Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

  1. #1
    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Shutesbury, MA
    Posts
    270

    Default Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    August Waters, an impressively credentialed contributor to Mandolin Cafe, discussed his Mazzaccara instrument at https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/a.../t-117517.html. I am not aware of any other discussions of Carlo’s instruments, so I am hoping that this review of Carlo Mazzaccara’s Lucia mandolin will be helpful to bowlback aficionados new and old. Let me preface that I am the polar opposite of Mr. Waters in that I am a rank musical neophyte who just learns and plays for my own enjoyment. I have, however, followed a path of seeking out specific styles of mandolins for their unique tonal qualities and their “suitability” for classical music and feel I have had enough exposure to mandolins to feel comfortable offering a review. I now own a Lyon & Healy Model A and a Phoenix Neoclassical Euro III and have added this Mazzaccara bowlback as a third type of tonal quality.
    Several months ago I started doing research on bowlbacks beginning with Paul Sparks’ and Graham McDonald’s books. I explored Calace, Embergher, and other vintage mandolins as well as current bowlback luthiers. I decided, finally, on a modern bowlback and contacted Carlo Mazzacarra after reading Mr. Water’s comments and looking at Carlo’s numerous YouTube videos. I discovered that Carlo is a remarkably good communicator and a very fine human being. He operates his luthier business with great integrity and is a very fine builder. Although he advertises on Ebay, I encourage you to contact him directly at carlomazzaccara@oldmandolin.com and bypass Ebay.
    I asked Carlo to make some changes to the Lucia model I purchased and he was 150% accommodating. He then packaged the mandolin for shipping in a container, built by Carlo, that would put a Sherman tank to shame. The mandolin traveled from Italy to Massachusetts in only five days.
    The Lucia, to me, is absolutely gorgeous, has perfect intonation and playability, and a tonal quality which I love. Trying to describe tonal qualities with words is something I cannot do. However, I do own two superb instruments with unique tonal qualities and I believe Carlo’s Lucia model is unique yet on par with my Phoenix and Lyon & Healy.
    In brief, Carlo builds superb instruments at an excellent price point. He operates with integrity and is a thoroughly enjoyable person. I am 200% pleased with my Lucia!


    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	88D71DC4-CA19-451B-AF37-5509A582980D.jpg 
Views:	108 
Size:	423.4 KB 
ID:	183747
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	D1346412-23D3-47B3-A281-0D2993B3C4A1.jpg 
Views:	86 
Size:	517.3 KB 
ID:	183748
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	9EB355B0-B0D9-4339-9B73-62C3511226D7.jpg 
Views:	86 
Size:	388.7 KB 
ID:	183749
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	5AE4995C-6ABF-46DA-9760-44CBC7563565.jpg 
Views:	80 
Size:	423.8 KB 
ID:	183750
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	D5C08321-B063-47A6-9844-B6F6D6023693.jpg 
Views:	83 
Size:	474.8 KB 
ID:	183751
    Last edited by Tim Logan; Feb-18-2020 at 10:36pm.

    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” ― Albert Schweitzer

    1925 Lyon & Healy Model A, #1674 (Thomastik 154-M strings)
    1995 Flatiron A5 Artist (B. Weber) #95072333 (Thomastik 154-S strings)
    2015 Phoenix Neoclassical Europa III #623 (Thomastik 154-M strings)
    2018 Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia (Dogal R92-M strings)

  2. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Tim Logan For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    Registered User Brian560's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    77

    Default Re: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    Tim, that is a nice review. I have been admiring Carlo's mandolins for quite a while

  4. The following members say thank you to Brian560 for this post:


  5. #3
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    27,122

    Default Re: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    Tim Logan: I don't think any of your photos show up, at least I can't see them.

    OTOH we can go to Carlo's site. You can see the Lucia model here. He says there are also available in the US at Southern Strings but I don't see any for sale as yet.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  6. #4
    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Shutesbury, MA
    Posts
    270

    Default Re: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    Jim: They show up when I go to the post, so I am not sure what to say. Maybe other readers can let us know if they are having a problem. If so, then I will contact the Cafe to solve the problem. Brian560, are you seeing the six attachments? Thank you.

    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” ― Albert Schweitzer

    1925 Lyon & Healy Model A, #1674 (Thomastik 154-M strings)
    1995 Flatiron A5 Artist (B. Weber) #95072333 (Thomastik 154-S strings)
    2015 Phoenix Neoclassical Europa III #623 (Thomastik 154-M strings)
    2018 Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia (Dogal R92-M strings)

  7. #5
    Registered User Brian560's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    77

    Default Re: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    No, I cant see the attachments

  8. #6
    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Shutesbury, MA
    Posts
    270

    Default Re: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    Hmmm.....Brian and Jim, I deleted and reloaded the images. Can you see them now? Thank you.

