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Jim Garber
Sep-13-2005, 11:03pm
Soundhole area.

Jim

Bob A
Sep-13-2005, 11:03pm
Sweet Salsedo! Way too much deco for me, but I wouldn't mind finding another less adorned example. I really really like Salsedo mandolins.

Jim Garber
Sep-13-2005, 11:06pm
The Vinaccia bowl.

Jim

Jim Garber
Sep-13-2005, 11:07pm
Vinaccia Peghead

Jim

Jim Garber
Sep-13-2005, 11:08pm
Vinaccia Tailpiece... ornate enough for you?

Jim

Martin Jonas
Oct-16-2005, 10:29am
Here are some photos of the Carlo Loveri that I bought recently for one of our ensemble members. One of the ebony tuner buttons was missing and another one broke when I touched it, so I asked Jon to make me a new set of eight ebony buttons. Beautiful work, and a great match! I only fitted two of them and left the six remaining originals on for the time being (squaring the pegs and the holes is a lot of work indeed, although it worked out nicely in the end). As all of them have cracks, the owner may well need to replace them sooner or later with the six spares that Jon made.

Otherwise, this is a sound well-made mando with a very nice strong tone, intonates well, balanced across the courses, straight neck, no structural problems. Top-quality spruce for the soundboard, too. Like my Ceccherinis, it has an unusually long scale length for an Italian bowlback, at 345mm. I think Loveri can go into the list of builders to look out for in quality bowlbacks!

Martin

Martin Jonas
Oct-16-2005, 10:29am
Here is a side-on view.

Martin

Martin Jonas
Oct-16-2005, 10:31am
And the headstock with the ebony tuner buttons. Interesting shape: the Gibson crowd would call this a snakehead, but it easily predates them by twenty years at least.

Martin

RSW
Oct-17-2005, 3:08am
Very lovely headstock, the position of the strings are perfect for avoiding them rubbing against each other and making tuning difficult. I like Loveri's instruments exept for the use of the raised pick or scratch plate, often seen in De Meglio's work. How do they sound?

Martin Jonas
Oct-17-2005, 4:16am
Richard -- yes, the headstock shape is great for having the strings straight and out of each others' way. An example of convergent evolution no doubt: I've never understood why Gibson started with the paddlehead instead of the snakehead.

The Loveri pickguard does look like the de Meglio pickguard, like them it's laid on, not laid in. However, it's black celluloid rather than tortoiseshell and it's much thinner (raised only about 1mm) and therefore less likely to interfere with the pick.

I've put new Lenzners on, and it sounds very nice. A bit brittle, still, but I've found that to be the rule for bowlbacks that haven't been played for a few decades. I expect it'll develop over a period of a few weeks to months. It does have good volume, good balance and a full complex tone, so I'm pretty confident about its merits. Sounds a lot better than Carlo M.'s soundclips of a Loveri (but then none of his soundclips sound good to my ears, including his Vinaccias and Calaces).

Martin

Jim Garber
Nov-07-2005, 5:40pm
Here are a few pics of my newly acquired 1921 Calace. I am not sure of the model number but I would think somewhere around 24.

Jim

Jim Garber
Nov-07-2005, 5:41pm
Closeup of the body.

Jim Garber
Nov-07-2005, 5:43pm
I esp like the contrast of the rosewood cap over the maple ribs.

Eugene
Nov-07-2005, 6:33pm
Groovy. You remain an enviable dude, Jim.

Linda Binder
Nov-07-2005, 7:27pm
I second that.
--Linda

Mark Levesque
Nov-07-2005, 8:10pm
Wow.
My eyes actually popped out of my head on that one.
Congratulations, Jim!

Alex Timmerman
Nov-08-2005, 7:00am
That one look great Jim! I´ll bet it will sound good as well! Congrats!


Best,

Alex

JGWoods
Nov-08-2005, 2:42pm
That's a beauty. What are the holes for just in front of the bridge?

best
jgwoods

guitharsis
Nov-09-2005, 8:13am
Just gorgeous. #Congrats, Jim!

Doreen

Jim Garber
Nov-09-2005, 8:18am
That's a beauty. What are the holes for just in front of the bridge?
Yes, that is the question that all of us are asking. Some sort of extra acoustic resonance or some mechanism that works in conjunction with the bridge.

I wish that Raffaele, Jr. were more available online so we can ask him the many questions about his family's instruments.

I am anxious to get this thing strung up. I may make a trip to my local crafts supply megastore and se if they have some brass rod for the saddle. I will string it up with Calace dolce (natch!) strings and report back.

Jim

Jim Garber
Dec-01-2005, 12:13am
Here are a few pics of that Roman style Bruno. This was made in Torino.

Jim

Jim Garber
Dec-01-2005, 12:15am
The neck is prominently v-shaped.

Jim

Jim Garber
Dec-01-2005, 12:16am
Body detail with narrow radiussed fretboard.

Jim

Jim Garber
Dec-01-2005, 12:18am
Interesting label. I am still trying to figure out whether this is at all related to the Bruno of the US. None of those resemble this one.

Jim

Jim Garber
Dec-01-2005, 12:19am
I love these tuner buttons.

Jim

PaulD
Dec-01-2005, 10:44am
NICE! I really like the rosette and pickgaurd inlays. Whare are the tuner buttons... I can't tell if they're tortoise/pseudo-tortoise or wood?

Paul Doubek

Jim Garber
Dec-01-2005, 10:51am
I think they are bone but either stained or aged with time. I have similar ones on my Demeglio.

Jim

mandoman15
Dec-08-2005, 3:38pm
on some bowlbacks just above teh bridge, there are two holes that appear to right through the top, what are these and what is their purpose?

Bob A
Dec-08-2005, 9:06pm
No one seems to know.

On some bowlbacks, there are holes in the sides. Their pupose is also obscure; some folks think they act as a sort of low-tech stage monitor, enabling the performer better to hear what he's playing. Some folks use them to humidify the mandolin, exhaling into the body a few times to get it tightened up.

Jim Garber
Jan-07-2006, 10:53pm
I got the Goodwill 1902 Vinaccia (erroneously, I hope, described as a french mandolin).

Here is the front and back. The top has a couple of cracks, one pretty serious and with some warpage. I am hoping that it can be fixed to playing condition.

It is also missing that triangular piece of pearl on the back at the top of the neck.

Jim

Jim Garber
Jan-07-2006, 10:59pm
The maple bowl is in pretty good shape, tho might need a few cracks reinforced.

Jim

Jim Garber
Jan-07-2006, 11:01pm
Another view of the back

Jim

Jim Garber
Jan-07-2006, 11:02pm
Here is one of the label.

Jim

Jim Garber
Jan-07-2006, 11:05pm
Not so sure about the originality of the bridge. Does anyone else have a similar era Vinaccia and have pics of the birdge on that one. I would think it would be more the style with the dovetailed bone insert. This one just has a bone glued in. I have a feeling it is a more recent addition.

Jim

Bill Snyder
Jan-08-2006, 10:17am
Jim,
I hope that you can get it in playable condition without have to go to heroic (expensive) measures.
i like your photos - I wish that Goodwill would start posting more/better pictures of instruments. I know that there have been some that I might have bid on or bid more on if I could have seen the instrument better.

MML
Jan-08-2006, 11:40am
What is this Goodwill?? did I miss something? Oh yeah
very nice bowl back Jim, I really like the maple ribs, good luck with the resoration http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Eugene
Jan-08-2006, 12:12pm
Very nice yet again, Jim. Carry on.

Martin Jonas
Jan-08-2006, 1:58pm
Lovely Vinaccia. As I have already said on the basis of the Goodwill pictures, the maple bowl on this one is very similar indeed to my Giuseppe Vinaccia, although I think yours has a bit more figure and fewer surface scratches than mine. The little MOP triangle was also missing on mine, but as on yours, one could still see where is originally went, and Jon replaced it. The bridge doesn't look much like mine, so you may be right that it's a reproduction. Good luck with the repairs of the top cracks! Do you think you need to correct the warpage to get the crack to close up? Considering the low price you paid, you should still come out well ahead even after repairs.

Martin

Vinaccia
Jan-13-2006, 1:32pm
1920 Calace. A very nice sounding, responsive and powerful instrument.

Vinaccia
Jan-13-2006, 1:35pm
Her back side.

Jim Garber
Jan-13-2006, 1:58pm
Jonathan:
Was that one that Mike Schroeder owned? it looks familiar.

My rosewood Calace is one of those hole-in-the-head ones. I am currrenttly getting it set up for playing. Do you have a closeup of the back of the neck where that pearl triangle is inlaid? Mine looks like it had some reptile dentist repairs done on it. At some point I would love to have it restored in full.

I am also getting my other maple-bowl Calace set up for playing. After that I will send off the Vinaccia.

Jim

Vinaccia
Jan-13-2006, 2:42pm
Hopefully this photo is more clear. I have no other photos and have yet to take the digital camera plunge. The more I play this Calace, the more I am impressed with the instrument.

PaulD
Jan-14-2006, 12:50pm
What is this Goodwill?? did I miss something? Oh yeah
very nice bowl back Jim, I really like the maple ribs, good luck with the resoration http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif
I second MML's question: what is Goodwill? I'm familiar with the charity thriftstore/second had store by that name... is that what you're talking about? I didn't know they were online.

