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Thread: Help identifying possibly vintage mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Help identifying possibly vintage mandolin

    Hi there. New user here. I picked up this old mandolin from my nans when she passed away a few years ago and its sat in my room. Was wondering if people could help me identify it?

    Only markings on it are a label. Which reads

    Alfonso Giuliani


    DI mandolini

    Altri Stumenti a Corda


    I'll get some pictures up when I work out how shorty

    Cheers for any help. I'm a complete newbie to this so any help is greatly appreciated

  2. #2

    Default Re: Help identifying possibly vintage mandolin

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  3. #3

    Default Re: Help identifying possibly vintage mandolin

    It is probably from the 1890s- possibly not so old and you have the maker's label which you can research yourself. I don't know anything about this maker- possibly others do. It looks like a reasonably well made instrument but unadorned but many from Naples were really made for tourists and were not very good- often the intonation was pretty sloppy. Ascertaining how good it is, demands that somebody play it and check out various aspects that can confirm its overall condition. An instrument like this is not worth very much and repairs can be expensive to the point where they are uneconomic and the instrument joins the category known as a "wall hanger" and is admired for its beauty as a curio.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Help identifying possibly vintage mandolin

    I can not find anything out about the maker on Google. Which lead me to this site. It's missing 2 strings which is a shame but the ones that are left sound good. It's got a nice crisp sound. Actually sounds similar to my old guitar now I think about it. But it has been a very long time since I picked an instrument up do could be memory playing tricks on me. As far as I'm aware my nan never went to Naples but I understand my grandfather was stationed near there in WW2. Unfortunately neither of them are still around so I can not confirm this. The case it's in has really seen better days and has no marking on it either. But does seem built for the mandolin as it's a good fit. The bowel on the back has a few hairline cracks in it but it doesn't seem to affect the sound. Just hoping someone out there can give me an idea of what or when it was made. I read somewhere that the amount of ribs on the back do lean towards it being of a higher quality but that doesn't necessarily mean it's worth more than 1

  5. #5
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    United Kingdom

    Default Re: Help identifying possibly vintage mandolin

    Well, Naples isn't just the location of that particular maker, it is also the origin of the tradition of building mandolins in a particular style. Though of course there are valid other traditions, I tend to regard it as the home of the mandolin.

    That particular example, if you want to fit new strings, make sure they are ultra-light. Standard string gauges as used on modern mandolins would be too heavy for it.

  6. #6
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Westchester, NY

    Default Re: Help identifying possibly vintage mandolin

    I don't have any of that maker in my files. Another guess is that it was made for a shop by one of the other makers in Napoli back then. It was made in the Vinaccia style. It looks like it is in decent condition. I assume your are in the UK but you should be able to find GHS A240 sets of strings. If not some of the German strings are made for these vintage bowlbacks. Simple instrument but I would not say it was a tourist model.

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