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View Full Version : Campanella A5 in the making - take a peek!



Jonas
Jul-16-2009, 11:33am
I'm very fortunate to have Joe Campanella Cleary building me an A5 mandolin this summer. I always enjoy the building threads here at the Café, so I thought I might share some pictures of the building process as I get them. Sharing my excitement with you all, if you will.

Joe builds mandolins in with a kind of fiddle/violin approach (he builds violins too), and I really like the way they look. And, best of all, they're supposed to sound good too! :grin:

This mandolin will be an A5 voiced for bluegrass and fiddle tunes. It will have a red spruce top with parallell tone bars, a red maple back and hard maple sides and neck.

I've been on his list for a while now, but it's finally coming about! I'm having trouble waiting, but delivery is set to September, so I'd better calm down for a while. But, while I wait, here are some pictures of what is to become a wonderful tool of music:

Red maple back
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4456.jpg

Red spruce top
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4462.jpg

Jonas
Jul-16-2009, 11:34am
The top, back, sides and neck roughed out
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4543.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4546.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4550.jpg

Nice back!
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4551-1.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4556.jpg

More to come as the building goes on!

Jonas
Jul-16-2009, 11:36am
While I'm at it, here are some pics of one of Joes latest mandolins. This is a Due model (twopointer), mine won't have the pointy things sticking out. But to give you an idea what's coming. :)

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4372.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4373.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4377.jpg

JEStanek
Jul-16-2009, 11:39am
I've always been a fan of the Campanella style. Congratulations on your new build, Jonas. I bet it will look and sound wonderful.

Jamie

Ken Olmstead
Jul-16-2009, 12:04pm
I've always been a fan of the Campanella style. Congratulations on your new build, Jonas. I bet it will look and sound wonderful.

Jamie

Me too, his stuff has always grabbed me!

Congradulations! Since I just went through this process, the time passes suprisingly fast!!

Mike Bunting
Jul-16-2009, 12:13pm
That is a beautiful mandokin, I love the old world elegance of the style.

Bob Stolkin
Jul-16-2009, 1:49pm
Congrats. If Joe's stuff sounds as good as it looks (and I hear that it does), you're in for a real treat.

Charley wild
Jul-16-2009, 1:59pm
Man, that is one beautiful instrument! I'll bet it sounds great too! It just has that look doesn't it?

Andrew Roberts
Jul-16-2009, 2:20pm
That is going to be a nice mandolin, for sure. Congrats! I love that violin look of the Campanella mandolins. Absolutely beautiful.

Oggy
Jul-16-2009, 2:33pm
Looks really nice Jonas!

Just to make everyone else jealous... Jonas is a friend of mine, and I'll most certainly get my hands on that Campanella.

How's that for a town in northern Sweden (otherwise considered a "no mandolins land", with regard to high-end instruments)? First a Kimble (mine) and soon a Campanella! Not bad, not bad at all in my book.

Don Grieser
Jul-16-2009, 9:23pm
Jonas, congratulations! That's going to be an amazing mandolin in more ways than one. Joe's really on to something with his approach to building mandolins and he picked out some gorgeous wood for you.

Jonas
Jul-17-2009, 2:59am
Thanks all!
I'm really looking forward to this mandolin. It will probably take me a life time to learn to play this instrument at its full potential.

I think Joe is a great builder, and his knowledge of wood and instrument construction seems very vast to me.

grassrootphilosopher
Jul-17-2009, 3:13am
Martin,

I am quite intrigued by the instrument that will come to you. Like you, I enjoy the building threads quite a bit. In your case I know that a hopefully great instrument will join up with a good picker and what´s more, someone who does some nice recordings. Therefore I encourage you to post both, sound files and youtube videos of the coming instrument. If I may be so bold to ask I would like you to do some A/B recording with your current instrument (self built if I remember right?). A traditional fiddle tune would serve me right. How about Home Sweet Home like in "the other thread".

I am looking forward to your posts.

grassrootphilosopher
Jul-17-2009, 3:15am
Oh, and while you´re at it, please post a an A/B soundfile of the Campanella to come with Oggy´s Kimble (again how about Home Sweet Home; you did a nice job on that one). I´d apreciate a picture of the grouping Campanella/Kimble too.

Jonas
Jul-17-2009, 3:52am
Olaf,
Thanks! I'll see what I can do :)

Oggy
Jul-17-2009, 4:06am
Well, a picture of the two mandolins together shouldn't be too hard.

The A/B soundfile, a bit harder. We'll see if we have the time and opportunity to set it up. But Jonas has to do all the picking. I'm not capable of that sort of thing.

It would be an interesting comparison though. I believe the two mandolins will be quite different. My Kimble has an engelmann top, the Campanella red spruce. The Campanella will probably have more of a 'bite' and be more suitable for bluegrass. I play very little bluegrass (more jazz and blues and such), so the Kimble is voiced accordingly... with a more mellow approach.

But to be true, this is merely speculation. We'll have to see when we play them side by side.

Chuck Naill
Jul-17-2009, 5:34am
Thank you for posting, Jonas.

Does the builder use a violin type varnish finish? The finished one you posted and the wood on yours is outstanding. Congratulations. :)

Skip Kelley
Jul-17-2009, 6:12am
He builds a fine looking mandolin!!