Thanks for the great pics of he Vinaccia and Calace. I'm not much of a bowl-head due to lack of time and funds for the level of MAS in which I would like to indulge, but they are beautiful instruments. I still need to get back to work on the Lyon & Healy so I'll have a player. In retrospect I probably paid too much for it for the work it needs, but it will be good experience and I think it will be a decent player.

pd

Jim Garber
Jan-14-2006, 2:42pm
Jonathan:
Does that Calace have the same bridge as my 1921 (see below)? It should have a saddle (not in the photo) which should be about 1/16" (1.5mm) diameter brass rod.

Mine also has two rosewood "tabs" glued to the top to indicate bridge position.

Jim

Bill Snyder
Jan-14-2006, 11:57pm
what is Goodwill? I'm familiar with the charity thriftstore/second had store by that name... is that what you're talking about? I didn't know they were online.
They are. Not generally the best of instruments, but occasionally they have something worth bidding on.

Jim Garber
Jan-15-2006, 11:03am
yes, that Vinaccia was a real fluke. Someone must have had it hanging on their wall for years and donated to Goodwill. It was listed as a French mandolin. I suppose someone could have come across it in the store but who knows. The cracks might have scared some folks.

Jim

Vinaccia
Jan-17-2006, 2:28pm
[/QUOTE Does that Calace have the same bridge as my 1921 (see below)? It should have a saddle (not in the photo) which should be about 1/16" (1.5mm) diameter brass rod.
Mine also has two rosewood "tabs" glued to the top to indicate bridge position]

Hi Jim,

Sorry for delay. Just saw your question. Yes is the same, but mine has the metal rod (brass?)saddle insert. #If you are ever in the area you are welcome to come check it out. I will try and get you better photos to help your rehab project.

Jonathan

Jim Garber
Jan-17-2006, 2:35pm
I had an email correspondence with Michael Gresham who also had a similar one given to him, so I got the specs for the brass rod. I ordered three thicknesses of those from a hobby supply place and have lots now. If anyone needs any LMK. I will be glad to supply you.

Jim

Jim Garber
Jan-17-2006, 4:20pm
I just got this one today: my bargain-basement, no-name Italian-looking bowlback in the vaguely Vinaccia style. No label but decently made and light in weight. Unusual since I think that the bowl is mahogany. Anyone recognize that headstock? The cap sort of has similar lines to my Vinaccia but with not much of the quality of workmanship.

Jim

Jim Garber
Jan-17-2006, 4:21pm
Here's a side view of the bowl.

Jim

jim simpson
Jan-17-2006, 5:12pm
I just picked up one of these bowlbacks at an auction. The neck is really long on mine! Okay so it's a Saz. The funny thing is there's no sound-hole. I have asked the question before if anyone ever tried making a mandolin w/o a sound-hole but no responses. If it works with a Saz, then why not?

Jim Garber
Jan-17-2006, 5:59pm
Not having played a saz ... are there really no soundholes?

BTW I believe that the saz is the grandfather of the bouzouki or at least granduncle. In any case, it is certainly a bowlback.

Do you play this instrument? What sort(s) of music do you play on it? I recall David Lindley playing "Groundhog" on the saz.

BTW this one seems to have a soundhole on the bottom.

http://www.rainbowcrystal.com/musicpix/sazr.jpg

Jim

jim simpson
Jan-17-2006, 6:38pm
Are you sure the end pin didn't just fall out? Haha
Mine doesn't have any sound holes at all. I think this is common on the long neck versions, don't know about the shorter necks. I read that they evolved from the lute. I figure I'll just let the instrument inspire me. I had a sitar once and found it too challenging to play plus my legs hurt when I tried to sit the way you're supposed to when playing. I like the way the frets are just tied nylon thread. I guess this would allow you to temper the instrument (or lose your temper). I have to make a bridge for mine as it was missing. Mine is also an 8-string, I think most are 7-string. Lindley is how I knew it was a Saz when I spotted it.

PaulD
Jan-17-2006, 11:54pm
I have one that looks like that (4 string, tied frets, soundhole where the peghead should be like JGarber's pic). I was told it was an Oud (sp?) by the woman that sells them... she also plays in a band that plays... I guess you'd call it Arabic or Egyptian music. I've seen other Ouds though, and they looked different so maybe mine is a Saz as well. I've never played it, but my daughter has always liked noodling on it.

Paul Doubek

Eugene
Jan-18-2006, 12:13am
Oud is a short-necked lute. If yours looks like the above and didn't have a soundhole in the soundboard, it's a saz.

Martin Jonas
Feb-12-2006, 9:57am
I've just got my recently-bought Embergher back from Jon (who closed a few open seams in the bowl) and have got around to take some photos. This is a 1915 Tipo A student model, maple bowl, ebony inlaid scratchplate. It's in absolutely outstanding condition, perfect action without any adjustments necessary, tuners working as smoothly as the day they were made, soundboard perfectly level, unwarped and uncracked. I feel like I made a little trip to Rome to visit Signore Embergher at Via Belsiana N. 7 and pick up my new instrument off the shelf.

Plays beautifully, too, with new Lenzner strings. Describing tone is always next to impossible, but it's a complex and full tone, louder and less delicate than my Vinaccia but broadly similar in its nature (at least compared to the much brighter Ceccherini). Outstanding playability with the chunky V-shaped neck, radiused fretboard and narrow nut.

Martin

Martin Jonas
Feb-12-2006, 9:59am
The maple bowl.

Martin

Martin Jonas
Feb-12-2006, 10:00am
Headstock with Embergher stamp.

Martin

Martin Jonas
Feb-12-2006, 10:01am
I love those tuner buttons, although I have no idea what material they are (stained bone? horn? wood?).

Martin

Martin Jonas
Feb-12-2006, 10:03am
An interesting one for luthiers: the discussion pops up occasionally whether the bridge should be perpendicular to the soundboard or slanted so that it bisects the string break angle. As can be seen here, Embergher clearly supported the latter option.

Martin

Linda Binder
Feb-12-2006, 10:04am
Greetings Martin,
Your mandolin is just beautiful! Enjoy!
--Linda
PS Do you really use a nylon pick!!http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

Martin Jonas
Feb-12-2006, 10:05am
Another view of the bridge, showing the ingenious butterfly design used by Embergher to ensure better bridge fit. With the cut-out in the centre, the bridge flexes under tension to adapt to the soundboard shape.

Martin

Martin Jonas
Feb-12-2006, 10:07am
Scratchplate, soundhole and label.

Martin

Martin Jonas
Feb-12-2006, 10:12am
Last one: close-up of soundhole and extension.

Linda: yes, I do use a nylon pick on my bowlbacks. I find it suits my playing technique the most. I've been trying a lot of other materials and gauges, but keep coming back to these, either in 0.88mm or 1.0mm. Incidentally, Alison Stephens used to use nylon picks in much the same gauge (though different shape) on her Embergher 5-bis until very recently, although when I last met her in June, she had just switched to the German rubber plectra.

Martin

Linda Binder
Feb-12-2006, 10:17am
Great photos! It's a treat to get such a good look at a fine instrument. Now I'm curious how a nylon pick would sound on my Pandini. I don't think I've ever tried one. I'm using a Tortis brand pick which I like but I think I'll experiment....
--Linda

Jim Garber
Feb-12-2006, 10:49am
Martin:
Congratulations on this one.

I love the simplicity of design of these Emberghers. Still it reminds me of that antique dealer who was selling that one near me that William Petit won. She had brought it to a local music store and they told her it was a wall hanger.

Jim

Jonathan Rudie
Feb-12-2006, 1:15pm
Congratulations Martin. That is one very elegant looking mandolin. Enjoy!

Fliss
Feb-19-2006, 2:40pm
I've seen Martin's Embergher in the flesh, and have now had the opportunity to play it, and it is a truly beautiful mandolin, with a lovely sound. #

However, as a new bowlback owner I'm now taking the opportunity to post some pre-restoration pictures of my 1902 De Meglio which I bought on E-bay a few days ago. #Hopefully, at some stage in the not too far distant future I'll be able to post some post-restoration photos! It's going to need some work, particularly on the crack, so I'm going to contact a local luthier and see what can be done. #

I took it to visit Martin this afternoon, as a result of which it now has the nut and zero fret cleaned and put back the right way round, and a new set of Lenzner strings (thanks Martin!) so it is now perfectly playable even in this condition. #It has a nice tone and a lovely low action.

I'm posting some thumbnails below, you can click on them to see the full size image.

http://img409.imageshack.us/img409/9045/rimg00328nb.th.jpg (http://img409.imageshack.us/my.php?image=rimg00328nb.jpg)

http://img417.imageshack.us/img417/2718/rimg00271vb.th.jpg (http://img417.imageshack.us/my.php?image=rimg00271vb.jpg)

http://img409.imageshack.us/img409/223/rimg00290wt.th.jpg (http://img409.imageshack.us/my.php?image=rimg00290wt.jpg)

Fliss

Fliss
Feb-19-2006, 2:44pm
A few more pics...

http://img52.imageshack.us/img52/2426/rimg00266zc.th.jpg (http://img52.imageshack.us/my.php?image=rimg00266zc.jpg)

http://img503.imageshack.us/img503/561/rimg00473lx.th.jpg (http://img503.imageshack.us/my.php?image=rimg00473lx.jpg)

http://img329.imageshack.us/img329/9771/rimg00485nv.th.jpg (http://img329.imageshack.us/my.php?image=rimg00485nv.jpg)

Regards
Fliss

Eugene
Feb-19-2006, 9:41pm
I love the de Meglio aesthetic. Thanks, Fliss. For some reason, three of the images seem to be missing.

