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Thread: Avi Avital and the Arik Kerman mandolin

  1. #1
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Avi Avital and the Arik Kerman mandolin

    Since Avi Avital is so much the topic these days I was wondering if there are any more details on the Kerman mandolin that he and so many Israelii mandolinists such as Jacob Reuven play?

    If you search the MC archives you find that the topic of the Kerman has been raised and briefly discussed many times (including the Avital interview).

    But can we go further? For example, I am wondering if any luthiers (or mandolinists) who frequent this forum have by now had opportunity to look closely at one of these mandolins and thus be in a position to comment on what is different about the Arik Kerman school of luthiery?

    What is Kerman doing so different from the approach taken by American luthiers - aside for the obvious carved versus flat top issues (as of course there are American flat top mandolins too).
    Bernie
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    MandolaViola bratsche's Avatar
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    Default Re: Avi Avital and the Arik Kerman mandolin

    This thread digressed into the topic of Avi's Kerman, where it was established that it has a double top and a convex back.

    bratsche
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Avi Avital and the Arik Kerman mandolin

    As far as I can tell, it looks like it is based on the modern German flatback asmade by makers such as Seifert, a little deep-bodied. The difference from the German models is that it has the sound holes on the edges and, even more important(?) has a double top. I would love to see one in person. I posted a video on another thread but it bears repeating here. Avi talks about it in this video:

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    Default Re: Avi Avital and the Arik Kerman mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    As far as I can tell, it looks like it is based on the modern German flatback asmade by makers such as Seifert, a little deep-bodied. The difference from the German models is that it has the sound holes on the edges and, even more important(?) has a double top. I would love to see one in person. I posted a video on another thread but it bears repeating here. Avi talks about it in this video: (deleted)
    Thanks for the video -- of interest, the top wood could be cedar and the back wood seems not necessarily to be maple? This notwithstanding that Kerman is supposedly a devotee of violin construction? Whatever I think we can say the he is not into bling although the lattice work is certainly fancy. So at this point I am calling it a flatback mandolin with a super-Virzi!

    It sure would be great to hear him play with the Kerman quartet.
    Bernie
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Avi Avital and the Arik Kerman mandolin

    I would love the opportunity to try a Kerman.
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    MandolaViola bratsche's Avatar
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    Default Re: Avi Avital and the Arik Kerman mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Daniel View Post
    So at this point I am calling it a flatback mandolin with a super-Virzi!
    See the pictures in my earlier post. The back bulges out noticeably - don't know if it's carved or bent somehow to do that - so it's not technically a flatback.

    I'd love the opportunity to play a Kerman mandola! But a mandolin would do in a pinch.

    bratsche
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    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Avi Avital and the Arik Kerman mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by bratsche View Post
    See the pictures in my earlier post. The back bulges out noticeably - don't know if it's carved or bent somehow to do that - so it's not technically a flatback.

    I'd love the opportunity to play a Kerman mandola! But a mandolin would do in a pinch.

    bratsche
    You are right --I meant to say flat top! LOL. And yes I'd sure like to try one!
    Bernie
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    mando-evangelist August Watters's Avatar
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    Default Re: Avi Avital and the Arik Kerman mandolin

    I got to try out a Kerman on my visit to Israel a couple of years back - first impression was that it was much more German than Italian in aesthetic; strong fundamentals without a lot of brilliance. Moderately loud. Beautiful instrument; maybe someone who plays one will weigh in here? I was told that Kerman doesn't speak English so I doubt we're going to see a lot of these here in the west!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Avi Avital and the Arik Kerman mandolin

    The double top reminds me of Brent's Dean Grand Concert with a second back. Similar in function?
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    aka aldimandola Michael Wolf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Avi Avital and the Arik Kerman mandolin

    Here you can see and hear a Kerman guitar at Dream Guitars which seems to be constructed in the same way like his mandolins. The description from Dream Guitars gives some more insight how we could imagine these instruments from inside. The second top seems to be similar to Brian Deanīs second back construction with the difference that it has a sound hole that connects the inner sound chamber (formed by the two tops and the inner sides on upper bout) with the surrounding chamber, thatīs formed by the back of the guitar and the outer sides on the upper bout plus these ports beside the actual top. The question is if the second back acts more as a back or a top (generating tone) or, like said earlier, a big virzi (whatever a virzi does) or everything at the same time.
    The guitars back is flat, as usual for a classical guitar, but the mandolins back is arched. Would be interesting to know why and if itīs carved or bent.

