Results 1 to 25 of 25

Thread: German Mandolin

  1. #1
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    2,241

    Default

    Looking for your opinions on this. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws....53&rd=1 I'm not sure how interested I am in it but it does grab my attention. (I like it) I know nothing about it. Tone? Reputation of builder? Advisability of business with Germany? Thanks all John
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  2. #2
    Weirdo a pizzico Eugene's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    4,318

    Default

    This style is often refered to as "portuguese" although they all seem to come from Germany (maybe a couple from Catania) and don't look anything like a proper bandolim. Almost without exception they are considered entry-level folk instruments, and, of those that survive a few decades, many are rendered unplayable. I can't vouch for the specifics of Dotzauer; they may be very nicely made, fret easily, and intonate very well...but they may not. With that seller's feedback rating, I wouldn't be remotely concerned about dealing with him, in Germany or elsewhere.

  3. #3
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Northop, North Wales
    Posts
    4,725

    Default

    Very similar in construction to my Majestic mandolin, made in Germany about twenty to thirty years earlier (photo here). It's what they call a "Portuguese style". They were very popular in the Wandervogel movement (also responsible for the guitar-lute), as they made it possible to play music and hillwalk at the same time (these being the two overriding passions of the Wandervogel). They've never really had any standing amongst professional performers or in concert halls, but they're good fun, with a tone fairly similar to modern "Celtic" flattop mandolins but possibly with somewhat less sustain. There's an mp3 of my Majestic here (click on the mp3 marked "martinjonas1969").

    Of course, the Dotzauer might be completely different from my Majestic. I don't know anything specific about that maker.

    Martin

  4. #4
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Northop, North Wales
    Posts
    4,725

    Default

    My post clearly crossed with Eugene's, but I see we're pretty much in agreement, anyway (although I do like my Majestic, rough edges and all).

    Martin




  5. #5
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    2,241

    Default

    Hey all thanks I wish I would have checked through all the listings earlier. I don't have enough time to contemplate this purchas so I won't bid on it. If it sounds as well as martinjonas then it is a bargin. I think it sounds the best out of the whole list of entries. That could be the equipment used to record though. Thanks all John
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  6. #6
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Northop, North Wales
    Posts
    4,725

    Default

    Thanks for the kind words on that somewhat crude MP3. The Majestic doesn't have a very refined tone, but it has lots of character. Well suited for US old-time tunes for example, I find.

    I don't know if you've noticed, but the seller of the Dotzauer is the same guy who's selling the Puglisi that plami has previously posted about over in the Bowlbacks of Note thread. The Puglisi is still at only 62 Pounds with three days to go, less than the Dotzauer.

    Martin

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    129

    Default

    Reesaber, if your are looking for new potuguese style mandolin, try this brand, it is manufactured in the Czech Republic (in the city, that is bordering to Germany, cca 10km). Mando is good crafted, and quite cheap, you will find there also 12string portug. mandolin - the "Mandriola". Strunal Co. has also branch in the US I think..

  8. #8
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    21,269

    Default

    Interesting Alekos that Strunal make bowlbacks with cedar tops. I have liked the tone of cedar on some steel string guitars esp when paired with rosewood. I wonder how the tone changes. Also, did any ofthe old makers use cedar for tops in a bowlback?

    Jim
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook

    Playing lately:
    Ca. 1923 Washburn (L&H) Pro A -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- 1904 Embergher Type 3 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    129

    Default

    You are absolutelly right Jim, the cedar tops were (according to my informations) used only for classic guitars and portuguese mandolins - cedar top on the bowlback mandolin is rare. I've tryed their mandolins and I've found the sound quite warm and full a bit different from italian vintage bowlbacks..

    I think that for the amount of money, it is good investition mainly for beginner/minor advanced players. Contrary, their classical guitars are first class, the quality can be compared with spanish originals!

    Attaching picture of cedar top Strunal Portuguese mando:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	mandolina_cedr_k19_4.jpg 
Views:	68 
Size:	39.3 KB 
ID:	4062  

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    129

    Default

    Here is their spruce top neapolitan mandolin:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	mandolina_k21_4.jpg 
Views:	65 
Size:	56.4 KB 
ID:	4063  

  11. #11
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    21,269

    Default

    Alekos:
    Would you say that the Strunal instruments were better crafted than the Musikalia ones?

    Jim
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook

    Playing lately:
    Ca. 1923 Washburn (L&H) Pro A -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- 1904 Embergher Type 3 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    scotland uk
    Posts
    416

    Default

    Hello all in America - Greetings from Scotland.

    I can tell you that I have dealt many times with Frank (ebay - Franks Music) and he is 100% reliable - he also speaks fairly good English and has been very helpful to me in increasing my knowledge of German mandolins.

    With regards to the "Dotzauer" semi round backs(Portugese Style) I have found in general that they are very well made and good quality and the maker seemed to have a fairly good reputation in Germany. Some of the Portugese Style have ebony fretboards and bridges. "Frank" usually gives a reasonable and honest description of the condition.
    Hope this helps............Now

    Would you like to hear my really sad story...yes...well sit back and relax. (sorry it's so long winded!)

