View Full Version : Check out this GREEN Condino

Nov-22-2005, 8:09am
Have you ever seen crossed strings like this before? Cool look, but what might that do to the sound and stresses on the bridge? Douglas fir front and back. One piece neck/fingerboard with titanium rod.
<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/CUSTOM-CONDINO-GIBSON-STYLE-MANDOLIN_W0QQitemZ7368426778QQcategoryZ10179QQrdZ1 QQcmdZViewIt

em" target="_blank">http://cgi.ebay.com/CUSTOM-....iewItem</a>

I haven't been able to get the URL to lead to the ad. Here's the name of the ad:

Nov-22-2005, 8:40am
Working link. (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7368426778)

I think the crossed strings shouldn't affect much, since the main pressure is still downwards, right? I'm not exactly sure what makes this one "Gibson style".

Nov-22-2005, 8:47am
Wasn't this one shown around here some time last year...I remember that soundhole(s) configuration from somewhere.

Nov-22-2005, 9:15am
Not only the front, but the back and sides are douglas fir. The neck and fretboard seem to be one piece of wood, but there is a titanium rod embedded in the neck. There are sound ports on the side. I don't like the round holes, myself, but it's interesting. Note that the tailpiece seems to be cast and heavy, but it doesn't extend over the top. Doesn't really appeal to me, but some interesting things about it.

Bob DeVellis
Nov-22-2005, 9:54am
I would think the crossed strings would make it sound like a snare drum. Maybe thery're tightly enough pressed together so that they don't rattle, but what's the point? I guess you get to use more of the string you've paid for, but really, why bother?

Tim Saxton
Nov-22-2005, 11:02am
One word for it "Guacamole"

Nov-22-2005, 11:25am
Tim. Very funny. Guacamando! I think the crossed strings make up for a lack of some tailpiece element over the top. Looks kinda like someone had a crossed wire when restringing. It looks whimsical enough, I woner how it sounds with the softer wood back and sides?


Nov-22-2005, 11:27am
Just to look kewl. If you buy the thing, you can string it the straight way if you want.

Jim Garber
Nov-22-2005, 1:02pm
Not sure why one would cross those strings. The other oddity is that the maker used an old style 4 post tailpiece, which would be an inconvenience if you broke the bottom string. I am not sure what the advantage of that would be on a modern instrument. I have seen such tailpieces on old vintage Italian bowlbacks but never on a new mandolin.

Also of interest is this:

This instrument will be the featured focus of one chapter in his upcoming book on the design and construction of the modern mandolin, due out this summer.

Does anyone know what book they are referring to?


Chris Burt
Nov-23-2005, 2:01am
I met James at the Handmade Musical Instrument Show in Portland last spring. Loved his work and his creativity. Smart young man with a strong sense of his own path and the skills to create professional looking, good sounding, not boring mandolins.

Jim Garber
Nov-23-2005, 8:06am
Did you play that guacamando or anything with similar woods. I am curious how it sounds and plays.


Nov-23-2005, 5:52pm
Hi folks. I got a message this morning that there was a discussion about crossed strings on one of my mandolins.I usually try to avoid these sites, but I'll offer up a little insider information for you. A few years ago I crossed the strings like this for a photo shoot on another green mandolin. I had a trade show a few days later and left it strung up that way. About 100 grumpy old mandolin nerds were outraged that I had finished a mandolin in green, but they really got all worked up over the crossed string thing. Suddenly they thought they were missing out on some hidden luthier's secret and had all kinds of theories about what was going on. I let it work for me. Trade shows can be crowded and noisy. Setting up the strings like this is a lot cheaper than hiring some skinny model in a tight dress to gather attention. People get interetsed, we chat a bit, they play the instruments, and everyone generally has a lot of fun. The downward force in the bridge and crossed strings is very minimal, but it does put a stronger lateral breakover angle on the saddle. It is mainly just style. Tailpieces are also a fashion statement. I use about ten different models depending on the instrument and customer's desires. A hidden bonus is that crossing the strings seems to eliminate a lot of the overtones and string noise that you typically get down there unless you add some gadget which contributes to the overall mass of the system. My apologies for my website being down. It is undergoing a major overahul and my graphic designer gave me a date of Jan. 1 for being up 100%. I'll try to post a photo of the other green mandolin that started this. Enjoy the day...james condino

Nov-23-2005, 6:02pm
No problems here with green. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Ted Eschliman
Nov-23-2005, 7:05pm
Kudos to any builder willing to try something new, James Condino.
That's one nice looking ax!

Paul Hostetter
Nov-23-2005, 7:18pm
Back when I was working at the Denver Folklore Center in 63-64, a bandmate of mine named Raymond Chatfield, who was the custom hoohah guy at Ode Banjos at the time, refinished the face of his old Regal 12-string a nice transparent green. He was weary of the typical "other" colors guitars came in and decided to do something different. It was lovely, but also elicited self-righteous grumbling from various sticks in the mud.