Ivan Kelsall
Jul-18-2009, 7:34am
Oh Boy ! - That 'Due' does it for me. What a delicious looking instrument,i can almost hear it !!.
I don't know if it's the 'Violin' styling that makes it seem that way,but it looks like it could sing. If you're in for a Mandolin by that guy,then personally,i think you're very fortunate indeed,
Ivan

sgarrity
Jul-18-2009, 10:16am
I have yet to play one of his mandolins but the style is beautiful! I really like the idea behind them.

Baron Collins-Hill
Jul-20-2009, 7:50pm
i played a "due" at the music emporium that absolutely blew me away. if i hadn't left with my ellis i would have had a real hard time walking away from that one. they look really cool and sound really great. you are in for a treat.

Jonas
Jul-22-2009, 12:15pm
Thank you for posting, Jonas.

Does the builder use a violin type varnish finish? The finished one you posted and the wood on yours is outstanding. Congratulations. :)

Chuck, the builder does use violin varnish on the mandolins. I believe he makes his own varnish actually, but I'm not positive on that. I like the wood too! :)


i played a "due" at the music emporium that absolutely blew me away. if i hadn't left with my ellis i would have had a real hard time walking away from that one. they look really cool and sound really great. you are in for a treat.

That sounds great! You just raised my anticipation a notch! :grin:

Dan Hoover
Jul-22-2009, 12:57pm
lucky you,that is pretty...very beautiful...

Fliss
Jul-22-2009, 1:18pm
Congratulations on your mando-to-be, it looks like it will be a beauty :)

As for the Due - wow! I love that colour and styling - very nice indeed.

Fliss

mdlorenz
Jul-22-2009, 1:39pm
Hey jonas, Congrats! I was planning on seeing Joe in the next couple weeks about a mid-summer setup on mine, I'll check in on your baby for you. :)

I absolutely love mine... Whatever Joe does, he's doing it right.

Jonas
Jul-23-2009, 3:03am
Hey jonas, Congrats! I was planning on seeing Joe in the next couple weeks about a mid-summer setup on mine, I'll check in on your baby for you. :)

I absolutely love mine... Whatever Joe does, he's doing it right.

Thanks! I really like the way your mandolin (I think it's your mandolin?) sounds in the A5 soundclips on the Campanella website.

Would you say your mandolin has changed with time? How has it developed?

Jonas
Aug-11-2009, 12:19am
Joe sent me some new pictures of the mandolin he's building for me. It's getting closer!

(His captions included as well)

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4607.jpg

"The back, rough graduated, in it's cradle."


http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4608.jpg

"One of my favorite tools, a Japanese two-handed carving gouge makes quick work of maple or spruce carving."


http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4610.jpg

"F-hole layout, based in part on Stradivari's geometric method for a simple, elegant process."


http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4621.jpg

"Tone bar glued--the small cleats are temporary (spot glued) and help align the braces while fitting."


http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4626.jpg

"another view...and the finished ffs"


My goodness, look at that spruce top! I think it looks just about right!

grassrootphilosopher
Aug-11-2009, 3:23am
I´ve been waiting for updates. I like pictures of the building process. It gives you nice insight into a personal construction aproach.

Jonas
Aug-14-2009, 11:42am
I´ve been waiting for updates. I like pictures of the building process. It gives you nice insight into a personal construction aproach.

Yes it does. I think Joe Campanella's approach, as his design, draws a lot from violin building. Tooling, jigs and so on.

Yonkle
Aug-14-2009, 1:03pm
Hey Jonas: If it is not too late can you post a pic. of the neck joint? I'd like to see how your neck fits to the body, I like how you have the extention all in one piece, interesting. Thanks John

Jonas
Aug-14-2009, 1:40pm
Yonkle, I'll ask Joe for such a picture. I'll post it if/when I get it!

Jonas
Aug-17-2009, 3:16pm
Hey Jonas: If it is not too late can you post a pic. of the neck joint? I'd like to see how your neck fits to the body, I like how you have the extention all in one piece, interesting. Thanks John

John, here is a description from Joe Campanella regarding his neck joints and the extension of the fingerboard. The pics are not of my mandolin being built, but from earlier builds. In Joe's words:

"Here's a little photo-essay on the extension and joint that gives the impression of the neck/extension being one-piece--it's actually a very cool little joint hiding under the fingerboard.

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4488.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4491.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4503.jpg

I finish the neck end-grain and plane it perfectly flat at the neck set angle, then prep the extension. Following that, I use a plunge router to rout a rabbet at the end of the neck, the cheeks of the extension tenon, and the mortoise that it plugs into. I cut the mortoise undersize and the tenon over, and then finish them by hand with a slight dovetail taper which pulls the joint down and together, and naturally resists pressure from above (as in planing the extension flat after glueing, or any additional fret work on the extension). This greatly strengthens an otherwise weak joint of short/end grain.

The last picture shows me holding the weight of the neck vertically by the unglued extension!!! The technique is a variation (dare I say improvement?) on Bob Benedetto's FB extension on his archtop guitars. It is an essential part of the neck joint system which allows for the removal of the mandolin top for repair if needed by freeing the extension from the top. The Gibson system of blocks and extension glued to the top has always seemed awkward and unnecessarily complicated to me (though necessary to cover the cheeks, hollow, and dovetail tenon).

