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Thread: Bowlbacks of Note

  1. #7001
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    That's truly horrible IMO, I mean what were they thinking of? Sorry, just can't get past the look of that one!

  2. #7002
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    Italian communist party mandolin?
    Eoin



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  3. #7003

    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    Ok, I don't know, whether my new to me Guriema Calace 67/3 qualifies as "of note", but to me, it is a nice mandolin, that I recently bought used for 1/3 of the new price on ebay.
    That is, it's hard to find new Guriemas these days in stores.
    To me, it is a typical German bowlback and I don't know why it's called "Calace".
    The sound of this rosewood bowlback is darker than the sound of my Jacob maple bowlback and I'm thinking about changing the flatwound strings against roundwound ones to add some high end sparkle.

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  5. #7004
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    Looks nice: just a word of warning - when I just looked up the Guriema web site, AVG antivirus went into full spasm mode identifying all kinds of malware on their site

  6. #7005
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    It has been some time since we added to this thread. I always wanted to acquire a bowlback by Umberto Ceccherini and I finally got one. Sad but for some reason the seller had their repair department overspray the bare finished top. Oh well, the price was right and the condition was relatively good.

    Interesting was that the label was A. E. Sutton but otherwise it was similar to other Ceccherini importers with double soundboard.
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    Jim

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  8. #7006

    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    Lovely! Looks very much like the one I used to own. Mine had a curious intonation issue, an oddly high second fret. I got to temper it down somewhat by leveling the fret. In any case, mine had been obviously re-fretted after the original, factory-setup, so this in no way reflects on what your Ceccherini sounds like.

    Enjoy it!

    Cheers,

    Victor
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  9. #7007
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    Very nice!

    A few interesting details different from most. Most obviously, the label. I haven't seen any "for A.E. Sutton, Tunbridge Wells". All I've seen had Alban Voigt as the "sole agent" (!), which would suggest yours was made either before or after the exclusive deal with Voigt was in place. My guess would be after. I've seen those aluminium headstock decorations before on a 10-string Ceccherini I briefly owned. That was also the only one I have seen with a two-piece metal nut like on yours. These are normally cut from a single piece of metal. The bridge saddle may need a look. The metal insert should not be notched but smooth -- string spacing is provided by the wooden spacers behind the saddle. Looks like somebody who didn't understand how these bridges work lowered the action by deepening the notches in the wood as well as the metal.

    As Victor has said, there is a curious intonation issue with many of these -- with the open strings in tune, the fretted notes on the first few frets are sharp. I found that I had to move the nut by about 1.5mm towards the first fret to correct this. There is an old thread on the Cafe with details.

    Enjoy the Ceccherini, and welcome to the Club! We currently have four Ceccherinis in our ensemble, and the owners all love them. Looking forward to your impressions once you've had a chance to play.

    Martin

  10. #7008
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    Thanks, Victor and Martin. My long-ago-sold 1901 DeMeglio 1A had the same zero-fret nut and a similar bridge (see below) .

    The tailpiece has only 4 posts which may indicate an older mandolin, or else just an older tailpiece. I will look through the 45 or so jpeg examples I have. I don't recall any import label except for Alban Voight. I will search more closely.

    The same headstock decoration also appeared on my DeMeglio as well.

    Martin, I would love to see what variants there are on your and others Ceccherini bridges. It looks like mine may be original but that someone messed it up.

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    Jim

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  11. #7009
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    I did find one other example of a Ceccherini with a A. E. Sutton label. This one was from ebay in 2007 but has an 8-post tailpiece.

    Hmmm... I looked at the photo of the label and this might be the same one a the one I now own. There is also a couple of scratches on the headstock and some hairline cracks on the tuner buttons that look to match as well.

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    Jim

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  12. #7010
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    I may try restringing it with Dogal Calaces (my favorite for old bowlbacks) and see how it plays. I do re call that I bought a few gauges of brass rods that worked for the DeMeglio saddle, assuming I can find them and can probably replace the notched one.

    Worse to worse I could order one of Dave Hynd's DeMeglio repro bridges which look to be the same style. Come to think of it I may have ordered a few of those from Dave years ago.

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    Jim

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  13. #7011
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    ..... Come to think of it I may have ordered a few of those from Dave years ago.

