10/17/2014

c.1920 Lange-made? SS Stewart Style A Banjo Mandolin




This SS Stewart is very similar in build and specs (even the same "donut" style Bacon tonering) to a Bacon style B tenor I worked on two years ago which I think was Lange-made. By the time this was made SS Stewart was simply one of a zillion retailer brands rather than something actually made in the old Stewart factory. It's a good-quality instrument and after getting some light fretwork and a setup over here it plays just fine and has a good, loud, punchy tone. I'm a fan of this tonering style (I think the size of it eliminates some of the zingy overtones you sometimes get with more typical hoop rings) and it certainly suits the banjo mandolin sound, too.

I worked on this for poor Mr. Paul who's had three mandolin-family instruments languishing in line for the last four months... all of which only needed minor repairs. Oh well, they're good now...! The funny thing about the waiting game on repairs over here is that often the repair time isn't hugely consuming but things have to get done in order to get to the next round of repairs as I only have so much time on my hands...


This instrument is mostly original but has had a new Renaissance head (nice choice) installed at some point along with a new bridge made (quirky but useful) and repro tailpiece added.


The whole instrument has also been oversprayed but not to any real detrimental effect. The pearl still gleams and the maple used throughout looks great. Original bone nut... and dyed-maple or pearwood fretboard and headstock veneer.


The off-center inlay is really typical of Lange builds from the time. I don't know why they couldn't be bothered to cut their pre-inlaid board blanks on center but it's so, so, so common.


The home-made amoeba-like bridge is functional but a little overly-sculpted for my taste. Still... why replace something that works and sounds good?



Pretty rim, huh? I's got flamed maple veneer on the inside and a multi-ply maple build.


Old Waverlies at the headstock...


...and a sweet-looking rounded heel.




The tonering is like a "hoop in sleeve" Little Wonder type though it has a continuing edge that comes down into the center of the rim. This is known as a "Bacophone" ring.



Who can argue with an original hard case?

1 comment:

Julien said...

Such a lovely little instruments. Lucky Mr. Paul ! : )