After planing the ext. flat and true with the rest of the neck, I glue the profiled fingerboard, and cut the neck profile to that. As I mentioned before, the end grain is already finished, and I don't touch it again except to size it with a little hide glue so it doesn't suck up too much during the final
joint. Next I can plane the fingerboard and fret it, giving me the extension of the fret-top plane at the bridge position for a very accurate and controllable bridge height. It's nice to fret with the neck off of the body (I can press most of them, and support the extension to seat them fully) Final fret-work is done during setup, breaking up the fret process, which can be tiring (repeat 10 tasks 22 times).

After profiling the neck heel taper from FB to button, and with the top glued on, I can cut the mortoise in the upper block on the bandsaw, and do final fitting of the joint using chisels and a file, with the help of a little chalk to mark high spots. Fresh hide glue and a couple of clamps completes the joint.

I've never had any problems with this violin-style straight mortoise and tenon joint. They are simple to execute (with advanced tool skills), plenty strong, and have the added advantage of making the whole instrument more repairable."


I hope that helps John! I'm not sure I got all of it, but maybe you and the other builders here can make heads and tails out of it. :grin:

Mark Walker
Aug-17-2009, 3:36pm
That's looking like a definite keeper - and it ain't even done yet! Congrats! :)

labraid
Aug-17-2009, 8:32pm
Joe is an inspired maker.

Jonas
Sep-01-2009, 12:37pm
Joe just sent me some new progress pictures of the build. Enjoy! :grin:
(Joe's captions)

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00026_2.jpg
"Headstock detail: engraved MOP bell. The finished instrument features a chamfer on the ebony edge which isn't shown here."

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00034_2.jpg
"Neck joint: Mortoise detail. I pre-stain under the FB extension since it's harder to reach after glueing the neck"


http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00036_2.jpg
"Detail showing FB extension, channel and chamfered edge before rounding over."


http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00043_2.jpg
"Rounding over the back under-edge."

Jonas
Sep-01-2009, 12:37pm
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00031_2.jpg
"Checking the fit."


http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00032_2.jpg
"View from the back."

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00041_2_2.jpg
"Neck glued!"


http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00050_2.jpg
"Balance."


http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00047_2.jpg
"Label."

Jonas
Sep-01-2009, 12:38pm
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00058_2.jpg
"Back glued--assembly complete."


http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00084_2.jpg
"Drying in the sun after the first few coats of varnish--just a teaser. The next photos I send will be of the finished instrument."

Oggy
Sep-01-2009, 1:46pm
Cool! Getting closer, getting closer.

JEStanek
Sep-01-2009, 3:21pm
Sweet! I love those in progress photos! Hold onto them forever.

Jamie

joebrent
Sep-01-2009, 5:26pm
Venturing out from the classical forum for the first time...

I played one of Joe's Due mandolins in Germany a few weeks ago at Annika Lukebergfeld's workshop. I should say, he let me take one with me -- absolutely LOVED it. The tone is clean and bell-like (excuse the pun), and of course it looks gorgeous. If I had the money, I'd have bought one of those to go with the new Labraid. We're really lucky to have these two wonderfully talented young luthiers working right now, and I can't wait to see how their careers progress.

Jake Wildwood
Sep-01-2009, 9:29pm
The violin build techniques are always interesting to see intertwined with mandolins. Looking really, really nice so far...!

grassrootphilosopher
Sep-02-2009, 3:44am
Cute pics, Jonas.

I´ll be looking forward to more pics and I can´t wait for soundclips. I´ve done a little bit of recording lately. It´s a drag when you have to do everything yourself, as it is when the recording process takes place when everybody else in the family is busy (sleeping and such). On the other hand you learn a great deal about music while recording.

Ben Milne
Sep-02-2009, 4:01am
nice work... i really like the strad look.

Don Grieser
Sep-02-2009, 12:48pm
Hey Jonas, thanks for the pix. I'm really enjoying seeing how Joe puts it all together. Hope it doesn't take too long to get to you once it's finished.

Jonas
Sep-04-2009, 2:56am
Venturing out from the classical forum for the first time...

I played one of Joe's Due mandolins in Germany a few weeks ago at Annika Lukebergfeld's workshop. I should say, he let me take one with me -- absolutely LOVED it. The tone is clean and bell-like (excuse the pun), and of course it looks gorgeous. If I had the money, I'd have bought one of those to go with the new Labraid. We're really lucky to have these two wonderfully talented young luthiers working right now, and I can't wait to see how their careers progress.

joebrent,
Thanks for posting! Was this Due mandolin expecially suited for classical music in any way? How come you picked that one up? Is Joe a recognized builder within the classical mandolin world?

I have noticed that some jazz players play Campanella mandolins. Mine will be made mostly for bluegrass and oldtime music though (red spruce top, parallell tone bars, voicing) since that is what I like to play most of the time.