    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” ― Albert Schweitzer

    1925 Lyon & Healy Model A, #1674 (Thomastik 154-M strings)
    1995 Flatiron A5 Artist (B. Weber) #95072333 (Thomastik 154-S strings)
    2015 Phoenix Neoclassical Europa III #623 (Thomastik 154-M strings)
    2018 Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia (Dogal R92-M strings)

  9. #7
    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Whitefish,MT
    Posts
    1,398

    Default Re: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    Look fine to me!

  10. The following members say thank you to Mike Buesseler for this post:


  11. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Halifax, Yorkshire, England
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    I have admired Carlo's work for some time. He must be one of the world's preeminent classical mandolin makers. If I was a classical music player I too would be sorely tempted.
    Anglocelt
    mainly Irish & Scottish but open to all dance-oriented melodic music.
    Mandos: Gibson A2, Mike Black A4, Taran Springwell, Shippey Rosewood; TM and OM by J E Dallas (London) & Davidson.

  12. The following members say thank you to Anglocelt for this post:


  13. #9
    Registered User Denman John's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Denman Island, BC Canada
    Posts
    633

    Default Re: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    Thank you for the review. Beautiful mandolin! I’ve admired his mandolins for a while now.

    Enjoy it in good health and please feel free to share a recording of it if you can.
    ... not all those who wander are lost ...

  14. #10
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    27,122

    Default Re: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Logan View Post
    Hmmm.....Brian and Jim, I deleted and reloaded the images. Can you see them now? Thank you.
    Yes, looking good. Beautiful photos.

    A few questions:

    You said you explored some vintage bowlbacks. Were you able to actually play some Emberghers, Calaces and Vinaccias or others of the most desirable ones? Did the high prices for the name brands scare you away or did you just find the ones you did play not what you wanted?

    The other two mandolins you own are excellent and are considered by most players to best voiced for Thomastik strings. What strings are on your Lucia? I think August Watters (I believe he has two T's in his last name) strings his with Dogal Calace Dolce strings as mentioned in that 2015 thread you link to. Is that how yours is strung? I assume that Carlo M voices his mandolins to particular strings.

    When I owned my Gabriele Pandini bowlback it came to me with Dogal Calace Medium strings and i always used them since I loved the way they sounded and I was used to hearing Carlo Aonzo play his with those strings.

    You mention the tone in comparison with your L&H and Phoenix Neo-Classical. Do you mean they all sound similar or they complement the other two, as in add to the tonal palette you can choose from?

    I am trying to figure out the design of this mandolin. From the photos it looks like a hybrid of Roman and Neapolitan styles. Romans would have triangular profiled necks with radiused fretboard and bar frets. This one looks like a flat fretboard but with bar frets and possibly a more rounded neck. Emberghers/Romans usually have a very narrow neck width at the nut sometimes even less than 1 inch. What does yours measure?
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  15. #11

    Default Re: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    Thanks for sharing, Tim. I'm a sucker for fluted ribs.

  16. #12
    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Shutesbury, MA
    Posts
    270

    Default Re: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    Hi Jim -
    Pretty much due to my location (and laziness), I did not locate or play a Calace or Embergher. I took a gamble and relied on books, on-line audio and video recordings, and some exchanges with a few members of the Cafe’s classical mandolin forum. The individuals on this forum are pretty amazing BTW! I shied away from Embergher because of cost. Other vintage mandolins of interest were primarily located outside of the US and I was hesitant about trying to import items with rosewood et al. Many modern makers had horrendous multiple year waiting periods and often prohibitive pricing. It’s not the ideal way to buy a mandolin, but I believe I got lucky. Perhaps if I had played an affordable well restored Calace or Embergher, I would have a different opinion, but I am quite pleased with this mandolin.
    Carlo prefers Optima blue or green strings but says Dogal strings will do just fine
    Ooops......my apologies to Mr. Watters for spelling error.
    Each of the three mandolins I own, to me, has a distinct tone and feel. Their construction is different. This approach to owning multiple mandolins seems a bit different than buying several same style mandolins because of different cosmetics etc. (that statement alone could probably start a whole thread on its own LOL).
    If I am reading the caliper correctly, the nut measures a hair over 1 1/16”.
    If you would like other photos or measurements, please let me know.

