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Thread: Del Vecchio Bandolim

  1. #1
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Del Vecchio Bandolim

    Mostly you see the resonator instruments from this company. This looked like it might be playable so I went for it.

    Del Vecchio is still in business. On their web site I only see one model of bandolim, Bandolim Jacob Super, which looks nice but I don't know if any of the choro musicians I know play one. I have a feeling that thier instruments are in the same level of quality as Giannini.

    I saw a similar one on Mercado Livre (Brazil's craigslist, sorta) and the seller said 1970 era but the label on mine is different. I might guess a little earlier, maybe 1960s.

    It has the same trapeze tailpiece that their resonators have. It had loop-end strings on it but I have a feeling that ball end ones would work a lot better since the loop goes around the crosspiece and then has to slip down to stay in tune.

    It has a chunky neck but it actually playable. The nut was stuck on backwards but I was able to switch it around. I think this might be the original bridge since it has three scallops on the bottom.

    I can't quite figure out if this is laminated throughout, though I would not be surprised if that is the case. The finish is sort of milky which I believe might come from moisture trapped in it. I tried to clean the fretboard but it turned out not to be dirty.

    I strung it with D'Addario J-62 lights. These bandolims seem to like light gauge strings.
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    Jim

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  4. #3
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Del Vecchio Bandolim

    Yes. I probably overpaid but at least it plays as is tho could use some fine tuning. There is a slight crack on the lower back.

    This one was pictured on their Instagram page and they say it is from the 1960s. It resembles mine except for the tailpiece. It has the metal nameplate on the headstock and the round label inside.

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    This text accompanied the photo:
    Segundo o Fernando Dalcin, esse bandolim é da época que Dom Pedro I não tinha nem idade pra tirar o título de eleitor. Calma, é antigo, mas nem tanto! O Sr. Angelo Del Vecchio diz que, pelos detalhes da etiqueta, este modelo deve ter sido feito na década de 60! Casa Del Vecchio. Há 115 anos fabricando os melhores instrumentos.
    Google translate:
    According to Fernando Dalcin, this mandolin is from the time Dom Pedro I was not even old enough to take the title of voter. Calm down, it's old, but not so bad! Mr. Angelo Del Vecchio says that for the details of the label, this model must have been made in the 60's! Casa Del Vecchio. For 115 years making the best instruments.
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  6. #4
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Del Vecchio Bandolim

    The company history is interesting:

    Nossa história começou com Angelo Del Vecchio. Natural de Riposto – Sicilia, em 1900 Ângelo casou-se e recebeu como presente de núpcias uma viagem ao Brasil. Quando chegaram em São Paulo, onde sua esposa Carmela tinha dois irmãos, encantaram-se e decidiram ficar. Angelo, que já exercia na Itália a profissão de luthier, começou a atuar no segmento e, em 1902, abriu no Largo Riachuelo, a fábrica e loja de instrumentos musicais.

    Após 18 anos no endereço, mudaram-se para a Rua Aurora, onde aumentaram significativamente a produção. Angelo Del Vecchio foi inventor de uma série de modelos de violões que foram patenteados, dentre os quais se destaca o “Violão Dinâmico” que é fabricado até hoje.

    Em 1948 a empresa passou a ser dirigida por seus filhos e a denominar-se, então, “Irmãos Del Vecchio”. Francisco Del Vecchio cuidava da parte administrativa, e Salvador Del Vecchio da parte técnica de fabricação. Salvador foi responsável pela criação de novos sistemas e estruturas, tais como os chamados “Timbre Vox”, “Super Vox” e “Nylon Vox”. Em 1968, com a inclusão do neto Angelo Sergio Del Vecchio, a firma passou a chamar-se Casa Del Vecchio.

    Com eficiência e tradição ao longo de mais de 100 anos, a Del Vecchio tornou-se referência na fabricação artesanal de instrumentos, com destaque para o apuro técnico e a alta qualidade das matérias-primas utilizadas.

    Acompanhe abaixo a nossa trajetória.
    Google Translate:

    Our story began with Angelo Del Vecchio. Natural of Riposto - Sicily, in 1900 Ângelo married and received as a wedding gift a trip to Brazil. When they arrived in São Paulo, where his wife Carmela had two brothers, they were enchanted and decided to stay. Angelo, who already worked in Italy as a luthier, started acting in the segment and, in 1902, opened in Riachuelo Square, the factory and store of musical instruments.

    After 18 years at the address, they moved to Aurora Street, where they significantly increased production. Angelo Del Vecchio was the inventor of a series of models of guitars that were patented, among which stands out the "Dynamic Guitar" that is manufactured to this day.

    In 1948 the company began to be directed by its children and to denominate, then, "Brothers of the Vecchio". Francisco Del Vecchio took care of the administrative part, and Salvador Del Vecchio of the technical part of manufacture. Salvador was responsible for the creation of new systems and structures, such as the so-called "Timbre Vox", "Super Vox" and "Nylon Vox". In 1968, with the inclusion of grandson Angelo Sergio Del Vecchio, the company was renamed Casa Del Vecchio.

    With efficiency and tradition for more than 100 years, Del Vecchio became a reference in the manufacture of instruments, highlighting the technical accuracy and high quality of the raw materials used.

    Follow our path below.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Del Vecchio Bandolim

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Yes. I probably overpaid but at least it plays as is tho could use some fine tuning. There is a slight crack on the lower back.
    Well I'm glad I didn't bid against you and make the price even higher. I used to have one of their cavaquinhos.

