instrument. Excellent playability, frets, and action; and recently set-up in shop. Completely original, including cool pickguard, tuners, bridge, and tailpiece. A good sound, cool looking vintage mando.
With chipboard case
SOLD

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New Yanuziello Electric Mandolin
Whoa, there! I expected to sound like Kevin Breit when I fired this one up, and what do you know...? It turns out that a good portion of Kevin's magic with Norah Jones (and so many others) comes from the relentlessly awesome instruments Joe Yanuziello has created for him. In short, I've never sounded so much like a master until I wound this incredibly smooth little monster all the way out! Joe builds the chambered body from solid mahogany with a maple cap and mills the bridge and pickup cover completely by hand from solid brass, which is then nickel plated. Every little detail is from the hand of a world-class craftsman. The ivoroid binding and pickguard follow a neo-cowboy esthetic over the flawless black nitrocellulose finish. The headstock and fingerboard are matching pieces of old-growth Brazilian rosewood. That's a custom-wound Lindy Fralin DeArmond-style pickup doing the dirty work that Joe has Lindy custom-build for his instruments...
Yanuziello even customizes TKL hard cases to fit his mandolins! A hot little number from one of the planet's best luthiers.
SOLD


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1960's Harmony "Reso-Tone" Banjo set
Harmony always built a wide range of instruments, and among their most interesting post-war designs are their Reso-Tone banjos built in the early 1960's.

"The tone is amazing" say professional artists who have played the Harmony Banjos. Modernizing banjo construction with the solid non-warping RESO-TONE rim and resonator has produced a series of instruments with superior tone and powerful banjo "ring and snap." ...Try one for yourself to see how Harmony craftsmanship has improved a favorite instrument
-From Harmony's 1963 catalog

This pair of banjos comprises the No. 8105 Tenor Deluxe 30 Bracket, and the No. 28105 5-string Deluxe. The RESO-TONE material that the rim and resonator are molded of is essentially Bakelite, but in 1960's trade-mark guise. The necks on these banjos are steel-reinforced brown-painted hardwood with "Ebonized" bound fingerboards, and are fitted with open-geared tuning machines. The 5 string is nicely set-up and plays well, the 4 string has high action and would require a heel-cut to be more playable. Both have original calf-skin heads.
SOLD

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1915 Vega Little Wonder Guitar Banjo
Serial # 31591. Six string banjos from the 'teens are not particularly common thanks, mostly, to the fact that guitar had still not become the predominant instrument that it is today. The 'teens were the mandolin years in popular American music, and the populace still had to fall for both the Ukulele and the Banjo before deciding that the six string guitar was the instrument of choice. All the major manufacturers offered six string banjos, but relatively few were built. Dating from 1915, this instrument is Fairbanks-branded, but manufactured by Vega of Boston.
Maple rim with an 11-7/8" head diameter, 30 brackets, and simply appointed with a celluloid band and natural finish. Three-piece maple neck with an unbound ebony fingerboard and simple pearl dot inlays. Original friction pegs and bone nut. The instrument is in excellent and very playable condition. All brackets are intact, and fretwork is spot on. The Remo head and ebony bridge are replacement parts, but the instrument is otherwise original. 1-25/32" nut width, 25.2" scale length; comfortable C-shaped neck. Strung with nickel-wound 10-46 gauge strings the banjo sounds great; it makes for a good ragtime or fingerstyle instrument and is a lot of fun to play.
With newer hard shell case
On Consignment
SOLD

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1917 Gibson A-1
Serial #35106. A wonderful sounding, well set up, and beautifully well kept pumpkin-top A-1 from the glory days of the mandolin era. This under-the-bed special is in remarkable condition, especially when you consider that it was built 91 years ago! No cracks, no top sinkage, no excessive finish wear, and no fret wear on this instrument. It's completely original except for an identical replacement bridge made in our shop (have a look at the detail photo). Very nicely set up with action set at 3-4 64ths and excellent neck and frets. Carved spruce top and birch back, bound top and ebony fingerboard, The Gibson logo inlaid in pearl, ivoroid button Waverly tuning machines, tortoiseshell celluloid pickguard with intact mounting bracket; The Gibson engraved nickel-silver tailpiece. No repairs and no issues. Loud and warm, if you're into mandolins at all you'll love the sound of this A-1 - it definitely holds company with the best A style mandolins that have passed through Folkway over the years.
With original hard shell case
On Consignment
SOLD

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1967 Harmony Monterey Octave Mandolin
Procrastination takes on a whole new meaning here at Folkway... Sometimes we just don't feel like working on a valuable vintage guitar. It's at those times that some hapless old Harmony goes under the knife and gets turned into an Octave Mandolin! This one did last Saturday, and you'll likely be glad it did! It's tough to make a bad sounding octave mando, and these old archtop harmonys are great candidates for conversion. You can string this one up as an octave mando, an Irish bouzouki, mandocello, or whatever else you fancy that uses 8 strings and a guitar scale length. Nice fretwork and action, new bone nut, clamshell tailpiece, adjustable ebony bridge, and a pair of banjo tuners for those extra two strings. Solid spruce top, laminate maple back and sides. A few repaired cracks, but structurally very sound.
SOLD

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1920 Gibson H-1 Mandola
Serial # 60117. A fine example of the classic Gibsons that were made just before Lloyd Loar's tenancy. This one is warm, with plenty of bite and cut, and will suit ensemble players well. It is all original, including the "JAN, 18-21" adjustable ebony bridge. The nut is 1 5/16" with a nice V-neck. Ivoroid-bound top and fingerboard, which has the 21st-fret extension for the A string. The finish on the back and sides is in exceptional condition, some areas on the top have flaked off of the grain, but there is no damage and there no cracks on this beautiful instrument; however the top's center-seam has been reglued between the bridge and tailpiece. The frets are original with little wear, and the instrument plays nicely. The original case is in great condition.
On consignment
SOLD


