35. Rare old German mandola banjo (745)  300 euros  new

Old German mandola banjo

This is a pretty rare old, German, zither-style, mandola banjo from the early 20th century.  It has a nice WIDE fretboard and a long scale at 420mm. It is in good condition, after restoration and set up. In 12 years, this is the only one I have seen.... and it has a headplate which says..

Meinel and Herold

This instrument is now restored and fully playable. It has a new skin. It has the original fingerboard in ebony, with relevelled frets which look original . The tuners, bridge and tail are all originals. It has been restrung with light strings, gauges 013, 018, 030w, 044w, and is now playing well with a strong, full, sound with good sustain and volume. It has an easy playing action.

Other than cleaning, I have repaired as follows… 1) refinished throughout with shellac and Tru-oil; 2) levelled the original frets and replaced a couple of missing ones; 3) fitted a new skin and internal brace; 4) refitted the bridge and adjusted the neck angle; and 5) restrung and set up.


Mandola Banjo Specifications (mm.)

Overall Length of Mandolin


Width of mandolin at widest point


Approx. Depth of mandolin

85mm at bridge.


Refinished throughout with Tru-oil varnish.


New, good quality skin.

Back and sides

Solid, internal steel rod added to maintain circular form. Original heavy paint and varnish smoothed a little and varnished over. All tensioning hooks are present.

Neck and Head

1-piece, in excellent condition. I have reset the neck angle slightly for a better action.


Original in ebony with 17 re-levelled 'German silver' frets. 1 or 2 replacements MOP position markers at 3, 5, 7, 10, and 12.

Machine heads

Original, in steel and brass, one or two quite stiff. Would recommend string winder.


Original in steel, a little tarnished.


Original bridge refitted.

Scale Length Bridge to nut

Scale of 420mm

C string height at bridge


A string height at bridge


12th fret to bottom of C string (Action)


12th fret to bottom of A string (Action)


Width of fretboard at nut


Width of fretboard at widest point


Sleeve guard



Larger photos are available on request.