Fliss
Feb-20-2006, 2:42pm
Thanks Eugene. I've attempted to replace the links, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping it's worked.

Fliss

Eugene
Feb-20-2006, 6:38pm
It seems to have worked. I love the headstock. What rep are you planning to tackle with this?

Fliss
Feb-21-2006, 2:43am
The most important repair is the crack in the top, which you should be able to see next to the E strings in the fourth pic. I'll also replace the bridge with a more traditional one.

The rest is cosmetic, but depending on how affordable it is I'd like to get the edging repaired - there are a couple of places where pieces are missing, and other places where it's very uneven. I'd also like to get the two small areas of veneer on the headstock replaced where it lookis to have chipped off (at the top corners.)

There are also some small chips out of the scratchplate, which I'm not so bothered about, but would be nice to get fixed if it can be done reasonably easily.

One of the easiest things to replace should be the small piece of dark red leather which should beon the headstock just above the nut - there are some small grooves which indicate where it should be. I might also file down the ends of the frets which are sticking out a little.

Fliss

Eugene
Feb-21-2006, 8:59am
Sorry, by "rep" I'd meant "repertoire."

Fliss
Feb-21-2006, 2:51pm
Oops, sorry!

To be honest, I don't really know. My main focus, what I really want to do with the mandolin, is to play Irish music, for which my Garrison flat top should be ideal. But I've recently started practicing with the ensemble that Martin plays with, and they play a mixture of material (most of which seems really difficult to me at the moment!) so I'm enjoying learning more and getting to know some more different types of music.

So I'm planning to just enjoy the De Meglio and explore what it can do, and to enjoy the process of restoring it a bit in the process. At the moment, I must confess, I'm practicing jigs, polkas and the odd hornpipe on it!

Fliss

Jim Garber
Feb-21-2006, 3:32pm
I like my Demeglio for many types of music. I think it has a great sound for folk styles as well as classical. I like the sustain from the metal saddle.

I still think of Martin's quote that there seems to be a "party in the bowl" -- sort of a built-in echo chamber.

Jim

Fliss
Feb-25-2006, 2:27pm
That "party in the bowl" quote is great, very descriptive.

I am enjoying the sound of the De Meglio, I love the more mellow sound and sustain of my flat top, but the De Meglio whilst having a brighter tone, does also have very good sustain, and I'm enjoying having two different sounds to choose from. #

I still haven't got the right technique to keep it from sliding down while I'm playing it, I need to invest in a chammy leather!

Today, I took it to a luthier in nearby Port Sunlight, Matthew J Bascetta, who does restoration of vintage mandolins - here's a link to his website #http://www.mjbluthier.co.uk/index.htm #Although he lives 20 minutes from me in the North West of England, he's actually an American! #

The work is going to take around 3 - 4 weeks. #He's promised to take progress photos so I can see how the repairs are actually done, and also so I can post them here.

Fliss

Fliss
Apr-06-2006, 5:17pm
I finally got my De Meglio back from the luthier, so I'm going to have a go at posting some pics of the mandolin as it looks now and some of the work in progress!

Here's the mando:

Fliss
Apr-06-2006, 5:21pm
That didn't work, I'll try again. Scott, I'm following different instructions for posting pics from the ones I follwed previously, so I'll apologise in advance if this goes wrong as I'm not used to doing it this way.

Fliss
Apr-06-2006, 5:23pm
Do you like the fact that it's in a bowl back chair??

Here's a close up of the repaired edging:

Fliss
Apr-06-2006, 5:25pm
And the bowl...

Fliss
Apr-06-2006, 5:27pm
Here's the head

Fliss
Apr-06-2006, 5:30pm
Work in progress (sorry, out of sequence!) - wrapped in a plastic bag with some sponges inside in an attempt to persuade the crack to go back together. #You can see he also took the tuners off in order to clean them

Fliss
Apr-06-2006, 5:33pm
And finally... the luthier's own system for holding cleats tightly in place, using tuners and wire

Tully
Apr-27-2006, 7:49am
Bowlbacks really perk up my imagination.

I picture a bard sitting lazily under a tree. His plumed-hat tilted forward over his eyes, lightly picking away at his trusty mandolin, a satisfied grin on his face.
Life is good.

Keith Erickson
May-15-2006, 9:05am
Live at the City of the Rocks State Park outside of Deming, New Mexico... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif hee, hee...

Jim Garber
May-15-2006, 10:27am
Keith:
What bowlback are you playing there? Have you posted larger pics here or elsewhere?

Jim

Keith Erickson
May-15-2006, 10:34am
Howdy Jim,

This was the Suzuki that picked up in Tucson back in February.

Keith Erickson
May-15-2006, 10:35am
Front View...

Hi there Jim,

Yes I posted a couple of these pics a few months ago. I just can't quite remember where. When I find the thread, I'll post the link.

Catch ya later http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Keith Erickson
May-15-2006, 12:59pm
Jim,

I found this thread (http://www.mandolincafe.net/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=12;t=32854) that I posted back in March on my bowlback.

Enjoy http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

John Craton
May-15-2006, 4:00pm
I've posted these on other threads, but might as well use up the bandwidth. On the left and middle is my 1950s era Herwiga Solist, and on the right an 1890s French Euterpia.

http://www.kiva.net/~kiwi/photos/herwiga.jpg http://www.wolfheadmusic.com/images/Frenchy.jpg

Martin Jonas
Jun-23-2006, 7:09pm
I've just splashed out and got myself a nice shiny Ferrari... Fratelli Ferrari, that is. This one sort of found me and begged me to take it in: it belonged to an elderly lady who used to play in our ensemble a couple of decades ago. She herself never played this one, but someone gave it to her long ago and she never got around to getting it set up for playing. So, she was looking for a good home and someone who might be able to bring it back to life. What could I say...

I'm not a big fan of rope binding, but this is a rather attractive instrument. It needs a new bridge, of course (the current one is just a block of ebony that someone shoved under the strings in the wrong place), but other than that, I don't think there's much wrong with it. A bit of cleaning and I should be on the way.

Quite a lightly-built instrument, with a very pronouned arch to the top, more even than my Ceccherini. The neck, soundboard and bowl seem exceptionally sound, with only the cosmetic issue of some missing MOP/tortoiseshell segments from the binding.

I need another bowl like a hole in the head, but I really could not turn down this poor orphan.

Martin

Martin Jonas
Jun-23-2006, 7:11pm
Not particularly close grain, but completely crack free with not a trace of sinking and perfect action.

Martin

Martin Jonas
Jun-23-2006, 7:13pm
The side view may show the somewhat unusual shape of the bowl: this one is much more angular than the other Neapolitan bowls I have. This also shows the very high arch.

Martin

Martin Jonas
Jun-23-2006, 7:14pm
Last picture of the Ferrari: here's the back.

Martin

Martin Jonas
Jun-23-2006, 7:20pm
The same elderly lady also owns this Stridente. Although in really rather good condition, it didn't appeal much to me, as it seemed rather heavily built. The Gibson tailpiece looks odd, the bridge is also non-original, the top looks refinished and the frets have been somewhat clumsily levelled with little or no dressing afterwards. Nevertheless, a well-made mandolin that is structurally completely sound. I anybody else thinks this is his or her heart's desire, I may be able to arrange something...

Martin

Martin Jonas
Jun-23-2006, 7:33pm
As I had my camera with me at our ensemble rehearsal yesterday, I also took the opportunity to photograph this unique bowlback built in 1991 by our ensemble member John Parr, who has been using this as his principal instrument ever since. #It's very nicely made, especially for an amateur-built instrument, and he gets a great tone out of it (when I try, it sounds rather unresponsive, but I guess he knows better how to treat it).

It's nice woods all around, but the most unusual design feature is the fixed bridge which is carved from out of the spruce of the soundtable, with only a thin bone saddle constituting the "bridge" proper. #Intonation can be adjusted by shifting the saddle alone.

Martin

Martin Jonas
Jun-23-2006, 7:34pm
Here's that bridge closer up.

Martin

Martin Jonas
Jun-23-2006, 7:35pm
And a side view.

Martin

Martin Jonas
Jun-23-2006, 7:38pm
Back.

Martin

Jim Garber
Jun-23-2006, 8:26pm
That bridge arrangement is very strange indeed, Martin. Is it actually carved out of the top or is it glued onto the top?

Jim

Martin Jonas
Jun-23-2006, 8:42pm
Actually carved out of the top.

Martin

Eugene
Jun-23-2006, 9:57pm
Weird-o-rama.

...And thanks for the Ferrari tale. I have a lead on a Ferrari that I've been contemplating.