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1904 Vega Whyte Laydie No. 2
Serial #23714. A nice example of the pre-eminent old-time banjo, still in the family of the original owner. This is a "pre-fire" Vega, crafted and engraved by their finest artisans at the peak of the company's prowess. Examples from only a short time later show a marked decrease in craftsmanship, most easily notable in the quality of the inlays and engravings. This one's had a few mods over the years, including filing down the tension hoop (!?!) and drilling one lug bolt right through the rim, but with the original "bubble" case, it's still a grand old laydie and worthy of deep respect. The Whyte Laydie represents a few major changes in the evolution of the banjo: Firstly the rolled tone ring resting on the scalloped brass support, and covered with a formed brass sheet under the skin head. This is heavier than almost any older system and gives the unmistakable bright-but-plunky old-time sound. Another big break from Victorian tradition is the maple neck and body left in a natural shellac finish with no brown stain. Unfortunately most of these have dyed pearwood boards and overlays instead of ebony, and this very worn board is no exception. This instrument has had the tenth-fret marker moved from the ninth fret at some point: either some guitar player moved it to the ninth and then mended his evil ways, or it started out wrong and got fixed! We replaced the treble side ivoroid fingerboard binding and reglued the dowel-stick, and sent it home for another century of pickin' and grinnin'.
NOT FOR SALE

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1913 Gibson K-2 Mandocello
Serial # 15759. In years leading up to the First World War, about two decades before the guitar's rise to popularity and the first Singin' Cowboys, the most common family of instruments in America was that of the Mandolin. Mandolin Orchestras could be found in just about any urban center in the country, and mandolin-family instruments were being produced in just about every imaginable fashion. The Gibson Mandolin -Guitar Company was one of the predominant producers of high-end instruments, and naturally took an interest in expanding the popularity of their products; they became the nation's largest promoter of Mandolin Orchestras, and outfitted thousands of musicians with their instruments. Among the mandolin varieties the Gibson company produced was the Mandocello, a guitar-sized instrument with a 24.75" scale length and four courses of strings, with unison pairs tuned C-G-D-A.
The instrument pictured here was built in 1913, near the height of the Mandolin craze. It has an ivoriod bound spruce and birch carved body, with a black top and reddish-brown back and sides. Its appointments and construction are consistent with the Style 4 Mandolins (with which you may be more familiar). It has a three-piece neck, pearl "The Gibson" headstock logo and Fleur-de-Lys ornament, bound ebony fingerboard with pearl dot markers, bound oval soundhole with a double rope pattern rosette; non-adjustable compensated ebony bridge, elevated tortoise-celluloid pickguard, and clamshell tailpiece. There are no cracks on this 'cello, and it is completely original save for the pickguard mounting bracket, and the binding on the treble side of the fingerboard up to the 16th fret (the work was very nicely done, a long time ago). The top shows no sinkage, and the neck and frets are true. Its original nut has additional string-grooves from being guitar-strung at some point in the instrument's long history, and a strap button has been added to the heel of the neck. We have just finished a thorough set up of this instrument as well. The mandocello's original shellac finish is intact and in fine condition with minor scratches here and there, and shows no areas of excessive wear. This is a very fine sounding instrument; it has great volume and sustain, and a presence befitting of any contemporary mandolin orchestra.
Two cases accompany this instrument: its original tooled leather Maulbetsch & Whittemore, and a more recent Harptone custom-made hard shell.
SOLD

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1925 Gibson MB-4
FON 11832-10. The Trap-door banjos built by Gibson in the early 1920's are some of the most attractive instruments the company every made. At the high end of the model line up was the Style 4, which featured a gorgeous Cremona sunburst finish, expertly bound "Moccasin" style headstock with pearl logo and Fleur-de-Lys inlay, bound ebony fingerboard, resonator, rim, and heel, three-piece curly maple neck, and pearl nut. The MB-4 is Mandolin version of the style, with 13-7/8" scale, 1-3/16" nut, and 10-1/2" head. The MB-4 pictured here is a local one-family instrument, and in very fine condition. It is missing its tailpiece cover, and five brackets are replacements, but it is otherwise original, intact, and in good working order with a fresh set up.
With original hard shell case
SOLD

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1935 Gibson A-50
FON 169A-9. Priced at $50 at the height of The Great Depression the A-50 was Gibson's fanciest A style instrument, and 15$ more expensive than the J-35 guitar introduced a year later! The A-50 featured a body of carved spruce and maple, a one-piece mahogany neck, brazilian Rosewood fingerboard and adjustable ebony bridge. The pickguard and tailpiece were the standard issue of the day, and the Gibson logo was inlaid in pearl on the headstock. The body was bound in white and featured a sunburst top finish matched with Cremona back and sides. The neck was equipped with a truss rod and had a nut width of 1-3/16". This particular instrument is in near-mint condition, it is completely original and in perfect working order. Although the mandolins Gibson was building 10 years after the departure of Loyd Loar are not renowned for their tone, this A-50 is highly collectible thanks to the pristine condition that it is in, and doesn't sound half bad! They don't come much nicer than this.
With original "Red Line" hard shell case
On Consignment
SOLD


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1935 Gibson TB-3 conversion
FON 42-2 By late 1929 Gibson's banjo designs had pretty much reached modern standards. Mastertone pot assemblies had cast one-piece flanges and tone rings, double coordinator rods, 24 hooks and a standard 11" head. But the banjo was, at that time, beginning its decline in popularity and on its way out as America's instrument. The guitar would soon become the instrument of choice for the nation's most famous cowboys, engineers and hobos. But those Mastertones built between '29 and the Second World War would soon find favor with a different musician than the Jazz players they were designed for. Bluegrass was taking root, and the Gibson Mastertone was the banjo of choice. Today original five string Mastertones from that era have become amongst the most sought after acoustic instruments on the vintage market.

