3/05/2014

c.1900 Bruno-sold The Vernon Mandolinetto




I'm not sure who made this mandolinetto (read: guitar-shaped mandolin), but it does remind me of Regal products that I've seen from their pre-Chicago factory. It's got a curious build including a "Spanish heel" construction at the neck block and compared to the more-usual wider-bodied mandolinettos, this one is barely larger than a concert ukulele. This means that (to my eyes) it's a perfect travel companion as it could easily be stowed in airline overheads or in your car's filled back seat for road trips.

Still, despite the size it has a great sweet sound bridging the crisp bowlback and warm flatback divide. The deeper body compared to most flatback mandolins gives it a distinctly different voice with a bit more sustain and note complexity, too. Work included a fret level/dress, bridge reprofiling, brace reglues and back crack cleating, and seam repairs. There was also a tiny hairline crack at the base of the headstock that I glued up, too.



The top has zero cracks, which is nice, but plenty of pickwear and use-wear. The pickguard is inset like on most old mandos.

This instrument has a solid spruce top and solid quartersawn oak back and sides. The neck is mahogany.


Original ebony nut, too... and a cute "open book" headstock.


Pearl dots are inlaid into a flat-profile rosewood board. The bar frets are nickel-silver and the neck joint is at the 10th fret. This has a 13 1/8" scale.


Nice oval soundhole! -- as well as pretty purfling lines behind the cream celluloid binding.


I only had to adjust the ebony bridge slightly for best action, but while I did I also compensated it.


This is a hinged "wrist rest" style tailpiece/cover. I have a bit of leather stuffed under it to mute the extra string length.



You can't argue too much with quartersawn oak back and sides stained a rich brown -- it just looks great! -- and matches the "arts and crafts" furniture hanging around our house and the shop, too.




That longer hairline crack on the back (open center-seam) is filled and cleated and all set.


The headstock rear bears a stamped "150" on its rear. The tuners are the "reverse shaft" type, with their shafts above the gears.


The Spanish heel joint (neck and neck block are the same piece) allows for a nice "running over" of the back onto the heel's bottom.


I'm trying to show the small (glued-up) headstock crack, here. It's stable and good to go.



There's an old-fill "puncture crack" near the tailpiece, but it's also the only crack on the sides.

2 comments:

John Buterbaugh said...

I have an identical one. We were told as kids OT was a mandola...what is it worth? JohnnyB7922@gmail.com

John Buterbaugh said...

Hello, is anyone around?? Such a cool little instrument, which is tuned kinda backwards I'm trying to figure it out. I play guitar so its a leap.