Martin Jonas
Sep-26-2006, 10:56am
As I've mentioned down in the bowlbacks of note thread in the classical forum, I've just picked up a Ceccherini 10-string bowlback from Ebay. I thought it might be a five-course instrument, but as it turns out it's four courses with 2-2-3-3 configuration, triples on the trebles. It's the same size as an eight string, with a very slightly wider fretboard and a slightly chunkier neck. Not wide enough for conversion to five courses, so I decided to set it up as an eight string. That turned out to be surprisingly straightforward. The nut spacings were fine if one just omits the middle string of the triple courses. The bridge needed some surgery anyway, as one of the bridge wings was missing, as were all of the ebony string spacers. As I had to do new spacers anyway, I made them for eight-string spacing instead. The string hooks don't quite align with the new spacings, but it's not a big problem.

So, now it's an eight string with two spare tuners and a sturdier neck: both things that are handy in a vintage bowlback where neck strength is a notorious problem and where tuners often pack up and are difficult to replace (these tuners are all in excellent working condition, though). The sturdier neck gave me the chance to string it up with a slightly heavier gauge than I would normally with vintage bowlbacks: I put Optima Goldins on.

No structural issues: the neck is entirely straight, no top cracks and nothing wrong with the bowl except for a slight separation that is stable and doesn't need attention. Action was 2.2mm at the 12th fret with the original bridge height. That's entirely playable, indeed better than any of my other bowlbacks when I got them except the Embergher. I've taken it down to a bit under 2mm now, but it's nothing dramatic.

Lovely tone, lovely intonation. Similar to the other one, but by no means identical.

Here are some photos. First up, my new Ceccherini next to my trusty eight-string. As can be seen, they are fairly similar in the level of decoration and the intricacy of the inlays. Both have Ceccherini's unique double top. The soundboard of my new one is a bit more worn, with some superficial scratches, and is much darker because of exposure to light.

Martin

Martin Jonas
Sep-26-2006, 10:59am
The new (top) and old (bottom) Ceccherini from the side. Same bowl shape, but one can see the sturdier neck of the new one, which also has a slightly lighter colour and (strangely) one stave fewer -- 15 instead of 16.

Martin

Martin Jonas
Sep-26-2006, 11:07am
Here is the pickguard, label and bridge.

The inlay style of this one is more Art Nouveau than the other one, which suggests to me a slightly later date. Very nice silver and MOP inlay work,as is normal for Ceccherini. The tortoiseshell is a bit more cloudy than the other one, again probably because of exposure to light.

If you look closely, you see that the last segment of the bridge wing on the treble side is a replacement -- I carved it freehand and it does not quite match the original. The narrow waists between the "nodes" on the bridge make working on it a bit tricky. Again looking closely, the string hooks behind the bridge are wider for the treble courses, to hold down three instead of two string. The A string hook is a bit in the way now, because of the altered string spacing, but it's fine just taking the string wide of the hook.

Different label from the normal: this one is all in English and says:

"Constructed in the Atelier of Umberto Ceccherini, Naples. And sold by the Sole Consignees - Alban Voigt & Co., London, E.C."

It's signed by Umberto in red ink across the label (same signature as on the other one) and -- uniquely -- has a serial number: No. 2360. No idea whether these numbers are any indication of the number of instruments he made -- none of the other Ceccherinis I've seen has them.

Martin

Martin Jonas
Sep-26-2006, 11:15am
This is also the first Ceccherini I've seen with a headstock inlay. Again, rather Art Nouveau and (to my eyes) supremely tasteful. Unlike the scratchplate, this inlay is yellow/golden, which I think is the result of silver and MOP that has been varnished over along with the rest of the headstock.

The ten ivory buttons are identical to my other one, and are in good nick. Slight difference in the nut from Ceccherini's norm: this one has a separate zero fret and nut rather than both together as one unit.

Martin

Martin Jonas
Sep-26-2006, 11:17am
Nice engraved tuners, same engraving as on my other one. Interesting that these were available as units of five.

Martin

Martin Jonas
Sep-26-2006, 11:24am
This is the first Ceccherini I've seen that still has its tailpiece cover. The tortoiseshell is backed with a sheet of lead (!). The anchor holding it to the tailpiece hooks was missing, and the only reason that this has not lead to the loss of the cover itself is that somebody glued it to the top, underneath the strings. Luckily, they used very weak glue, so it was easy to get off and clean away the residue. I made a new anchor to hold it on out of aluminium sheet metal cut out from a drinks can. Improvised, but works pretty well at least until I get around to making a proper anchor.

Martin

Martin Jonas
Sep-26-2006, 11:28am
Last one: the tailpiece, with my improvised drinks-can anchor for the cover. Again, strange to see that he had access to a tailpiece matching his eccentric string configuration.

Martin

Fliss
Sep-26-2006, 12:25pm
Congrats Martin, that looks really nice! I love the inlay, it does have an Art Nouveau look as you say, and the delicacy is delightful.

I hadn't realised the triple strings were the trebles, for some reason I had thought they would be on the bass side. Aren't you at all tempted to string it up that way and experiment with the sound? Having said that, I bet it's loud, with heavier strings and the Ceccherini double top.

Fliss

Linda Binder
Sep-26-2006, 1:06pm
Gorgeous Martin!! Thanks for sharing pictures of your new arrival.
--Linda

JeffD
Oct-10-2006, 10:46pm
Can anyone tell me anything about this bowl back? The label says Carl Fischer, New York. There is a serial too, inside towards the base of the neck.

I found it at an auction, got it for almost nothing, took off the old rusty strings and put on some GHS ultra lights and I play it regularly. The neck is straight and secure, and it has a great tone. It came in a pretty beat up canvas bag - I have since got a bowl back hardshell case for it.

I have no clue who made it or how old it is, or from where it comes. Any help is appreciated.

JeffD
Oct-10-2006, 10:47pm
A close up.

JeffD
Oct-10-2006, 10:48pm
And another

JeffD
Oct-10-2006, 10:49pm
And the inlay on the peg head.

JeffD
Oct-10-2006, 10:51pm
And the tuner covers.

Any ideas?

Jim Garber
Oct-11-2006, 6:51am
Jeff:
Not too much to tell. Carl Fischer is still in business in New York (near Cooper Union). They are a music store, tho now only deal in sheet music, back in the teens and twenties they sold instruments of all kinds and also published their own line.

This was made for them under their label. Hard to tell who the actual manufacturer was tho. There were quite a few New York makers like Luigi Ricca and Galiano who made instruments for the trade.

I just saw a CF-labelled mandolin at a flea market the other day, tho yours is in much better shape. It looks like the tailpiece was replaced. Are those tuners original?

Enjoy it.

Jim

JeffD
Oct-11-2006, 11:09am
I really don't know what is original on it and what isnt. As you can tell the whole thing is in good enough shape. The "sweater catcher" tailpiece does seem kind of generic.

What suprises me is the neck is straight as an arrow and firmly connected to the body - no repairs. Most of the bowl back mandolins I have seen at non musical antique stores and flea markets have really screwed up necks and/or loose neck to body connections - or repairs covering both.

My plan is to play it till it explodes. It sounds sweet, and plays well. The A string wants to go out of tune every hour on the hour, but I can deal with that.

The mandolin especially sounds good on some of the Klezmer tunes I am trying to learn.

Thanks for your input.

Jim Garber
Oct-11-2006, 12:58pm
Jeff:
What kind of strings are on it? That may make a difference in the tuning.

There is no reasom that the mandolin should implode with sensible light gauge strings on it.

The tailpiece is definitely modern and the tuner buttons look too fancy and new for that model.

Jim

JeffD
Oct-11-2006, 6:36pm
I put GHS ultra lights on it. I was afraid to put something heavier on.

I think the tuners need to be cleaned because the thing tunes up in quanta - you know you turn the peg and nothing happens and then all of sudden you have turned too far.

I am really getting a kick out of playing it. The sound is very sweet. Especially when I play a Klezmer or Gypsie tune or any Eastern Eurpean influenced tune. There is something very satisfying about so much "soul" coming out of such a small piece of wood.

The scratches on the front would indicate that it has been played hard, and by the looks of it mostly chords. So the mandolin has had a previous life!

I was reading the classical folks chat about needing a chamois or hide to put on my lap to keep the thing from twisting to strings up position as I play. Others advocate a foot rest. I have been using a custom kleenex box foot rest.

Jim Garber
Jan-04-2007, 10:18am
And now... after a number of months of my patiently waiting... I finally have my first Embergher.

Countless thanks to Martin Jonas, who found the instrument for me in June of last year, photographed and described it in molecular detail and even shipped it for me to Jon Springall for restoration. Thanks also for Jon for doing a nice job on the restoration. And additional thanks for the very patient Embergher experts, Ralf and Alex who nboth gave me expert advice on this instrument.

This is, of course, a testament to this board that, as the cliche goes, I couldn't have done it without you.

I am still getting used to the instrument. This is as far from my Pandini as a bowlback can get. Strangely enough, the narrow v-shaped neck is not any problem, but just getting used to a different sound and touch. I also realized that this instrument, which sat for many year unplayed, needs some re-breaking in. Also, the Emberghers have a different tonality than other mandolins, or so I am told.

