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Thread: Vinaccia vs Embergher vsCalace Video

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    Default Vinaccia vs Embergher vsCalace Video

    Hi all. Just recorded a short video comparing the sound of big three bowlbacks. All 3 well setup and all really sing, but all have slightly different sound to each other. What is your order of preference soundwise?

    1st is 1907 Fratelli Vinaccia in Rosewood, 2nd is 1916 Embergher Orchestra No.2 in Rosewood and the 3rd is 1910 Raffaele Calace in maple. Excuse my humble playing skills and have fun comparing.


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    Registered User Peter K's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vinaccia vs Embergher vsCalace Video

    Well played, Victor......and a nice "O sole mio" arrangement too. To my impaired sense of hearing the Vinaccia sounds the nicest, although the other two are not chopped liver either.
    Canadian Multilingual Autodidact Dilettante

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    Registered User mandrian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vinaccia vs Embergher vsCalace Video

    Hi,

    2, 1, 3.

    Regards,

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    Default Re: Vinaccia vs Embergher vsCalace Video

    Howdy,

    2, 3, 1.

    I have about the same Calace model as you and it has the same distinct sound.
    "A mandolin is more than just a music instrument - it also is a symbol of the people's struggle." - Mahatma Gandhi

    "The mandolin is a great instrument, if a man has the courage to use it." - Jesus of Nazareth

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    Default Re: Vinaccia vs Embergher vsCalace Video

    Tricky, when I played them in order I liked the one I was listening to, then I started flicking between them and the Vinaccia & Calace sounded quite similar. I might have a slight preference for the Vinaccia (despite owning a Calace). The Embergher is a different beast, maybe because it's Roman rather than Neapolitan. Given what you were playing then 1,3,2, a different style of music and 2 might pop to the front.

    I have sat opposite a couple of (probably) Pecoraro 5bis and they sounded quite different to the Orchestra model you're playing here, which seems much smoother.
    - Jeremy

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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vinaccia vs Embergher vsCalace Video

    I like the last one best!

    and would happily play any of them!

    nice to see REAL mandolins

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vinaccia vs Embergher vsCalace Video

    Very subtle differences. What strings do you have on each?
    Jim

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    Default Re: Vinaccia vs Embergher vsCalace Video

    Calace, then Embergher, then Vinaccia. I prefer the slightly warmer tones, although I would take any of them.

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    Pataphysician Joe Bartl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vinaccia vs Embergher vsCalace Video

    Thanks for doing this. These types of comparisons are really instructive. My preferences here: Embergher, then Vinaccia, then Calace.

    I, too, wondered about the strings and the plectrum-- identical for all three? The only thing I knew for sure was that it was the same hand playing ... and playing very agreeably! Thanks.

    Joe

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    Default Re: Vinaccia vs Embergher vsCalace Video

    Same plectrum - celluloid Pickboy (they now have a whole new range of black ones made of something else that I am yet to try).

    Strings: Vinaccia has GHS ultra light set on, Calace has Martin and Embergher has Alice light set of strings for trebles and somewhat unusual "Mr Musician" Russian strings for the bass, which worked the best.

    I did a lot of tweaking on all 3 mandolins in terms of setup. Vinaccia always had GHS and plays clear and loud with lots of overtones and great sustain. I changed the bone saddle on a Vinaccia a couple of times trying to balance the action and sound. Now I seem to have caught that perfect balance. If I change the srings to a different brand it may go.

    With the Calace, it came with "Mr Musician" set that felt rather hard to fingers. Having the same gauge as Martin it looks like the core steel is harder in the first one. I changed the bridge, it lowered the action, but the sound wasn't as good. Then I put the original bridge back on and put Martin set of strings on, which did the magic. Calace started to sound much better and the pressure to the fingers gone. It has a dry crispy chop that probably has to do with maple body.

    I also had to tweak the Embergher a lot and now it is nearly perfect. Initially it had the set of Alice light strings (which is a Chinese set, actually pretty good, made on German equipment). I used it several times on bowlbacks and it is quite similar to Martin in all aspects. The action on Embergher was too high to my liking and I have tweaked both bridge and nut until I got what I wanted actionwise. But then Alice bass string started to buzz a bit (they are fairly soft). So I have changed both bass pairs to the slightly heavier Mr Musician and it did just what was needed. No buzz and very decent bassy sound and perfect action. Left the Alice for trebles, as they sound and feel very good.

    All 3 mandolins now sound probably the very best of them. It is really difficult to have that perfect match in terms of setup and sound. I know all too well how easy is to break that magic and then whatever you do it is not the same anymore. So I am going to stick to present combination of strings without experimenting any further.

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    Default Re: Vinaccia vs Embergher vsCalace Video

    Quote Originally Posted by derbex View Post
    ...... I might have a slight preference for the Vinaccia (despite owning a Calace). The Embergher is a different beast, maybe because it's Roman rather than Neapolitan. Given what you were playing then 1,3,2, a different style of music and 2 might pop to the front.
    Very good point, Jeremy. For the piece that Victor was playing the slight shimmer in the Neapolitan bowls sounded best to my ear.
    The LE sounded crisp and clear and wonderful as expected. Maybe a bit too crisp and clear for O Sole.

    Bravo, Victor....this is the just the kind of wonderful thing that being locked up at home is meant for. It is the kind of thing i do over and over with my posse, playing the same tune over and over to find how the nuances of the melodies and the nuances of the mandolins intersect.
    And then I'll plug in the Schwab

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    Default Re: Vinaccia vs Embergher vsCalace Video

    Having instruments from the same ateliers myself, I was pleased to hear that the characteristic tonalities were similar across the board. The Vinaccia's treble seemed a bit more pronounced than in my example, and the Calace a little less bassy, but on the whole the video captured the essential differences between (among?) the three.

    Brilliant! Thanks for doing this.

    For the record, my Vinaccia is by Giuseppe, and the Embergher is a Pecoraro, under his own label. Both are strung with Consort string sets; the Calace has Dogals.

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