Piccolo Mandolin
by Gregg Miner, as part of www.minermusic.com)

     The label on this little guy says "The Brilliantone Mando, L.H. Leland". According to expert Michael Holmes, Leland was the builder and his line of guitars and mandolin family instruments (from piccolo through bass!) was distributed by Washburn in 1911*. This is a true piccolo, with a scale length of 10-1/2". In the photo below, I lined up the three bridges. Compare the scale length next to a Gibson F4 (13-7/8") and the German "piccolo" (really "pocket") mandolin (12-7/8"). With light mandolin strings, I was able to tune this up to CGDA (an octave above a mandola). With Brazilian rosewood back and sides, this guy sounds fantastic - rich and loud! Much better than my Dyer.
     * The piccolo size has got to be rare, as Michael hadn't heard of it (actually, they're all extremely rare - other than a guitar, I've never come across or heard of any of these mandolin family instruments). Michael's list states:
"Mezzo Mando"
(mandolin)
"Tenor Mando"
(mandola)
"Baritone Mando" (mando-cello)
"Double Bass Mando" (mando-bass)
(Given these names, "Brilliantone Mando" seems to fit right in for their piccolo mandolin).
     While in the Lyon & Healy catalog, ca. 1912 (pictured on p.86 of "Washburn: Over 100 Years of Fine Stringed Instruments"), the same instruments are identified as:
L. H. Leland Mandos.
"Piccolo Mando"
"First and Second Mando"
(meaning the same mandolin that would play separate parts in the mandolin orchestra)
"Tenor Mando"
"Mando Cello"
"Bass Mando"


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