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Thread: Any info on a Carmelo Catania 1947 banjo-styled mandolin, pls?

  1. #1

    Default Any info on a Carmelo Catania 1947 banjo-styled mandolin, pls?

    Hi all,
    The inside label says this is a 'Mandolino Bayno tipo n. 18'.

    I learned to play on this instrument - one of a couple my father had - and unfortunately, never questioned its unusual shape. I inherited it a few years back and now I'm curious.

    Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any info on a Carmelo Catania 1947 banjo-styled mandolin, pls

    Search the archives here, as other Catania Carmelo instruments have been discussed in the past. This link was particularly helpful.
    .
    ph

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  3. #3

    Default Re: Any info on a Carmelo Catania 1947 banjo-styled mandolin, pls

    Thanks for the direction on the company history. I guess I was more curious about the banjo shape of the instrument. Is there a reason for it or is it more just a design whim? Also I wondered how popular were banjo styled mandolins? I can't say I've seen another - but then again, that doesn't mean much as I'm not well versed on them.

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    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any info on a Carmelo Catania 1947 banjo-styled mandolin, pls

    Zillions of makers made banjo mandolins: Gibson, Lyon and Healy, Slingerland (particularly, though they were sold by other retailers under a variety of bands, or no brands at all), plus they were very popular in Europe as well. Just go to Google Image and type in some variants of "banjo mandolin" and "mandolin banjo" and you will see what I mean.
    .
    ph

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    Default Re: Any info on a Carmelo Catania 1947 banjo-styled mandolin, pls

    Thanks a lot for the information. I appreciate learning a little bit more about my mandolin.
    pwa

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    Default Re: Any info on a Carmelo Catania 1947 banjo-styled mandolin, pls

    I just came across this forum in search of any information on the same banjo mandolin posted here.
    I bought this on a flea market about 25 years ago. It was still in good shape then. One set of the tuners was already replaced when I bought it and recently the skin became too dry and tore at the bridge.
    The label mentions n.17 and has different figures inlay. It is also build in 1947.
    Can the skin be replaced on this instrument?
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any info on a Carmelo Catania 1947 banjo-styled mandolin, pls

    You should be able to replace the skin I would think. I have a feeling that there is some skin hoop under that resonator flange that unscrews.
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    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any info on a Carmelo Catania 1947 banjo-styled mandolin, pls

    I recently overhauled a mandolin-banjo nearly identical one to this. The head was not difficult, but be sure the metal edges are clean and smooth.
    .
    ph

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    Default Re: Any info on a Carmelo Catania 1947 banjo-styled mandolin, pls

    Thanks for the reply.
    What kind of skin is best and is it possible to do this myself?

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    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any info on a Carmelo Catania 1947 banjo-styled mandolin, pls

    Calf or goat, and it's so small you can often recycle an old head from another normal-size banjo. This kind of mount is a lot like an embroidery hoop, but it really helps to have some experience mounting banjo heads before you tackle a more finicky one like this. A lot of the traditional French banjo guitars and English zither banjos are quite similar, so I'm imagining there's someone in or near Belgium who can help you with this, since those things are generally much more common there than over here in the states.

    because of the thick "flesh hoop," commercial mylar plastic heads won't fit, and besides, they are way too shrill for a banjo-mandolin. You want real rawhide, as thick as you can make fit, because it has a damping quality you'll really appreciate.
    .
    ph

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    Default Re: Any info on a Carmelo Catania 1947 banjo-styled mandolin, pls

    Thanks for the information Paul.
    This brings me to the idea of also asking some African luthiers, even Irish Bodhran makers that live around here. They also use good quality skin for their instruments. Still need more info on technical aspects like how the skin is mounted.

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