8/17/2012

c.1915 Weymann Style 50 Mandolute Mandolin




Weymann's "Mandolute" line of instruments were sort of intended to compete directly with the Gibson line of mandolin instruments at the time. They are, of course, quite high quality but have an entirely different tone compared to the husky, gutsy Gibson sound. These have a more "perfect" bowlback tone in the upper register with a good, tight and focused bottom end like a flatback mandolin that's been EQed to clean up the tone after recording. This one is nicely loud and has a super tone for Celtic, old-time, classical, or old popular songs from its day.

This Style 50 is among the fanciest of the mandolins I've seen from the Philadelphia maker. It features incredibly flamed solid maple back and sides with double-bound "violin" edges also of flamed maple, a two-pice curly/flamed maple neck, solid spruce top, and decoration nearing over-the-top but also super elegant. Of special note is the Saturn inlay on the fretboard!

The mando seems all-original though I suspect the tailpiece may be a slightly later (1920s) replacement, since when I removed it there was an extra hole drilled underneath it.

Update: the serial number on this is 22614 for comparative dating to other Weymanns.


Check out the nicely-inlaid large celluloid/tortoise pickguard...!

There are no cracks on the mandolin anywhere except for the top, which has a longer (previously fixed and spliced) harline to the bass side of the bridge and one on the bass "shoulder." Both are very stable.

Oh, wait, there's also a stable hairline on the fretboard extension, too.

My work on this instrument involved mostly the fretboard: I had to take it off, plane the neck and fretboard extension flat, then reglue it. Over time the neck joint had shifted from normal tension and so the fretboard extension was "ski jumping" the end of the fretboard. After planing the join and regluing the board, it's perfectly straight, now. I also gave the frets a leveling and dressing and recut the original (compensated) bridge to set the action at its perfect 1/16" height.


The engraved, top-loading tuner plates are gorgeous. The tuners themselves are in wonderful shape, too. Note the original bone nut.


Nice pearl inlay in the headstock.


The lovely pearl inlay (Saturn on the 3rd fret!) is set into what appears to be dyed maple or a similar hardwood. The board is also bound in ivoroid celluloid.


One excellent bit with Weymanns is that the fretboard is nice and wide so there's plenty of room for fingering. In addition, most of them (like this one) have a 13 1/2" scale which is closer to the Gibson 13 7/8" scale than most other contemporary makers and puts more tension on the strings, thus increasing projection and tuning stability. I have a set of regular lights (34w-10) on it right now and they're the heaviest I suggest for this instrument.


Ivoroid-bound rosette. Nice green/yellow/black inlaid rosette, too! The board goes up to the 22nd fret.


I had to cut down the bridge for proper action height, but it's still nicely sculpted.


Waverly "cloud" tailpiece.


Ain't she a beaut? The bodies on these mandolutes are a little larger than most folks are used to in a mandolin, with a nice deep center for good round tone.


Here's the stunning part: look at all that flamed maple... and all that binding!



Gorgeous violin-toned flamed maple all over and check out that extreme multi-ply binding all over these "violin" edges...! The sides are inset from these bound edges. And also check out how that original finish gleams!


Here's a detail of some of that incredibly nice detail work.


Recessed tuners detail.


Hubba-hubba maple neck with "violin tone" coloration on the back of the neck.



Holding your breath, yet? Yowza!!! Incredible flame, here!


Weymann decal on the back of the headstock.


Super detailing around the heel join...


I had to get a "clean" shot of this... yum yum yum.




It's hard to convey how ridiculously classy this instrument is.



...and an original, branded, hard case, too!



...with 1915 sales receipt! Yes, I know, it's all a bit much, isn't it?

Too cool!

1 comment:

Charlie said...

Woah Jake! With an original sales receipt please tell me this Mandolute has a serial number!!! It would be great to help put other numbers in perspective!