    Do you remember the "Antonio Balsamo" mandolin (Dated 1896)
    that was on ebay aroud Late May/early June?......Well I bought it and it was, apart from a slight bow in the neck, in superb almost immaculate condition. I said to my wife (Barbara the Classical mandolin teacher) that it looked like a really good Vinaccia copy.....the story continues..

    I contacted an Italian dealer (Carlo - you probably know him) to ask for a bit of background about the maker - but all he could really tell me was that he arrived in America from Italy around the 1900's..........anyway, Carlo asked for some photo's and to cut along story short I ended up selling it (me being the mercinary type - apart from having about 40 mandolins to many)...........still awake.

    Carlo put some work into straightening the neck and in turn sold it on....... now it really gets interesting.

    The guy he sold it to (for 1000 euro) contacted him about a week after the purchase to say that he had removed (I don't know why) the Balsamo label and underneath was another label.....Guess who.you got it VINACCIA.(apparently it was not unknown for builders to buy good mandolins and stick there own labels on them, and the guy who bought this probably knew that)

    I understand that the Mandolin is now attracting a very large 4 figure sum....... I just (two days ago got a copy of Gruhn and Carters Acoustic Guitar and other fretted instruments book.and to make me even more sorry for myself..there on page 68 was the exact Vinaccia the only diffence beiong that "mine" had 46 ribs.......and I thought I knew about mandolins.......Ah well that's life!
    Bye for now.best wishes,
    Ian
    (trebleclef528)

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    129

    Default

    Jim, I haven't played any of Musikalia's instrument yet, but if it is true, what have Victor said , I think the Strunal mandos are on the higher level; at least they are well crafted and do not need any modifications. It is hard to judge this - the best way is to go to some local Strunal dealer and try the mandolin yourself. Alex




  14. #14
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    21,269

    Default

    Ian:
    Sorry ot hear of your loss...

    I have jpegs from an auction in May for a Balsamo mandolin. The label said 1902 on it:
    Quote Originally Posted by
    It has a paper label in the interior that says: “ANTONIO BALSAMO–FABRICA DE INSTRUMENTOS ARMONICOS–CALLE BUSTAMANTE Nº 1159–BUENOS AIRES–DE 1902.”
    I am not sure that is the same one but i think it was the same time.

    Carlo also bought that ultra fancy Mannello (which Eugene astutely identified as being twin to one in the Metropolitan Museum in NY) and removed the importer label from that one. I guess he learned his lesson.

    Jim
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook

    Playing lately:
    Ca. 1923 Washburn (L&H) Pro A -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- 1904 Embergher Type 3 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    scotland uk
    Posts
    416

    Default

    Hi Jim,
    Guess he did - he will probably be peeling of every suspect label (by the way your right it was 1902).

    I've started to list all my mandolin tutors/methods etc.
    I'll send you a list when I'm finished and you can tell me if there's anything you need.

    By the way did you know that Alison Stephens is moving to the USA.fairly soon I think.
    Best wishes,
    ian

  16. #16
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Northop, North Wales
    Posts
    4,725

    Default

    Ian --

    Welcome to the Cafe! We've only just been saying nice things about you down in the Starter bowlback thread and here you are! Can't be bad to have a few more UK-based people here in the forum.

    To get a link in the text of a post, click on the "http://" button above the input window, then type (or paste) the URL in the window, press return, then type the text you want to have appear as the link and press return again.

    Martin

  17. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,212

    Default

    Hello Ian - I'd wondered about that Balsamo at the time -seemed like a pretty fancy instrument to turn up in S.A.

    I suspect we all have tales about the one that got away. Still, accept my condolances.

    Meanwhile, what news of Alsion Stephens moving? (I'd heard the Australian luthier Steve Gilchrist was also contemplating a move here, but that's old and unconfirmed).

    And what's your experience of cedar-topped mandolins? I've seen cedar on classical guitars, and even redwood on a few steel-strung guitars, but never a word about mandolins. I'd suspect excessive mellowness, if used in a typical bowlback, but who knows?

  18. #18
    Weirdo a pizzico Eugene's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    4,318

    Default

    Greetings Ian. I think I may have corresponded with you regarding a Kasermann mandola a great long time ago. I could be wrong. In any event, I'm glad you've joined us.

    On cedar, I believe it just wasn't used (at least not commonly enough to be considered consistent) until Ramirez used it on guitars in the 1960s.

  19. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    'Burbs of Hockeytown, MI
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Very interesting thread. #I too am thinking about purchasing one of the German mandolins from 'franksmusic' on eBay. #Since I play Celtic and not bluegrass, it seems it might be a good fit. #This may be a bit of an 'apples and oranges' question, but does anyone out there have any opinions re: craftsmanship and playability, in general, of these Markneukirchen mandos vs. a US-made entry-level a la Mid-Missouri?

