Model 307

Ser# 32804


15" scale (long scale Mandolin)
Tuned GDAE
String gauges 33-23-13-10
Can Tune in CGDA (Mandola)


Not its original case, will come with new soft case

In the 1960's there was a large string band in Wilmington, Delaware.  One of the members drove the city bus and had no immediate family.  He would use his Spartan salary and buy quality musical instruments.  then he would "lend" them to band members.  Of course he never asked for them back and that's how this mandola started and thus those lovely blue painted marks on the neck. I was a wee little girl then and he lent me a B&D tenor sultana 4 that I play to this day. He would be so pleased to see your efforts.  I know someone is really going to love it.

This from Wikipedia:
The cylinder-back is a style of mandolin manufactured by the Vega Company of Boston, MA between 1913 and roughly 1925. The design patent (US patent number D44838) for the instrument was issued on November 4, 1913 to David L. Day, who was director and chief acoustical engineer for the stringed instrument division of the Vega Company. The unique design feature of the cylinder-back instruments (originally referred to as mando-lutes by their manufacturer) is a cylindrical bulge running longitudinally along the back plate, from the tailpiece to the neck heel. This bulge increases the internal volume of the instrument. The result has been described as a compromise between the earlier Neapolitan-style bowl-back mandolins and the more modern styles with relatively flat backs that were manufactured primarily in the United States around the time of the cylinder-back's first appearance. In addition to the mandolin, the same bulged-back concept was applied to the Vega lute mandolin, mandola, mandocello, and mando-bass, 4 string tenor lute as well as to a series of hybrid 10-string instruments than spanned the pitch range between adjacently sized 8-string models. 

Another fine link to Vega Cylinder Backs

This instrument certainly plays wonderfully in GDAE,  with the Mandolin strings that it has on it now but I will be setting it back up as Mandola with Custom string gauges for the short scale
I will continue to research it.

I owned a Vega Tenor Lute that was not listed on any webpages I could see... and was all #9 inlay, which has its own story in history.
Now it is owned by a friend and he loves it.

Evaluation pics

Ser# in top of peghead

No top cracks

All abalone trim intact and VG
Somelabel damage, mostly intact

Patent 1913 label intact

Fret wear on the first positions is fairly heavy, I will do a leveling.
There is alot of grime on the board, that's not all divoting as it appears
Markers all have graving lines and will be refilled with black jewelers wax

 7.5" from nut to 12th fret

Neckset VG, action VG,
Instrument is full of tone and plays very well even with old tired setup and setup as a Mandolin
Hairline crack in fingerboard center, I will repair this.

One small bulge in the binding, I will repair this

One missing screw, I'll add this
Also I will plug the hole when I remove the wall hanger screw eye

Back is VG as well as the sides, no cracks

Bridge inserts are VG


I'll pull the tuners for cleaning and oiling

Not much wood left in here when you have recessed tuners

I will use 0000 steel wool to clean the board before oiling

Now its time to fix the hairline crack in the ebony
A common occurrence on vintage ebony fingerboard that get dry and split
This is very minor.

Starting in with ultra thin cyano, to wick in and under the crack to reseal

Shooting a little under this inlay

Now for a thicker, black cyano to fill the gap

Cured, ready to trim

Scraping back to profile

A little black in the corner of this inlay where filler was missing

Steel wooled, and basically invisible without magnification

Leveling fret wire, only a few passes, the frets are original and thin but playable

Recrowning file

Smoothing the ends

Taking the sharp edges off the wires
When ebony shrinks it leaves the ends out a tiny bit and they get rough, no biggie

Rounding the ends with special file

Waxing the inlay gravings with black jewelers wax

All nice and sharp again

Cleaning old glue from the binding split

All sealed and good to go

Another application of Tung oil ,then I will machine buff the instrument

3 coats of "Renaissance" Wax a premium micro crystalline wax that never yellows.
It ain't cheap :)

Very tight neck joint

Buffed back cover


A slightly heavier gauge will bring the tension up on this short scale mandola to an acceptable tension

All tuned up
Tone is super full with alot of bass and an open sound.
I will let it settle in and see how she is then.


What a neat instrument, and surely one of the most pleasant sounding dual course instrument I have worked with in a long time.
Thanks for watching