  8. #6
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Del Vecchio Bandolim

    Yes, thanks! The best bandolims have a nice bright sweet sound. This one has some potential but I have a feeling would sound better with a higher bridge. My best one handmade has an all bone bridge.

    A rare occurrence -- actually getting an instrument from SGW that doesn't need much repair.

    The price wasn't so bad. It seems like if I bought it on Mercado Livre in São Paulo, it would have cost about the same, but I don't have to travel to Brazil or deal with US Customs.
    Last edited by Jim Garber; Feb-21-2018 at 11:51am.
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    Default Re: Del Vecchio Bandolim

    Nice one, Jim! The build quality does remind me of a Giannini classical I once owned.

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  12. #8
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Del Vecchio Bandolim

    Gianinni bandolims are similar but most Brazilian-made mandolins follow that Portuguese model with the larger flattop.

    Big problem I am having is looping the strings through that tailpiece. I saw another similar Del Vecchio bandolim with a replaced clamshell tailpiece and I can now see why. First the strings kept going out of tune until the loop tightened up a bunch. Then yesterday, as I was getting it in tune, one of the D-strings snapped at the loop, probably due to it being bent at an odd angle.

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    These bandolims generally sound better with light gauge strings but the only ball end light gauge strings I find are either Curt Mangan or these custom GHS that Elderly sells.

    I suppose I could experiment with single strings.
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    Default Re: Del Vecchio Bandolim

    It could be worth replacing the tailpiece.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Del Vecchio Bandolim

    I was also thinking of trying to string straight through and looping the strings around a metal bar on the end pin side of the tailpiece.

    I had a similar problem with the tailpiece of my 1928 L-5. Strings don’t like to be bend around a bar.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Del Vecchio Bandolim

    As for the tailpiece, I found an .024 guitar string that works nicely and much better than the loops. I will probably order a few sets of the custom GHS ballend strings from Elderly.

    I have been having a nice FB messenger chat with Sérgio Del Vecchio. He says that it is all laminated wood which makes a lot of sense since I assume all their resonator instruments would use the same. The back and sides are pau-ferro (ironwood). He said if it were rosewood (jacaranda) it would be much redder in color. He said it was made in the 1980s.

    So I don't expect much in the way of tone from this. It is pretty heavily built but I love the way it looks. I have a feeling that it might do better with an all bone bridge which many of these have and possibly some fretwork.

    My other two bandolims are solid wood and my best was built in a small shop by Manoel Andrade. I bought it from Marilynn Mair so it has good mojo.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Del Vecchio Bandolim

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I was also thinking of trying to string straight through and looping the strings around a metal bar on the end pin side of the tailpiece...
    Bernie Lehmann tried that with the ball-end, 10-hole tailpiece he found for the five-course fanned-fret instrument he built for me. I soon realized that arrangement required me to de-tune all ten strings, slide out the bar, and re-tension the entire instrument in the event I had to replace a single string. There was no way to "unhook" a single string from the little metal rod which was threaded through all ten string loops (well, I guess you could, perhaps, if it were one of the "outside" strings in the first or fifth course, but you'd still need to detune all the strings to get sufficient slack).

    So I said "heck with that," and went to a set of ball-end strings assembled from the closest gauge equivalents among available guitar strings. I'm still tweaking gauges a bit -- may want a slightly "beefier" fifth (C) course -- but I think the "metal bar that holds all the string loops" arrangement has fatal flaws.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Del Vecchio Bandolim

    I guess the only way to really do it would be to have eight (or, in your case, 10) separate bars, one for each string. So, I could cut a small piece of metal for each string... hey, wait, that is what ball end strings have.

    I am trying to remember what your 10 string Lehmann is like. Is it a cittern? How do you have it tuned?
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Del Vecchio Bandolim

    I am trying to remember what your 10 string Lehmann is like. Is it a cittern? How do you have it tuned?

    It's really a mandolin/dola, with fanned frets and raked nut and bridge. Two-point. Could post a pic, I guess:


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    Tuned CGDAE low to high. Back & sides flamed koa, top Adirondack spruce. The fanned frets take some getting used to, and I'm still (after two years) not really agile on it. Fits in a Cedar Creek F-model mandola case.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Del Vecchio Bandolim

    Very cool. I always love the optical illusion of those fan-fret instruments. Makes the images look warped. I have only seen images tho, never actually played one tho I heard that they are not as odd to get use to as they look. Yours looks like a radical difference between the low side and the high side. I wonder of there were less of a difference, would it be easier? Then again, from the looks of other 10 strings, it looks like it is close to the same as yours. What is the scale range?
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  22. #16
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Del Vecchio Bandolim

    I'm not sure how Bernie "radiused" the fret fanning. He said he'd never built a fan-fret before, was really keen to build this one I loaned it to him to take to a luthiery convention to show off.

    Scale is 14 1/8" at the first course, 16 1/2" at the fifth.
    Allen Hopkins
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  23. #17
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Del Vecchio Bandolim

    That sounds reasonable. Probably close to what Lawrence Smart does but i think he has bass-side scale as 16".
    Jim

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  24. #18

    Default Re: Del Vecchio Bandolim

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    It's really a mandolin/dola, with fanned frets and raked nut and bridge. Two-point. Could post a pic, I guess:


    Click image for larger version. 

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    Tuned CGDAE low to high. Back & sides flamed koa, top Adirondack spruce. The fanned frets take some getting used to, and I'm still (after two years) not really agile on it. Fits in a Cedar Creek F-model mandola case.
    that is too cool for words

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  26. #19
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Del Vecchio Bandolim

    Quote Originally Posted by ollaimh View Post
    that is too cool for words
    I'll tell Bernie Lehmann you said so.
    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

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