German Bowl-back & Boat-back Mandolins

Here are instruments photos and videos from past restoration projects and it is a gallery only, for instruments available for sale please see page "Instruments for Sale"

Antique Mandolin with Aluminium Bowl

Unknown make or date

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Very rare mandolin with aluminium bowl possibly made in Germany in early 20th century. Unfortunately there's no label to confirm who made it. There was one instrument maker in USA called Neil Merrill who experimented with aluminium on instruments in 1890's making all sorts of string instrument but looking at his instruments you will easily notice high quality engraving, enclosed tuners and maker identification. Here the engraving is more primitive, it has typical German tuners and tailpiece so to me that's a German copy. Although the appearance is a bit simple the sound is really pleasant and unique, it has a deep, rich and strong tone. It's a pity that so few instruments like that were made as combination of aluminum and spruce is definitely a good idea.

The mandolins neck joint has moved badly and warped fretboard so the neck had to be removed and glued back in correct position, then new thicker ebony fretboard replaced old rosewood. Original mother of pearl position dots were extracted and used in new fretboard in same positions 5, 7 and oddly 10. The soundboard is finished with french polish, neck finished in Tru oil. It has new bone nut and ebony intonated bridge, tuners cleaned and lubed but still turn quite hard.

 

Instruments dimensions:

- total length 60.5cm, - body width 19.6cm, - from nut to 12th fret 165mm (total scale length 330mm), Neck width at nut is 25.5mm, at 10th fret 36mm

Aluminium Mandolin
Aluminium Mandolin
Aluminium Mandolin
Aluminium Mandolin
Aluminium Mandolin

Antique German Mandolin

Unknown Maker

Circa early 20th century

Interesting German Bowl backed Mandolin with lute like head and carved sound hole giving impression of baroque like Mandolin. Instrument was in very good condition with no cracks to soundboard or bowl, but there was a crack on the head which has now been repaired.

It has unusual radiused fretboard, the frets were still high enough to be levelled and dressed. Apart from that, a standard parts were maintained - tuners cleaned and lubed, whole body finished with Antique oil which was polished to soft matt, finally new set of Aquila Nylgut strings were fitted which makes the instrument very easy to play as these strings are a lot softer than metal strings.

Measurements are as follows:

- total length 61cm ,- nut to 12th fret 164.5mm- body length 31.5cm- body width 18.6cm

- neck width at nut 27.5mm and 9th fret 35.5mm

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Unknown Maker (Possibly Schuster & Co.)

circa early 20th century

 

Absolutely beautiful Mandolin highly ornamented with mother of pearl around sound hole, body and inlaid tortoise shell pickguard. It has very unusual engraved tuners which are installed at front which is extremely rare, amazing tailpiece with cover and bowl made of East Indian Rosewood which is more brownish in colour then most bowlback mandolins.

Although there is no label present it is very likely made in Markneukirchen by Schuster & Co.

Mandolin finish has been restored with French polish and Tru oil to a high gloss, also tuners were cleaned, polished and lubed, tailpiece cleaned and polished, fretboard cleaned and sealed.

 

 

 

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Antique German Bowlback Mandolin

 

Antique German Boatback Mandolin

circa early 20th century

Unknown Maker

 

Very interesting boatback shape mandolin restored to fully playable condition.

Mandolin is completely refinished with tru oil which gives it superb glossy finish emphasizing beautiful flame and stained birdseye maple.

 

Measurements are as follows:

- total length 62cm - Zero fret to 12th fret 165mm - body length 33,5cm - body width 22.5cm

- neck width at nut 27mm and 12th fret 38.7mm

 

 

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Antique German Mandolin

Unknown Maker

Circa early 20th century

Interesting Lute shaped Mandolin was in very good condition and restoration only required little corrections which are as follows– fretboard cleaned, frets leveled and dressed, new cattle bone nut, tuners cleaned and lubed, existing finish was over-glossy and was polished to soft matt, finally new set of Aquila Nylgut strings were fitted which makes the instrument very easy to play as these strings are a lot softer than metal strings.


