5/23/2017

1890s Weymann Bowlback Mandolin



I don't see too many Weymann bowlbacks grace the doors via customers and most of them are of the slightly-newer (1900s), tubbier-looking variety. This one is clearly older -- probably mid-1890s judging by the '94 patent date on the tuners -- and a little narrower and more-spidery sounding like many other American bowlbacks of the same decade.

It's also in great shape, for the most part, but it did get a heavy-handed fret level/dress, modification to the bridge, some binding repair, a couple hairline cracks cleated and filled, and a general setup before it was allowed to leave. It's got interesting woods with birdseye maple and mahogany ribs on the bowl and a mellow, buttery-yellow finish to the spruce top. The trim has fairly fancy purfling and binding (complete with nice red dye still extant) but the whole effect is understated.

What's it sound like? Well -- it's "classical" and dry with a lot of sustain and focus on the note. The low-end is scooped right out but it does sound pretty good for old-timey/Celtic riffing.



I've always liked those aluminum-buttoned, recessed Weymann-style tuners.

The board and bridge are ebony and the nut and saddle are bone.


I've got 32w-9 GHS mando strings on here.



The pickguard has crackled like crazy. I did soak some glue in there to hold it somewhat-stable. As you can see, I've also compensated the bridge.


The tailpiece is Waverly-style but "not."



The mix of dark-stained birdseye maple and mahogany is grand, isn't it? It's like some wild vegetable plucked from the garden.






The lower screw is new and, strangely-enough, the tailpiece was never drilled for a screw down there. I figured it would be a good idea to add one for stability's sake.

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