The TB-3 pictured here was built in 1935. It features a Mastertone pot assembly with a cast one-piece flange and 40 hole arch-top tone ring. All of its metal parts are original and intact, and its flange is not cracked. It has a very nice replacement 5 string neck built by Frank Neat, and comes with its original tenor neck and hard shell case. Its four original Grover tuners are in service on the new neck, and its original Presto 4-string tailpiece was not replaced in the conversion. One resonator screw is a replacement, and the original mahogany resonator (and original 4 string neck) have been over-brushed with lacquer. The finish on the rim is original. This is a very fine and collectable arch-top Mastertone.

With hard shell case
On Consignment
SOLD

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1925 Gibson A-Jr
Serial #81896. The A-Jr was Gibson's most basic and inexpensive mandolin during its tenure from 1919 to 1927. It was constructed identically to all the higher-end A models, but its trim and adornment was significantly scaled down. The only binding on this mandolin is around the sound hole; the finish is a uniform dark brown, and there is no logo on the headstock. Additionally, to keep the price low on this model, Gibson omitted a truss-rod (which was by that time a standard feature on all mandolins), and fitted the instrument with a clamshell tailpiece and an ebony nut. Its body is carved of spruce and maple, its neck is mahogany. Ebony fingerboard with pearl dot position markers, Loar-era "Snakehead" headstock, adjustable bridge and pickguard, and Waverly tuning machines. This A-Jr. is in excellent condition overall. It is without cracks or structural issues, and is original with the exception of two tuner buttons and its adjustable bridge (which is a slightly later Gibson part). There is some finish wear around the body edges, adjacent to the fingerboard, and on the neck; and the frets show normal wear under the A and E strings. The instrument is well set up and plays nicely. Typical of Snakehead A models, it is a fine sounding instrument, with surprising volume.
With non-original hard case
SOLD

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1930's Michigan Banjo-Uke
Michigan branded instruments were likely built in Chicago by Regal during the middle part of the 1900's. They were modestly priced student-grade instruments made available through catalog stores across the country. There really isn't any other known history about this brand though, so I'm afraid that's as far down this road as I can take you. The banjo-uke pictured here has a 7-3/4" skin head, and 13" scale length. It's built of birch and finished in a slight sunburst lacquer. We've cleaned off all the dust and set it up, but its original tuners are a little temperamental... we'd suggest replacing them if you plan to use the instrument regularly. Which you should do if you buy it, because it sounds great.
SOLD

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1981 Martin Model A Mandolin
Serial # 26174. Virtually unchanged in design from 1917 until its discontinuation in 1988, the 1981 Model A shown here is a 90 year old in the body of a 26 year old! It is truly fascinating that Martin offered their bent-top basic model mando as recently as George Michael's hit song "Faith", and the Bush Sr. Presidency!
The instrument is in just about mint condition, but does show some fret wear. Mahogany back and sides, bent Sitka spruce top, style 18 appointments. Mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard; ebony bridge and nut, Kluson tuners (which Martin must have stockpiled in the late 1960's!), and clamshell tailpiece. 1-5/32" nut width, 13" scale, neck joins the body at the 10th fret. The mandolin is well set up and plays nicely.
With original hard shell case
On Consignment
SOLD

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1915 Gibson H-1 Mandola
Serial # 23584. A super-fine pumpkin-top Mandola from the golden era of the mid-teens. This particular instrument is exquisite condition overall, and shows only minor wear to the frets and finish. It is completely original and intact, and having been set-up in our shop it plays as nicely as it looks. It is an under-the-bed special, the strings that we removed seemed to have been on this mandola for a long long time. The neck and fretwork are excellent, and the top's arch is the same as it was when it left Kalamazoo some 92 years ago... Ninety two years ago?! Yes, really. The finish is gorgeous, the nickel plating on the tailpiece and tuning machines is un-tarnished, there are no cracks anywhere on the instrument, and the tortoise-shell celluloid pickguard is intact and not showing any signs of the decomposition that oft plagues them. Have a look at the felt lining inside the original case - the color is unfaded... Best yet, this instrument sounds wonderful. It is loud when you want it to be, and subtle when you softly ask it. The high A string has life all the way up the neck, and there is a warmth that washed over you when you strum a big C chord in the first position. Do you think we like this one?? Is it that obvious?
With original hard shell case
On consignment
SOLD

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1917 Gibson A-1
Serial # 37313. There's not even dust on this 90 year old mandolin. It is without a doubt the cleanest and most original pumpkin-top Gibson A we've ever seen. There is virtually no wear to the finish or frets and all the parts are in perfect condition. The tuning machines have no wear on their gears. And then there's the case that looks like it was made last week. This Mandolin is nuts. We've set it up, so that after 90 years maybe someone will play it - carefully! A true investment-quality instrument, especially when you take into account how under-priced A models are in today's hot vintage market.
On Consignment
SOLD

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1929 Gibson TB-3
FON 9025-17. This TB-3 came in for some set up work last week. It is a beautiful instrument, and completely original. A few months and one string away from being worth an awful lot of money! Gibson switched to the one-piece flange sometime in '29, but this one still has its tube and plate. The original owner told us he thought he must have had it for more than 30 years but his wife reminded him that they bought it new on their honeymoon! You do the math! I'm sure there are a lot of you out there who'd love to convert this one, but you can't have it... sorry.
SOLD

