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Thread: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

  1. #1
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/FINE-OLD-IT...8AAOSwtvFf9gR2

    Labeled J.A. Rocca 1850, but seller opines the label is inauthentic. Makes you wonder who did build it, then...
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    Registered User mandolinstew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    I read somewhere that Tony Stradivari made one mandolin

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolinstew View Post
    I read somewhere that Tony Stradivari made one mandolin
    I believe that he made at least two that exist, one in South Dakota and one in the UK. See wikipedia:

    here are two known extant Stradivari mandolins. The Cutler-Challen Choral Mandolino of 1680 is in the collection of the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, South Dakota.[201] The other, dated ca. 1706, is owned by private collector Charles Beare of London.[202] Known as Mandolino Coristo, it has eight strings.[24]
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/FINE-OLD-IT...8AAOSwtvFf9gR2

    Labeled J.A. Rocca 1850, but seller opines the label is inauthentic. Makes you wonder who did build it, then...
    This is one cool instrument. Super radiused fretboard. It almost looks more radiused than a violin and reminded me of one of those bowed zithers.

    For posterity (before it disappears from eBay) here are some photos. That bridge is impressive and that tailpiece. I wonder if it sounds like anything.
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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    I agree, that is very impressive looking! Never seen anything like that one, looks very well made, Great quality, the bridge looks too huge for it but otherwise very neat.

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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I believe that he made at least two that exist, one in South Dakota and one in the UK. See wikipedia:
    if you are in the area you really need to check out that music instrument museum at the University of South. Dakota in Vermillion
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    Scale length of 13.2" per the seller's description -- short!
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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    I really like the headstock - I too wonder how it sounds. It surely is a good-looking instrument.

  13. #10
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Scale length of 13.2" per the seller's description -- short!
    Plus the neck is joined at tenth fret makes it less desirable. Looks like it would be difficult to play in upper positions since the body doesn’t curve like a Gibson.
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  14. #11

    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    I love that instrument, but those tuners, man, tuning it would be a bear! And are those flat wound mandolin strings or violin strings? The instrument is so violin-like I wonder if it could even handle the tension of flat wound mando strings. If they are violin strings, it would probably leave a lot to be desired in terms of tone and volume.

  15. #12

    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    Handsome instrument! Interesting bridge which looks like it allows the bone piece to not have slots for location. Except for the width, this thing could have been bowed, and maybe sound good, but for plucking, maybe not a good sound. Also like the tuner plates, curved, and with an interesting old repair on one side.
    Is the 1850-ish time about right for geared tuners, or did they appear much earlier?

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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    I agree with the seller about the label. There's no way this is that old. I do believe it's either close to 1900 or somebody went to great lengths to make it look like it was. This looks like someone was attempting to break away from the bowlback style mandolin. It would be fun to own.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard500 View Post
    Handsome instrument! Interesting bridge which looks like it allows the bone piece to not have slots for location. Except for the width, this thing could have been bowed, and maybe sound good, but for plucking, maybe not a good sound. Also like the tuner plates, curved, and with an interesting old repair on one side.
    Is the 1850-ish time about right for geared tuners, or did they appear much earlier?
    That style bridge is very common on bowlbacks made on both sides of the Atlantic. It functions similarly to the zero fret set up at the nut end.

    I have an American banjo from latter half of the 19th century (circa 1870) with geared pegs:

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    The scroll looks nicely carved, the sound holes are too crude for Rocca. I doubt it will ever be attributed to a specific maker.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    And label looks like it might have been clipped from a book with 52 written in. No mention of mandolins in my Henley book for that maker. They do mention that quite a few faked violins, etc. Charley is more the expert on violin stuff but for general design I would say that those soundholes are way to close to each other and the design is a little bit strange overall, not very balanced or aesthetically pleasing. Of course, that alone makes it interesting to me but I do get the same feeling like a few others here that it may not play very well. And, again I note the very radiused fretboard.
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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    It is cool funk none the less.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    All of that aside... I think it's pretty stinkin' cool!
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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I would say that those soundholes are way to close to each other....
    This caught my eye, too, Jim. The top must be very strong to not have distorted with the bridge bearing so close to the F holes.

    Here's a Waldo for the sake of comparison, however different. The flat top obviously having less relative strength.....

    I'm quite taken to the brass tailpiece on this mandolin. Very nice.

    I know I'm just being lazy to recall, but there has been a fella here who makes lovely mandolins with that violin top edge bead.

    I think it's a detail that scales up well....to stay with Diego's design based reflections.

    Mick
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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    I wonder if there's a soundpost under that bridge?

    Joseph Campanella Mick.
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    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    You can see the sound post in image 7. There may be 2, one on each side. Cool stuff.

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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankdolin View Post
    You can see the sound post in image 7. There may be 2, one on each side. Cool stuff.
    That would explain why the top is still intact. It's hard to see things on my phone. Old eyes.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    That is cool. Unfortunately, with that description there is no way it could be exported. Surprised the seller stated what they think the bridge saddle could be.

    Also, why start the bass side tuners inlaid into the scroll? And then do whatever was done on the treble side? Weird.

    Lastly, it's just me, but the fact the button is off center just throws the whole thing off for me. It's a really cool instrument, but that would keep my from buying. Yes, it's a petty thing.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    I know I'm just being lazy to recall, but there has been a fella here who makes lovely mandolins with that violin top edge bead.
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    My Campanella A-5:

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  32. #25
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolins with violin-style construction are nothing new...

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    That is cool. Unfortunately, with that description there is no way it could be exported. Surprised the seller stated what they think the bridge saddle could be.

    Also, why start the bass side tuners inlaid into the scroll? And then do whatever was done on the treble side? Weird.

    Lastly, it's just me, but the fact the button is off center just throws the whole thing off for me. It's a really cool instrument, but that would keep my from buying. Yes, it's a petty thing.
    Here's the description:
    An excellent old Italian mandolin / mandola labeled ( the label is in our opinion not authentic) J. A. Rocca around 1850 for restoration. Please scroll down to see all detailed XXL photos below as part of the description!Finely carved scroll and carefully inlaid purfling. There's a firmly closed line below the right soundhole, but no open cracks or open seams. The table is medium to fine grained spruce and the 1-piece back, as well as ribs and neck, is nicely flamed maple. Fingerboard with mother-of-pearl inlays is ebony, peg-heads, nut, saddle and the inlay in the bridge is bone (ivory?), the tailpiece is brass. The instrument will need some work on the frets and new strings. The mechanics work well. Like a violin this instrument has a bassbar and a soundpost.Excellent rare old collector instrument. Measures aprox.: total 58 cm / 22.8", body 31 cm / 12,2", vibrating chord length 33,5 cm / 13.2", weight 626 gr / ~22 oz.
    Yes, that is pretty strange how the tuners are sloppily installed. Obviously they had to cut up standard mandolin tuners. Also, obvious that this maker may have made some violins but hadn't a clue how mandolins work (bassbar & soundpost?). Plus very unlikely that this was made pre-1869 when Rocca died since flatback mandolins were pretty rare if existent at all.

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