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    I'd look around in the closet a bit, Jim. There's probably a Ceccherini or two lying around that you ordered from Dave along with those bridges.

    Mick
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  14. #7012
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    I'd look around in the closet a bit, Jim. There's probably a Ceccherini or two lying around that you ordered from Dave along with those bridges.

    Mick
    Mick, maybe I need your help. Can you come over soon? It is a very frustrating closet. There is a banjo in it I want to revisit but I can't reach it. I think i have to sell or give away about 10-12 instruments in order to get near it.

    Jim
    Last edited by Jim Garber; Dec-14-2017 at 6:03pm.
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  16. #7013
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    Jim and Martin's posts bring to mind some lingering questions I have about Ceccherini and DeMeglio and mandolin design and marketing in the late '90s. I know we have talked about this on and off over the years.

    Any further thoughts on the source of Ceccherini / DeMeglio similarities at least in many of their details? These are clearly far outside those of the main three design models of their era: Vinaccia, Calace and Embergher.

    I know there have been a number of "Sistema DeMeglio" mandolins and examples of what have been called "clones" but it isn't clear at all where they might have come from given the quantity of output from DeMeglio.

    If DeMeglio had a "sistema" that was clonable how is this any different than the stylized versions of V, C and E mandolins that were churned out in Naples and Catania? Why not a "Sistema Ceccherini" if they were the more celebrated mandolins of the day? Maybe given the DeMeglio output they were the big player to attach your marketing scheme to.

    Did DeMeglio actually make anything? Were they just piano dealers who marketed mandolins that were made by a "system"? Why are there two lines of DeMeglios and two separate serial numbering schemes on virtually identical instruments?

    The DeMeglio label trumpets the "Casa" being founded in 1800. The earliest date I have in my files for an instrument label is 1893. Something makes me think that folks were propounding that UC had models out before that.

    I realize that the UC are an upgrade on the DeM quality (if not quantity) irrespective of the double-top design. Both seemed geared towards the export market.

    Were DeMeglios mass-market attempts to build on (some) of the Ceccherini developments?

    Were Ceccherini high-end attempts to build on the DeMeglio developments?

    Given the curiosity of the design details it is hard to imagine there wasn't some type of connection / communication at some point in time.

    One builder loaded (overloaded) his labels with promotional information and warnings to imitators. The other had limited information: no address and limited use of any numbering scheme. UC's label touts an 1881 award. That is pretty early for examples of his work, isn't it?

    One would assume Vogt must have sent labels to Italy for UC to include and then sign.

    A lot of questions, I know, but I thought I'd bang them out in one post rather than many. We need a dedicated Ceccherinis of Note thread.

    I really have enjoyed the design features of both these mandolins. I know Martin gets fussy about comping the Ceccherinis over the somewhat clumsy (read unnecessary) flourish of the DeM attempts at flourish.

    It is the body shapes, headstocks, and the great tulipwood round-over that I really enjoy from a design perspective. If the DeMeglio serial numbers are to be believed they pulled this off on over 20K instruments. Not bad.

    I've owned a number of DeMeglios and have enjoyed them. Never a Ceccherini. I look forward to it. Maybe if Jim is serious about having me over to help clean out his closet I might find one!

    Mick

    PS Walking home after I wrote this, I had a thought: would it be plausible that Ceccherini had a relationship with DeMeglio (similar to Rafael Ciani's at Schmidt or Pava Knezevic has at Ellis now) to market mandolins under their own name in a way that didn't compete with the main firm?
    Last edited by brunello97; Dec-14-2017 at 7:10pm.
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  17. #7014
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    I wish there were as robust a means to search for European patents as Google Patents are for American ones. I always wonder what the De Meglio patent covered... was it the side sound ports or the bridge or the cast zero-fret nut or what?

    Mick, I thought you had a Ceccherini and that I was one of the few members of the Royal Society of the Bowl who didn't have one. Yes, I do love the tulipwood round-over, as you call it.
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    Glad you have joined the club Jim, that's a good looking example, I particularly like the headstock.

    Mine is strung with the Dogal Calace's I might try the Fisoma Consorts next, but it does like the Dogals.