GoVols
Sep-04-2009, 11:25pm
While I'm at it, here are some pics of one of Joes latest mandolins. This is a Due model (twopointer), mine won't have the pointy things sticking out. But to give you an idea what's coming. :)

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4372.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4373.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/HPIM4377.jpg

That's damn beautiful (pardon my French).

joebrent
Sep-05-2009, 12:26pm
joebrent,
Thanks for posting! Was this Due mandolin expecially suited for classical music in any way? How come you picked that one up? Is Joe a recognized builder within the classical mandolin world?

I have noticed that some jazz players play Campanella mandolins. Mine will be made mostly for bluegrass and oldtime music though (red spruce top, parallell tone bars, voicing) since that is what I like to play most of the time.

I met Joe at the CMSA convention in Montreal really briefly, and then again at Carlo Aonzo's workshop in New York last year. He gave a short demonstration of his instruments, and I was really struck by the projection of the Due. It sounds really great from across the room, and projection and cutting power are big with classical guys, since we sometimes have to be heard over full orchestras. Personally, I play in a lot of chamber groups where brass or percussion players can oftentimes be less than sensitive about balance, so you need a mandolin with a good tone that has a lot of pop. My opinion has always been that Gibson-style mandolins sound great and dark and woody from up close, but the projection really dies once you get about 10 feet away. There's lots of players I respect a lot who disagree with that though, so that's just my observation.

As for jazzers, I know Jamie Masefield plays one of Joe's mandolins, and he's definitely one of those F players I have a lot of respect for. We had a little impromptu jam session in Joe's shed when I was up in Vermont to pick up the Due before Germany, and I can see how Joe's instruments would be a nice match for Jamie's style. Can't really speak for Jamie, but when I play jazz, 'playability' is the real key, since I do a lot of legato, sax-like phrasing. Joe's axes are definitely 'playable' in addition to having that 'pop' I was talking about, so they're really good for a lot of different musical situations.

I've been really lucky to play Joe's instruments and now to get Brian's Grand Concert within the span of a few months. I really think these guys are the best of a tremendous crop of young luths.

Jonas
Sep-06-2009, 5:54am
projection and cutting power are big with classical guys, since we sometimes have to be heard over full orchestras.

Projection and cutting power, I think those qualities would go well with the bluegrass crowd as well! :))


you need a mandolin with a good tone that has a lot of pop.


when I play jazz, 'playability' is the real key, since I do a lot of legato, sax-like phrasing. Joe's axes are definitely 'playable' in addition to having that 'pop' I was talking about, so they're really good for a lot of different musical situations.

Tone, pop and playability - I'd take some of that please! :grin:


I've been really lucky to play Joe's instruments and now to get Brian's Grand Concert within the span of a few months. I really think these guys are the best of a tremendous crop of young luths.

I've seen pictures of your new Labraid in the Classical forum, what a creation you have there! :disbelief: Awesome in all meanings of the word... Beautiful and a little intimidating at the same time! Just lovely.

Don Grieser
Sep-27-2009, 12:32am
September is winding down. Is it on its way to you yet, Jonas?

Jonas
Sep-27-2009, 3:40am
Latest report from mr Campanella Cleary says it's done! :mandosmiley: He was supposed to string it up and play it for the first time yesterday, so I'm eagerly awaiting pictures of the finished instrument as well as a first report of the sound.

As for delivery, I'm actually contemplating coming over to the states (NYC) to pick it up myself, since the import taxes and VAT are so high when it comes to the EU. If I decide to do that, it will probably not be until November... Not sure if I can make it that long though!

Jonas
Oct-14-2009, 3:15am
Ok folks, the mandolin has been done for a while now. I have som pictures taken by Joe with a handheld camera, so some of them are a little blurry. But I wanted to show them anyway, while I'm waiting for better pictures and sound files.

Of course what I'm really waiting for is the trip over to NYC where I will meet up with Joe and recieve the mandolin from his hands! What a bonus to meet the maker of this fine instrument! :grin:

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/hela.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/top.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/back.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/side.jpg

Jonas
Oct-14-2009, 3:17am
A few more:

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/topsida.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/sideslant.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/back2.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/peg.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/back2.jpg

I think it looks a little old-timey, but still new and crisp. Yay!

grassrootphilosopher
Oct-14-2009, 4:14am
There you go Jonas. I like the overall appearance of the mandolin quite a bit. I am partial to A style mandos and I like them better than the two pointers (except maybe asymetrical two pointers ŕ la D´Angelico).

Is that a "speed neck" I see? I´ve got one on my bass fiddle. It seems to be a classical take at neck finishes.

And is that pickguard an ebony pickguard? I have one on my "expensive" mandolin and non on my old one. Having played different mandolins I have no specifiic preference exept when it comes to individual instruments.

The only gadget that gets me is the strap button. The great classical appearance is much disturbed by that - to my mind - unnecessary - gadget. Get rid of the rubber gromets either and replace them by a piece of carpet (that´s what I use) under the tailpiece (or a piece of leather in the same place).

Otherwise it´s very nice! There´s only my wish to you to have a fun trip to the states and a safe journey. When you come back I´ll be waiting for a recording, for sure! If you can, load up a youtube video as well (see the Stealth Olmstead thread).

Steve Cantrell
Oct-14-2009, 7:04am
Awesome, Jonas. I love the style of these mandolins and am looking forward to hearing this one.