    Thanks in advance -

    Mike in MI

  20. #20
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Northop, North Wales
    Posts
    4,725

    Default

    Mike,

    It's a bit difficult to generalise about the Portuguese-style mandolins. My Majestic is very nicely made and a solid player. Still, comparing it to a Mid-Mo is very difficult. I haven't played a Mid-Mo, but I have played a Takoma M-1 and thought it was very disappointing compared to the Majestic in tone.

    The old German instruments sold on Ebay always seem to go very cheaply, so it's not that much of a risk (although it's not going to be quite a cheap once you add shipping), but you should be aware that these were strictly amateur models to start with; disposable beaters that weren't expected to last. Some will be nicer, some less so, none will be professional.

    Of course those that survive in playable condition are likely to be those that were nicer to start with, and the age on its own will make the tone more complex and interesting. After 70 to 80 years, the tone of mine is still crude, but certainly not boring.

    The safer bet might be to go with a newly built Portuguese-style. Unlike with modern bowlbacks, there really never was a golden age for these mandolins and the modern ones are at least as well made as the old ones were, with less chance of having been trashed by 50 years of abuse.

    It seems there are in effect two options for newly-made ones, both very cheap indeed. You can get a Strunal, as discussed by Alekos above, or you can get a Romanian-made Troubadour. The Troubadours are also sold under various names by other people (such as "Montana Mandolins"), with slight variations in decoration, added pickguards etc.

    The cedar-topped Strunal earlier in this thread looks very very much like my Majestic, down to the honey-like tone of the top, which makes me wonder whether mine is cedar as well, or whether that's the effect of seasoning of a spruce top.

    The Troubadour may well be an interesting (and cheaper) alternative to a Mid-Mo for Celtic music. Jeff Stallard has one, and discusses it here. I have just bought one of their bouzoukis, which seems very similar to Jeff's description in terms of setup and stock hardware. Considering the cheap price, I'm extremely impressed with the workmanship and the finish , which matches up well to, say, the Takoma. It did, however, need an urgent setup to make it playable, and I've replaced the stock bridge with an ebony bridge with bone saddle that I got from "frankmusic" for six Pounds. With the setup done and lowered action at the zero fret and bridge, it now has a very pleasant tone and good playability. I presume the same thing would apply to their Josquin mandolin.

    Martin
    (Thread drift has taken us off-topic for the classical forum now -- apologies.)

  21. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    scotland uk
    Posts
    416

    Default

    Hi,
    Also sorry for going off the "Classical track" but thought I'd add my tuppence worth to this one.

    There is a chap in Scotland (Dave Kilpatrick)who imports the "Troubador", I've had a couple through my hands and one of our orchestra members uses one when on his travels. In general they are, although not top of the range, good value for money. They seem to be a copy of the Ozark Portuguese style, and again we use a lot of these in our complete beginners classes, because they are strong, reasonably priced and sound fairly good. The Dotzuaer and other instruments sold by the German ebay dealer "Franksmusic" are usually very good and in general he seems to deal with good condition intruments at the higher end of the range.
    Ian

  22. #22
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    21,269

    Default

    Speaking of German mandolins, a friend of mine is selling his Knorr. If anyone is interested email me and I will put you in otuch with him.

    Jim
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook

    Playing lately:
    Ca. 1923 Washburn (L&H) Pro A -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- 1904 Embergher Type 3 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo

  23. #23
    Weirdo a pizzico Eugene's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    4,318

    Default

    Out of curiosity, what's he asking? For what model?

  24. #24
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Northop, North Wales
    Posts
    4,725

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by (trebleclef528 @ Oct. 03 2004, 08:49)
    There is a chap in Scotland (Dave Kilpatrick)who imports the "Troubador"
    The "Troubadour" brand name is actually Dave Kilpatrick's, so you'll only find it on his instruments. The Romanian factory (Reghin, I think) also sells these under different names. Apart from the label, it's easy to tell Dave's instruments apart, because he has asked the factory to leave off the darker wood scratch plate with floral inlay which they normally fit and the dark stain to the maple. Here is an example of what the bouzoukis look like that are not sold by Dave.

    I have the sneaky suspicion that the Ozark model you're referring to is from the same factory anyway.

    Martin

  25. #25
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    'Burbs of Hockeytown, MI
    Posts
    17

    Default

    My apologies if I helped steer this thread off-topic as well. #But, I'd like to thank both Martin and Ian for their feedback. #What a community!

    -Mike in MI

Similar Threads

  1. Maurer mandolin in german ebay
    By bluesmandolinman in forum Vintage Instruments
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: May-21-2008, 12:54am
  2. German made mandolin?
    By SugarMountain in forum Looking for information about mandolins
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: Apr-11-2008, 7:13am
  3. German
    By jeffshuniak in forum Celtic, U.K., Nordic, Quebecois, European Folk
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: Oct-09-2007, 11:16am
  4. Old 1950s German made mandolin
    By GeetarPicka in forum Post a picture of your mandolin
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: Jun-25-2006, 12:13pm
  5. Aderondack vs. German
    By MandolinTim in forum Builders and Repair
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: May-13-2005, 1:03pm

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •