5/12/2016

1890s Lyon & Healy Bowlback Mandolin





I worked on this mandolin for a customer and it's been here a long while, now, awaiting fairly simple repairs -- I glued-up some open seams on the back/bowl, leveled/dressed the frets, replaced missing tuner hardware, made a new bone nut and compensated rosewood bridge, and set it all up with a set of 32w-9 bowlback-gauge strings.

The instrument is unmarked, but it's clearly a Lyon & Healy-style mandolin from around 1890-1900. It's pretty-much identical to the build and style of their "American Conservatory" brand (mid-grade) bowlbacks and even has the usual "dipped-cutout" headstock shape typical to L&H instruments.


Whatever the parentage, it's a good-quality instrument, has a full tone and good volume, and has pretty trim. The top is crack-free and solid spruce, the bowl is Brazilian rosewood, the neck is mahogany, and both the fretboard and headstock veneer are rosewood as well. My new bridge is, too.


The scale length is slightly short at 12 7/8" long.



When this was made, the furniture-trade purfling would've been brightly-colored -- probably oranges, reds, and yellows.



Because there's no tailpiece cover (it's missing), my muting-foam for the string afterlength is visible.







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