6/06/2015

1890s Bay State Style 1 Bowlback Mandolin




Ah, the second Bostonian today! This Bay State mando was made by Haynes in Boston and... looks very clean for its age. I'm guessing it's late 1880s/mid 1890s at the latest because of the interesting features: a curious tail and heavy-duty Waverly-style tuners.

My work on this was simple: I reset the fretboard extension a tiny bit lower to line it up with the rest of the fretboard (the neckblock/neck seem to be one unit in this one -- making a reset a real pain), leveled/dressed the frets, lubed the tuners, recut the bridge and compensated it, and set it all up. This is going to be used by a classical-playing student in an ensemble situation... so I also added side dots.



It now plays perfectly... in tune... and has a nice, mids/high "classical" voice. You can hear it pretty well with the floppy pick I'm using for the soundclip... it's got a lot of bright overtones and sustain that suits single-note stuff.



The original ebony bridge is now compensated.


The "open book" headstock shape seems to have been always popular...


The big pearl dots have nice color to them. The board is rosewood and this has those tiny little vintage bar frets.


The unusual tailpiece has 4 hangers and then two little "windows" in front that divide the strings up. My only complaint is that this makes it difficult to mute the string afterlength invisibly. Otherwise... it's pretty cool. The side-pressure in the strings also certainly keeps that bridge tidy and on-center.

The tailpiece "cover" is also nice in that it echoes the design of the pickguard.


The bowl is made up of maple and rosewood strips.




It looks like this mando has had some neck or rib work done in the past. There are a couple of tack-dots that I'm assuming held a rib or two down while regluing to the neck block.



Here's the end of that interesting tail.

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