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1958 Stella Octave Mandolin
A Folkway Music creation, this '50's Stella student-model guitar has been converted to a 24" scale octave mandolin. It is a remarkably fine sounding instrument - very rich and resonant, and lots of sustain. The body measures 13.25" wide, and the nut is 1-3/4". Two planetary banjo tuners have been installed in the center of the headstock to handle the extra stings, and the original 6 string tuners handle the rest. The original tuners are a bit stiff, but hold their tuning well. Adjustable rosewood bridge, bone nut, aged newer clamshell tailpiece. Good playability, but for some minor buzzing in the upper fret area. We like this thing, and we're sure you will too!
SOLD

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1985 Apitius F Model
The name Apitius has become synonymous with the modern bluegrass mandolin, as this Canadian Luthier's instruments have come to be revered within bluegrass circles the world over. His instruments are beautifully built and finished, and have the power, chop, and richness we've all come to expect from a quality mandolin. The F Model pictured here was built in 1985 (according to the current owner), although there are no date or serial number markings to be found. Its body it constructed of beautifully figured hard maple and tight, perfectly quartered spruce, and finished in a deep and rich Cremona sunburst. Apitius's carving is immaculate, with perfect recurves and a graceful scroll. The neck length and scale length are F-5 standard, and the slightly radiused bound fingerboard has a nut width of 1-5/32". Ebony bridge, gold hardware, and pearl nut. The mandolin is in excellent condition, but with two small dings near the top edges.
With original hard shell case
SOLD

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1930's Dobro Model 250 Mandolin
No serial #. Available for a few years in the mid 1930's, the Dobro Model 250 Mandolin was the mando-version of the Model 25 guitar. The instrument features bound top and back, two-tone sunburst top and dark brown back and sides. Unbound ebonized fingerboard on a Maple neck. Three-segment f-holes, nickel resonator cover, "Bell Brand" tailpiece, and 4-on-a-plate open geared tuners. 13-7/8" scale length, 1-1/4" nut. One very small repaired crack on the treble side, upper bout, otherwise the instrument is in excellent condition. Neck, and frets are in good shape. Action measures 4 to 6 64th, with room to be lowered further should you desire. Included is the original case. A very cool package.
SOLD

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1916 Gibson A-
Serial #26224. Our third pumpkin-top Gibson this month is this near-perfect 1916 A- mandolin. It is in almost the same ridiculously clean condition as the mint 1917 we posted a few weeks back, but with a touch of playwear and a tiny chip missing from the ebony bridge base. The instrument is complete and entirely original, with an intact pickguard and bracket, tuners and tailpiece. No cracks, separations or structural issues, and a perfect top arch with no sinkage. The frets and fingerboard are true and level, and the instrument plays buzz-free all the way up the neck with comfortable low action. We wish all the vintage pieces we encounter would be in such fine and playable condition! It has a sweet voice, with a nice openness and rich sustain.
With a non-original hard shell case
SOLD

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1914 Gibson H-1
Serial # 18980. At 92 years of age, it's incredible to imagine the musical diversity this mandola has partaken in over its life. What was the first song played on it way back before the First World War? How many people called this their-own instrument over the four generations since it was built? From a receipt dated June 30th 1920 we know that it was sold to a Mr. J. M. Connally from Miss Grace M. Jackson and Mrs. F. M. Jackson for forty five dollars; but who were these people? Were the Jackson's selling the Mandola after Mr. Jackson, husband and father, passed away? After all, forty five dollars was a significant amount at that time. These are questions that we will never know the answers to, sadly. What we do know, however, is that Mr. J.M. Connally and the various subsequent owners of this instrument valued it highly and took very good care of it to this day.
It is in excellent condition, with no cracks, scrapes or bruises; just some minor playwear to the finish on the neck and some mild grooving on the frets. The Mandola is completely original with the exception of a 1920's replacement adjustable bridge (the original, in the case pocket, is fractured and not useable), and it is in perfect working order. The top arch is fine, as are the neck, tuners, pickguard, and tailpiece; and the shellac finish has a rich patina. Mandolas all sound great; but Gibsons from the 'teens particularly so. There is a familiarity and warmth to the tonal response the Mandola offers - it is in the same range as the human voice - and this instrument can warm the coldest winter night with its lovely sweetness. Excuse the flowery metaphors; but it really is a wonderful instrument! We've completed as set up on this instrument, and needed to position the bridge slightly rearward for proper tunability; you'll notice the finish in front of it is marred from years of the bridge being in the wrong place. Instruments like this don't come around too often, sadly - and this one will bring happiness to many more generations over the years to come.
With its original hard shell case, and 1920 bill of sale.
SOLD

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1935 Gibson A-00
The flat-backed A-00 was Gibson's most economical mandolin when it was introduced at the height of the Great Depression. The mando version of the classic L-00, it featured similar appointments to its larger 6 string cousin. The sunburst-finished carved spruce top is single-bound in white, and the dark-brown back and sides are unbound maple. The bridge and nut are ebony, and the fingerboard is Brazilian rosewood with simple pearl dot inlays. A simple silk-screened Gibson logo adorns an otherwise plain headstock. The mandolin's tuners, clamshell tailpiece, and pickguard are all original, the pickguard suffering slightly from mild decay. It's in excellent condition, with good frets and a true neck, and the in-shop set-up we've just finished has made it a very playable instrument. 13-7/8" scale length, and a nut-width of just about 1-3/16".
With original soft shell case
SOLD

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1926 Vega Style N
Serial # 71304. It's not common to encounter simply appointed tenor banjos that have not been badly handled over the years. This Vega Style N is a definite exception to the rule though - and we're pleased to offer it to you. Although the Style N is not a lavish instrument, it is very much a quality banjo. The rim is 5-ply maple and 9/16" thick, 11" wide, and has 26 brackets. All nickel plating is intact and in good shape, and all of the brackets are original. The Rogers velum head is also in perfect condition - and the names of some of the banjo's past owners have been inked on the underside. The neck and frets are pretty much perfect, the action is comfortable, and the set up is spot on. The original tuners work well to boot. Finally, the original case is in equally fine condition, and the original Vega bracket wrench is included! This is a fine vintage banjo, and a great sounding one too.
SOLD

