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Thread: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

  1. #1

    Default Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    I have an old instrument that is made in Italy. Its a bowlback 8 string slant back mandolin/lute type. Unfortunately, there is no Maker's Mark anywhere on and in the instrument. I am putting up pics on this instrument so anybody can see what it is.

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    It's a bouzouki.

    Dave H
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    Is this an Italian bouzouki? A bouzouki has a flat top, and this one looks neopolitian because it has an arch on the bottom of the top.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    I think it is an octave mandolin.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octave_mandolin

  5. #5

    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    Alright, here's the next question: on the feedstock right near the first fret, says Made in Italy. Why is there no maker's mark on this instrument?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    Headstock. Sorry about that "feedstock". Its the auto correct

  7. #7

    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    It was made to be sold by a third party and thus was unbranded although many retailers did have their own brands.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    How do we know how old it is? The inside of the bowlback has some sort of fabric tape overlapping one another covwring the bowl.

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    Covering

  9. #9

    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    Also do any of you have the same type of instrument like this? The website didn't have any pictures similar to it except the shorter bowlback mandolin.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    That is typical of bowlback construction over the years- and decades- paper was used as well. Judging by the tuner buttons it was made in the 1960s or 1970s- it could be even newer. You might like to photograph the tuner units. However, this is not a very old instrument.

  11. #11
    Registered User mandobassman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    I think it is an octave mandolin.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octave_mandolin
    Neck is too long for octave mandolin. It is a bouzouki.
    Larry Hunsberger

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  12. #12

    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    Larry, are the bouzoukis also made in Italy?

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    Nice, heres the tuning setup

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    NickR

  13. #13
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    Quote Originally Posted by DeafWolf View Post
    Larry, are the bouzoukis also made in Italy?
    Yes.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    The scale length will define what sort of instrument it is. If it is 25-27 inches it is a Bouzouki- as pointed out, the octave mandolin is shorter. It would be probably a modern example made for Irish music. Those tuners look really modern- 1980s or even more recent.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    Those tuners look to me as though they’re replacements (....or the manufacturer was saving money on screws).

    It looks like a bouzouki so it likely is a bouzouki. Italy isn’t that far from Greece!

  16. #16

    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    Scale length from top of headstock to bottom of body is 38"

  17. #17
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    That wouldn't be the scale length.

    Somebody had to build all those nameless bouzouki's they sold to the tourists in Greece. I'm sure they are probably made in China now.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  18. #18
    Confused... or?
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    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    Quote Originally Posted by DeafWolf View Post
    Scale length ...
    ... is the vibrating length of the string, before compensation is applied. It can be approximated by measuring from the bridge to the nut (at the headstock), but more correctly (to eliminate the compensation caused by stretching the string in the act of fretting) is measured by doubling the length from the nut to the 12th fret. That's a bit shorter (maybe 1/8"?) than the actual vibrating length from bridge to nut.

    With a 38" overall length, the scale probably falls into the noted 25" to 27" area.

    Not necessarily definitive (folks can put any string anywhere!), but bouzoukis usually have octaved lower courses, as this one appears to have; each wound string is paired with a lighter non-wound string tuned to the same note an octave higher.
    - Ed

    "What our group lacks in musicianship is offset by our willingness to humiliate ourselves." - David Hochman

  19. #19

    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    Sorry, the scale length is 26 and a half inches, overall length is 38". So its kinda like a bouzouki, but with a neopolitian body mix. I assume from what you're saying is its like a hybrid

  20. #20

    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    So how well does it play/sound?

  21. #21

    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    Fine. Is that what you are asking?

  22. #22

    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    Although it needs just new strings. I am wondering the correct strings for this "italian/Irish bouzouki. I got another instrument also from Italy from an old musician who just gave it to me. Its a 1968 Catania Carmelo 4 string banjo tenore

  23. #23
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    Quote Originally Posted by DeafWolf View Post
    Sorry, the scale length is 26 and a half inches, overall length is 38". So its kinda like a bouzouki, but with a neopolitian body mix. I assume from what you're saying is its like a hybrid
    It is a bouzouki. It's not a hybrid. They are made with the bowl backed body style traditionally.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bouzouki

    Obviously this Italian builder used the same forms he uses to make mandolins but it isn't all that different even with the canted top.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    Where can I find string replacements for this?

  25. #25
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anybody help me identify this instrument?

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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