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Thread: Advice please! Pietro Tonelli Mandolin

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    Default Advice please! Pietro Tonelli Mandolin

    Hi all,

    Newbie here. I'm a Sicilian living in London, and my only real push to play the mandolin is southern italian music because of my roots.

    I am searching for my first playable bowlback (I ignorant bought a Carlo ricordo online but the cost of repair far exceeds the value of the instrument and I'd rather get another one).

    I've come across a Pietro Tonelli local to me. Any info on this maker? Asking is approx ú140. If you have advice on other makers I'm happy to hear it. I'm looking to spend between 100-300 so vinaccias and the like are out of my budget!

    Thank you!

    Franco
    Last edited by Fmiglio1; Jun-27-2020 at 11:34am.

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  3. #2
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice please! Pietro Tonelli Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Fmiglio1 View Post
    Hi all,

    Newbie here. I'm a Sicilian living in London, and my only real push to play the mandolin is southern italian music because of my roots.

    I am searching for my first playable bowlback (I ignorant bought a Carlo ricordo online but the cost of repair far exceeds the value of the instrument and I'd rather get another one).

    I've come across a Fratelli Tonelli local to me. Any info on this maker? Asking is approx ú140. If you have advice on other makers I'm happy to hear it. I'm looking to spend between 100-300 so vinaccias and the like are out of my budget!

    Thank you!

    Franco
    Ciao, Franco

    Puoi pubblicare alcune foto del mandolino dai Fratelli Tonelli?

    I have numerous examples of mandolins from Pietro Tonelli in my files, but none with a label from i fratelli. Pietro T appears to be a dealer in mandolins rather than a maker, irrespective of his label. I suoi mandolini mostrano stili e dettagli molto diversi. Likely he purchased these for resales...possibly from Sicilian makers.

    Buying a vintage bowlback mandolin can be tricky as you have discovered with the Ricordo. However, if you are in London you are in likely fertile waters as many many mandolins were exported to the UK from Italia in the late 1890s and early 1900s.

    Trovare qualcosa in buone condizioni giocabili richiederÓ molta attenzione, ma sono lÓ fuori!

    In your budget range....towards the lower end you might look for something from DeMureda or Stridente, both also dealers in mid level mandolins. These aren't thegreatest out there but many of them seem to show up so you might find something decent at a lower price.

    Al limite superiore del tuo budget, consiglierei un mandolino DeMeglio o Cristofaro, che sono i migliori of the mid-range makers before stepping up to the Calace, Vinaccia, Ceccherini, etc.

    Best suggestion: contact our good friend John Maddock who lives down Cornwall way and repairs and refurbishes bowlbacks for sale (and builds his own mandolins).
    Tell him your budget and your interest and he will either have something available or can help steer you along further. Capital fellow. Goes by Tavy here.

    Inviagli un messaggio privato e lui risponderÓ.....

    Ho acquistato un mandolino DeMeglio da lui qualche anno fa per circa 300 euro.
    Un mandolino molto buono.

    Benvenuti al Mandolin Cafe!

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
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    Default Re: Advice please! Pietro Tonelli Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    Ciao, Franco

    Puoi pubblicare alcune foto del mandolino dai Fratelli Tonelli?

    I have numerous examples of mandolins from Pietro Tonelli in my files, but none with a label from i fratelli. Pietro T appears to be a dealer in mandolins rather than a maker, irrespective of his label. I suoi mandolini mostrano stili e dettagli molto diversi. Likely he purchased these for resales...possibly from Sicilian makers.

    Buying a vintage bowlback mandolin can be tricky as you have discovered with the Ricordo. However, if you are in London you are in likely fertile waters as many many mandolins were exported to the UK from Italia in the late 1890s and early 1900s.

    Trovare qualcosa in buone condizioni giocabili richiederÓ molta attenzione, ma sono lÓ fuori!

    In your budget range....towards the lower end you might look for something from DeMureda or Stridente, both also dealers in mid level mandolins. These aren't thegreatest out there but many of them seem to show up so you might find something decent at a lower price.

    Al limite superiore del tuo budget, consiglierei un mandolino DeMeglio o Cristofaro, che sono i migliori of the mid-range makers before stepping up to the Calace, Vinaccia, Ceccherini, etc.

    Best suggestion: contact our good friend John Maddock who lives down Cornwall way and repairs and refurbishes bowlbacks for sale (and builds his own mandolins).
    Tell him your budget and your interest and he will either have something available or can help steer you along further. Capital fellow. Goes by Tavy here.

    Inviagli un messaggio privato e lui risponderÓ.....

    Ho acquistato un mandolino DeMeglio da lui qualche anno fa per circa 300 euro.
    Un mandolino molto buono.

    Benvenuti al Mandolin Cafe!

    Mick
    Grazie mille per l'aiuto Mick- lo far˛ di sicuro!

    Nel frattempo allego l'unica foto che ho.

    Grazie!
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    Default Re: Advice please! Pietro Tonelli Mandolin

    Grazie, Franco

    Eh....questo mandolino ha un bell'aspetto .... Ŕ nello stile di DeMeglio, a volte chiamato "clone di DeMeglio", ma penso che potrebbe essere stato creato da DeMeglio ....
    Se questo Ŕ giocabile, sarebbe un mandolino molto carino.

    Ti consiglio di chiedere al venditore altre foto in modo da poter vedere meglio il collo. In questo modo sarai in grado di sapere se sarÓ giocabile per te.