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c.1950 Gretsch New Yorker Banjo
The New Yorker model guitars and banjos were marketed by Gretsch as "favorite models with students but also bought for stand-by instruments by many professionals because of their excellent tone and easy playing action" - 1955 Gretsch catalogue. The banjo pictured here is a 5 string, brass rim resonator instrument. It has been set up in shop and plays nicely; its voice is fairly jangly, but warm enough to enjoy. The rim assembly's silver plating has tarnished and worn over the years to an attractive vintage-jewelry patina. The tuners and tailpiece have been upgraded, and the bridge a replacement installed during the banjo's recent set up. 20 brackets, bound fingerboard and resonator, curly dark-stained maple fingerboard with dot inlays, New Yorker plastic head stock overlay. There aren't too many of these around, and if you're a Gretsch collector it might be a while before you find another like it.
SOLD

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Arthur Hensel Mandolin
Our well-educated guess is that this mandolin was built by Toronto builder Arthur Hensel, although there is no label or markings to confirm this. The carve of the neck, finish and stain; binding style, material and size; nut, fingerboard, and frets all point to Hensel as the builder - but this the very first Mandolin we've encountered that would bear his mark. It is unfortunately not playable (the top caved in after the braces separated), so we can't tell you anything about what it sounds like. It's a lovely instrument though, and we'd certainly like to find another just like it!
Not for sale

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1941 Gibson A-00 Mandolin
FON 3706-18. While we are calling this Mandolin an A-00, we are equally certain that it is an A-1... or an A-50. Gibson Catalog descriptions from this era are dubious at best, and the company is famous for building instruments of the same model with differing trim and construction details. In any case, here are its specifications: 10-1/4" wide, A-style body with f-holes; solid carved spruce top, solid carved maple back. Lacquer finish, sunburst top, rich red mahogany stained back and sides. One piece mahogany neck, with Brazilian rosewood fingerboard and ebony nut. Nickel Grover open geared tuners with white (now yellow) buttons, Gibson silk-screened script logo. Clamshell tailpiece, tortoise-celluloid pickguard, adjustable ebony bridge. Bound top, and unbound back. The instrument is in excellent and original condition, with a normal but not extensive, amount of wear and tear. Set up in our shop, the mandolin plays very well with comfortably low action. The first 7 frets appear to have been replaced, but they are nearly indistinguishable from the originals. There is plenty of fret life left, and many tunes left to be played in this attractive instrument.
With newer hard case.
On Consignment
SOLD

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1912 Martin Style 00 Mandolin
Serial #3508. How I wish all 94 year old Martins were in this kind of condition! This Mandolin is nearly perfect, with only the slightest signs of wear to the finish. Better still, it is perfectly playable! 9 Brazilian rosewood ribs, spruce top, bar-fretted ebony fingerboard with simple pearl dot inlays, original nickel-silver tuning machines and tailpiece, ebony bridge, and inlaid tortoise-shell pickguard. An understated but classy instrument. It is very playable with low action, and good fretwork, and sounds quite lovely. 13" scale, 1-1/8" nut.
On consignment without case.
SOLD

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1930 Vega Tubaphone Guitar-Banjo
Now here's a rare one. It's an original Vega Tubaphone Guitar-Banjo! Built in 1930 (serial # 90274), this instrument was built at the tail-end of the banjo craze; when musicians were re-discovering the guitar. The late 20's and early 30's saw an array of interesting banjo-guitar hybrids with companies such as Vega, Gibson, and even Martin getting into fray. In fact the successful introduction of Martin's OM 14 fret guitars was due, largely, to the wanting of banjo players for guitar with longer necks!

This 6 string Vega banjo features a 30 bracket Tubaphone pot with a 11 13/16" head - the same pot that is considered the holy-grail for Vega fans. The bracket nuts are open-ended, interestingly, and the rim is 1/2" thick. The instrument is completely original, with the exception of one replaced bracket nut, possibly the nut, and probably the frets. The resonator appears to have been professionally modified. The holes, while appearing original, are likely the work of a skilled luthier. The result of this modification is a banjo with the comfort of closed-back instruments, that maintains the tone of an open-back. The nut width is 1 3/4", and the scale length is 25 3/4". Playability is perfect. The original hard shell case is a work of art in of itself, and still has the Vega badge and logo stitched on to the velour inside. Please explore the many photos we've provided of this incredible instrument.
SOLD

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1926 Gibson TB-1
FON 8325-24. A great banjo for Celtic players, the short scale feels great and can be tuned to C or G. This banjo has a truckload of vintage charm, and it plays like you want it to! 11 inch diameter head, 3/4" three-ply maple rim, diamond-hole stamped flange with 22 brackets; single coordinator rod, 21" scale length. Very cool original Elton pickguard with built-in pickholder, original arm rest and friction tuners. Single-bound fingerboard and maple resonator. Non-orig tailpiece and two changed resonator screws (we had to tell you!) A simply appointed tenor banjo, the TB-1 occupied the lower end of the Gibson banjo lineup in its day. The warm tone of this instrument is the result of a simple brass hoop tone ring mated with Gibson's 3/4" maple rim, its 11" head, and short 21" scale length. With the original hardshell case in great shape.
SOLD