    From Dream Guitars:
    "It incorporates a floating back with small, light braces and smaller internal upper bout area, imagine a guitars inside a guitar. This gives a focused and powerful sound with excellent projection. The carved upper bout edges act as additional sound hole area."

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    In this video Jacob Reuven is talking a bit about his mandolin. Unfortunately, like Avi, he doesnīt go very much into detail about construction, they are clearly more into playing their instruments than analysing them and comparing them to others. Maybe not the baddest attitude.
    Heīs also talking about a "little mandolin inside the mandolin".

    Last edited by Michael Wolf; Jan-28-2014 at 5:22pm.

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    Default Re: Avi Avital and the Arik Kerman mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Wolf View Post
    Here you can see and hear a Kerman guitar at Dream Guitars which seems to be constructed in the same way like his mandolins. The description from Dream Guitars gives some more insight how we could imagine these instruments from inside. The second top seems to be similar to Brian Deanīs second back construction with the difference that it has a sound hole that connects the inner sound chamber (formed by the two tops and the inner sides on upper bout) with the surrounding chamber, thatīs formed by the back of the guitar and the outer sides on the upper bout plus these ports beside the actual top. The question is if the second back acts more as a back or a top (generating tone) or, like said earlier, a big virzi (whatever a virzi does) or everything at the same time.
    The guitars back is flat, as usual for a classical guitar, but the mandolins back is arched. Would be interesting to know why and if itīs carved or bent.

    From Dream Guitars:
    "It incorporates a floating back with small, light braces and smaller internal upper bout area, imagine a guitars inside a guitar. This gives a focused and powerful sound with excellent projection. The carved upper bout edges act as additional sound hole area."

    (images and videos deleted)

    In this video Jacob Reuven is talking a bit about his mandolin. Unfortunately, like Avi, he doesnīt go very much into detail about construction, they are clearly more into playing their instruments than analysing them and comparing them to others. Maybe not the baddest attitude.
    Heīs also talking about a "little mandolin inside the mandolin".

    Good data on the Kerman guitars. I sent that Jacob Reuven (culturebuzz) video along to a bluegrass mandolin picker I know last week and he said since they did not mention Bill Monroe in the first 2 minutes he stopped listening! LOL!

    Kerman seems to be a man marching to his own tune. Who knows if he is the next big thing or just a passing fancy?

    One thing about the double top. Regardless of what is done the laws of physics still apply.

    So if you have two "tops" the strings are still the only source of input energy and those strings would have to move more mass (two tops more mass than one top?).

    Since momentum is conserved a greater mass in top material means less vibration in each top as compared to the strings moving a single top instrument?

    So its a trade off but I have no idea how effective it might be?
    Bernie
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  12. #12
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Avi Avital and the Arik Kerman mandolin

    Avi's Kerman mandolin sounds great in the video but it is truly hard to tell what they are like until we can actually play one in person. Unless I am going to Israel or meet of these Israeli players in person, I can't see that happening any time soon.

    Kerman has no web presence and not even email or a mailing address according to the Builders DB.


    Actually, I take that back. He does have an email address. Maybe a more extensive website is coming, too. Check out kermanmandolin.com
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    Default Re: Avi Avital and the Arik Kerman mandolin

    While I know next to nothing about Kerman mandolins, I think it is unlikely Avital would be making a Kerman mandolin his instrument of choice merely in order to support his local/domestic lutherie.
    From what I've heard on Youtube, the mandolin sounds great, and its build I find very appealing.

  14. #14
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Avi Avital and the Arik Kerman mandolin

    I emailed Arik Kerman. We will see if he is too busy building his instruments to answer.

    Wow... Scott is super fast. He already changed the Kerman listing. Thanks!
    Jim

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    Default Re: Avi Avital and the Arik Kerman mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I emailed Arik Kerman. We will see if he is too busy building his instruments to answer.

    Wow... Scott is super fast. He already changed the Kerman listing. Thanks!
    I hope he replies! A number of Israeli mandolinists play a Kerman -- I am sure there is an element of national pride but as note they would not play these instruments unless they felt very confident in them.
    Bernie
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    Traveling Tracks Traveling Tracks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Avi Avital and the Arik Kerman mandolin

    I thought I had heard he was gettin' up there in age and wasn't building much anymore. ??? Curious to see if he replies to Jim. Keep us posted. I think with the success of the mandolinists playing his instruments he could easily get many commissions to build new instruments.
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