12/24/2017

1920s Oscar Schmidt-made Sammo Flatback Mandolin





I've worked on Sammo-branded mandolins made by both Regal and Harmony in the past, but this is the first one that I've worked-on that was clearly an Oscar Schmidt build. It's spruce over birch and, as typical for Oscar Schmidt but not period Regals and Harmony mandolins, the top is not canted in bowlback-fashion. That would change in the 1930s when both Harmony and Regal adopted the flat-top style this one has, but at the time this was made (1920s), Oscar Schmidt was the only budget brand doing it.

This also has the same binding and finish-style found on numerous other OS products and it has a dovetailed neck joint that OS used. Regal used a doweled joint on most of their mandolins, though the headstock shape of this is obviously a riff on the normal Regal-style "swoop" shape.


The mandolin is all-original and features an ebony bridge but an ebonized-maple fretboard. It has an unusual, 12 7/8" scale length. I've strung it 34w-10 because of that and also the bulked-up, OS-style mandolin build -- which tends to favor heavier tension than my "standard-issue" 32w-9 strings for period mandos.

Work included a brace reglue, fretboard reglue (as well as shaping to remove warp in the neck), bridge compensation/modification, fret level/dress, a new bone nut, and a good setup. It's playing on-the-dot with 1/16" action at the 12th fret.









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