Jan. 28, 2019

A delightful reunion! One of our longtime customers was able to purchase this Gibson mandolin from the family of Veda Santos who was a performer, teacher and publisher in the Rochester area. Along with her husband, Don Santos, she organized large musical groups including the “Santo Melody Makers”. They endorsorsed Gibson and Bacon and Day and were featured in many of the magazines of the time including Cadenza and Fretts.  Veda was my mandolin teacher. Walking into her studio in 1973 was the inspiration for my passion for vintage instruments. It included a large Lyon and Healy concert harp, a Gibson Bella Voce, a black finished Gibson L-5, tiples, mandolins, ukuleles and more. When she would walk out of the room during the lesson to check on her mother, I would put down my cheap little Harmony and pick up her F-2 and say to myself someday I’m going to have a great instrument like this!

The truss rod cover of the 1926 Gibson F-2 mandolin

These convention banners from 1929 only three years after Veda had purchased her Gibson F-2

Levis Music Store was the “go to” place foe fine musical instruments in Rochester for 70 years. This little case tag from Veda’s mandolin case is found on many Gibson instruments all across the country. Their big store was right around the corner from where Uptown Music today.

John's Corner January 28th 2019

Hello folks,

This week I thought I’d give a little personal insight into collecting. Anyone who knows me well knows that I do not collect musical instruments.  I made that decision when I decided to become a vintage instrument dealer. I reckoned that you cannot collect that with which you made your living. Those who tried to do both were always holding back the best stuff from customers. I think one of our reasons for success is that we don’t collect. However over the years Julie and I did collect many other things. English  and Dutch pottery, Victorian furniture, Czechoslovakian glass, fine prints and paintings. When we sold the big mansion on East Ave. we began the process of “downsizing”. It was painful as many things sold for such a fraction of what we thought they might be worth!

    Now is the dust has settled and as I look around and see what’s now available for such a great price I’m going to start buying again.....pottery, glass, paintings etc. I never bought things because I thought they were investments, I bought it because I liked it. Now I can be even more discerning because the prices are great and the things still tug at my heart strings.  Lesson number one: the time to buy is when prices are falling!

This Maxfield Parrish “Daybreak” greets me every morning.

An early 1800s Russian "Icon" entitled “Mary, Seeker of the Lost” that I bought 20 years ago after a Texas guitar show.

Mistinguet...the French dance hall queen in an early 1900s original poster purchased from Chuck Fayne before he moved to Australia.