This one is a lowly Student type A from 1913. It has a via Belsiana label. Here are a few pics.

Jim

Jim Garber
Jan-04-2007, 10:19am
Here is the headstock detail. I don't think that that tuners are original, tho they are on backwards, I believe. They tune in reverse. I suppose the next time I change strings I should try to switch them.

Jim

Jim Garber
Jan-04-2007, 10:21am
Here is the concert bridge that Jon Springall made for this. I think the original was all ebony with a butterfly cut.

Jim

brunello97
Jan-04-2007, 10:27am
Congratulations, Jim. It looks fantastic. What type of work did Jon Springall do besides what you mentioned? I look forward to hearing more about it.

Mick

Jim Garber
Jan-04-2007, 10:48am
There was some slight warpage of the top and the fretboard end was slightly warped as well. General set up and levelling the frets (all bar frets as per all Emberghers). Prob a few other things as well. BTW it is strungs with Optima Goldins.

Jim

Linda Binder
Jan-04-2007, 10:57am
Congratulations Jim! #It's so beautiful. #The lack of frippery makes it easy to enjoy the clean, elegant design. #Enjoy! #If you get tired of re-breaking it in ship it to me....you know my address...you're welcome.
--Linda (currently breaking in a bandolim, or vice versa)

Jim Garber
Jan-04-2007, 11:04am
I will prob bring it to the Aonzo workshop. Matt V will have his model 3 so it will be interesting.

Jim

Martin Jonas
Jan-04-2007, 11:07am
Congratulations in public again from me, Jim. This one is a virtually identical twin to my Embergher, except that it's two years older (mine is 1915) and has different tuners. It all came about when the former conductor of our ensemble (now in his late 80s and no longer well enough to play) saw mine and said it was virtually identical to the one he bought in the 1960s for another elderly and now-retired player. As the owner of that one wanted to sell, and I already had one, I put her in touch with Jim. Cue various intercontinental photo calls and Q&A sessions.

The instruments are also in very similar condition (after Jon's work) and both have Jon's reproduction concert bridge and at the moment even the same strings, so they should sound rather similar once Jim's has had a bit of playing time and has settled down.

Martin

Jim Garber
Jan-04-2007, 11:19am
Yes, I definitely need to settle down... or, did you mean the mandolin?

Jim

Fliss
Jan-04-2007, 3:28pm
Jim, congrats on your beautiful Embergher! I've had the privilege of playing Martin's, and it's definitely the nicest bowlback I've played, even compared to his Vinaccia! And I like the simplicity of the student model better than the more ornate versions.

Fliss

JeffD
Jan-04-2007, 4:20pm
Beautiful. Clean elegant classic look.

What a great hobbie we have, appreciating, owning, and even collecting fine works of art, examples of fine woodworking, studying accoustic science, playing music with friends, and performing on stage - and its all the same hobbie.

onthefiddle
Jan-04-2007, 6:30pm
Hi Jim,

I'm glad that you are pleased with your Embergher! I too must say that I prefer the simple clean lines of the Tipo A to the slightly more expensive Tipo B. Thanks also for your patience, and my apologies to all for not being more active at the Cafe in recent months. The good news is that I have now secured the full-time services of an experienced, qualified assistant, Mr Andrew Quelch, who is also a Mandolinist!

I recently had the pleasure of examining another Embergher Tipo A, from 1927, at Sotheby's in London. It was lying beside a "late 19th century" Raffaele Calace, a 1782 Antonio Vinaccia and a 1781 Donato Filano. At Bonhams there was also a 1933 Embergher Model 3 Orchestral mandolin - and beyond this there were all the fiddles! (I got to examine three Nicolo Amatis, and a whole herd of Gaglianos that day.)

Enjoy playing your Embergher in! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Jon

Jim Garber
Jan-04-2007, 7:30pm
Thanks, Jon for all your help. I know it was a crazy time for you as well. Nice to see you back here and to hear your excellent comments.

Jim

Lex Luthier
Jan-04-2007, 10:28pm
Nothing special, you guys have some really interesting pieces, but here's mine.

Lex Luthier
Jan-04-2007, 10:29pm
And the back.

Embergher
Jan-05-2007, 8:40pm
Here is the headstock detail. I don't think that that tuners are original, tho they are on backwards, I believe. They tune in reverse. I suppose the next time I change strings I should try to switch them.

This looks like a wonderful Christmas present, Jim!
And, as we've seen before, Jon has done an excellent job on it, including the new concert bridge.
(it must be proud on its promotion with the concert bridge!) http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif
I can't see the tuners very well, but they don't look original, certainly in this period.
However, it's quite possible to have an Embergher with original tuners which tune in reverse. There are not many of them but they do exist.
I don't think you can switch them, at least not without damaging the wood of the head underneath, to make new little holes at the places where the worms are attached ... I have two which tune in reverse and I just live with them as they are.
I can imagine there is a huge difference in sound with your Pandini, but give yourself and the mandolin a bit of time to get used to eachother and you will probably get to like it a lot.
Good to see an old Embergher been taken so well care of and go to a good home #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif
Enjoy!

brunello97
Jan-06-2007, 9:44am
Thanks, Lex for posting your bowlback. I appreciate the many ends of mandolin spectra. Particularly maple bowls. Of note also is the top gearing of your tuners. Has this topic been discussed? (Probably.)

I've got an old Favila with top racked gears they tune the same way as the bottom racked ones-CCW on the bass CW on the treble. When and why did the change over occur?

Mick

Jim Garber
Jan-16-2007, 4:41pm
Here is a mystery mandolin. I actually bought it cheaply for the parts but except for the big separations of the bowl and general grunginess, it looks like it may be Italian in origin. The neck joint is a sort of scarf joint (I think that is what you call it) and it has aged bone tuner buttons similar to my deMeglio.

I wonder if anyone cares to guess the maker or even the locale. Seen anything like it?

Jim

Jim Garber
Jan-16-2007, 4:43pm
Here is a close-up of the neck joint.

Jim

Jim Garber
Jan-16-2007, 4:44pm
Here is the bottom end.

Jim

Jim Garber
Jan-16-2007, 4:48pm
The only identifying mark is a small (about 5/8" - 16mm at the base) triangular label. It looks like it may say something like "L&R" or "L&K". There may be other letters as well.

Jim

Bill Snyder
Jan-16-2007, 5:26pm
Not a scarf joint, but rather a "V" joint. A scarf joint is a common joint used to glue the headstock to the neck in guitar construction. It is a long, straight cut angled across the neck.
The attached image shows a scarf joint (though not the neatest).
While I don't think the "V" joint was ever the norm it was more common once than it is now.

Jim Garber
Jan-16-2007, 8:06pm
Thanks, Bill, I figured I should not have used that term. In any case, it is a more complex joint than found on a similar grade American instrument (with the possible exception of a Martin bowlback) which is one reason why this funky mandolin strikes me as Italian.

Jim

guitharsis
Jan-17-2007, 6:26am
Interesting mystery mandolin, Jim, and congrats on your
beautiful Embergher! Missed your post and was going to e-mail you.
Doreen

Jerry Byers
Jan-17-2007, 7:50am
The only identifying mark is a small (about 5/8" - 16mm at the base) triangular label. It looks like it may say something like "L&R" or "L&K". There may be other letters as well.

Jim
Looks like L&K to me. Underneath that, it looks like a M.

jeffshuniak
Apr-19-2007, 2:05pm
the left hand mandolin is mine....dino bersis....
the right hand one is my friend jennifer's....favilla bros...circa http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif??

Eugene
Apr-19-2007, 8:57pm
Looks beautiful. How does the sound strike you? Playability?

JeffD
Apr-19-2007, 11:50pm
#Lest Everybody thinks That is my only mando, here is a pic of my pride and joy. #She is a Lyon Healy Model C #443
A real beauty!

jeffshuniak
Apr-20-2007, 10:07am
DISCLAIMER: I am only real familiar and able to compare with a greek mandolin, uncanted top...so here we go:

the setup is great! fortunately, its previous owner was a luthier who was very fond of mandolins and very experienced with their upkeep and repair...you can see there was a hairline crack about an inch long in the top, back by the tailpiece...but the top seems to have never sunk, it is scuffed a little by the pickguard...the neck, I dunno, there is a little bow on it, I THINK its intentional....the intonation and "action" are perfect- so I don't know what to say there........the back is unharmed...

the sound is bright, more midrange than I am used to with my mandolin...I think that may come from the canted top? ..also, we havnt really compared with both mandolins having new strings at the same time...in fact, her strings are probably a month old or so...(for sure it sounds exponentially better than the cheap, italian mandolin I used to have..musikalia-bottom end)...
bronze strings for this one, right?http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif #ghs classical set...

so I hope I got her a good deal...$400...I know she couldnt buy a NEW mandolin that would be this nice for that price...I feel funny about this, but I guess I was hoping it was the deal of the century! or close..

David Newton
Apr-20-2007, 2:09pm
While the V-joint is somewhat rare, some are doing it. Here it is on my guitar

David Newton
Apr-20-2007, 2:16pm
Here is it's construction.

