c.1925 Oscar Schmidt Stella Flatback Mandolin

Here's a cool "black and white" (well, cream) flatback mandolin made by Oscar Schmidt around 1925. The body and neck is made entirely out of solid birch with a black stain. It looks like it's been refinished at one point (so-so job), though probably more or less an overspray as this was probably black to begin with (this is a typical OS style from the time).

I picked this up in trade and for the most part it was "all there" though it needed a new nut, a fret level/dress, and a setup -- and I also lubed the tuners.

After the work this is a great player with a sweet, warm, woody and decently loud tonality. I can totally see this punching out blues or ragtime numbers. It has that vibe.

New bone nut, cool pearloid ("mother of toilet seat") veneer on the headstock and fretboard.

The first three frets were replaced but otherwise these are original nickel-silver frets. I like the simple black dot markers.

The top and soundhole are bound in white celluloid though I had to scrape some paint off the edges of them to get them to come out a little more crisp.

Rosewood and celluloid bridge. These are GHS 32w, 20w, 13, 09 gauged strings -- my typical gauges for older flatback and bowlback mandolins.

This has the cool cloud tailpiece but with light engraving.

The color combo is pretty fun and stylish.

Note some of the finish has chipped off on the neck joint and I removed some flaking bits to the sides of the fretboard extension.

Tuners are original but have replaced buttons.

There were strap buttons installed at the neck join rear and also at the "end pin" area.

Overall this is a nice-sounding, sturdy, and good-playing period flatback... and heck... it sure would look nice next to an old-timey 12-fret Oscar Schmidt guitar!

1 comment:

Joe Schenkman said...

It would look even better next to a Martin 12-sting. Y'know, the ones that join the neck at the 12th fret.