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Thread: New mandolin advice for Italian Music

  1. #1

    Default New mandolin advice for Italian Music

    Hello all,

    My name is Franco. I got into playing the mandolin as I visit my fathers home town in sicily a few times a year and remember being mesmerised the street players as a kid.

    Ten years ago I bought a cheap laminate A style electro acoustic and have been playing on and off since. Since lockdown ive taken my playing a lot more seriously and I now want a 'serious' mandolin. My dilemma: do i go for an old bowlback or a round hole A style? I've been looking at the Eastman Md304 which is an absolutely beautiful instrument. However...the unique sound of the bowlback is always in the back of my mind. I don't want to spend 500 on the Eastman (a lot of money for me!) and still feel that the classical southern italian 'ring' of the bowlback is missing.

    Any advice? Here in London I can't find anywhere I can turn to for a well set up bowl back italian mandolin, it would be great to speak with some like minded people!

    Thank you so much and any advice is appreciated.

    Kind regards,

    Franco

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  3. #2
    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: New mandolin advice for Italian Music

    Franco, you should post this on the Classical sub-forum of Mandolin Cafe.

  4. #3
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: New mandolin advice for Italian Music

    OBB. Old Bowl Back. Go from the "back of your mind" to the "front of your mind". Get one....

    You will never regret the pleasure of playing a wonderful old Italian mandolin.
    It is a level of delight we all have earned.

    It so pains me to hear of a someone who has such a familial connection with the old mandolin sod think that a Chinese budget mandolin will somehow do him well.

    In you are in London, you must have your pick of Italian mandolins of all ranges of quality having been imported to the UK in the halcyon days of the mandolin.

    Our good friend, John Maddock, who goes by le nom de bol "Tavy" is your countryman and is as best of a luthier with bowlback mandolins as any who stride the planet. You can connect with him here at the MC.

    Martin Jonas, anche il nostro buon amico qui... a fine German fellow living way up in Wales, described it as the "shimmering sound" of an Italian bowlback mandolin.
    "Shimmering sound". That beautiful turn of phrase has stuck with me ever since. Martin totally nailed it.

    Mantenere la fede, mio fratello!

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
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  6. #4
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: New mandolin advice for Italian Music

    Hi Franco,

    I would go for the bowlback, there's nothing like the real sound of a bowlback.

    London is quite good for getting hold of instruments and there is a good classical mandolin life in the south east area too.
    There is a Sicillian one fir sale on instruments past ....
    http://instrumentspast.co.uk/mandolins.html they're retiring soon, so maybe get on it quickly.
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

  7. #5
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    Default Re: New mandolin advice for Italian Music

    A bit late to the party but John Alvey Turner have a few https://johnalveyturner.co.uk/mandolins/
    - Jeremy

    Wot no catchphrase?

  8. #6

    Default Re: New mandolin advice for Italian Music

    Quote Originally Posted by derbex View Post
    A bit late to the party but John Alvey Turner have a few . . .
    Turner is an interesting entity, publishing two of the very first English methods for "mandoline" (1892 and 1898), both written by Herbert Ellis.

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