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Thread: looking for bowl back mandolins

  1. #26

    Default Re: looking for bowl back mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_al View Post
    This one looks pretty nice.
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/115415#115415
    $750 is maybe a bit steep
    That Vega looks amazing... I thought $750 sounded fair for that level of bling + no issues.
    Seems like a good choice for the OP...
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  3. #27
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    Default Re: looking for bowl back mandolins

    Well...the neck joint separated on the Suzuki around 1970 and it had other issues, so i've pretty much stayed away from non-domestic stuff ever since, even tho the Eastman may be a different animal. i'd rather not make an investment in a potentially disposable instrument; i'd like to enjoy it daily with no trouble, but maybe i'm being unrealistic. Martin doesn't make them anymore, and Vega and L&H are long gone. i'm kind of learning as much as fast as i can, but it's slow going.

    Still looking to get an education for sure. i couldn't find much info on Eastman and am wondering about nut width, neck shape, laminate/solid wood, etc.
    Last edited by dan in va; Sep-20-2017 at 4:02pm.

  4. #28
    mandonucs John Uhrig's Avatar
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    Default Re: looking for bowl back mandolins

    Mine measures 1 1/8" at the nut, 13 3/8 scale length, Flat fretboard, with a V shaped neck and all solid wood construction.
    There is a video on youtube showing the construction of one.
    I don't think this is a "disposable instrument"
    John in SE New Mexico

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    2015 Eastman Bowlback

  5. #29
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    Default Re: looking for bowl back mandolins

    I recently got my grandfather's bowl back mandolin from my cousin who did not know what it was. It was in the original canvas case with brass buckles. It is a fine mandolin and I am glad to have it back. My grandfather quit playing it about 100 years ago when he went into the navy for WWI and then later got married. It has been through a lot of moves and survives in great shape.

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  7. #30
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: looking for bowl back mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by RobBob View Post
    I recently got my grandfather's bowl back mandolin from my cousin who did not know what it was. It was in the original canvas case with brass buckles. It is a fine mandolin and I am glad to have it back. My grandfather quit playing it about 100 years ago when he went into the navy for WWI and then later got married. It has been through a lot of moves and survives in great shape.
    Well.....that great story ought to suggest you post a few photos of said mandolin so we can enjoy it along with you....

    Mick
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  8. #31
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    Default Re: looking for bowl back mandolins

    Thanks to everybody, as this process has been really educational and real-life helpful for me. i had decided to look for a little deeper sound that i would likely get out of an affordable bowl back. Also, i'd like a smaller neck and not be concerned with finding the right luthier to work on such old vintage instruments. A mid-'50's Martin A for a reasonable price popped up at Gruhn's that's not a showpiece and had some el cheapo tuners installed. I'm more than satisfied with the sound and will have the neck narrowed, a new fretboard and tuners. The tone might be somewhat like a dreadnaught in the taterbug world....or maybe not quite. But it suits me.

    So thanks again to all who contributed to my education....dan

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  10. #32
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: looking for bowl back mandolins

    For those seeking a "bowl-back-like" sound, the mahogany Martin Style A's aren't a bad choice. Not quite as thin and clear as my bowl-backs, but pretty close, and always a well-made instrument.
    Allen Hopkins
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  12. #33

    Default Re: looking for bowl back mandolins

    Unrepairable taterbugs make classy musician headgear, as you probably already know.....
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  14. #34
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: looking for bowl back mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    For those seeking a "bowl-back-like" sound, the mahogany Martin Style A's aren't a bad choice. Not quite as thin and clear as my bowl-backs, but pretty close, and always a well-made instrument.
    No disrespect, Allen, but if you want a bowl.... get a bowl. Martins are their own thing, and a delightful one at that.

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
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  16. #35
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: looking for bowl back mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    No disrespect, Allen, but if you want a bowl.... get a bowl. Martins are their own thing, and a delightful one at that.
    Mick, I have a two bowl-back mandolins (Merrill and B & J Victoria [probably L & H make]), a Washburn bowl-back mandola, and a Waldo bowl-back mandocello. I got my "bowls," OK?

    Dan in va was looking for a bowl-back, couldn't find one to his liking, bought a Martin Style A instead, an instrument he likes. I commented that the Martin canted-tops, while not the same as bowl-backs, were "pretty close" to the same sound -- which, as also a Martin Style A owner, jibes with my own experience.

    Not the same thing, by any means, but a lot closer to the bowl back sound (and feel, IMHO) than another carved-top, f-hole instrument. Which was the point I was trying to make.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  17. #36
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    Default Re: looking for bowl back mandolins

    brunello97, it was me who shifted gears. i originally started out looking for a bowl and found the ones i liked were spendy vintage pieces that may need work sooner or later. i also learned after the initial post the Martin A sound had what i wanted to my untrained ears. So yes, while a real bowl back sound requires a bowl back mandolin; the Martin canted top / flat back is good 'nuff. Thus, my bowl back search has ended and was satisfied with the Martin A.

    Allen, your assessment is the conclusion i eventually came to.
    Last edited by dan in va; Nov-26-2017 at 6:48pm.

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  19. #37

    Default Re: looking for bowl back mandolins

    few bowl backs are the tone i look for, but there are some good ones. i bought a bowl back mandola years ago that i pulled out of the back room and tuned up. made 1898 in trieste by an italian company named del peruga. it has an 18 inch scale, i want it to be an octave mandolin but the intonation was bad, i finally gave in and tuned it up to mandola range and it sings. so some times they sound nice and sometimes they don't. it has a fluted finger board , which seem anachronistic. i doubt that was common after 1800.

    when you are looking for a bowl back on line such as e bay ask a lot of detailed questions. quite often, as said before, the sellers know little about them and misrepresent the playablity. if it has high action it may not be repairable at any reasonable price

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