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Thread: 1911 Calace Mandolin

  1. #1

    Default 1911 Calace Mandolin

    I have a 1911 Calace mandolin my father left to me when he passes away. Was wondering what it may be worth. The strings are rusted and the pickguard is cracked in several places. I think it’s worth more if it could be made playable. Don’t want to restore it.

  2. #2
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1911 Calace Mandolin

    Hi, I think we chatted on the phone about this. There are several very knowledgeable bowlback folks here on the Cafe; if you'll post some photos you'll have no shortage of opinions.

    if you intend to sell, you'll want just enough repair/setup work to make it playable. Further restoration decisions would be up to the new owner.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: 1911 Calace Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    Hi, I think we chatted on the phone about this. There are several very knowledgeable bowlback folks here on the Cafe; if you'll post some photos you'll have no shortage of opinions.

    if you intend to sell, you'll want just enough repair/setup work to make it playable. Further restoration decisions would be up to the new owner.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #4

    Default Re: 1911 Calace Mandolin

    If anyone can tell me exactly what I’ve got, what it may be worth, and if it’s worth to restore and to what degree would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks

  5. #5
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1911 Calace Mandolin

    I see what you mean about the holes in the top. There may well have been holes there originally but it looks like they've been enlarged.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: 1911 Calace Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    I see what you mean about the holes in the top. There may well have been holes there originally but it looks like they've been enlarged.
    I’ve seen these on other Calace’s. The ones I’ve seen seem to have bone ring pressed in.

  7. #7
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1911 Calace Mandolin

    No one ever explained what those holes were for but yes, they usually had some white plastic inserted in them. Maybe it was to let the music out. Whatever.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: 1911 Calace Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    No one ever explained what those holes were for but yes, they usually had some white plastic inserted in them. Maybe it was to let the music out. Whatever.
    If it was made in 1911 I’d think those rings were bone since plastic didn’t arrive till the 1950s.

    On another note I spoke to someone who suggested this may be a “students” model judging by the fretboard inlays. Anyone here care to comment? If it is did student models come with rings?

    After looking at it again last night it’s in pretty good condition for its age.

  9. #9
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1911 Calace Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Newfind View Post
    If it was made in 1911 I’d think those rings were bone since plastic didn’t arrive till the 1950s.
    Plastic didn't arrive where until the 1950s? There are some plastics that date back to the 1850s. Bakelite and celluloid was used from the 1900s. I don't know for sure that those rings were not bone but they were at least just as likely to be celluloid or some other plastic.
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  10. #10
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1911 Calace Mandolin

    Here is a slightly fancier one from 1910 from my photo files. These have an inlay on the headstock plus inset tuners and more pearl on the fretboard. I believe that this design from the today's Calace line would correspond to a number 13, more or less. This is a nicely made middle range instrument and Calace mandolins are among the more desirable of vintage Italian bowlbacks.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Jim

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  11. #11

    Default Re: 1911 Calace Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Here is a slightly fancier one from 1910 from my photo files. These have an inlay on the headstock plus inset tuners and more pearl on the fretboard. I believe that this design from the today's Calace line would correspond to a number 13, more or less. This is a nicely made middle range instrument and Calace mandolins are among the more desirable of vintage Italian bowlbacks.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    My apologies I did not know those products are considered plastic.

    Is mine middle of the road or a number 13? Sorry I don’t understand.

  12. #12
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1911 Calace Mandolin

    It is not a plain bottom of the line instrument but one around the middle line. That is what a number 13 is. Not considered one fora soloist but could be a very nice one and worth investing some repair time into it assuming you want to play it.

    Those rings could possibly be bone but it would be much easier to mold them out of plastic than carve them from bone.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: 1911 Calace Mandolin

    What do you think about this neck/headstock?Click image for larger version. 

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  14. #14

    Default Re: 1911 Calace Mandolin

    Pure speculation here, but based on the location of the two holes, could they be sockets for some sort of mute or damper? I doubt that they represent some oddball acoustic feature. If there was such an accessory, it probably would turn up in a catalog. Jim?

  15. #15
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1911 Calace Mandolin

    I have never heard any explanation about these. I still guess they are in the same realm as Virzi tone producers. Back in those early days it is quite possible that some makers used them to enhance the sound and some players wanted them. I don't believe that Calace was the only maker who used them and I have seen them in different positions on the tops of the mandolins. That would be a strange location for a mute, I would think.

    Modern Calace mandolins do not use them. I am not sure when Calace or any other maker stopped making mandolins using them but I would guess maybe after the 1920s.
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  17. #16

    Default Re: 1911 Calace Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I have never heard any explanation about these. I still guess they are in the same realm as Virzi tone producers. Back in those early days it is quite possible that some makers used them to enhance the sound and some players wanted them. I don't believe that Calace was the only maker who used them and I have seen them in different positions on the tops of the mandolins. That would be a strange location for a mute, I would think.

    Modern Calace mandolins do not use them. I am not sure when Calace or any other maker stopped making mandolins using them but I would guess maybe after the 1920s.

    So after closer inspection it looks like the headstock was broken off at the neck at some point. Judging by the looks of it I’m not even sure that’s the original one. It looks like the repair was poorly done. Is this even worth restoring? Maybe just make playable? Thing is it just looks awful the way the repair was performed

  18. #17
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1911 Calace Mandolin

    Post some closeups of that repair. The necks on these are unusually constructed. It would be gods to see details.
    Jim

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  19. #18

    Default Re: 1911 Calace Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Post some closeups of that repair. The necks on these are unusually constructed. It would be gods to see details.

    Those pics are above. Let me know.
    Mike

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