1960s Patenotte French-made Pochette Mandolin

I took this adorable little mandolin in trade. After fixing it up, I was extremely surprised to find an instrument that cuts and slashes through a mix like a ding-dong bluegrass mandolin. It's loud and proud -- even with the set of 32w-9 strings on it. It's not quite the same chop in a nasal way. It's more like a really loud bowlback/flatback hybrid. It cuts.

Ironically, the body is all ply, too -- thin ply, and underbraced -- which is why it sounds like it does. This arrived with a sunken top under the bridge and it still has it as there was never any bracing there -- just a ladder brace below the soundhole. I did mod an adjustable bridge to a low-profile one fitted to it to ameliorate that, though, and it's perfectly stable and good to go. It also gives some adjustment room to set it up to taste.

It has a French "Patenotte" label in the soundhole and appears to have been made in Mirecourt. It's all-original save the bridge (an improvement) and nut (also an improvement) and it plays like a champ.

The flamed-maple veneer on the back and sides is quite nice and the "rope" purfling on the top gives it a really traditional, Italian-style look. I like the rosewood pickguard, too, which is set into the top.

Repairs included: fret level/dress, side dots install, new bone nut, new low-profile adjustable bridge, cleaning, restring, setup.

Top wood: ply spruce

Back & sides wood: ply flamed maple

Bracing type: ladder

Bridge: rosewood

Fretboard: rosewood

Neck wood: maple or similar

Action height at 12th fret: hair-under 1/16" at the 12th fret (fast)
String gauges: GHS A240 set (32w-9 -- go no heavier)

Neck shape: medium-deep C/V

Board radius: flat

Truss rod: none

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: medium-small

Scale length: 13 1/2"

Nut width: 1 3/16"

Body width: 5 3/4"

Body depth: 1 7/8"

Weight: 1 lb 2 oz

Condition notes: it's pretty clean but does have some sink to the top under the bridge. It's stable and non-worrying as the top itself is ply and isn't going to crack or destabilize. I've fitted the new bridge to it and there's adjustment for the action up/down easily with it. There's average usewear throughout the finish with mild scuffs/scratching here and there.