Fliss
Oct-14-2009, 7:16am
I am getting serious MAS pangs looking at those pics. I love the aesthetic, and it looks as though it will be a lively and responsive instrument. I imagine it will be a joy to hold and to play.

Fliss

JEStanek
Oct-14-2009, 7:31am
Fantastic! I really love his building style and aesthetic. Congratulation. I would be on a jet plane, NOW!

Jamie

Jonas
Oct-14-2009, 8:10am
Thanks all.
I see I uploaded one of the pictures twice by accident, sorry for that.

Olaf - the strap button is my preference, since I'm used to one from my current mandolin and I have a killer braided strap that I made myself that will go great with this mando. It may look 'wrong' but it doesn't bother me too much. At least it's black!

Re: the neck - I think Joe makes all his necks like this, without varnish, just like on a fiddle.

hank
Oct-14-2009, 8:40am
Great looking Axe Jonas. Hang in there it won't be long now.

DougC
Oct-14-2009, 8:54am
I agree, this looks like a lively instrument to play. I'd love to hold one. That neck has a nice profile and the fit and finish make it 'not too shiny-new' to leave it in the case. This is a real player's instrument and not just eye candy. It's a beautiful instrument.

Ken Olmstead
Oct-14-2009, 10:13am
Congradulations Jonas! Very tasty! I just love the whole fiddle concept, can't wait to hear you play it!!

Jill McAuley
Oct-14-2009, 10:32am
Jonas - congratulations, you must be so excited at the prospect of being able to play that soon! What an beautiful instrument, really stunning looking, pure class!

Cheers,
Jill

joebrent
Oct-14-2009, 11:18am
I've already emailed Joe -- hope you ring me up while you're here in NYC Jonas, I'd love to meet the new Cleary A and play a few notes with you!

Jonas
Oct-14-2009, 3:20pm
I've already emailed Joe -- hope you ring me up while you're here in NYC Jonas, I'd love to meet the new Cleary A and play a few notes with you!

Joe, that would be cool! Though I have to warn you, I'm not really the kind of musician you would expect to buy an instrument of this caliber... I'm more of an enthusiast maybe you would say. :))

However, since I'm visiting NY for quite a short time (friday to tuesday), I'm on a tight schedule. Me and Joe are planning (it's not set in stone yet) to meet up at Mandolin Bros, since they also have expressed an interest in checking out his work. Maybe we could meet there?

joebrent
Oct-14-2009, 7:50pm
Sure -- I've just been talking with Stan Jay, the owner there, about featuring some of Brian Dean's instruments on a consignment basis, maybe we can help convince him to do the same for Joe, if he hasn't already.

And oh, I've seen your YouTube channel, I was sort of hoping you'd teach me a bit of Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine! Annika Lückebergfeld will be in NYC this weekend as well, maybe if she has some free time I'll bring her along too --

Don Grieser
Oct-14-2009, 8:26pm
Jonas,

That little bit of burst in the violin varnish is really cool. It just looks like it's going to be a wonderful mandolin. I sure wish I could be there in NYC when you get it and hear it in person. If it's anything like my Due, you're going to be a very happy camper. Joe's an amazing builder for sure and he's really on to something with the overhanging top and back plates IMHO.

Make sure you hear it from out front too with each of the Joes playing it. And make sure you or Joe brings a camera so we can all share the moment when you have it in your hands.

Congratulations! It's so exciting!! And it's not even mine!

Jonas
Oct-18-2009, 6:36am
Joe has been kind enough to send along a few more photos of the A5, this time taken with a tripod. He's also recorded some short sound clips of the mandolin. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did! I think he's quite a player (alot better than me, by far!), which is a great ability for a luthier in my book. It's hard to evaluate an instrument by recorded sound clips, but at least I think it sounds very pleasing to the ear!

Here are the sound clips:
Sally Anne (http://www.4shared.com/file/141678274/bc6204f/SallyAnne.html)
Bluegrass waltz turnaround (http://www.4shared.com/file/141678275/7cc110d9/Turnaround.html)
Rusted Gun - Mando melody (http://www.4shared.com/file/141678273/95a2b5ec/RustedGun1.html)
Rusted Gun with 3 mandos (all tracks my A5) (http://www.4shared.com/file/141678272/e2a5857a/RustedGun2.html)

Some photos while you enjoy Joes picking:

F-hole detail showing grain/varnish texture and label
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00434.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00437_2.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00439.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00442.jpg

Jonas
Oct-18-2009, 6:39am
The last of the photos:

Pickguard detail: ebony with chamfered edge
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00443.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00447.jpg

Chamfered edge around the headstock
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00440.jpg

Last but not least - the maker in his shop. Looking quite content, don't you think? ;)

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00433.jpg

Oggy
Oct-18-2009, 6:55am
Sounds great Jonas, and it looks fabulous. Seems like a perfect fit for your style of playing.

I'm happy for you! ... (I'm happy for myself too, since I'll be able to try it out).

Fliss
Oct-18-2009, 7:05am
That's looking better with every pic, and it sounds great too!

