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Thread: Flatbacks of note

  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by (mandogerry @ Jan. 20 2008, 14:18)
    ... I should settle in with a big bowl of Häagen-Dazs, the "Scandinavian" ice cream born in New Jersey.
    as i recall, boysenberry was my favorite ...

    bagpipe makers have a similar obsession with hard woods - their favorite being african blackwood with rosewood as an "also ran."

    the pau ferro rosewood on my m-4 is nowhere near as photogenic as the beautiful matching pair you've illustrated earlier - really lovely (i note the grainy "M" for "MIKE" motif on yours.) whether a pukah rosewood or a near-mahogany, i much prefer the warmer tone of these to (what i would imagine would be) the brighter tone of maple.

    what i look for in any instrument (charango in particular) is a nice tight grain on the spruce top. the backing could be made from almost anything - past tense armadillo and reinforced fiberglass included - but it don't mean thing (imho) if the top don't make the grain.

  2. #52
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    I absolutely love cocobolo. Don't know its qualities as a tonewood, its really hard so maybe maple like. The quality I like best is that it has a built in finish. Sanding with 600, then 1200 and put on a buffer it ends up shining like nitrocellulose. The sanding dust is very irritating to the nose, but man I love the way it looks.

    The rosewood back on my Big Muddy has a mice grain pattern but is not shiny or doesn't have the depth of Cocobolo............BUT it sure sounds sweet

  3. #53

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    The cocobolo for my guitar-to-be by Gary Demos:






  4. #54
    Registered User mandogerry's Avatar
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    billkilpatrick has noticed the secret "Da Vinci Code" on the back of my Big Muddy, cleverly inserted by its creator Mike Dulak. As Bill said,

    "The pau ferro rosewood on my m-4 is nowhere near as photogenic as the beautiful matching pair you've illustrated earlier - really lovely (i note the grainy "M" for "MIKE" motif on yours.)"

    When the M-4 first arrived at my home, bought only on the basis of sound clips and two photos, I thought the pattern looked eerily like Munch's "The Scream." Then the true message emerged.....
    Gerry and "Team GDAE"
    Assorted mandolins and their GDAE-tuned relatives

  5. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by (brunello97 @ Jan. 20 2008, 10:51)
    ...(I'm just wondering, as this thread begins to gain traction-to my great pleasure- whether its inclusion in the "C-M-R" section is the most functional. # Perhaps if located in the 'Vintage' section we might avoid some of the probable overlaps of discussion and information. #Is it possible for Scott to move an entire thread?)

    Mick
    Mick they have moved entire threads before, but I do not think this one belongs in the vintage since many of the mandolins talked about here are current models.
    Bill Snyder

  6. #56
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Eugene,

    I checked out Gary Demos' website. Very nice looking work. I can understand your attraction. It is interesting what he says about the 'unstressed' sides and their effect on soundchamber vibrations. Did you meet through your Ohio connections?

    Mick
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  7. #57

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    Indeed. #He lives about eight minutes down the road. #We met a year or two ago when he started writing, inquiring about the guitar society. #We were friends before I commissioned the guitar, and I really wasn't in the market for another, but he made an offer... #I like his classicals quite a bit, but his steel-strings are extraordinary; however, flat-tops are just something I don't really do any more.




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  9. #59
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Reasonably rare and interesting: German maker Boehm made their name with their waldzithers, but they also made mandolins (which they called "waldoline", as a brand extension of their waldzither). Most of their instruments, waldzithers and mandolins alike, had portuguese fan-type tuners. Here is one with a more conventional slotted headstock. Unlike most German flatback mandolins of the period, this is a true flatback, not a 7-stave bulgeback.

    The overall length is given as 80cm, which probably makes it a mandola rather than a mandolin -- most likely pretty much identical to their waldzither minus one string.

