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Thread: proper bowlback mandolins?

  1. #1
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    Default proper bowlback mandolins?

    do any of you have experience with bowlback mandolins, and first-hand experience with handmade proper ones? if so, could you please suggest some makers, that make good ones, without too much expensive visual esthetique work? which means properly built, but not much unnessecary inlays and other expensive artwork

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    Default Re: proper bowlback mandolins?

    I have a lot of experience with bowlbacks, though my exposure to modern ones is limited to a late 20th century Suzuki (Don't get one of those), a modern Greek bowlbac (proper, but built quite differently from Italian instruments), and a late Pecoraro/Embergher, which also differs to some degree from the traditional Neapolitan examples.

    It's very true that bling.excessive ornamentation can be looked at as a drawback; when little pieces fall off and get lost, it's bothersome. I'm happy to tell you that the better builders seemed to strive to make excellent instruments al all (or most) price points. I had a pair of De Megllios, one reaching the heights of ornament, the other being a considerably more restrained example. Both are excellent.

    The best of the older Neapolitans were made by Calace, various members of the Vinaccia family, and a few other makers, who are not perhaps revered at the same level as the Big Three. (I include Embergher among the B3, though those do differ a bit, as mentioned.) I have a Salsedo which I value, and a Monzino; Mozzani also made fine bowlbacls, as did De Meglio. Sicilian instruments are certainly acceptable as well, though not perhaps as highly regarded. I've probably omitted a few makers whose work is also worthy of note.

    Condition is the paramount concern for older instruments. Plenty of info, pictures and commentary below in the Classical section, where bolwbacks thrive.


    I should add that I've heard complimentary things about Eastman bowlbacks, though I have not played any. Personally I tend toward the older Italians, as they have the mojo working. I don't know if you have mojo in Norway; if not, don't worry about it.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: proper bowlback mandolins?

    I am not sure what is available in Norway but you should also tell us how much you are willing to spend and perhaps what kinds of music you want to play on it. Bob A gave you some good things in terms of old makers. This page of Eye Candy Bowlbacks will give you an idea of more modern ones available in Europe. You can click on the images and most will link to the makers website or contact information. There are some excellent modern German and Italian makers but you are talking about a few thousand euros.

    BTW the only mandolin maker on this site listed in Norway is Harald Hougaard—I don't know if he has ever built a bowlback.
    Jim

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    Default Re: proper bowlback mandolins?

    I recently bought my first bowlback. Perhaps my experience will be of help:
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...lback-mandolin

    Tim

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    Default Re: proper bowlback mandolins?

    I seem to be unable to edit my earlier post; it may be attributable to the same phenomenon that had me write about ornate and restrained De Meglios, which are in fact made by Ceccherini. I'm sure I left my mind around here somewhere.

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    Default Re: proper bowlback mandolins?

    I guess maybe 2500 dollars or something like that. not sure if I am going to buy yet, but doing some research anyways.

    I dont really know what I am going to be playing, but right now, practicing scales is the thing I prioritize, seems to naturally end up in some sort of celtic track.

    what I can pretty much guarantee, is that I dont have the patience for practicing difficult classical music, to the point where I can play it perfectly. simply cannot muster the patience needed for that kind of thing.

    yep. I spoke to harald houggard, but he never came back to me. guess he is too busy. also, he seems to be making mostly flattops, which I already own a good one.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: proper bowlback mandolins?

    If you play Celtic music you might prefer to play it on your flattop anyway. Have you played a decent bowlback. If possible it would be good to play a few and see even if you like the sound and feel comfortable to hold.
    Jim

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    Default Re: proper bowlback mandolins?

    no, I havent tried bowlback. thats why I want some info from you guys, to see if it might be something I would want to pick up. but during my research, I hve come to the conclusion you state, jim; that my weber aspen is probably the best one for my kind of playing. thank you, people, for your tips and support.

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    Default Re: proper bowlback mandolins?

    I used to own a bowl back made by CF Martin ..
    it's spruce top a little smaller version of what they made as their cant top A.
    tear drop pick guard , etc.
    I suppose they were made at an overlapping time frame
    then the bowl back production faded away.
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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