Just rec'd an instrument from Classical Mandolins, the new link that popped up a few weeks ago. It is the Monzino illustrated on the site.
A very nice instrument, well set up and pleasant to play. The neck is not so deep as an Embergher, but it certainly has more depth than is typical, which is a plus for me; I find having someplace to lean my thumb is helpful. Bar frets, in good shape, an Embergher-style bridge, rosewood board, maple body. Light, but not the lightest instrument I've played. Bright, cheerful sounding. Lacks the subtlety of the Pettine Special, and is obviously a midrange instrument, but quite a nice one overall.
It arrived strung with GHS classicals, which will eventually be swapped out for Lenzners (We must find an easy source for these: who's going to Europe soon?).
The biggest hoot is the "case". It is basically a shaped cloth bag, with a nifty little pocket sewn inside for strings, and a leather handle attached. The opening is thru a stout semicircular clasp, reminiscent of a 40s woman's handbag, right down to the little change-purse type snap closure. Offers no protection, of course: it's just a way to attach a handle to a mandolin. But it sure is cute.
You probably won't be hearing much from me over the next few days, but the neighbors will. Tough luck for them.
So, thanks to Classical Mandolins, for feeding the frenzy.