    Martin

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    So, Martin, do we branch out into a Bulgebacks of Note thread....? #

    I didn't realize Boehm was a Hamburg concern. #One wing of my in-laws are from there and I have always enjoyed visiting. # The type-setting on the label seems older. #Any idea when this was made? #The Steintorweg address made me wince. #So much senseless destruction there.

    The Boehm appears to have a pair of nice pieces of rosewood for the back. #Or else? #

    Do you ever find evidence on German instruments of the 'grain painting' one finds on some Chicago instruments, or on Pennsylvania-D(e)ut(s)ch furniture? # Which to me is a lovely tradition in its own right.

    thanks,

    Mick
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  11. #61
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (brunello97 @ Jan. 25 2008, 19:54)
    So, Martin, do we branch out into a Bulgebacks of Note thread....?
    No need for branching out -- Bill's initial post that started this thread was about German bulgebacks.

    Quote Originally Posted by
    I didn't realize Boehm was a Hamburg concern. One wing of my in-laws are from there and I have always enjoyed visiting. The type-setting on the label seems older. Any idea when this was made?
    Boehm in some ways were the equivalent of Gibson. They started in the 1890s by taking a regional and nearly-obsolete instrument -- the Thuringian waldzither, derived in unbroken tradition from the renaissance cittern -- and rebranding it with a vast marketing effort to make it a nationwide success. The feature most obviously associated with their instrument were the fan-type tuners, and their marketing campaign resulted in the widespread belief (still persisting today) that all waldzither have these tuners, indeed that the tuners are the defining feature of the waldzither. Not so -- the Thuringian instrument had either pegs or (later) conventional geared tuners. Even Boehm sold their instruments optionally with conventional tuners for those who realise that the fan tuners are more hassle than they're worth (and of course the one currently for sale is one such). I don't have a Boehm instrument, but I understand that they have a very nice tone and are well-made. In fact, I'm starting to get tempted by this one, as I've been meaning to check out a Boehm instrument but didn't want the hassle of making double loop-end strings. Let's see what the price does.

    Date-wise, I believe their greatest success came in the 1920s and that is when I would think this one was made.

    Quote Originally Posted by
    Do you ever find evidence on German instruments of the 'grain painting' one finds on some Chicago instruments, or on Pennsylvania-D(e)ut(s)ch furniture? Which to me is a lovely tradition in its own right.
    No, not really. Most German instruments I've seen have quite nice solid wood, even when they are otherwise rather forgettable instruments.

    Martin

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    Thanks, Martin, for the background. I am a big fan of the general group of rosewood flat-back American mandolins. I have a couple now out of the L+H/Regal stable that are really warm and delightful. That this Boehm has such an interesting context as you describe (and is in the mandola/octave scale length) does make it attractive. It is a nice looking box of wood and the headstock repair doesn't look too intimidating. I imagine it will bid up a bit. I would toss my hat in for a bit, but wouldn't want to cross you, so let me know your intentions. The shipping is a bit steep so I am most likely boxed in a bit that way. These links to pre-war German cities always make me a bit wistful--I'm Irish and an architect to boot, so the melancholia/idealism comes naturally.

    Mick
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  13. #63
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    I was just contacte by Willi Henkes, a well-respected German luthier. He has these Stromberg-Voisenet copies on his Web site.

    Jim

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    Reversible!

  15. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by (brunello97 @ Jan. 26 2008, 20:29)
    It is a nice looking box of wood and the headstock repair doesn't look too intimidating. I imagine it will bid up a bit. I would toss my hat in for a bit, but wouldn't want to cross you, so let me know your intentions. The shipping is a bit steep so I am most likely boxed in a bit that way.
    Mick,

    I already have too many of these old German instruments, so feel free to go for it. Still at 2 Euro right now, and as I don't think they are very collectible in Germany, I could imagine it staying quite reasonable, even with the shipping to the US.

    I would expect it to be a quality instrument, anyway.