    John (Tavy) ended up making a new nut for mine to get it to intonate properly, and the bridge appears to be the same as the one in your 2007 picture.
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  19. #7016
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    Got to love a Ceccherini - still my favourite bowls I think.

    I don't think I've seen that label before, like Jim, I suspect it must be a later date: if you get a chance to peek inside, is the internal resonator full length (sound hole to tailpiece) with 4 circular holes in a diamond pattern? That's the layout I associate with (assumed to be) later Ceccherinis, and the better sounding ones too IMO.

    Mick's correct about the intonation too: nut always seems to be way off, very strange!

  20. #7017
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Thanks, Victor and Martin. My long-ago-sold 1901 DeMeglio 1A had the same zero-fret nut and a similar bridge (see below) .

    The tailpiece has only 4 posts which may indicate an older mandolin, or else just an older tailpiece. I will look through the 45 or so jpeg examples I have. I don't recall any import label except for Alban Voight. I will search more closely.

    The same headstock decoration also appeared on my DeMeglio as well.

    Martin, I would love to see what variants there are on your and others Ceccherini bridges. It looks like mine may be original but that someone messed it up.
    Jim,

    The link to my old discussion on correcting the intonation of my Ceccherini is here:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/s...out-intonation

    I'm attaching the photos from that thread here for reference. As you can see, the nut is a single piece of metal where a De Meglio (and your Ceccherini) would have two. It's worked in such a way that it acts boths as a string spacer and as a smooth saddle, in effect a zero fret, all within 3mm or so.

    The photo of the bridge below has a bone insert which I fitted myself in order to be able to add compensation. I have since then returned to the straight non-compensated metal saddle -- I use Fisoma Consort strings with a wound A, so compensation isn't really required and the metal saddle is part of the Ceccherini tone. I still have the bone saddle in the case, and it's a five minute job (plus retuning) to swap saddle out although I don't tend to do that.

    The bridge construction is the same as on De Meglios, except that the round metal saddle is a bit thicker diameter and made from German silver, not brass. Yours is clearly original but has been messed with. As the saddle is round, you should be able to simply turn it around, notches downwards, and use the smooth side as saddle. However, I suspect this will raise your action quite a bit. The better way of lowering the action is to take wood away from the ledge on which the saddle sits, rather than filing the saddle down or indeed taking wood from the bottom of the bridge (as one would on a Gibson one-piece bridge). I think a previous owner has already lowered the action a lot on yours: the string downholder hooks aren't holding anything down as the strings are sitting well below their level.

    Attachment 17902Attachment 17903Attachment 17904

    Martin

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  22. #7018
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    Hi Martin: Thanks for all that info. I think that the prior owner mostly destroyed the bridge AND saddle. And it also doesn't look like the bridge is actually fitted properly to the top anyway -- You can see light under it.

    I wish John Maddock lived down the street or that it wasn't so dangerous or expensive to send this to him for a proper set up.
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    I think there is a German blues player who uses an electric bowlback? He had a recording on the Yank Rachell tribute album nearing a decade ago. I'll have to look it up.

  25. #7021
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    Quote Originally Posted by derbex View Post
    No one will know what you are talking about in a month or so when this auction is over. Here is a sample of this electrified bowlback (of note?)

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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    Wow, just wow. If I'd seen that years ago, I'd have hit it like a shark in a feeding frenzy.


    I know, it's a sickness. But like Stan Jay used to say, "GFAO"*

    *Go find another one.

  28. #7023
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob A View Post
    Wow, just wow. If I'd seen that years ago, I'd have hit it like a shark in a feeding frenzy.


    I know, it's a sickness. But like Stan Jay used to say, "GFAO"*

    *Go find another one.
    I think I will go find another one rather than that one. It looks like some creative luthier took a DeMeglio mandolin and put some contemporary electronics into it. I would hope that the top was caved in or something like that. It w0uld be a shame if this was originally a good playable mandolin. OTOH I love those dark-stained bone tuners.
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  29. #7024

    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    "I would hope that the top was caved in or something like that. It w0uld be a shame if this was originally a good playable mandolin.
    I hope so, too, but I've learned from my ebay sojourns that you can't save every bowlback out there!

  30. #7025
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    Default Re: Bowlbacks of Note

    Christopher do you own a Stetson bowlback?
    Jim

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