9/14/2012

c.1970 ODE F-Style Carved Mandolin


This is a customer's instrument and it's darn good bluegrass machine. I gave it a light fret level/dress, cleaning, and a setup and now she plays beautifully with that dark, percussive chop sought after in BG instruments.

OK -- ready for a history lesson?

This mandolin was made (or at least supervised) by Robert Givens (a fancy mando builder), who at the time was partnered with Tut Taylor (of resophonic/Dobro guitar fame), and the both of them were supplying parts and also building for Baldwin (who owned Gretsch at the time and is more famous for its pianos) but they were building for the Baldwin-owned ODE label (which is a more or less famous American banjo brand from the 60s).


This is basically a less-fancy F-5 copy, with an authoritative bark and bite, and smooth playability (now). It feels good and sturdy in the hands and sure gets the job done. I definitely notice it "warming up" after playing for 10 minutes or so. It's definitely a good-quality instrument and has been cared-for well over the years. All it shows for wear and tear is weather-checking and crackling in the finish.


The pearl ODE inlay is nicely done.


Bound ebony board with pearl dots.


The bridge is at its most reduced level, which is fine since it's summer right now and the top will probably lower itself just a hair in winter, when the bridge can then be raised.



Nice maple on the back, but the dark finish overall hides a lot of the tight curl in it.










If someone can derive a precise date for this from its serial, by all means, let me know!

For now it's going back to my friend and its owner, and hopefully getting a bit more play now that it plays well (it was a bit bear-ish before).

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