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1930's B&D Ramona Mandolin
SN# 1189. Bacon and Day were known primarily for the high-quality and often incredibly ornate Banjos built in the twenties and thirties. Not many carved instruments are known to have been built, but those which have been unearthed appear to have been constructed with the same degree of craftsmanship as the company's expensive banjos. Pictured here is a Ramona Mandolin, likely to have been built in the 1930's. It is carved instrument, with a spruce top and bird's eye maple back and rims. The fingerboard is Brazilian Rosewood with pearl block inlays and cream celluloid binding. Celluloid engraved headstock overlay, and matching triple-bound pickguard. The instrument is in near-new condition, as is its original fitted Geib Alligator case. 13.75" scale, 1-3/16" nut width. Of interest will be the c.1930 B&D Ramona guitar pictured in the previously sold page of Archtop.com's webite: http://archtop.com/ac_ramona.html (Link used by permission).
SOLD

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1926 Martin Style B Mandolin
Ok, so it's not a Loar F-5, but it is a prewar Martin Brazilian herringbone. With beautiful full tone, loud and rich, this instrument will make any Old-Time, Classical or Celtic player extremely happy. It is unfortunate that our pictures were not able to properly capture how beautiful this mandolin is in person. The blush on the back is hardly visible in actual daylight. It features an Adirondack spruce bent top, Brazilian rosewood body, ebony fingerboard with bar frets, inlaid engraved Waverly tuners and engraved tailpiece. Other cool features are the herringbone rosette and backstrip, flush inlaid pickguard, abalone diamond position markers, ivory nut, original ebony bridge and sides swept flush into the heel. This was a top-quality instrument in its day, long before the invention of bluegrass, and it has held up the way such an instrument should. The action is currently at 5-6/64" with D'Addario J-74's: very playable. The scale is a comfortable 13", the nut is 1 1/8". It has no cracks or damage, but extensive playwear on the top only. The frets are great, with normal wear in the first position. It is being sold without a case.
SOLD

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1927 Gibson A-4
A very nice mandolin, made just after the change back from snakehead to paddle headstock. That means it has the powerful tone of the maple back and sides and the original adjustable bridge and truss rod of the Loar period, coupled to the great looks of the earlier 'Teens A-4s. This one also has the slightly wider 1 3/16" bone nut, which many players prefer. The original tuners have plenty of life. There's a little honest playwear but no cracks or seam separations. The first eight frets have been replaced many years ago, and all of the frets have recently been leveled and crowned. Two brass rings for tying a strap have been left in place by a previous owner. The instrument has a loud, balanced tone with some sweetness and some good old-fashioned chop. The original green-lined case is in good condition, too.
SOLD

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1955 Harmony Electra
Ok, tenor nuts, this one's for you. It doesn't get more retro than this red and white beauty. Think of smiling blonde mothers with red lipstick handing out peanut butter sandwiches in red-checkered kitchens to you and all your friends. Think of those white cowboy boots with red stitching you always wanted when you were eight! This little number has no playwear, and comes in its original 'gator case. That one super-cool chicken head cranks the volume from the original DeArmond. Very playable, and sounds great.
SOLD

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1924 Gibson A-2z
Serial #79609. Although Lloyd didn't get around to signing this one, it's got the magic. It shines through a bit of good honest playwear, with a rich, open sound. It is in remarkable condition, crack-free and original, with good tight tuners and the adjustable Patent bridge in great shape. The frets show a fair amount of wear in the lower position. We had fun playing "Antiques Roadshow" with this one, when it was brought in from under Grandma's bed. Did we think they could get $800 for it? As ever, our mother's voices from the back of our heads made us tell the whole truth, so we now offer it on consignment with a clear conscience! We've given it a good cleanup and a pro setup, and it's a hot little number, indeed. The A-2z was an upgraded version of the teens A-2, introduced during the Loar years. It features double binding around the Adirondack spruce top with ivoroid, double bound soundhole, and a narrow 1 3/32" nut. The original greenlined hard case is in great condition, inside and out.
SOLD

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1919 Gibson A-2
A particularly fine sounding example of Gibson's brown-topped A-2. This one is completely original, crack-free, and very playable. Its 3 piece red-spruce top is in great shape with no sinkage below the bridge. The top's center section is fairly wide-grained, with tightly grained and quarter-sawn bookmatched bass and treble sections; possibly part of the reason that this one sounds so good. This A-2 also has the rare aluminum bridge top that does a good job of adding a little extra punch and sparkle. We think that the bridge is original to the instrument, although the serial number dates this mandolin a year or two earlier than the aluminum-top bridges; it is entirely possible that this instrument was completed in '21, but numbered in '19. It has a woody voice, fairly open, with a very responsive back; subtle overtones, and good strength. The pickguard support clamp is missing, and with only a few small dings and some fretwear from eighty-some years of tunes, there's not much else that can be held against this beauty.
With original hard shell case
SOLD

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2004 Gibson F-9
From time to time, we feel compelled to rescue the poor doggy in the window of the big-box chain stores. This one came from such a place in Buffalo, which will remain anonymous. It is actually a brand new instrument, but badly needed a setup and some loving. Since the kind of guys who buy Gibson Mandolins don't usually shop in that kind of store, they found it impossible to sell, and let us have it near cost. So you get a brand-new F-9 at a second-hand price, no playwear. Curly maple, Sitka spruce, ebony fretboard and bridge, decent tuners and a gigbag. Plays and sounds great.
SOLD

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2001 Gibson F-5 Fern
Famous for their projection and percussive 'cut', the Gibson F-5 is the instrument of choice for most contemporary bluegrass and progressive acoustic musicians. This example features a beautiful sunburst lacquer finish over figured maple and spruce. It is meticulously carved and built to the the same specifications that Lloyd Loar employed. "Fern" headstock inlay in abalone pearl, engraved gold tailpiece and matching gold hardware. This instrument is in near-new condition with no scratches, dings, or dents. It has just been set up and plays wonderfully in every position.
Original hard shell case included
SOLD
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1924 Gibson H1 Mandola
Imagine our excitement opening this beautiful case for the first time. Yes, we do have a good job! Unfortunately we do have to sell some of what comes through. So we offer you this super-clean Lloyd Loar period blackface H-1 mandola. Who doesn't long for that beautiful voice going down to "C"? It's got more cut than many mandolas, making it ideal for ensemble playing, where the 'dola can often be lost. It has very little playwear, but the original frets have been dressed quite low. The tuners are fine. We repaired a hairline top-crack next to the fingerboard, it is otherwise crack free. There is a little wear from the pickguard clamp. You will not find a more desirable Loar H-1. And, we'll throw in the original hard case, too.
SOLD

