3/11/2011

c.1915 Weymann "Mandolute" Mandola


Weymann instruments are on the rarer side, their flatback "Mandolute" line being on the even rarer side vs. their various banjos and earlier bowlback mandolins (guitars being their rarest creations). They shared Pennsylvania with Martin and the high quality standards of these instruments are "where it's at." I've always been a huge fan of Weymann banjos and managing to pick up this ultra-rare mandola version of their more-common mandolin size "Mandolutes" was just icing on the cake of fandom.

Just for reference... I know of no other Weymann mandola at the moment. I'm sure they've made them, but there are no other records anywhere on the internet.

This is a 17" scale mandola, with a huge wide lower bout (12"), beautiful solid flamed maple back and sides (violin grade), and solid spruce top. Unlike "bent top" flattop instruments, in the pattern of bowlback mandolins, these have a curved top and back, which give them an almost Renaissance look. Inset, engraved tuners, and violin-style recessed sides just adds to the charm.


This particular instrument has had a very rough life, including some older "repairs" which meant the back (with loads of cracks) had been reglued incorrectly "back" on again, with much of the back-edge violin-style extra edge broken and missing.


Nice, functional, inset tuners.


Lovely floral engraving!


MOP dots on a walnut (I think) fretboard. New binding is replacement "backstrip" material from my wood stash.


Celluloid tortoise pickguard is inlaid into the top.



Just a note, here... this body is very deep and wider than a typical flattop mandola, which means there's a lot of airspace on this instrument. In additon, the longer 17" scale gives more tension with typical strings. I've taken advantage of the larger airspace and longer-than-normal scale length to actually tune it down to octave mandolin range (GDAE an octave down from mandolin).

Tone is big and lush and super balanced with a dark quality to it but without the muddiness typical in a regular flattop instrument. Tremolo sounds wonderful on the lower courses.



Ivoroid binding with rope-style purfling.


Rosewood bridge with bone saddle.


Nice fancy "cloud" tailpiece.


Weymann label in soundhole.



Weymann label on back of headstock. Neck is a 3-piece type with the two larger pieces being outrageously curly maple.


The finish has been "rubbed down" like on a violin to make a smoother-feeling neck.


Back... note all the cracks!




Really pretty maple all over this thing.


Note the black back edging... this replaces the void left where the maple trim like on the upper edge was nearly all gone and cracked up. I sanded down the area where it was glued, "ebonized" it, sprayed a couple coats of finish on it, then "relic"-ed it to make it look a bit older.

I think it turned out alright. At first glance, and if you didn't know what these looked like to begin with, I think it'd pass as original styling. It fits in.



When reinstalling the tailpiece I included a strap button.

2 comments:

DD. said...

Lovely instrument. I currently have my Grandmother's Weymann Mandolute Model 15--somewhat simpler details, but in quite good shape.

Are you aware of any resource that allows dating specific instruments by serial number?

Linda O said...

i have my grandfathers mandolute, which appears identical to the one shown except no bone insert. Grandfather is long gone, and i am in my 60's. I would like to sell it for a fair price..where you suggest i go? I am in Phoenix, Arizona,can be reached at whitneylsm@msn.com. Thank you.