c.1930 American-made Portuguese Mandolin





I'm not sure if this is a Portuguese mandolin or mandola, as it has a 3 1/2" depth, 14 3/4" scale (long!), wide fretboard, and 11 3/8" (wider than my old gut-strung "parlor" guitar) width. I have it setup as a mandolin, however, with lighter strings after Portuguese guitar fashion (silvered-copper wound strings, gauges 31w, 22w, 12, 095).

That said, this thing is incredible. Nice wide ebony fretboard makes hitherto impossible (for me) chords on mandolin easy as pie (blackberry pie), deep Brazilian rosewood (solid) back and sides give it crisp, sweet, rich, and powerful tone... choice spruce top has the looks as well as the goods, and a cedar neck in the classical guitar tradition feels really comfortable and fast. Did I mention the slotted headstock with 1930s Klusons on it?


This mando has had a number of amateur repairs and uglification, much of which I've reversed or minimized, but there's no hiding that yuckily-filled hairline on the top, and believe me... it was much worse!

And speaking of the top, it's got bracing resembling a "tic tac toe" board which gives it a lot of strength plus tremendous power. Braces are very tall but very thin. Tone is somewhere between a flattop's punch and warmth and a bowlback's clarity and treble brilliance, but at twice the volume level you'd expect for either. This thing cuts and response is delightful.


Rosewood headstock veneer. Bone nut (orig).


Brass frets and... bone? dots.


Original ebony and bone bridge. Cool typically-Portuguese rosette.



Can anybody say... lush?



Pretty amazingly nice rosewood. All bound with wood, of course, top and back.



Gorgeous, true, Spanish heel.


And a regular tailpiece cut and bent to resemble a Portuguese-style tailpiece (ie, no cover). Thank goodness this has the regular tuners, however, and not the watch-key wildly-annoying-to-change-strings tuners.

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