Jim Garber
May-17-2007, 7:32am
Well, it has been awhile, so, in an effort to refresh this thread, I figured I had to acquire yet another bowlback. This is one by Alfonso Moretti of Napoli. The upside is that it is in practically imaculate condition with one slight hairline bowlcrack, one on the butt end but no other cracks that I can see. The worse part is that the neck either needs to be reset or steam bent back to a correct angle. However, the inlay work is relatively tasteful and the workmanship is very good. Luckily I paid relatively little so the remainder can go into the mandolin repair fund for this one and I think it will be worth the effort.

Nice engraved pearl inlay on the scratchplate, bone tuner buttons and completely intact pearl border and rosette.

There is no date on the label but this was a UK import by Ball Beavon & Co. More pics to follow of this one.

Pardon for the mediocre quality of these photos.

Jim

Jim Garber
May-17-2007, 7:35am
Back view (sorry for the reflection).

Jim Garber
May-17-2007, 7:36am
Butt end view. I like the subtle tulipwood(?) lining around the apron.

Jim

Jim Garber
May-17-2007, 7:39am
Closeup of the scratchplate and bridge. The bridge is a variant of the standard bone inset saddle on ebony bridge but done very delicately.

Jim

Jim Garber
May-17-2007, 7:40am
Here is the best I could do of the label.

Jim

Jim Garber
May-17-2007, 7:42am
The only other Moretti I have in my files is this one from eBay in 2004 similar scratchplate but different headstock and border inlays.

Jim

Fliss
May-17-2007, 8:37am
Looks nice, Jim. What date do you think it might be from? The inlay looks somewhat in the art nouveau style.

Fliss

Fliss
May-17-2007, 8:41am
And to add to the bowlback fun, I've now got my Calace back from the luthier. It only needed two things doing to it; the inlaid pickguard sticking down, and the action adjusting for my comfort (it was rather high!)

Here's the view showing the pickguard now lying nice and flat - the top is still a bit uneven, but this is as good as he could get it. because of the fretboard extension he had to adapt a clamp specially in order to reach!

Fliss

Fliss
May-17-2007, 8:42am
This is what it looked like before...

Fliss
May-17-2007, 8:49am
And here's a full frontal view. I've taken Martin Jonas's advice and put Optima Goldins on it, which already sound much better than the Rotosound strings I put on it at first. I've had some mixed feelings about this bowlback because it is unmistakeably larger and more solidly built than my De Meglio, and I like the lightness of the latter. But this one has a clean simplicity which I enjoy, I kind of like its 70s vibe, and now that the action's sorted out it's a lot more fun to play than it was. I'm looking forward to taking it to ensemble practice and seeing how I get on with it.

Fliss

Fliss
May-27-2007, 11:30am
When I was at the luthier's workshop picking up my Calace, he brought out another mandolin to show me, just because he knew I'd be interested. It was a very nice looking old bowlback, rather in the style of Vinaccia, with gorgeous tuning buttons and some of the loveliest woods I've seen in a bowlback. The label was rather undistinguished, just an importer's label saying "Maidstone" , John Murdoch, London. This particular Maidstone bowlback was there because it was having some restoration done - it belongs to a descendant of the Murdoch family and is therefore a family piece for them.

Nice story, I thought, and a surprisingly nice mandolin.

The very next day I saw a "Maidstone" mandolin crop up on e-bay, looking very similar to the one at the luthier's workshop, and going very cheap. So I bought it on a whim, and will be passing it on to a friend of mine who wanted a cheap mandolin.

It's actually a very nice mandolin too, in better condition than the one at the luthier's, but not such nice buttons or quite such nice woods - though still very nice. I noticed it had another label underneath the importer's label, and have managed to remove this to show the actual maker's label underneath - Achille Lanfranco e Figlio, Napoli, 1899.

Here's a picture of the front, I'll follow on with some other pictures. Can anyone tell me anything about Lanfranco?

Fliss

Fliss
May-27-2007, 11:32am
I do like the soundhole decoration on this mandolin - and all the MOP inlay seems intact

Fliss

Fliss
May-27-2007, 11:37am
The neck angle looks to have lifted slightly, and the bridge is already very low, but it should be possible to improve the action a bit.

Fliss

Fliss
May-27-2007, 11:39am
And finally, here's a shot of the bowl. It's in really good condition, with just one split along a join.

Fliss

Jim Garber
May-27-2007, 12:30pm
No info on this maker, Fliss. I have three others of similar grade in my jpeg files. Nothing spectacular. Yours looks like the best condition in general.

There were so many makers in Napoli at that time and very little info on any of them. I look in my violin books first but some did not make violins.

Jim

fryingpanjo
May-27-2007, 11:01pm
How does a vintage neck on a frying pan pot sound?
My Webpage (http://mackhooverwhistles.com)
go to the Re-instruments page check item # 9.
I was just having fun, but the "instrument" sounds reasonable nice. The neck was broken just at the tenth fret so I added some finger board and two frets.
Mack

Martin Jonas
Jun-21-2007, 2:58pm
Just a cross ref to a picture of an Italian Big Three summit meeting that I've just posted here (http://www.mandolincafe.net/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=15;t=19687;st=500).

Martin

JeffD
Jul-13-2007, 11:28pm
Can anyone tell me anything about this bowl back? The label says Carl Fischer, New York. There is a serial too, inside towards the base of the neck.

I found it at an auction, got it for almost nothing, took off the old rusty strings and put on some GHS ultra lights and I play it regularly. The neck is straight and secure, and it has a great tone. It came in a pretty beat up canvas bag - I have since got a bowl back hardshell case for it.

I have no clue who made it or how old it is, or from where it comes. Any help is appreciated.
I may have a better mandolin than I thought.

This one looks identical to the one I got at an auction for something like $25.00 More picks of my mandolin back in my original October posting.

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/msg/371177524.html

JeffD
Jul-19-2007, 12:52am
Ah well, the link expired.

Jim Garber
Jul-24-2007, 5:03pm
I just heard from Lorenzo Lippi and he gave mer permission to post these pictures of his Embergher repros. He is the one who published that poster of the style 3. Alex Timmerman and Sebastiaan Grebber have been giving him feedback on the details of these instruments.

This one is a 5 bis mandola (octave tuning). A member of the Het Consort was very kind to let me try a few notes on it. A lovely instrument, beautifully made and sounding very nice and full. I think that the recurve is especially impressive.

Jim

Jim Garber
Jul-24-2007, 5:05pm
Here is what Lorenzo calls a serie 1.

Jim

Jim Garber
Jul-24-2007, 5:06pm
Here is another view of the mandolin.

Jim

Jim Garber
Jul-24-2007, 5:07pm
Another of the mandola esp showing the recurve.

Jim

margora
Jul-24-2007, 6:51pm
I played the Style 3 Lippi mandola currently owned by one of Het Consort's mandola players. It is a very powerful instrument, easy to play, excellent dynamic range, outstanding craftsmanship. I didn't ask but I am sure it is not cheap.

Jim Garber
Jul-24-2007, 7:03pm
Bob, that is the mandola you played and Lorenzo calls it a style 5bis. As I recall, it would be considerably cheaper than buying a vintage Embergher 5 bis mandola, assuming you could find one.

Jim

Eugene
Jul-24-2007, 7:45pm
Yum!

JeffD
Jul-25-2007, 9:46pm
What a beauty. And to think it makes music.

Fliss
Jul-26-2007, 6:26am
I like the Serie 1, Jim, I don't suppose you got the chance to try that out did you? I'd be interested to hear how it compares to your Embergher.

Fliss

Jim Garber
Jul-26-2007, 7:45am
The only Lippi instrument that was in NY was that mandola and I only played it for a few seconds. The serie 1 I just have photos of and might not have been finished at the time and might have been meant for others.

Jim

vkioulaphides
Jul-26-2007, 10:42am
Absolutely LOVELY, all of them! Thanks a million, Jim. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

BobbyFromDallas
Jul-30-2007, 9:09pm
My circa 1900 Washburn mandolin.

Jim Garber
Jul-30-2007, 9:33pm
I like the bone or grained ivoroid tuning buttons. This must be a relatively early one with a 4 post tailpiece. Will you have it restored?

Jim

BobbyFromDallas
Jul-31-2007, 12:34pm
Jim,

I believe that the tuning buttons are made of elephant ivory.

As to restoration: I scraped all of the super glue off of the back and glued the cracks using Titebond III, a strap clamp, and a homemade jig. For the repair, I hade to cut through the back braces do to the shrinkage of the staves. I plan to spray varnish the back after a light sanding. Other than carving a new bridge, I don’t plan to do anything else to it.

Eugene
Jul-31-2007, 8:20pm
Neil Russell is convinced Lyon & Healy never used ivory on their Washburn instruments. Personally, I do believe the ivoroid they used was pretty convincing and looked really nice. It's impossible for me to tell from the photos, Bobby. Washburns labeled with the wooden medallion and lacking lining in the bowl are from very early in the brand's existence, 1889-1896.

BobbyFromDallas
Aug-01-2007, 10:34pm
Thanks for the information!

