Look Portuguese? Oh, my, yes.
© Frank Ford, 2001; Photos by FF
OK, so here's yet another one "you don't see everyday." But, then, I suppose that's what a museum is all about. If you did see this kind of thing every day, why bother displaying it in a museum.
You're right, too, in thinking I'm stalling a bit here because I don't know anything about this instrument. Fact is, life would be pretty boring if we knew it all! Just let me present this combination mandolin tiple with the speculation that it was made in America by a Portuguese immigrant. That's my guess, anyway. I see what I think are Portuguese influences in the body styling. And, of course, both the flat back mandolin and the tiple derive from Portuguese sources. Vintage? Well, it looks as though it could be about the age of the mandolin tuners, which date from about 80 years ago. The tiple tuners are more like those from the 1960s, but I like to think they are replacements, but it is always possible the maker used salvage hardware for the mandolin gears. (Some years ago Gryphon supplied 90-year old tuners to the Santa Cruz Guitar Company to use for some custom 12-fret models. Maybe that will mess up some future historian. . .)
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