Measurements are as follows:

- total length 67cm (from head to pin) - nut to 12th fret 175mm - body length 34cm - body width 22cm

- neck width at nut 29.8mm and 9th fret 36.4mm

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Antique German Mandolin

Antique Mandolin ornate with lots of Mother of Pearl around edging and sound hole, no label or stamps are presents so the maker is unknown but type of finish and construction strongly suggests it was made in Germany rather than Italy.

I have decided to take different approach with this mandolin as to maintain maximum of worn out look but still make it fully playable. Following work has been done: two splits between ribs has been glued, fully fretted with nickel steel fret wire – then leveled, crowned and dressed, new cattle bone nut has been made, new ebony and cattle bone compensated bridge has been made - uniquely designed for this mandolin, tuners cleaned and lubed (none original), whole body was gently sanded with only micro fine sponge and then covered with few coats of Tru oil for fresh touch.

 

Mandolin is fitted with Aquila Nylgut Strings


Measurements are as follows:

- total length 61cm - width at cant 20.3cm - nut to 12th fret 167mm

- Neck width at nut 30.2mm, at 10th fret 40mm

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Antique German Boat-back Mandolin

Unknown Maker

Circa Early 20th Century, Germany

 

Originally the mandolin had yellowish Lacquer which made it look like plastic toy or tater bug, so despite I prefer to keep original finish where possible, this time I've decided to remove it completely and replace it with Oil finish which enhances natural colour of wood. The back and sides are made of strips of Maple and possibly Fruitwood, the soundboard is made of spruce – decorated with ebony stain pick guard inlaid with colourful celluloid.

To give it a little old look I've left old worn dye on the neck.

 

Measurements are as follows:

- total length 64.5cm - width 22cm - zero fret to 12th fret 167mm

- Neck width at nut 29mm, at 9th fret 36.6mm

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Antique Fluted Bowl Back Mandolin

Karl Bauml's

Spezial - Mandoline

Made in Germany

(business founded in 1903)

A well made instrument by Karl Bauml, possibly in August 1919 (date 1903 on left side of label relates to  brand establish date), it has all original parts and has been restored to playable condition.

The Bowl is made of Flamed Maple and Rosewood, the soundboard is made of cedar with stained fruit-wood scratch plate inlaid with mother of pearl.

Two piece V shape neck made of mahogany, it has a rosewood fretboard inlaid with mother of pearl and abalone and 17 nickel-steel bar frets. It has wonderful engraved closed – front tuners with ebony buttons and closed tail-piece.

 

Approximate measurements are as follows:

- total length 62.8cm

- width at cant 18.7cm

- from nut to 12th fret 166.8mm

- Neck width at nut 29.7mm, at 9th fret 37.3mm

Karl Bauml
Karl Bauml
Karl Bauml
Karl Bauml
Karl Bauml

Antique German Bowl-back Mandolin

Musikhaus Ma-La-Gi

Hamburg 22

Hamburgersrasse 67

An antique mandolin made in Hamburg, Germany possibly around 1920's. This time restoration approach was to refresh the surface of the finish while retaining very old appearance, this way I was able to keep the beauty of aged wood and have clean instrument that wouldn't be repelling from old dirt.

The bowl had few splits that are now repaired, one of them was done in the past.

The soundboard has no splits or cracks and was only cleaned with fine sanding paper, then french polished to mat finish.

The fretboard is in very good condition for it's age, original frets were high enough to be repaired. Tuners were lightly cleaned and lubed and work very well.

Mandolin is fitted with Nylgut strings – Aquila Red Series, this makes the mandolin very easy playable despite the action of 2.5mm (at 12th fret).
 

 

Approximate measurements are as follows:

- total length 61cm - body width 20cm - from 0 fret to 12th fret 162.5mm (total scale length 325mm) Neck width at 0 fret is 29.8mm, at 10th fret 37.6mm

Antique Mandolin
Antique Mandolin
Antique Mandolin
Antique Mandolin
Antique Mandolin

© 2014 - 2020 Lucas Sobieranski All Rights Reserved

Photo by Monika Karpiej, Manchester United Kingdom 2017

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