Fliss

hank
Oct-18-2009, 7:12am
How can it get any better than that Jonas? The epitome of simple elegance in form and function. Plectrum Heaven on earth. ~o)

Jill McAuley
Oct-18-2009, 10:45am
Lovely looking and lovely sounding!

Cheers,
Jill

joebrent
Oct-18-2009, 9:47pm
I'm a big fan of Joe's talent and craftsmanship -- this looks and sounds like yet another amazing instrument from his hands. Congrats and good luck with your new axe, Jonas, I'm sorry we missed each other.

Don Grieser
Oct-19-2009, 10:07am
I'm a big fan of Joe's talent and craftsmanship -- this looks and sounds like yet another amazing instrument from his hands.

Another big fan here. Looks and sounds wonderful.

Oggy
Dec-07-2009, 4:58pm
I just played this mandolin. It's really good! Great playability, very well suited for Jonas style of playing... it can take some heavy pounding without buzzing. The sound is really cutting, but without being harsch or brasch. Clear sounding notes all along the fretboard, great pop with a quick attack... really responsive. It'll be interesting to play it in a year or so, when the adi-top has opened up even more. Bet it'll be a monster by then.

Unfortunately my Kimble wasn't there with me, so I couldn't try them side by side. But based on my memory I'd say the Kimble has a darker or warmer tone. Otherwise, only a matter of taste, both are great mandolins.

Charles E.
Dec-07-2009, 7:41pm
As a violin-mandolin maker myself I find that is a great blend of the two building styles. Congratulations on a beautiful mandolin.

Gary Watson
Dec-13-2009, 8:06pm
Beautiful work......I love the color.

Jonas
Dec-20-2009, 7:26am
Well a closing of this thread is long over due. I've had this mandolin in my possession about 5 weeks now, and I must say I'm extremely happy with it. (Warning for a long post below!)

I met up with Joe Campanella Cleary, the builder, at Mandolin Bros on Staten Island in New York. Joe flew down from Vermont to deliver my mandolin in person, is that good service or what?? I was amazed to say the least. (Thank you Joe if you read this!) It was very nice to finally meet him and getting to know him a little. He seems like a very kind and genuine man. We spent a couple of hours in the music store, jamming, talking and trying out different mandolins and a few guitars.

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/IMG_6257.jpg
Me on the ferry towards Staten Island and Mandolin Bros.

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00579.jpg
Playing my new mandolin for the first time.

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/IMG_6296.jpg
Joe playing his creation.

Stan Jay, the president of the store brought me all kinds of fine mandolins to try, including a Gibson MM, a Gibson Victorian F5, a vintage 1924 (I think) Gibson F4 that was amazing and a Collings MF5V Deluxe. Joe also tried a Giacomel J5 mandolin. It was such a weird experience for me, just having laid eyes on my new Campanella for the first time, sitting there and playing all these expensive and beautiful mandolins. I was a little too taken by the moment to compare them closely. I did however compare the Collings to my mandolin. I think the Collings had a smoother sound, and the base response was a little more developed, but the maybe Campanella projected a little more and had a clearer sound I think. The volume was about the same. All in all, given the excitement I felt, I think my mandolin was in pretty much the same league as these other super high end mandolins.

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/DSC00580.jpg
Here I'm trying out the Collings MF5V Deluxe. The Campanella is on a stand in the front of the photo.

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc302/jonasmattebo/IMG_6299.jpg
Stan Jay at Mandolin Brothers was very kind to let me try out his instruments, even though I was there to buy a mandolin from Joe! Here he sits with a weird five string guitar. "Everyone should have one!", as he said.

Fliss
Dec-20-2009, 7:36am
Congratulations, you look very comfortable with your beautiful new mandolin! Thanks very much for sharing this story with us.

Fliss

Jonas
Dec-20-2009, 7:43am
Now about the mandolin...
The sound of the Campanella A5 is extremely clear and open, also up the neck, which is the biggest difference to my old mandolin. The notes seem to live outside the instrument, out in the air and not inside the box. My old mandolin actually sounds boxy compared, and I never thought about that before (it's a selfmade mandolin from a kit). The Campanella also has lots of volume and power while being quite balanced, and the sound cuts well in an ensemble without being hard on the ear. It has a very quick response and good pop in the mid range. I just love the way double stops sound on the D and A strings up the neck. Wonderful! Also, there is a big difference between how it sounds to the player and the listener. I found this out after recording it and hearing other players play it. I think it has to do with the good projection of the instrument. It sounds good to the player, but it sounds wonderful and pleasing the the ear to the listener, but still cuts well.

Playability is extremely good and the unfinished fiddle style neck is very comfortable. I am truly a better player since I got it. Which is lucky I notice, since the clarity of the sound make all my mistakes loud and clear. I really need to shape up my playing! Mistakes or onfocused playing that before just sounded a little muddy are now loud and clear.

It looks absolutely beautiful... :redface:

I have tried coming up with some good soundclips and YouTube clips. I don't think I've succeded yet, but I realize this thread needs closing so I'm posting what I have so far (clams and all). Sorry about the lighting in the YouTube clips, you can't really see the mandolin. But remember this is northern Sweden, we had about 9,4 hours of sunlight in the whole of November! :disbelief:

YouTube clips

A few double stops and a little bit of Home Sweet Home.


The layman's version of Big Indian Blues.

A couple of quick and dirty sound clips:
Mandolin and guitar, a pretty unfocused recording. (http://www.4shared.com/account/file/177248341/602de72b/Mandolinkickoff.html)
Short mandolin intro in F (http://www.4shared.com/file/177248340/172ad7bd/Luckiest_man_alive_intro.html)

buckles
Dec-20-2009, 9:48am
sounds great!

Jill McAuley
Dec-20-2009, 11:55am
Sounds brilliant, looks gorgeous - well done and congratulations!

Cheers,
Jill

Baron Collins-Hill
Dec-20-2009, 12:17pm
sounds great. i love the sound of these mandos. ive only heard your and played the one at the music emporium, but both are amazing sounding and ill bet you are loving it.

all the best
baron

Don Grieser
Dec-20-2009, 1:39pm
Jonas,

Congratulations. Your mandolin sounds absolutely wonderful. It's really going to be a monster in a year or two, especially if you keep playing that Compton music on it. Joe's making some amazing mandolins--one of the best mando/buck ratios out there right now IMHO.

Jonas
Dec-20-2009, 2:01pm
Thanks guys! Glad you like it too ;)

It's hard to record an instrument and getting the sound across, but it's a little pointer to what this mandolin sounds like at least. I will try to share more recordings as I make them.

Oggy
Dec-20-2009, 2:34pm
Great playing Jonas. As always. I'm privileged to have you as my pickin' buddy.

And I just love Big Indian Blues. It's a Compton masterpiece. In my opinion one of the best mandolin tunes ever written, at least in this genre.

grassrootphilosopher
Dec-21-2009, 6:09am
Very nice...

That´s exactly what I´ve been waiting for!

Jonas, congratulations for a fine mandolin. Your playing is not half bad either (nice right hand and all). I just liked the way you presented the mandolin in the first clip, chops, double stops up and down the neck, a little bit of "Home Sweet Home" (which really lends itself to present a mandolin).

The second clip was even better. Single lines, double stops, tremolo, blues, chromatic runs, the whole shebang... very nice indeed. That means the mando and the playing.

The mando has a nice clarity, it certainly leds itself to many different styles. It sounds very nice up and down the neck and noting the difference of sound to the player and the listener the way you did is a ready sign that you have a great mandolin there.

Since you, Jonas, and you Oggy, are two 'ole Swedes' that know each other, may I kindly ask that you two get together and do a duo rendition of 'whatever' you feel you could do on the Kimble and the Campanella, please. That would certainly make my day.

As a side note, your kit-mandolin didn´t sound bad either, Jonas. But as you said rightfully, a better mandolin makes a better player. You sound good.

Good yule to y´all.

Skip Kelley
Dec-21-2009, 7:56am
Jonas, You pull a good tone out of that mandolin! As Big Mon would say "That's one powerful mandolin!"

hank
Dec-21-2009, 8:44am
Great tone with strong cutting fundamentals. The bottom end doesn't sound weak at all, that Collings must have had a real seismic rumble. Congratulations again Jonas, I've enjoyed the thread.

Jonas
Dec-21-2009, 8:57am
Thanks all again. Glad you enjoy this thread, I'm usually not really contributing a lot here on the Café, so this is my pay back for all the great threads I've been reading over the years.

Hank: I think the Collings had a little more developed bass response, as in it being a more played in instrument, but not really volume wise, but it filled the room a little more than the Campanella, almost like an oval hole mando (but not that much). Not really a seismic rumble though, lol, that would be a little too unbalanced for a high end mandolin?

I think maybe the Campanella will have a fuller bass in a year or so than it has today. Or not. I'll be happy either way, because it fine as it is. I'll have to wait and see I guess.

Oggy
Dec-21-2009, 9:30am
Since you, Jonas, and you Oggy, are two 'ole Swedes' that know each other, may I kindly ask that you two get together and do a duo rendition of 'whatever' you feel you could do on the Kimble and the Campanella, please. That would certainly make my day.



A nice idea Olaf, but not likely to happen. I hate recording. Most probably since it reveals how bad I am so blatantly. If I only had the necessary chops...

grassrootphilosopher
Dec-21-2009, 9:50am
A nice idea Olaf, but not likely to happen. I hate recording. Most probably since it reveals how bad I am so blatantly. If I only had the necessary chops...

No problem Oggy, or you could grow yourself some (chops... lambchops/sideburns that is, Osborne style (http://www.amazon.com/Once-More-Vol-1-2/dp/B001F3DWLA/ref=sr_1_47?ie=UTF8&s=dmusic&qid=1261406952&sr=8-47)). ;) :)

Jonas
Dec-22-2009, 3:59am
Olaf, glad I could satisfy your mandolin cyber needs ;) I'll be recording more stuff later. Right now my nice microphone is on loan to our band for a demo recording at a friend's apartment.

I know for a fact that Oggy has all the 'chops' needed to make that Kimble of his really speak... And I mean REALLY speak, not like anything I can do. Trust me.