Years later Max Krimmel showed a blue guitar at the GAL Convention in SF. I think that was about 1979 or so. A friend of mine and I were admiring it and I mentioned Ray Chatfield's green guitar. Max overheard me and burst in (pun not intended) saying that Ray was his inspiration for doing a different color like that.

More years later on, the blue guitar thing became a pleasant cliche thanks to Scott Chinery, and all based on Max's guitar, which was based on Ray's guitar. What surprises me is that more than 40 years later, people are still getting their noses out of joint over instrument colors!

Here's another green one I really like, from the guy who owns the patent on side soundholes. #


Paul Hostetter
Nov-23-2005, 7:20pm

Jim Garber
Nov-23-2005, 8:02pm
Here's another green one I really like, from the guy who owns the patent on side soundholes. #

Does John actualy own the patent on side soundholes? It looks like he has the name "Monteleone Side Sounds" trademarked. D'Aquisto was doing it a n ukber of years and there are some vintage examples tho I am not sure if they are patented. I have a 1901 Demeglio bowlback with small sound ports. However it is not green.


Paul Hostetter
Nov-23-2005, 9:18pm
He and Jimmy D'Aquisto both grew up in the D'Angelico shop and had a lot of the same ideas in tandem. Not sure what the state of the patent business is, I got the sense from him that it's a bit irritating. He told me he'd tell me the story someday, but thus far there have been more important things to talk about. Having a patent is one thing, having the time, energy or wherewithal to chase it all down is another. Gibson seems to do it.

I had a few guitar lessons back around 1960 with a guy who played an archtop that only had a lot of little holes around the sides, nothing in the top. It's an old idea, and an appealing one.


Gavin Baird
Nov-23-2005, 10:35pm
I just could no resist....G

Gavin Baird
Nov-23-2005, 10:37pm

Jim Garber
Nov-23-2005, 10:43pm
That one looks like an Antonio Tsai.

Here's a Demeglio from 1895. Sorry for hijacking this thread. And now back to our regular programming.


Paul Hostetter
Nov-23-2005, 10:49pm
Gavin - so is this photoshopped? Or is this really the true color? I love it, whatever!

Paul Hostetter
Nov-23-2005, 10:57pm
Jim - could be a Tsai or a Wei, they're all the same. Interesting that they - both the Vietnamese 'makers' and your Demeglio - have the same Morse Code soundholes in the side. I just set up another of them the other day - they need a lot of tweakage, but the end result is pretty interesting sounding mandolin.

Gavin Baird
Nov-24-2005, 8:44am
That's the real colour....Gavin

oldwave maker
Nov-24-2005, 10:00am
Those unusual instruments are fun to build and certainly better showstoppers at exhibitions than attractive women......the 'u pick 25cents/lb'

Nov-24-2005, 10:58am
Gav, your blue oval hole is awesome and I'm glad you couldn't resist posting it.

Didn't you build a green matched pair a few years back?


Chris Burt
Nov-24-2005, 5:24pm
Jim, I don't know if I played that particular green mando, but Iiked the sound and playability of the ones I did play.

Dec-10-2005, 8:42am
Here's another green one I really like, from the guy who owns the patent on side soundholes. #

my wifes favorite color is green so I showed her this. She loved it! where can I get one in a lefty? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Mar-20-2006, 12:06am
Bringing this back to life...I saw the pointer to the Condino web site on the front page. The ebony instruments especially were attractive. Has anyone played one of them?

Mark Walker
Mar-20-2006, 10:19am
Sort of back to the 'crossed-strings' comments... I've always been under the impression that from a 'physics' perspective (or some similar scientific theory) that strings coming off a bridge or nut are supposed to be straight and angled down. #For example, I was taught to always wind strings on the tuning pegs so they wind DOWN - thus applying a sharper downward angle and letting the strings nest in the notch fully. #
I was also taught that principle applies to strings coming off a bridge. So to me - unless someone got creative with notching their bridge - crossing the strings and the resulting 'angle' off to one side would seem to potentially be detrimental to tone as it relates to the inherent 'engineering' or design/function of the bridge.

But then, what do I know? # http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

But it does look pretty sharp! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Mar-20-2006, 4:33pm
Shear forces eventually split the ebony in the space between E strings,
on on of the bridge of one of my mandolins.
looks ilke that scheme just makes it worse.
shear force component,in addition to down force, is the side force on the bridge notch, resulting from
the tailpiece being narrower than a straight line thru the bridge from the nut.
the 2 strings per end pin , will, given murphy's law ,
cause the bottom one to break first.

May-20-2014, 9:08am
Does John actualy own the patent on side soundholes? It looks like he has the name "Monteleone Side Sounds" trademarked. D'Aquisto was doing it a n ukber of years and there are some vintage examples tho I am not sure if they are patented. I have a 1901 Demeglio bowlback with small sound ports. However it is not green.


Cool trademark.

A quick search of the USPTO patent database revealed only one musical instrument patent issued to John Monteleone:

4,329,904 Two-speed tuning machine for musical instruments

Thus, it appear that he never received a U.S. patent for a side port.