I found a 16-string (!) Italian bowl-back mandolin recently while travelling in Spokane, Washington at Cole Music Company. The owner told me he ordered it for a friend who didn't end up buying it because it didn't "suit his needs". This thing was an absolute beast to play. The fretboard was amazingly wide, certainly NOT a chordal instrument, even two-string harmonies were somewhat difficult to fret. Not to mention it was difficult to tune/hear while the owner's buddy loudly played half-baked blues riffs on an electric guitar.
Has anyone else had any experience with 16-string mandos?