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Thread: Seeking information on great-grandfather's mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Seeking information on great-grandfather's mandolin

    My parents are moving out of our childhood home, and my mom and I are looking for information on this mandolin. It is is bad shape, and we do not know the entire history, but it may have come from Asia Minor circa 1920. We would like to learn anything and everything about this instrument, including what the materials of construction are, where it may have been made, is it repairable, what it might be worth, what the history might be, etc.

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ID:	179241Thank you in advance,

  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking information on great-grandfather's mandolin

    Unfortunately very few bowlbacks are valuable. The ones that are were built by known builders and are most often labeled. They generally are more valuable as family heirlooms than monetarily.

    We have an entire community of bowlback aficionados, some that live in Europe that will surely be able to give you some advice as to where and when this might have been built.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  3. #3
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking information on great-grandfather's mandolin

    It looks like a higher grade Italian mandolin in the Neapolitan style, perhaps from Catania in Sicily with all the pearl around the edges. At the same time it could be of Greek manufacture if you think it is from further east. A picture of any label inside the body would be useful. What is odd is the appearance of the soundboard which looks to have been coloured or painted in some way. Sounds are almost always left plain timber with at most a light varnish as a finish. The body looks to be rosewood which was usual for better quality mandolin of the time, with lighter coloured tulipwood edging. Date could be anytime from around 1900 to 1914.

    Cheers

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  5. #4

    Default Re: Seeking information on great-grandfather's mandolin

    It is repairable. Try www.mandolinluthier.com. Dave is in France, reasonably priced and he specialize in repairing ruined bowlbacks like yours.

  6. #5
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking information on great-grandfather's mandolin

    I appreciate Graham's good eye on the faux finish on the top...a technique more often seen on the woods on the backs of flatback mandolins.

    His Sicilian reference also sounds plausible to me, given the hybridized style of details, trim, etc.

    Can you give us some more information on why you are thinking "Asia Minor in the 1920s"? A pretty romantic turn of a phrase under any circumstance.

    The neck does look muy sketchioso....and Victor is right. If anyone out there is going to save this, it might well be Dave Hynds.

    Mick
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