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1912 Gibson F-4
Although it's not for sale, we like to give you all a peak at the cool stuff we have the pleasure of restoring and repairing. This early 2-point mando has the full modern height bridge, with cherry neck and curly maple (not birch) body. We gave the instrument all new frets and refitted the bridge and pearl nut. Big job, and not easy on an instrument that had already been refretted twice before, but it came out absolutely perfect, giving this grand old lady the ability to sing with comfort, ease and style.
NOT FOR SALE

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1921 Gibson F-4
Definitely the treat of the week for our repair shop staff, this incredible instrument is a joy in every way. Inherited through family, this mandolin has clearly never been played. The vivid sunburst is completely unfaded and just glows! Subtly flamed maple seems to light up from inside. In pictures these style 4's look a little garish, in person, everyone who has seen this instrument has dropped their jaw. This was the top of the line when it was made in 1921; the very next year the F-5 usurped that role. Personally, (cash aside!) I'd take this over an F-5, and this is pretty much the holy grail for anyone who doesn't play bluegrass. I don't expect to see such a clean one again. We simply repaired a clean "Bill Monroe" crack on the scroll, and a loose end on the single interior brace. I'm glad to report there is no top sinkage, and the crack is all but invisible now, with no finish touch up. This is indeed one of the very best sounding mandolins I have ever played: loud, rich and full, lots of sustain, no mushiness and a big warm bottom end.
Currently for sale on our Mandolins and Banjos page!

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1997 Apitius Grand Classic F-5
A tremendous example of a hand-crafted F-5 style mandolin. Oliver Apitius' mandolins are among the most highly regarded bluegrass instruments ever made, which is why there is currently a two to three year wait for new instruments from this Canadian maker. This is Apitius' top-of-the-line model, featuring German spruce top; highly flamed maple back, rims and neck; ebony fingerboard, bridge and pickguard; pearl nut, gold Schaller tuners with MOP buttons, and a stunning abalone floral motif on the headstock. The plates are beautifully and evenly carved in the traditional pattern; reflective nitrocellulose lacquer finish. Although the instrument appears virtually unplayed, it has developed a rich voice, with clear projection, articulation and sustain. Send your banjo player home with his tail between his legs! There can be no doubt, this is a master-grade instrument.
Sold with a like-new Calton fiberglass case.
SOLD

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1917 Gibson A-1
Loud, full and warm: this one has it. In remarkable condition, an extremely beautiful instrument in every way. The back and rims are darker than most, and the back is one piece and sports a nice even figure, which is rare on these 'Teens Gibsons. The top has one "bearclaw" in the Adirondack spruce, and shows no significant playwear. Top and ebony fingerboard are bound in ivoroid. All original bone nut, ebony bridge, and tuners with little wear. Nice low action and original frets in ok condition. This one has the more "Dalmation" figured pickguard in great shape. Most importantly this mandolin sounds great, definitely one of the best I have played, rich and yet loud enough to be heard. You will not be disappointed. And the original hardshell case is just as clean.
SOLD

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1930's Stromberg-Voisinet Mandolin
Apparently an early draft from the creator of the Smurfs, this is actually a dynamite mandolin. Big warm voice, and loud; there's always a look of surprise when someone picks up good flattop mando and falls in love. All original and very playable, with a soft case.
SOLD

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1913 Gibson A-3 EXC
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1913 Gibson A-3
Serial #13523. 100% original and in great condition, this is a collector's or player's delight. Set up with its original bridge, nut, saddles, pickguard, and hardware this instrument has a great vintage vibe and tone. Bound top and back, bound fingerboard and soundhole, pearl The Gibson logo and inlay, pumpkin top finish and reddish back, sides and neck finish. There is a repaired seam separation on the tail of the instrument.
Original Hard-shell case included
SOLD

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1930's Recording King Mandolin. EXC-
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1930's Recording King Mandolin
Black with white binding, oval hole, asymmetrical body shape, and pearloid headstock. Beautifully stamped tuners with black bakelite buttons, carved ebony bridge. All in all, one of the best looking mandolins that's ever come through the shop. Action and playability are fine thanks to a recent in-shop set up.
Older soft case included
SOLD

 

1924 Gibson A-Jr EXC-
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1924 Gibson A-Jr
Snakehead, 100% original and crack-free, and amazing projection and volume. The Lloyd Loar era Junior A's are full-sized, full Gibson quality mandolins, with no frills, and a gorgeous warm brown stain all over. Plenty of life in the frets, tuners are fine, original pickguard and soft case. This mandolin has an exceptional warm tone with more cut than most 'teens A's, probably because of the maple back and sides that Loar specified. A couple of well-repaired seam separations, very little playwear: a great mandolin at a great price!
Period soft shell case included
SOLD

 

1930's Kay Kraft Banjo EXC.
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1930's Kay Kraft Banjo
Stromberg-Voisonet styling, with pearloid headstock veneer. The classic Kay Kraft look. It's playable, and has a tone of its own!
SOLD

 

