c.1900 Lion Flatback Mandolin (by Weymann?)

Update! Mando-loremaster Jim Garber over at Mandolin Cafe popped up some photos of an earlier Weymann-made mandolin that is essentially this mandolin's shabbier-looking sister, so I think we've found our maker on this fella -- Weymann out of Philadelphia. Makes sense considering the deep body and pinched "lower bout" area.

This is a sweet old flatback mandolin, with definitely older appointments -- and was probably somewhat of a rare bird in the bowlback world of c.1890s/1900s. The "Lion Brand" supposedly has ties to the "Lion Manufacturing Company" in Iowa... however... considering the materials used in the instrument and especially the style of the binding and purfling... my guess is that this was actually built by another lion -- Lyon & Healy -- or another Chicago firm.

This mando has a deep flat body, with canted solid spruce top, mahogany neck, ebony fretboard and inlaid pickguard, and quartersawn oak back and sides.

Aside from this new bone nut, it's 100% original.

Ebony board, MOP dots, fresh fret dress.

Nice label inside.

Ebony bridge, too. Gotta love the inlaid pickguard.

The lone crack on this instrument is on the side, and was repaired many years ago.

I love quartersawn oak on instruments. Tone is clear, crisp, sustained, but has plenty of bottom end and a chop very similar to an archtop mando. The big difference is that this has a little more "depth" than an archtop.

Early Bell Brand tailpiece, minus any cover. In good shape, too. These are some of the most practical tailpieces as ball-end strings can be used with them as well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I bought this mandolin in 1985 and often wondered it's background. It is indeed a sweet instrument.