The mandolin’s bottom plate reads “PAT. MCH.10.91”, so it was probably made after 1891. The buttons compare favorably with the pictures I have found on the Internet (see image). My firsthand experience with ivory is limited to old piano keys and the zoo. The mandolin has the unmistakable odor of years of tobacco smoke. The wear on the frets and fret board indicate that this mandolin was played a great deal. The buttons might be darker because of the smoke, tobacco, or oil from the player’s hands.

Does anyone have advice on how to lubricate the tuners?

monk
Aug-02-2007, 10:46am
Repeating mine.
Old no-name, but plays and sounds very nice
I have a very similar mandolin to that old no-name like yours. However near the joint of the neck and body, there is an ivoroid insert on the fret board that says "Burton." I will try to post a picture later this week. The original case looks like yours, but is worthless to protect the instrument, so I just bought an Eastman fiberglass case from Gianna Violins and it fits like a glove. I love this Burton mandolin. My mother-in-law gave it to me from the cache of old instruments in the farmhouse. I had a luthier do some excellent repair work including replacing the tuners, repairing a broken brace and repairing the bridge and saddle. It has lots of pick wear, but it is easy to play. I love the neck and it is loud. The bowl back is made from wide matching strips of what looks like Brazilian rosewood. This mandolin is loud with lots of sustain. I love it it. Thanks for the pictures.

Paul Weber
Aug-12-2007, 7:54pm
Here is my "The Larson" bowlback that i picked up recently for a couple hundred bucks. F J Lowe is engraved in pearl at the 16th fret and The Larson is engraved in pearl on the peghead. It doesn't have Larson Bros characteristics so I don't think it was made by them unless it was a very early one. The slope on the top of the peghead indicates a Regal-made instrument. The tuners have a Patent date of Mar 13 1894. Maybe someone can give me more information about this mandolin.

Paul Weber
Aug-12-2007, 7:56pm
"The Larson"

Paul Weber
Aug-12-2007, 7:58pm
"The Larson"

Paul Weber
Aug-12-2007, 7:59pm
"The Larson"

Paul Weber
Aug-12-2007, 8:02pm
I forgot to add that it sounds great. I've had a few bowlbacks before including a Vega & some mid level Italians & this one is much better sounding than all of those.

Paul Weber
Aug-12-2007, 8:03pm
"The Larson"

Paul Weber
Aug-12-2007, 8:20pm
I just want to add that the engraving in the neck inlays is a little crude. You can't really see that in the pics.

JeffD
Aug-12-2007, 10:19pm
nice one

laddy jota
Aug-28-2007, 11:12am
Here is an Oscar Schmidt 12-string bowlback which has had its top removed for repairs.

Jim Garber
Jan-17-2008, 7:39pm
It's been awhile since we posted here. In an effort to keep this thread alive, I was forced to buy this one. It is a simple Calace. The seller thought he had a mandolin but when I asked him about the scale length he told me 17 inches / 43 cm. I just got it today and it looks like it is in decent shape, some amateur repair on the bowl and one small hairline on the top.

Jim Garber
Jan-17-2008, 7:42pm
Here is the back.

brunello97
Jan-17-2008, 10:40pm
Nice catch, Jim. Is this the 'double-secret' acquisition you were hinting about? I love the Emeril-style headstock. Do you have any more factoidss about it to share?

BTW I tuned the 17" scale Puglisi I got last summer to CGDA and it has been working out quite nicely. That low C is fine.

Mick

Bob A
Jan-18-2008, 12:51am
Sweet, Jim. Very clean, elegant appearance. Is it dated?

Fliss
Jan-18-2008, 2:50am
It's been awhile since we posted here. In an effort to keep this thread alive, I was forced to buy this one. It is a simple Calace. The seller thought he had a mandolin but when I asked him about the scale length he told me 17 inches / 43 cm. ...
Nice! I love the clean lines. I'd guess 1970s?? It looks like it ought to be the big sister of my little 1974 Calace.

Fliss

Jim Garber
Jan-18-2008, 8:29am
No date on the label but I have a jpeg of a 1979 which it resembles. My friend who knows wood well said that it is Brazilian rosewood which might make it a little earlier, maybe 1960s.

Calace seems to be one that changed their models often but I am not sure of th3e model number. The plainest they list these days is their model 24 which this may be. There is no picture of it on their site but the number 26 has a similar headstock to mine.

http://calace.it/images/mandolini3.gif

Eugene
Jan-18-2008, 8:55am
Congrats, Jim. It's groovy.

CraigF
Jan-18-2008, 10:43pm
Well, I didn't know this thread existed. Here is my Vega I just got off of eBay.

CraigF
Jan-18-2008, 10:44pm
The back.

CraigF
Jan-18-2008, 10:46pm
And along side my Liuto.

Jim Garber
Jan-18-2008, 11:37pm
Thanks, Craig, for posting that. My style 3 is nearly its twin. I wonder if they ever have identical pg inlays. I don;t know if I ever saw two that were alike.

Jim Garber
Jan-19-2008, 12:48am
Sweet, Jim. Very clean, elegant appearance. Is it dated?
I thought it wasn't dated but I looked again at the label and tho the date is written very faintly it looks like 1975.

Eugene
Jan-19-2008, 8:20am
Thanks, Craig, for posting that. My style 3 is nearly its twin. I wonder if they ever have identical pg inlays. I don;t know if I ever saw two that were alike.
My "Schuchmann" Vega is its other twin (thanks, Bob).

CraigF
Jan-19-2008, 8:59am
Thanks, Craig, for posting that. My style 3 is nearly its twin. I wonder if they ever have identical pg inlays. I don;t know if I ever saw two that were alike.
It's a sweet little instrument. I love the sound. Renaissance music sounds sooo much better on it than my Weber. The resonance is incredible.

My Eastman case will arrive today. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Jim Garber
Jan-19-2008, 11:03am
For comparison, here is my Lyon & Healy mandola next to the Calace. I thought that maybe the Cale would fit in the L&H case but no way. It is gargantuan even tho the scale is only 1/2 inch longer.

Jim Garber
Jan-19-2008, 11:04am
My three Calaces... rosewood circa 1920, the mandola (1975?) and maple bowled 1921.

Jim Garber
Jan-19-2008, 11:05am
Here are the backs...

Fliss
Jan-19-2008, 12:05pm
I enjoyed seeing those group shots of your Calaces, Jim, thanks for sharing. The rosewood mandolin looks particularly elegant to my eyes.

Fliss

Jim Garber
Jan-19-2008, 12:12pm
The RW mandolin is what I call a hole-in-the-head model. Calaces do have nice aesthetics... I like the round (vs. oval) holes with the flowing pickguards as well as the shape of the headstocks. I have a feeling that the mandola will be a boomer.

Eugene
Jan-19-2008, 12:17pm
Man, it would per hard for me to leave the house in the morning were I you, Jim.

Jim Garber
Jan-19-2008, 1:49pm
Come on over, Eugene! We'll have some pancakes, play some duets and go bowling for bowlbacks. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Man, we gotta get you back to New York!

guitharsis
Jan-19-2008, 2:24pm
Very nice, Jim! I love the simple lines of the Calaces.

Bob A
Jan-19-2008, 2:55pm
You're welcome, Eugene.

As to inlays on Vegas, I've always been more charmed by the engraving on the position markers. I've never seen two alike, and each one a delight.

And I envy Jim his maple Calace bowl. While I doubt there's any significant sonic difference, I'm a sucker for maple on mandolins.

CraigF
Jan-19-2008, 6:50pm
As to inlays on Vegas, I've always been more charmed by the engraving on the position markers. I've never seen two alike, and each one a delight.
Here's some from mine.

Jim Garber
Jan-19-2008, 11:52pm
Here's my style 3 Vega, just to show another variant on the pg inlay.

Jim Garber
Jan-19-2008, 11:54pm
Here is the fretboard with inlays.

CraigF
Jan-20-2008, 1:47pm
Nice pics, Jim. You take much better pics than I do.

Bob A
Jan-20-2008, 2:18pm
There's a spirit akin to that of the cathedral builders inherent in those pearl markers. Imagine taking the time to engrave them individually by hand, each one unique, with no identification of the engraver, and no bean-counter moaning about the time and money lost in a profitless endeavor to simply add beauty to an object.

Never again. Those few who own and treasure these things are fortunate to have them. The rest will remain out of luck, I'm afraid.

DaveNB
Jan-20-2008, 3:50pm
I bought a bowlback from a fellow in Saskatchewan through fleabay last week. To my surprise, I received this instrument, which appears to be a piccolo mandolin. It's a Stella, from who knows when. It is stamped 30 0868. I got it for next to nothing, which might not be a surprise given the condition. The fingerboard is 8 and 1/2" long with 17 frets, about 13" to the bridge. Overall it is about 24 3/4 inches long and 8" wide at the widest point

It has one open seam in the back and a small crack next to the fingerboard on the front.

http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q223/alstond/adjustedstella.jpg
http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q223/alstond/DSCF0971.jpg[/IMG]

Jim Garber
Jan-20-2008, 5:17pm
Nice pics, Jim. You take much better pics than I do.
Actually the fretboard one I just scanned the mandolin. A friend had a style 207 Vega cylinderback and wanted to see what a missing inlay could look like.

btrott
Jan-20-2008, 8:43pm
Here is my current favorite one to play, front.

