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Thread: Puglisi Reale & Figli vs Luciano Grimaldi

  1. #1

    Default Puglisi Reale & Figli vs Luciano Grimaldi

    Hello!

    I'm in search of my first classical mandolin and right now I have opportunity to buy one of this two: Puglisi Reale & Figli (around 1908-1909) and Luciano Grimaldi (1830, but I'm not sure if it's correct as I've always thought Grimaldis are more like ~1900) both from Catania. Price is similar, good shape and I have do idea which one to choose or if I should find something else.
    Can anyone help? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Puglisi Reale & Figli vs Luciano Grimaldi

    Have you been able to play them yet?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Puglisi Reale & Figli vs Luciano Grimaldi

    Not yet.
    I thought I'll try to find something about them first.
    Grimaldi's seller lives in my home city but for Puglisi I need to travel and I have no idea if it's even worth it.

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  5. #4
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Puglisi Reale & Figli vs Luciano Grimaldi

    Post some detailed photos if you can. I could only find a few closed auctions for Luciano Grimaldi mandolins, one bowlback and a couple of flatbacks and one guitar. None looked like fine quality instruments to me. Puglisi is probably the best of the vintage Catania mandolins and are generally considered to be good quality but again it depends on condition.

    Another caveat or clarification: there is really no such thing as a classical mandolin—you can play classical music on any mandolin. Perhaps you are looking for a particular sound or prefer a particular style of mandolin. I don't know what you are playing at the moment, how long you are playing, or what exactly you have in mind.

    There is nothing at all wrong with bowlbacks but some folks are surprised that they have to change their approach to holding them or other playing techniques after playing the more common styles of mandolins. It is not insurmountable if that is what you have your heart set on, but it is also not a requirement to play a bowlback for classical music. Of course, you did not say that you are only looking at bowlbacks...

    Also, are you only looking at vintage ones? That is another consideration especially if the one you purchase needs work to make it playable.

    Where are you located in the world? That also makes a difference.
    Jim

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  7. #5

    Default Re: Puglisi Reale & Figli vs Luciano Grimaldi

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Post some detailed photos if you can. I could only find a few closed auctions for Luciano Grimaldi mandolins, one bowlback and a couple of flatbacks and one guitar. None looked like fine quality instruments to me. Puglisi is probably the best of the vintage Catania mandolins and are generally considered to be good quality but again it depends on condition.
    Thank you for your response! By classical mandolin I meant bowlback (neapolitan-style).
    Right now I have an Epiphone (not sure which one) but I'm slowly moving into more classical repertoire and as you guessed I'm searching for a different sound. I'm little worried about shape change but the sound is very appealing and I want to try.
    I'm living in Germany/Poland and it's easy to buy vintage italian mandolins. They are relatively cheap and we have a lot of luthiers around so I can work with someone to get I want (I'm not sure what it is though) and from what I heard they're quite good especially for a start. And they are beautiful.

    Not sure if I can post pictures that aren't mine so I've put them here for a while:
    https://imgur.com/a/N9rESdX

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  9. #6
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Puglisi Reale & Figli vs Luciano Grimaldi

    You're not going to get any better advice than from David and Jim, but I'll throw my dos centavos in.

    I agree with Jim... Puglisi made some of the best Catanese mandolins...but they vary broadly in quality. Some were very modest, others more special. The one you show appears to be more in the middle to slightly less-than-middle quality.

    The Grimaldi appears 'nicer' in its overall quality....however from your last photo the action seems quite a bit higher than I would enjoy playing, particularly up the neck where I'm supposing classical mandolin would lead you.

    The bridge on the Puglisi also has been moved back from its original position either to compensate for poor intonation or to improve the playing action.

    These Italian bowlbacks have a wonderful shimmering sound, even the modest ones. The intonation can be muy sketchioso, though, on more modest examples.

    David's question is right....if you can play one before you buying it will tell you all you need to know.

    If it were me and I was "....living in Germany/Poland and it's easy to buy vintage italian mandolins...." I would pass on both of these and wait for the something that had good playing action and proper intonation.

    I have had numerous modest Puglisi mandolins as well as some from other MOR Italian makers, and while the sound was wonderful the wonky intonation drove me crazy.

    I now have a (modest) Vinaccia, a DeMeglio and a (modest) Ceccherini and the intonation on all three is spot on. It makes all the difference and is worth shopping / waiting for.

    Okay, that is more than two cents, and maybe not what you wanted to hear...

    Best wishes in your search. We are all mad about bowlback mandolins so are happy to give opinions out... and I think we all vicariously enjoy other folk's searches, too.

    Mick
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  11. #7

    Default Re: Puglisi Reale & Figli vs Luciano Grimaldi

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    Okay, that is more than two cents, and maybe not what you wanted to hear...

    Best wishes in your search. We are all mad about bowlback mandolins so are happy to give opinions out... and I think we all vicariously enjoy other folk's searches, too.

    Mick
    Och. Actually that was exactly what I wanted to hear, thank you!
    I'm almost desperate to have a bowlback so every information is precious to me. I'm obsessed with the sound but I really had no idea how to find "the one" and now I know where to start. I'll try to broaden my searches and be more patient because I feel like I want them all

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  13. #8
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    Default Re: Puglisi Reale & Figli vs Luciano Grimaldi

    I own 4 bowlbacks, one is a Puglisi, and they all cost me about the same (within $20.00 American.) The Puglisis is by far my favorite (a couple are American Conservatories under different names.) I would not hesitate to get another (in fact, I keep an eye out for another one.)

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