German Mandolin Repair & Restoration



This German bowl-back mandolin doesn't have a manufacturers identification & so the origins are unknown.
However there is plate on the back of the head which attributes it to Schuster & Co of Markneukirchen in Saxony, close to the Czech border.
Keen guitarists will know that is the birthplace of one Christian Friedrich Martin & the place where he learnt his guitar making skills before emigrating to America.
It was also the home of many other notable instrument makers & artists.

This mandolin was in a very grubby state when it was brought in to me & its true beauty was hidden under a thick layer of grime.
I stripped out the tuners & tailpiece & then set to work cleaning & polishing everything. I needed to glue a crack in the bowl & a split in the head & also secure a few loose pieces of the mother-of-pearl & abalone purfling. The frets had to be dressed level & polished. Due to shrinkage of the wood the fret ends protruded beyond the fingerboard edges & so had to be filed back and smoothed. The back of the neck was stripped & new french-polish applied. The bridge required some work to reduce the very high action to a playable condition.

And finally, a set of Thomastik hand-made light-gauge strings tuned to concert pitch had it looking & playing as it should.
The owner is a member of a mandolin orchestra & so it is pleasing to know it will get played & not just become an ornament like many do.



German Mandolin - restored.