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View Full Version : I've just picked up a gorgeous Stridente via Antonio 22!



QuaverRest
May-24-2014, 5:14pm
Here are the pics!

https://imgur.com/a/Q3WWQ

I bartered down from 120 to 80. I had to have it as the tone is *so* good, and the intonation is exceptional despite the slight neck bow and higher than ideal action..

Do you guys think this neck problem is resolvable? I'd love some advice from someone who knows what they're talking about!

Jon :)

bratsche
May-24-2014, 6:04pm
Ouch! You might want to ask for this to be moved to Builders & Repair. There are some guys there who understand bowlback construction and could give you the most knowledgeable advice.

Just looking at that high action makes my fingertips bleed! I think playing it would feel more like this type of "mandoline":

http://gadgetsforthekitchen.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/bron-stainless-steel-mandoline-300x297.jpg

Other than that, it does have a lovely back. Congratulations (I hope!), and welcome to the Cafe!

bratsche

QuaverRest
May-25-2014, 12:21am
Buildings and repair it is! Yes the action is high, but im hoping it can be fixed.. Fingers crossed.. And cut lol

Martin Jonas
May-25-2014, 3:55pm
Without wanting to discourage you, that looks pretty terminal to me. The action is sky high, so much so that a previous owner had to move the bridge to the wrong side of the cant -- it is meant to sit on the soundhole side of the bend in the soundboard, not (as here) on the tailpiece side. I find it hard to imagine how you can play it sufficiently well to tell that it has a nice tone. If the intonation is indeed exceptional, it's a fluke as the geometry now is nothing like it was intended to be by the maker.

Unfortunately, Italian bowlbacks don't really have a neck joint as such and therefore there is nothing that can easily be reset. The cost of the work will be more than the value of a Stridente with a straight neck even if you can find a luthier who is sufficiently confident with bowlback mandolins to take on the job. Your best bet would probably be a wedge-shaped splint to be inserted between neck and fretboard or -- more realistically as the fretboard on these is so thin that it usually doesn't come off in one go -- a new wedge-shaped fretboard.

Martin

brunello97
May-25-2014, 6:46pm
Martin is right on this. Your Stridente (which looks quite elegant, really) has serious neck issues. Our friend John in Tavistock is quite adept at shimming fretboards but it is not a silver bullet solution. It can provide for a weird neck / fingering setup. You are right, this is a nice looking Stridente. They do vary from the very ordinary to the quite fancy.

I'm one of the 'doubting Thomases' who is unconvinced that these MOR Italian labels actually built anything. The similarities between the mandolins labeled "Stridente" "Lanfranco" "Ferrari" "DeMureda" etc. as well as the wide range of qualities -- from dreck to very fancy -- has me thinking that these shops were middlemen on the Sicily-Napoli-Londra circuit. Others may prove me wrong on this hypothesis.

All that aside, these can be very charming and enjoyable mandolins. I have owned more than a few. The wood and craftwork is like a trip to your favorite trattoria.

As Martin says, unfortunately, the fretboards are mighty thin. The frets seem to be cut after the fretboards are attached to the necks, unlike the thicker, perhaps proto Fordist / Taylorist assembly of US bowlbacks. I have swapped out original frets and MOP position makers into new tapered fretboards (as Martin has described) to Lazarus-ify some Italian bowls. The success depends on the extent of the injury. John is as experienced with this as any and can make the right call for you if you are in the UK. Doing this for yourself requires a bit of woodworking skills but is not unachievable. Preslotted mandolin fretboards are available from various resources as are the proper tools from Stewart McDonald, etc.

It is a pretty mandolin and no doubt will sound pretty when 'corrected'. Not sure just how playable that neck will be when shimmed up.

Dave Hynds, another good friend here, has a 'neck-dectomy' method of cutting and shimming the neck joint on integral neck-block Italian bowlbacks. John is familiar with similar neck reset techniques (considerably harder on Italian bowls than on US made).

The decision is both financial and aesthetic, of course. Keep after it, amigo, and let us know how you go.

Mick

QuaverRest
May-26-2014, 5:24pm
I've made contact with John, sent him some detailed photos and he says its borderline as to whether or not this can be rescued. He needs to see it, make some measurements and have a good think about it.. He has come so well recommended by everyone here, and its such a lovely instrument (it does have a nice tone, martin!) I may well send him to him via courier and keep my fingers crossed..

I'll have a good long think about it.. And I'll keep you updated!

Jon

Graham McDonald
May-29-2014, 12:34am
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I'm one of the 'doubting Thomases' who is unconvinced that these MOR Italian labels actually built anything. The similarities between the mandolins labeled "Stridente" "Lanfranco" "Ferrari" "DeMureda" etc. as well as the wide range of qualities -- from dreck to very fancy -- has me thinking that these shops were middlemen on the Sicily-Napoli-Londra circuit. Others may prove me wrong on this hypothesis.



That is a really interesting idea and does make a lot of sense. I remember you mentioned once that you and Dave H have around 350 labels/makers listed and I can only wonder why there would be that proliferation of labels/makers if there were perhaps a smaller number of wholesalers/middlemen. But as we have pondered on before, we know so little about the realities of the pre-1914 Neapolitan mandolin economy....

cheers