1890s Bruno Fancy Bowlback Mandolin

This is a customer's mandolin and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to make it playable due to its one-piece neck/neck-block construction. Fortunately, I have a few tricks up my sleeve (click to read up on that), and now it's playing nicely.

While it's branded Bruno, I have no idea which factory actually built this instrument. In some ways it looks very Chicago, but in others it reminds me of Bauer and Weymann instruments, so who really knows? In any case, it's a fancier model and has a pearl-inlaid celluloid pickguard, extra layers of purfling, and a pretty headstock cut.

Post-work it handles well and sounds good, too. It's not as refined/creamy as something like a Vega or Larson build, but it's very respectable and has good volume/cut for an "average American bowlback." It shines on slower passages.

Repairs included: an improvised neck reset, fretboard reglue, reseating of all bar frets, fret level/dress, side dots install, modification/compensation to the original bridge, cleaning, and setup.

Setup notes: it plays bang-on with 1/16" action at the 12th fret. It has a straight neck and string gauges are from the GHS A240 set -- 32w, 20w, 13, 9 -- almost identical to the gauges I've found on many antique mandolins. Anything heavier and you're rolling the dice in the long-run...

Scale length: 13 1/4"
Nut width: 1 1/8"
String spacing at nut: 1"
String spacing at bridge: 1 9/16"
Body length: 12"
Lower bout width: 7 1/2"
Side depth at deepest: 5 3/8"+/-
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides wood: solid rosewood + solid maple
Neck wood: mahogany
Fretboard: ebonized maple, bar frets, bone nut
Bridge: ebony, compensated
Neck feel: medium C-shape, flat board

Condition notes: the ebonized fretboard is pretty rough but functional, there's plenty of usewear and small scratching throughout, and there are two very small hairline cracks (repaired) near the pickguard on the top. All of the hardware is original to the instrument, but I've modified the bridge quite a bit.