Looking forward to a little comparison of the two! :mandosmiley:

Oggy
Dec-22-2009, 6:15am
:redface:

Don't exaggerate Jonas. OK, I know a few licks, but to record a song and to play it in a small informal jam isn't the same thing. My fingers always freeze when I try to record something... hate it. Since I don't enjoy it, I seldom do it... therefore don't get better at it either.

Anyway, this thread aint' about me, so lets move on. It's 'bout your man'lin... and it's both gorgeous and great sounding. Evident to all through your pictures and the soundclips and the videos.

pigpen
Dec-22-2009, 2:05pm
Sounds great! Beautiful tone and great playing.

I do have to express some anger at you. I had thought that I had been able to purge my desire for a Campenella. But, since you selfishly were showing off your beautiful mandolin, it's re-surfaced. I will hold you responsible for all future money spent.

Mike Thomas
Sep-10-2010, 8:50pm
Nine months later, how's she doing as it gets played in? I'm seriously considering selling my MT2 to get one of these for Celtic, jazz and old timey, playing mostly melodies even though I've never heard one. Waddaya think?

Jonas
Sep-11-2010, 5:12am
Mike, I did not think this mandolin would sound even better after a while of playing it, but it does. It's become more alive, quicker in the response, the tone is a little more hollow and the bottom end has developed a little more.

This summer I played many great mandolins on my vacation in the US, including a Gibson F5, an Ellis F5 and an Altman F5. They were all good, but coming home to my Campanella A5 I realize that it's on par. I'm as happy with it as before I tried those more expensive mandolins.

I think you will do just fine with one of Joe's mandolins for the styles you mentioned.

Here's a few pics of what it looked like this morning:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5488199/P9111754.jpeg

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5488199/P9111747.jpeg
It's on the way of being a distressed model!

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5488199/P9111746.jpeg

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5488199/P9111744.jpeg

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5488199/P9111743.jpeg

crazymandolinist
Sep-11-2010, 4:28pm
Amazing pics. That's one pretty mandolin. It would be neat to post more soundclips so we can compare how it sounds now to then

Jonas
Sep-11-2010, 4:41pm
Well, I ought not do this because it's really bad playing on my part, but everything for you guys! :)
Here is a quick Zoom H2 recording of me "feeling my way" through Ashland Breakdown... It was recorded earlier today, playing with a buddy of mine. (The guitar is a Martin mahogany dread.)

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5488199/Ashland_Breakdown.mp3

Jill McAuley
Sep-11-2010, 10:51pm
That is one gorgeous sounding instrument! Great stuff!

Cheers,
Jill

Terry W. Harvey
Sep-12-2010, 9:53am
Jonas,

Love that tune, I need to get working on that one. I heard it first from the "Master Taterbug".
Nice playing!!

Tavy
Sep-13-2010, 10:02am
That's a great looking instrument, I love the simplicity of the pickguard but can't see how it's attached - which is how it should be! - any ideas on how it's fixed on?

Thanks, John.

Rob Fowler
Sep-13-2010, 11:18am
Wow, Jonas...thanks for the update! How 'bout some more Big Indian Blues! Funny, I don't see any distressing at all...it still looks perfect! Thanks for sharing.

Jonas
Sep-13-2010, 1:48pm
Tavy: The pickguard is attached with screws into the fingerboard extension.

Rob: The distressing I'm talking about is right above the tailpiece where my arm touches the mandolin. It's not very visible in the picture (not very visible at all I guess).

Michael Cameron
Sep-13-2010, 2:37pm
Hey Jonas,thanks for sharing your mando journey! Beautiful instrument.

I was wondering if you know the age of the red spruce top wood?

That's the first I had heard "Big Indian Blues". Very inspirational music. Thanks for doing that! That tune has some really creepy lines.
Norman&Nancy come to mind.

I enjoyed your playing. Glad I could see how efficient your right hand is. Solid tremolo!

Cheers!

tonyvt
Sep-23-2010, 5:53pm
Congratulations on your new Campanella mandolin. Joe is a fantastic luthier and an all around great guy.

Jonas
Sep-24-2010, 1:29am
I was wondering if you know the age of the red spruce top wood?


Michael, I didnt' see your question until now, sorry. I'm afraid I don't know how old the top is... Only Joe would know I guess. I'll ask him!

SternART
Sep-25-2010, 3:51pm
Rob: The distressing I'm talking about is right above the tailpiece where my arm touches the mandolin. [/QUOTE]

Might rub out the varnish in that area with Gruhn' glaze or Dave Harvey's Jubilee Polish........
Possibly an armrest would be helpful........but they tend to leave evidence that they were there too.

Sounds very nice!!! Congrats Jonas.........I like the pilgrimage aspect of getting it in person. I've done that several times myself, but not to another country. I visited Lawrence Smart in McCall, ID to both start off and then pick up a few instruments in person. If I'm not mistaken, Joe was an apprentice of Lawrence's several years back.

Dan Margolis
Sep-25-2010, 4:35pm
It is a really beautiful instrument.

Jonas
Sep-26-2010, 1:45pm
It is beautiful, isn't it? :)

Joe says about the age of the top wood:

"I bought that spruce in 2003, and I believe it had been drying for 4-5 years already. So, roughly...the end of the 20th century".

He was indeed an apprentice of Lawrence Smart, for several years I believe.