    E dato che sto parlando con due siciliani ... tu e David ... condivider˛ questa ricetta che Ŕ appena arrivata nella mia e-mail:

    biscotti al sesamo e limone

    David ... mentre cerchiamo di aiutare Franco con il suo mandolino forse avrÓ qualche consiglio per cucinare?

    Mick
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    Default Re: Advice please! Pietro Tonelli Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post

    David ... mentre cerchiamo di aiutare Franco con il suo mandolino forse avrÓ qualche consiglio per cucinare?

    Mick
    Fine by me...i've been cooking an awful lot lately and would appreciate some new ideas.

    And you do realize I'm not really fluent in Italian or Sicilian! I'm a Yat at heart.

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    Default Re: Advice please! Pietro Tonelli Mandolin

    the bridge has issues with the wood spacing within each course having fallen out (this is not uncommon). Replacement bridges are available, I often see them from Portugal offered on ebay.
    Eoin



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

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice please! Pietro Tonelli Mandolin

    Fmiglio1: I messaged you with some advice. I don't know what your budget is but mostly I suggested you look at mandolinluthier.com, Dave Hynds site. He has some modest bowlbacks that he restored to playing condition.
    Jim

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  13. #8

    Default Re: Advice please! Pietro Tonelli Mandolin

    Greetings, Franco. For a beginner especially, I think comfortable playability needs to carry primary concern. A functionally unplayable instrument won't be enjoyable, won't fairly represent the experience of playing, and could put a beginner off what might otherwise have been a rewarding activity. Unfortunately, that might represent more of a challenge within your stated budget. It might be ideal if you have an objective friend with some savvy and ability to play assess the instruments you consider. If not possible, ask sellers very explicitly about action (string height) and playability in general.

    And, for what it's worth (not much), my paternal-grandmother, Francesca "Frances," was from northern Sicily. Ciao!
    Last edited by Eugene; Jun-28-2020 at 11:15am.

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    Default Re: Advice please! Pietro Tonelli Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    .....I'm a Yat at heart.
    Along with a few of my in-laws.....
    Now when they get to conversing especially quickly, I'm the one in need of an interpreter.

    Mick
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    Default Re: Advice please! Pietro Tonelli Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    E dato che sto parlando con due siciliani ... tu e David ... condivider˛ questa ricetta che Ŕ appena arrivata nella mia e-mail:

    biscotti al sesamo e limone
    Those look delicious but my favorite are the pignoli cookies. IDK if those are Sicilian or not. :-)
    Jim

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  16. #11

    Default Re: Advice please! Pietro Tonelli Mandolin

    Hi Jim- Thanks!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Those look delicious but my favorite are the pignoli cookies. IDK if those are Sicilian or not. :-)
    They are very much Sicilian!

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    Default Re: Advice please! Pietro Tonelli Mandolin

    As you are in London then John Alvey Turner in Camden has a couple in your price range : https://johnalveyturner.co.uk/mandolins/

    You could also try Hobglin in Rathbone place, I think they are reopening soon, https://hobgoblin.com/fretted-amp-stringed/mandolins. If I remember correctly they will move second hand stock between shops for you to look at.
    - Jeremy

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    Default Re: Advice please! Pietro Tonelli Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Those look delicious but my favorite are the pignoli cookies. IDK if those are Sicilian or not. :-)
    Anche il mio. Ma adesso sono pignolo. I pinoli stanno diventando troppo caro per me.
    Forse sono piu economici in NY?

    Che ne dite questi biscotti con i noci pecan? Abbiamo tre grandi alberi di noci pecan qui. Li usiamo in tutto.

    Un ottimo TexPesto con basilico e noci pecan.

    Mick
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    Default Re: Advice please! Pietro Tonelli Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by derbex View Post
    As you are in London then John Alvey Turner in Camden has a couple in your price range : https://johnalveyturner.co.uk/mandolins/
    While not a bowlback, Jeremy, that Cristofaro looks quite nice to my eye.

    Mick
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    Default Re: Advice please! Pietro Tonelli Mandolin

    Yes, I have always liked the styling of those and the back and sides look to be of lovely pieces of wood. The workshop is worth a visit, I had my banjo fettled there, very evocative.
    - Jeremy

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  23. #16

    Default Re: Advice please! Pietro Tonelli Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    While not a bowlback, Jeremy, that Cristofaro looks quite nice to my eye.

    Mick
    I'm actually seriously interested in the 1962 Calace for approx. 800 pounds. Any idea why it is so cheap compared to every Calace I've ever seen? (over 2k)?

    I know that Calace seen as one of the top mandolins, and honestly if this 1962 model is all cracked up to be im sure I can stretch the budget slightly (I will still tell the wife that it is 300!).

    Kind regards,

    Franco

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    Default Re: Advice please! Pietro Tonelli Mandolin

    It's one of the plainer models, and I'm not sure how well the ones from the '60s are rated, but it's not new and not antique so maybe it's that. I have seen 'nearly new' basic models for less. I have a 306 (I think) like the other Calce listed there, although sadly not in the same condition, and that wasn't much more.

    I would say try it against some of the others, I did try a few vintage bowl backs together at a repairers in Naples and the one that stood out was a Calace, I was told afterwards.

    That said Ceccerhinis and deMeglios can sound pretty good for a lot less money, trick is getting a good one.

    Might be worth haggling too, I know the 306 has been there for a while.
    - Jeremy

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