2001 Doug Woodley Kalamazoo Klassic A-4 Special EXC+++
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2001 Doug Woodley Kalamazoo Klassic A-4 Special
Doug Woodley is one of the finest mandolin builders on the planet. His craftsmanship is second to none, and his instruments have a quality of tone a notch above. Woodley's instruments are continually sought after by musicians and collectors, but remain very difficult to acquire, thanks to a waiting list many years long.
This example is dated Feb 1st, 2001. It is a stunning instrument - perfect in every way - with Woodley's tastefully simple esthetic highlighting the highest quality tonewoods. It is carved of Englemann spruce and birds' eye maple, and features ebony binding, tuner buttons, bridge, and carved tailpiece cover and pickguard. French polish finish with both high gloss and depth. Impeccably made and finished, and beautiful tone. A joy to behold, and a bigger joy to play. A secure investment for a player or collector.
Hard Case included
On Consignment
SOLD

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c.1915 Orpheum No. 2 Banjo
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c.1915 Orpheum No. 2 Banjo
A striking 5 string banjo with very little play wear. Dark Mahogany neck with multi-colored marquetry, ornate pearl and silver lyre and crown inlay. 11 5/8" arched top head with original Jos.B. Rogers skin mounted over Orpheum's distinctive tone-ring. 100% original pot assembly and hardware, along with interesting "Hartnett Tone Bar" hand rest. Missing one fingerboard inlay, and replaced fifth string tuner. Very little fret wear, however the neck has back bow; making playability above the 9th fret a little more difficult. Built by Rettberg and Lange, New York City. A great open-back banjo with gorgeous original tooled leather case.
SOLD

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1928 Gibson A Mandolin VG+
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1928 Gibson A Mandolin
Serial # 84383. A post snake-head A, in original condition. Comfortable U shaped neck profile is immediately different feeling than earlier instruments. Original tuners, pickguard, bridge and tailpiece. Very loud, with well defined trebles; it's an instrument that cuts though the mix fabulously. Silk-screened "The Gibson" logo, and Black top finish add to the striking appearance. One small repaired crack at the edge of the finger board, and another just below the fingerboard in the neck (both well repaired).
Original case included
SOLD

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1916 Gibson A- Mandolin EXC
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1916 Gibson A- Mandolin
Serial #26182. A very clean example. Beautiful tone with great action and a straight neck - and 100% original. One-piece top, three-piece back! No cracks. Very open sounding with a lot of bass.
Original hard case included
On consignment
SOLD

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1923 Gibson MB Junior Mandolin Banjo EXC
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1923 Gibson MB Junior Mandolin Banjo
Serial # 11908-7. Snakehead! This is a genuine Loar-era Gibson Mandolin-Banjo! I bet if you put a Virzi Tone-Producer in it will still sound nothing like a Loar F-5! It's kind of fun to think that old Lloyd might have actually once glanced upon this little banjolin and smiled... This MB-JR is in great shape - It's all original with the exception of the new Grover bridge that I installed earlier today! It has an incredible punch and is probably the loudest non-electric instrument in the store. 13 7/8" scale length, 9" head diameter, double co-coordinator rods, open back.
possibly original hard shell case included.
SOLD

 

1914 Gibson A-1 Mandolin EXC+
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1914 Gibson A-1 Mandolin
This one's truly amazing! Built in 1914, this 88 year old Gibson A-1 mandolin appears to have hardly been played. It is a one-owner instrument - and was put away, literally, "in the closet" when its owner passed away in 1958. In addition, its owner, a sawmill worker, lost all his fingers in a mill accident many years before his death at the age of 88! It is an instrument well suited for both the collector and player - it is 100% original and intact, with no cracks or significant wear. "Pumpkin" spruce top, bound ebony fingerboard, double wooden inlayed sound hole rings, original ebony bridge and removable saddles, original tortoise-shell celluloid pick-guard and attachment clamp, original nut and "The Gibson" tailpiece cover, pearl inlayed "The Gibson" headstock logo, original tuners and frets, 3 piece neck with Ebony center lamination, and original case. It is a great sounding A-1 to boot ,which is surprising for an instrument that has not been strung or played in half a century. It does need to be played to really 'open up', buy the buyer will be treated to an instrument that he/she will have a great time making their own.
Original canvas soft/hard case included
SOLD

 

Orpheum
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Orpheum No. 1
serial number 13937, this Banjo was made in New York by Rettberg and Lange.
It has very interesting chrome-backed "Wilmot Tone Chamber" back.
24 brackets, 11" arched-top head, 20 3/4 scale length, original ivoroid tuners, 17 frets. Ornate mother-of-pearl peghead and fingerboard inlay.
Incredible greenish pearloid shaped pickguard and unique knee-rest. All natural maple with very little wear. Replacement synthentic head.
Original case included.
SOLD
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Lange Banjo
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1910's William Lange Professional Triple X -pre Paramount Tenor Banjo
A beautifully built Tenor banjo by William L. Lange - of Paramount and other Golden Age banjo fame.
Neck bar inscribed "Made Expressly for Henry Stadlemair Co. Inc. By Wm. L. Lange."
Intricately carved heel, SOLID Brazilian Rosewood resonator, Rogers skin head, original Paramount tailpiece, 20 brackets, intricate marquetry around rim, resonator and neck, beautiful inlays, especially at the 12th fret.
Grover planetary tuners, Original case.
SOLD

 

1922 Gibson GB-4 Banjo
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1922 Gibson GB-4 Guitar Banjo
A rare, rare find... Gibson produced these unique instruments between 1918 and 1931. Original 14" calfskin head, exquisite figured maple 3 shade sunburst trap door resonator, 24.75" scale length, "Moccasin" headstock with inlaid "The Gibson" script logo, original pearl nut, Original 3-on-a-strip tuners with ivoroid buttons, 3 piece maple neck, original ivoroid large pickguard, extended fingerboard, original trapeze tailpiece, 34 brackets - all original, original arm rest, Original case, too!!! and, it's Lloyd Loar era!!
As on P.126 Acoustic Guitars and Other Fretted Instruments by Gruhn & Carter.
SOLD

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