Los Angeles, 1900
C. DeJulio Mandolin

© Frank Ford, 1999; Photos by FF

Bowl back mandolins were often made as elaborately decorated presentation pieces. This one is labeled "C.DeJulio, Los Angeles, 1900," and has loads of deluxe features. The body is made with many fluted rosewood ribs separated by inlaid silver strips. The fingerboard is solid mother of pearl, inlaid with abalone position markers. The pickguard is genuine tortoise shell, with a large delicate butterfly inlay. Tortoise shell also covers the entire neck and all surfaces of the peghead. All this inlay and decoration does not make for a better sounding instrument, but it surely made for a more expensive one! Notice the "steep" peghead angle, a definite old time European touch. On the back of the peghead, the inlaid tuners are covered by an engraved aluminum plate. At the time, aluminum was a pretty exotic material.

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