This here is a Republic metal-body resonator mandolin, modeled off of the classic National resos of the 1920s and 1930s. Republics are build in China and then set up in Texas. They are very affordable — $350 for a mando with case — and the owner will set it up as a lefty for me.
I have an interest in the lost art of blues mandolin — a lot of the old-time black string bands had mandolin players, and many of them used oddball instruments like the resonator mandolin or the dreaded mando-banjo. These things are loud, and have a unique tone quality to them . . . I’d use this at the monthly old-time fiddlers’ jam session, and in my spare time work on some of the blues / jug band kinda stuff.