    Martin

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    Thanks, Martin, I will keep an eye on this. By coincidence, I just acquired a Martin A, which I've long been wanting. My instrument account funds are tight, but that long scale is attractive.

    BTW If the seller is to be believed this flatback is from a Louis Fernandez in Algeria. (Made there? Or labeled by a dealer?)

    <a href="http://cgi.ebay.fr/Mandoline-Algerienne-de-marque-Fernandez-a-Oran_W0QQitemZ320210664855QQihZ011QQcategoryZ10
    4485QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem" target="_blank">http://cgi.ebay.fr/Mandoli....iewItem</a>

    'Of Note' nonetheless.

    Mick
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  17. #67
    Michael Reichenbach
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    Thanks Jim for the picture of the two mandolins by Willi Henkes.

    Today I have got a big German flatback - however it is not a mandolin but a 14-string Waldzither. The luthier Hans Hau lived in the hometown of my father, and my first guitar was bilt by Hans Hau.

    This instrument was called Hau-Zither in the catalog of Hans Hau, at the moment I do not know if it is different from other 14-string Waldzither instruments.

    This instrument has a back and sides made from beautiful wood - I hope you enjoy the pictures.
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    Michael Reichenbach
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    The back of this instrument:
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  19. #69
    Michael Reichenbach
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    Hau-Zither together with my guitar branded "Walthari Mittenwald" (it is a little bit smaller than a normal classical guitar)
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  20. #70

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    any opinion on these? i've seen both shapes up for auction from time to time but the weirdness of the one looking like some sort of giant squid put me off. €350 seems a fair price for the two - just wanted to know if anyone has played either and what sort of tone can i expect:

    http://cgi.ebay.it/ECCEZIO....5921236

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    Bill, for a guy plays a strung up armadillo, you are a little squeamish around gli Strumenti di mare.

    I like the looks of them both-very romantic. # It seems as if more than a few have passed by with the 'Neapolitan School' royal papers, often with a large painting or decal of a volutuossa on the back. #Perhaps the school contracted to bring these in for students? #I have had a mandolinetto hankering for awhile now. #The Howe-Orme versions or the L+H/Sears/Wards models often go for a bit of a premium here-perhaps due to their scarcity--though I have heard good things viz H-O.#

    Still if I was strumming an 8-string seppie and singing to my beloved, the TONE would only be one part of my concerns.

    Mick

    350e doesn't seem like a bad price for the two to me.



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  22. #72

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    "voluttuossa" sent me scurrying to the dictionary ... grazie!

    i've seen those decals that you mention and often wondered if it was just one instrument doing the rounds ... poor old thing, bought, sold and then sold on again, for what ever reason, almost immediately.

    a closer examination of the mandolinetto photos revealed what might be warping in the neck. that and the jules verne apparition beside it caused me to bid on another, new mandolinetto from - i would guess by the lotus inlay on the back - south-east asia.

  23. #73
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    Chris Baird who builds the Arches mandolins has this page where he describes tonal differences of back woods. I never quite got the right timing to order a flat back from him (spruce over cocobolo would have been my choice) because he made great looking and sounding ones.

    This past summer I had the great fortune of getting a cant topped flat back made by Jack Spira with a Western Australian Sheoak back over engleman spruce top. I had an Eastman F4 style before and the Spira has such a great tone. The Sheoak has the same density as rose mahogany the New South Wales rosewood. I love the tone. I hope we can add this specimen to the collection of Flat Backs of Note.

    I totally agree on how nice the Big Muddy/Mid Mos are. I've had a chance to play several and liked the walnut, rosewood and all mahog ones the best. The thread has some real beauties in it. Thanks Bill.

    Jamie
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    Here's the back...
    Jamie
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  25. #75

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    wow! ... the sound hole looks like something to ward off the evil-eye - commanding ... as is the psychedelic grain pattern on the back. what animal is inlaid on the 10th fret? beautiful instrument.

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