    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” ― Albert Schweitzer

    1925 Lyon & Healy Model A, #1674 (Thomastik 154-M strings)
    1995 Flatiron A5 Artist (B. Weber) #95072333 (Thomastik 154-S strings)
    2015 Phoenix Neoclassical Europa III #623 (Thomastik 154-M strings)
    2018 Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia (Dogal R92-M strings)

  17. #13
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    27,122

    Default Re: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    The other question I meant to ask: what were the changes to the standard model you asked Carlo to change? I am just curious.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  18. #14
    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Shutesbury, MA
    Posts
    270

    Default Re: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    Hi Jim -
    I asked him to make the armrest out of ebony...which is a significant change with that style of armrest (in my opinion). Carlo is amazingly great to work with. Just a really nice guy.

    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” ― Albert Schweitzer

    1925 Lyon & Healy Model A, #1674 (Thomastik 154-M strings)
    1995 Flatiron A5 Artist (B. Weber) #95072333 (Thomastik 154-S strings)
    2015 Phoenix Neoclassical Europa III #623 (Thomastik 154-M strings)
    2018 Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia (Dogal R92-M strings)

  19. #15
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    27,122

    Default Re: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    Excellent. I would love to see this beauty one day.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  20. The following members say thank you to Jim Garber for this post:


  21. #16
    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Shutesbury, MA
    Posts
    270

    Default Re: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    BTW, the Lucia does well in the Eastman bowlback case.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	C6C653E6-9074-4D4B-9E50-AA8FB5F3DC38.jpeg 
Views:	32 
Size:	96.8 KB 
ID:	183800
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	41A6CD4D-8C76-421A-B52E-0D52B0DA8B91.jpeg 
Views:	20 
Size:	109.1 KB 
ID:	183801

    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” ― Albert Schweitzer

    1925 Lyon & Healy Model A, #1674 (Thomastik 154-M strings)
    1995 Flatiron A5 Artist (B. Weber) #95072333 (Thomastik 154-S strings)
    2015 Phoenix Neoclassical Europa III #623 (Thomastik 154-M strings)
    2018 Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia (Dogal R92-M strings)

  22. #17
    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Shutesbury, MA
    Posts
    270

    Default Re: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    I am happy to share that, for me, the bowlback took zero adaption time and is totally delightful to play. I share this for anyone who is considering their first bowlback! (BTWI posted this same statement on another thread as well).

  23. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Tim Logan For This Useful Post:


  24. #18
    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Shutesbury, MA
    Posts
    270

    Default Re: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    Jim Garber -
    Just a follow up: Having the “tinkering” gene, I put a set of Dogal Calace R92 mediums on the Lucia. They do create a noticeably different sound, to me, than the Optimas. I would say the Dogals are more mellow, fuller in tone. It’s hard to find words to describe the tonal differences, but that is my take. For my taste, I favor the Dogal sound. I really think the string choice here is simply what the player personally enjoys the most. Neither string set is the “correct” set.

    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” ― Albert Schweitzer

    1925 Lyon & Healy Model A, #1674 (Thomastik 154-M strings)
    1995 Flatiron A5 Artist (B. Weber) #95072333 (Thomastik 154-S strings)
    2015 Phoenix Neoclassical Europa III #623 (Thomastik 154-M strings)
    2018 Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia (Dogal R92-M strings)

  25. #19
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    27,122

    Default Re: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    I use Dogals on every bowlback that I own that is worth playing. I was surprised when I strung up my Vega Style 3 with the dolce set. I took it to a rehearsal a bunch of years ago and it sounded as good as any other bowlback I own. Crisp and sweet—dolce! I am not a fan of T-I flatwounds on any bowlback except the German ones that were voiced specifically for those strings.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  26. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Jim Garber For This Useful Post:


  27. #20
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    5,352

    Default Re: Review: Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia bowlback mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I use Dogals on every bowlback that I own that is worth playing. I was surprised when I strung up my Vega Style 3 with the dolce set. I took it to a rehearsal a bunch of years ago and it sounded as good as any other bowlback I own. Crisp and sweet—dolce! I am not a fan of T-I flatwounds on any bowlback except the German ones that were voiced specifically for those strings.
    I was speaking with John Bernunzio on the phone last year and he said he used Dogal medios on his Gibson A (don't remember which model).

    I haven't gotten around to trying that but look forward to it.

    Dogal also makes a "half round" set, which I've never used. Not sure what the specs are on those in terms of tension.

    Jim or Eug....have y'all ever tried those on something?

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Open Road
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •