Retrofret Stock # 6919. Harmony Roy Smeck Vita Mandolin Model Flat Back Mandolin, c. 1928, made in Chicago, natural lacquer finish, figured mahogany body, spruce top; mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, gig bag case. The 1928 Roy Smeck-endorsed "Vita" line was one of Harmony's most whimsical creations, but were also fairly high-grade instruments and a major promotional coup for the company. The series encompassed a guitar, tenor guitar, plectrum guitar, mandolin and ukulele all of similar eccentric design with a distinctive body outline and seal-shaped F holes, for reasons lost to history! They all feature fancy flamed mahogany bodies with spruce tops, and the guitars had the patented Harmony Aero-Bridge, shaped vaguely like an airplane. The Mandolin uses the same small body as the ukulele, fitted with a linger 8-string neck and typical period mandolin bridge and metal-covered tailpiece. The headstock decal simply reads "Roy Smeck" -it appears they never bothered to make up a "Vita-Mandolin" logo. This is a very rare instrument; while the Vita-uke proved fairly popular the rest of the line was only built in small quantities. This mandolin appears to have seen very little use and remains about as fine an example as we would ever expect to see.Overall length is 22 3/8 in. (56.8 cm.), 8 in. (20.3 cm.) width, and 2 1/4 in. (5.7 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 13 7/8 in. (352 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/16 in. (30 mm.). This very rare Vita-Mandolin remains in spectacular, all original condition with only the very lightest of play wear-quite the best preserved "Vita" instrument we have ever seen! There is one very small chip out of the very end of the fingerboard under the bass side of the last fret that looks like it's been there forever and some extremely light checking and play wear. The top has a slight bulge typical of these very lightly built instruments but is very solid and there are no playabilityissues. The original tuners, tailpiece and bridge all look nearly factory fresh, and the little "Vita" decal on the back of the headstock is totally intact. It is actually a very good playing instrument with a bright but well-rounded sound. A neat find in a cool piece of Harmony history, and also a totally unique mandolin! Excellent + Condition.
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