Private Stash: Sweet Potato Ocarina

Those who know me personally know I’m a giant nerd. In high school I played the piano, flute, piccolo, and a ton of video games. A tie for my favorite game series was The Legend of Zelda series. Even writing about this post makes me want to fire up the Nintendo.

Back when was in its infancy, Austin and I used to troll it for interesting finds. One of my catches was a vintage ocarina; the same instrument Link, the main character of The Legend of Zelda plays in one game. It’s getting dorky in here.


After I paid a hefty $5 plus shipping and received it in the mail, I was disappointed they didn’t disclose the way 60+ year old clay smells when you put it to your mouth and play it. Gross. However, the paint finish on the ocarina is very interesting: bright red with worn silver details. I loved its shape, commonly referred to as a “sweet potato” ocarina.

The marking however is the only way I could identity anything about it. It’s even hard to see in person, but the silver oval says G. B. and has a picture of an eagle. From several ocarina fan sites, I gleaned that this is a Guido Bondi ocarina. Guido Bondi made ocarinas in Kentucky from 1920 to around 1960. However, most owners say they are terribly out of tune, and I can confirm. While I’m not a masterful ocarina player, the notes are just off. Oh well. Here’s to my next vintage ocarina being more in tune!

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  1. Cam
    Posted March 2, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the info! My dad found one of these in an old house he bought and we couldn’t figure out what it was or what the GB stood for

    • Angela
      Posted March 4, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      No problem Cam! Glad you found this article helpful.

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