Fender Solid Body Electric Mandolin (1960), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 01909, sunburst lacquer finish, alder body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, original brown tolex hard shell case.

One of Leo Fender's more obscure instrument creations, the solidbody Electric Mandolin was in production from 1957 until the 1970's but is a relatively rare item. This one shows some signs of use but generally remains in nicely original condition. It was likely assembled in late 1959 or 1960; the pots are from late 1958, coded 8-47. The slab rosewood fingerboard neck carries no pencil date, typical for that time frame. Most extant examples date to the 1950s; later rosewood-board "Mandocasters" are rare items from any year.

The Fender Mandolin differs from most other electrics (and all acoustic mandolins) in having only four strings instead of the usual doubled courses. This follows the ideas of the mostly western swing players who were instrumental in helping develop Fender instruments, and is also sometimes seen in Bigsby electric mandolins. This results in a clearer more brilliant electric sound without the natural "chorusing" effect of doubled strings, albeit one that sounds as much like an octave guitar as a mandolin.

This instrument is also just ridiculously cute, resembling more than anything else a "just hatched" baby Precision Bass. All the early 1960s Fender features are there in miniature, including the clay-dot slab rosewood fingerboard on a maple neck with the classic Fender headstock, sunburst finish on an alder body, tortoise celluloid pickguard, flat-top chrome knobs and brown plastic-covered single coil pickup. The tuners are single line plastic-button strip Klusons. The '50's style thin script gold logo decal has no model name; "Mandocaster" is the collectors' slang for these but Fender just called it the Electric Mandolin. The brown Tolex case is also a miniature version of the standard guitar case, and is kind of adorable as well.

Overall length is 25 7/8 in. (65.7 cm.), 10 1/16 in. (25.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 13 3/4 in. (349 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/16 in. (30 mm.).

This is a nicely original instrument showing some play wear but no alterations. The original sunburst finish is a subtle three-tone blend with very little red hue, appearing pretty much two-tone. Some of this is fade but it looks like the there was not much red sprayed on to begin with. The body has a collection fairly random dings, scuffs, scratches, and dents, but no really heavy wear. The pickguard has some minor shrinkage but no split or popped corners, with some minor scuffing on the face. The back of the neck is worn to the wood up through the 5-6th fret area.

The instrument is all original except the chromed snap-on bridge cover has gone missing and the buttons on the original Kluson Deluxe strip tuners are replacements. '59 era plastic buttons are renowned for crumbling; the shafts show a bit of scarring from someone possible tuning with pliers long ago! The fret have been dressed down a bit and the fingerboard has some minor wear. This is a fine playing and sounding Fender Mandolin, a fairly rare dawn-of-the-'60s variation that does not turn up much. It resides in the original brown Tolex HSC, generally well preserved with one broken latch. Overall Excellent - Condition.

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Listeda year 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
Brand
Model
  • Mandocaster
Finish
  • sunburst lacquer
Categories
Year
  • 1960

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