Barry

btrott
Jan-20-2008, 8:44pm
... and back

Eugene
Jan-20-2008, 9:21pm
Groovy, Barry. Who's the maker? Look like another entry on the early mandolin eye candy page (http://www.mandolincafe.com/archives/builders/early.html) may be in order. It looks somewhat Strad-like, only with an extra course, a lute-like chip-carved rose, and a relatively wide fingerboard.

btrott
Jan-20-2008, 9:52pm
This one was built by Ronald Cooper in 1985, after a Stradavarius mandolino that was being restored in the workshop of Christopher Challen. I believe that it is based on this instrument, Challen Strad (http://www.usd.edu/smm/PluckedStrings/Mandolins/StradMandolin/StradMandolin.html). I purchased this from Marilyn Mair a number of years ago, and have enjoyed it ever since. She may know more about the provenance.

Barry

Jim Garber
Jan-20-2008, 10:09pm
Barry:
Thanks for posting that gorgeous instruments. The proportions and details look very different from the one in SD. Curious...

http://www.usd.edu/smm/PluckedStrings/Mandolins/StradMandolin/6045StradivarimandolinfrontLG.jpg

btrott
Jan-21-2008, 4:32pm
Eugene and Jim, thanks for your kind words about the instrument. It is both a delight to play and to look at.

"The proportions and details look very different from the one in SD."

Jim, I am not sure about this, but it may be that the instrument that Cooper copied was the other Strad mandolino, referenced in Tyler and Sparks (18) as having "a nine-ribbed maple back and a rosette carved into the wood of the soundboard." Sparks references Coates' Geometry, Proportion and the Art of Lutherie for a drawing of this instrument, and if I have a chance (and can find them) I will check the copies I made of the mandolino drawings in Coates and report back. Sparks notes that this is Stradivarius body-pattern no. 419.

Barry

Eugene
Jan-21-2008, 6:43pm
Nope, the one pictured is the one restored by Challen and is actually known as the "Cutler-Challen" Strad. I can see the inspiration in the bowl's construction, binding style, unorthodox finial, etc. I think he probably just modified it a touch to accommodate six courses and perhaps a more lute-like sensibility (wider fingerboard, chip-carved rose, etc.) to appeal to lutenists. I have only seen the other Strad mandolin pictured once in a book I do not own.

Jim Garber
Jan-21-2008, 9:10pm
I bought a bowlback from a fellow in Saskatchewan through fleabay last week. To my surprise, I received this instrument, which appears to be a piccolo mandolin. It's a Stella, from who knows when.
Sorry, Dave... no one responded to your posting. Why do you say it is a piccolo? It sounds like it has the standard 13 inch scale. Stella made decent budget instruments tho yours has been thru the mill. OTOH it might clean up at some point and if you want to work on it yourself, could be a decent instrument.

DaveNB
Jan-24-2008, 11:10am
Your right it is a mandolin. I was looking at the relatively short fretboard and going from that.

I ordered the required pieces to repair it from stew-mac. I'll post a picture of the results. I am looking forward to having some fun with it.

DaveNB
Mar-30-2008, 1:18pm
Here are the results of my repair job. It plays pretty well. It took me a while to fix the back because of all the separations. The fingerboard is softwood and that was difficult to deal with as well.

http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q223/alstond/Picture110.jpg

http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q223/alstond/Picture108.jpg

http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q223/alstond/Picture116.jpg

Jim Garber
Sep-12-2008, 10:52pm
I figured I should give this one a bump. I guess no one is buying any bowlbacks of interest. Are we all tapped out?

billkilpatrick
Sep-13-2008, 6:49am
here's my bowlback and me squinting in the sun:

Jim Garber
Sep-13-2008, 8:34am
Nice photo, Bill. I can't recall the background on that bowlback.

billkilpatrick
Sep-13-2008, 11:02am
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=eLZghQtxeSA&feature=related

Jim Garber
Sep-13-2008, 11:14am
So, Bill, it is a John Fogerty model?

billkilpatrick
Sep-13-2008, 11:53am
... here's another incidence where i wish i could "delete!" - i thought by "background" you meant the photo ...

it was given to me by a friend - her grandmother's mandolin. label inside reads "a. galiano - fabbricante de mandoline e chitarre." cost me some to have it brought back into condition ... i'm warming up to it gradually.

Kyle Baker
Oct-01-2008, 7:05pm
This is a bowlback I bought from Chris Logan on the online charity auction at www.brokenbowls.com.
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b173/kylebaker/100_0969.jpg
The label inside says it's a J.W. Pepper, but I'm not familiar with this brand... maybe it was made by another company and distributed through J.W. Pepper. It has the number 1159 stamped across the top of the head stock, I assume that is a serial number.
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b173/kylebaker/07-1.jpg
It had a couple open seams on the back, but after some gluing and clamping I got it all sealed up.
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b173/kylebaker/100_0894.jpg

Finally I was able to string her up and it sounds pretty darn nice in my opinion.
If anyone knows anything about this mandolin could you pass on some info? maybe an approximate date or anything?
Thanks,
Kyle

http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b173/kylebaker/100_0968.jpg

Scott Beliz
Mar-30-2009, 12:28pm
Aloha - I stumpled across this forum as I was searching for information regarding this mandolin that was given to me after my grandfather had passed away. I've had it sitting up in my closet for the past 7 years, It says it is a
Luigi Salsedo, Napoli. I would really like to know what type of wood this mandolin is made out of and possibly any other information would be great. I don't plan on ever selling it, my 9 year old son is learning to play guitar and ukulele now and hopefully one day the mandolin.
Thank you for any information you may have.http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n76/beachbumz_2006/Untitled-1.jpg
http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n76/beachbumz_2006/IMG_3232.jpg
http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n76/beachbumz_2006/IMG_3231.jpg
http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n76/beachbumz_2006/IMG_3230.jpg

Martin Jonas
Mar-30-2009, 4:54pm
That's a nice one! Obviously, the woods are maple for the bowl, with rosewood trim, and a spruce soundboard. The neck is probably a softwood core with a rosewood veneer (that's how they made them in Naples back then -- Roman and US instruments had solid necks instead). Rosewood scratchplate and fretboard. The date is given on the label, so no big mystery there. Looks like 1891, and that's about right for the style. Luigi Salsedo was one of the best of the "second tier" Italian makers, just outside the "big three" of Embergher, Calace and Vinaccia. If I remember right, one of our regulars, Bob A, has a Salsedo and is very fond of it. This one is a rather plain model, but a plain model by a good maker typically sounds much better than a fancy model by a so-so maker. In addition, the looks are much more pleasing to the modern eye than some of the more overdecorated Victorian mandolins, so although this would not have been a very expensive mandolin when new, your grandfather did very well and this is obviously a keeper.

One thing you may want to look at is the bridge placement. Just about all old bolwbacks, with the significant exception of Vega, were designed to have the bridge on the soundhole side of the cant. Yours is on the wrong side. I suspect that will make the mandolin quite difficult to intonate properly, and you may consider fitting a bridge to go where it was intended to be (either the existing bridge or a replacement one). Sometimes, the dimensions of the mandolin have changed so much over the course of more than a century of wood expanding and contracting that you can' intonate properly on the right side of the cant anymore, but usually you can, and should -- it's likely to sound much better with the bridge in the right place.

Martin

Scott Beliz
Apr-01-2009, 10:57am
Martin, thanks so much for the information on my bowlback, I really knew nothing about, except that my grandfather use to play it very well along with his favorite banjo. I'm going to take it into our local music shop here and have them look at the bridge and see what they can do and also possibly some strings as well, I know these have been on for a minimum of 20+ years..
Again, thank you very much..

Scott

Martin Jonas
Apr-01-2009, 11:09am
Scott,

I don't know where you're based, but I should say that most local music shops don't know the first thing about mandolins, let alone the rather different needs of delicate vintage bowlbacks. I would be very reluctant indeed to let any local music shop loose on this instrument and you should really consult an experienced luthier who has some bowlback experience.

The most important thing to note is that bowlbacks must not be strung with standard bluegrass-gauge mandolin strings such as J74 (likely the only mandolin strings a non-specialist music shop has in stock). These strings are made for much more robustly build archtop carved mandolins and will destroy a vintage bowlback in short order. You should use only extra-light gauge strings.

Regarding bridge adjustment, this will be straightforward for any luthier if it's just a matter of moving the bridge to the right position. However, if the bridge does not sit flat and with full contact in that position, then its base needs to be refitted to the top, and that's a somewhat more involved process.

Good luck!

Martin

Scott Beliz
Apr-07-2009, 1:35pm
Martin,

Thank you again for the advice, I'm located in Hawaii and there are several ukulele dealers here and a few music shops that repair. I think I'll talk with a few different people before getting anything done..

Mahalo and Aloha to you for all your info...

Scott

jasona
Apr-07-2009, 10:45pm
Alhoa Scott,

Very nice mandolin indeed! Your local shops should be able to find a set of the GHS classical extra light strings somewhere. And do not make do with a heavier set; it appears from your photograph that there is a crack running on the treble side of the soundboard, below the sound hole and extending beneath the scratch plate. Heavy strings might stress that further.

But hopefully my eyes are deceiving me.

Cheers, Jason