11/23/2014

1900s Bruno Style 2 1/4 Bowlback Mandolin




This fella dates either from the late 1890s or the early 1900s. It's a nice little thing and a customer sent it in for work. All it needed was bridge compensation, a light fret level/dress, one seam repair, and setup. It's quite clean, crack-free, straight-necked, and plays spot-on. It also looks gorgeous, too, with a silver(?) and pearl inlay set into the celluloid pickguard.

I'm really not sure who made this for Bruno but it does have a bit of a Washburn-y vibe emanating from it. Features to catch are the birdseye maple/rosewood ribs, ebony fretboard with bar frets, and nice swinging tailpiece cover. I've always liked that unit as the cover never needs to be bent time after time to keep it from flying off like those Waverly cloud tails. Soundwise it's clean, clear, and decently loud and the 13 1/4" scale is quick -- especially with the "bowlback" gauged 32w-9 strings I've popped on it.


It's handsome.




I love that silver(?) and pearl flower combo.




...and I can't argue with the Renaissance-echo high-contrast ribs!



I took a little extra time and dismantled the tuners, too, so I could tighten them all up. The factory build on the tuners meant that I had to cut slots into the side-plates (something standard on this type of tuner, usually) to allow removal of the main units... but someone in the future will be happy to be able to re-tighten the gear/post connections when they inevitably loosen up (they wouldn't have held good pitch had I not serviced them... two were very loose).



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