S. S. Stewart Model Tiple, made by Nicola Turturro, c. 1926, made in Brooklyn, NY, mahogany stain finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, grey chipboard case.

This mid 1920's all-mahogany Tiple was made for New York jobber Bugeleisen & Jacobson by Brooklyn-based luthier Nicola Turturro, who built many interesting instruments in that period. Turturro is mostly remembered for more fanciful creations including elaborate harp-mandolins, the "Peanut Uke" with a shell-like back and the amazing "Turnover" double-sided ukulele/mandolin which remains practically unique. He sold instruments out of his Brooklyn shop but they were also marketed by several New York jobbers, and appear stamped with various brands including in this case "S.S. Stewart".

This tiple is rather conventional in design but nicely made and quite good sounding, if not quite up to the Martin level of workmanship. It has a dark-finished tight grained mahogany body, black/white binding on body and soundhole and a mahogany neck with a thick rosewood fingerboard. The most unique feature is the solid tapered headstock in place of the slotted variety used on nearly all other '20s tiples. This is a lightly built, very good sounding and playing original 1920's tiple and a cool piece of Brooklyn history. It remains as Nicola Turturro built it nearly 100 years ago, plays and sounds excellent and is one of the few tiples from this (or any) era that approaches the Martin level of tone quality.

Overall length is 26 3/4 in. (67.9 cm.), 9 in. (22.9 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 17 in. (432 mm.). Width of nut is 1 7/16 in. (36 mm.).

This is a lovely original instrument, showing some play wear but no major damage or repair for its +/- 95 years on the planet. The bridge has been neatly reglued (almost unavoidable on old tiples!) but there are no cracks or other repairs visible. The original finish has scrapes, dings and nicks overall with a spot of strumwear right where you'd expect it on the top. Some very small initials are scratched into the back of the peghead.

This is an excellent playing and sounding tiple, a bit mellower perhaps than the more familiar Martin T-17 but sonically in the same league. Improbably it appears to have likely been sold in the UK long ago as it is contained in a period English "Pistol" case fitted exactly to the instrument, with a period Clifford Essex string packet and nifty one-barrel pitch pipe in the pocket. Excellent - Condition.

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Listed3 years ago
ConditionExcellent (Used)
Excellent items are almost entirely free from blemishes and other visual defects and have been played or used with the utmost care.Learn more
  • Tiple made by Nicola Turturro
  • Mahogany Stain Finish
  • c. 1926
Made In
  • United States

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Retrofret Vintage Guitars

Brooklyn, NY, United States
Joined Reverb:2015

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