Double top Mandola "Lucien Gelas" (1928 Paris)
It was built with a spruce top and back, maple back and sides. Tortoise pickguard.
It has several old restorations well executed by good craftsmen. It seems that at some point it suffered a catastrophe, but it could be saved. All the cracks have been sealed over time by various luthiers and the Mandola maintains its integrity and firmness, sounding good without buzzing or fiddling, and with a very comfortable action.
Looking at it from the side it looks like bent, but this is part of the original design, it is not a defect
It seems that in some of these restorations the craftsman came up with the ornaments of the fingerboard and made an intricate floral pattern with mother of pearl.
Its sound is very characteristic, clear and with a lot of presence.
These double top instruments were and are highly appreciated by classical instrumentalists.
Its operation is perfect, although the many scars that it has everywhere are clearly visible, they do not affect its sound or its playability. It is a unique instrument with great sound and very high performance, with which you could give a concert.
In the last photo you can see its size comparing it with a normal mandolin
Lucien Gélas (1873 - 1944) was a French luthier, classical guitarist and teacher.
Gélas is well known for inventing and patenting a guitar design that uses a double top: it is often called a Gélas guitar or double top guitar (or double resonance guitar) and was common in the first half of the 20th century. .
Gélas received a Gold Medal at the Bordeaux Exhibition in 1907 and a Gold Medal at the Brussels Exhibition in 1910 for his double-top instruments . And there were many luthiers who used his patent, such as Patenotte, Mirecourt and many more. He built mandolins, mandolins, knob-cellos, bass-mandolin, and guitars, with his patent for double top.
The two upper parts of the instruments have a resonant space between them. The inner top is not parallel to the outer one, so it can be seen that the guitar has a particular slant. Also, the strings go through the bridge (which is on the top inside) and come together at the bottom, in such a way that the dotted part of the string before the bridge forms an angle with the part of the string after the bridge. . This is achieved by having the plucked part of the string slightly angled towards the inner top (on a conventional guitar it would be parallel), which results in high tension on the inner top.
The patent was first filed in Paris in 1905
His guitars were played by many important artists, especially in the first half of the 20th century. Heinrich Albert (1870–1950) obtained a Gélas guitar (from Gaudet in Paris) and attributes his concert successes largely to the guitar, praising its carrying sound, responsiveness, and tone-color. Other Gélas musicians include Luise Walker (1910-1998) and Bruno Henze (1900-1978).