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Thread: A small bowlback - travel mandolin? piccolo mandolin?

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    Jo Dusepo, luthier Dusepo's Avatar
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    Default A small bowlback - travel mandolin? piccolo mandolin?

    I am a luthier specialising in historical and world stringed instruments. You can see more info at my website.

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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: A small bowlback - travel mandolin? piccolo mandolin?

    pocket mandolin?

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    That guy playing mandolin
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    Default Re: A small bowlback - travel mandolin? piccolo mandolin?

    It's so small there's only room for one course of strings.
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    I enjoy walking barefoot and playing my mandolin, and if I can do both at once, you'd be hard pressed to find a happier soul.

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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: A small bowlback - travel mandolin? piccolo mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reywas View Post
    It's so small there's only room for one course of strings.
    No, it's double strung - but it's a 2 strings on a post tailpiece.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: A small bowlback - travel mandolin? piccolo mandolin?

    There are a fair number of similar instruments around; the ones I've seen have been German made, but I'd guess that others were made elsewhere in Europe. I own one marked "Holdrio Picolo (yes, spelled that way) Mandolin, Made In Germany, D.R.G.M. (a German "copyright" equivalent), W. V. Co. N. Y." Obviously labeled for export to the US; I haven't been able to ID what NYCity dealer was abbreviated "W. V. Co." Mine also has one of the fairly-common Marcelli-marked tailpieces; there's a current thread talking about these. Mine also is not quite a bowl-back; it has a three-piece "boat" back, like quite a few other German-made mandos.

    Yours has a nicely carved soundhole insert -- partially broken, I'd guess -- and a crude "bridge" that's almost certainly not what it had originally. I have heard these instruments called "pocket" mandolins because of their small body size; despite the small body, mine has a 13-inch scale, not hugely different from "regular" mandolin scale, especially for bowl-backs, so not really set up to be tuned like a "soprano" or "piccolo" mandolin, CGDA a fourth above standard mandolin tuning. I'd check your scale length to see if it's really a "sopranolin," or just a regular mandolin with a small body.

    Despite the damaged insert, yours seems in decent shape; I have mine tuned GDAE with the lightest strings I can find. You might want to have a more suitable bridge made for it -- or you could make one yourself. If yours is like mine, it has a tiny voice; I see mine as more of a collector's curiosity than a viable instrument. It helps that I found mine in a closet; I think that my great-aunt was given it by an older man she was a caregiver for, who played it in college back in the 1920's, and I ended up with it.

    Good luck with yours!
    Allen Hopkins
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    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: A small bowlback - travel mandolin? piccolo mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reywas View Post
    It's so small there's only room for one course of strings.
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    No, it's double strung - but it's a 2 strings on a post tailpiece.
    It was a joke!!!

    I wish there was something in the description about its dimensions. My German is not very good, but there's google translate, which tells me the description is practically useless. And yet it sold.

    My favorite feature is the soundhole carving. I'm sure you liked that too, Jo, judging by the attention you give to this detail in your own builds.
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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: A small bowlback - travel mandolin? piccolo mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    I have heard these instruments called "pocket" mandolins because of their small body size; despite the small body, mine has a 13-inch scale, not hugely different from "regular" mandolin scale, especially for bowl-backs, so not really set up to be tuned like a "soprano" or "piccolo" mandolin, CGDA a fourth above standard mandolin tuning.
    ....... If yours is like mine, it has a tiny voice
    I think these things were designed for self-amusement, hence the small sound, AND for a time when men's fashion allowed for finding a place for a long thin instrument, unlike our modern clothing.

    Think of the pouchette fiddles.

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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: A small bowlback - travel mandolin? piccolo mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    I think these things were designed for self-amusement, hence the small sound, AND for a time when men's fashion allowed for finding a place for a long thin instrument, unlike our modern clothing.

    Think of the pouchette fiddles.
    Wow, a pocket big enough to put a(n albeit small) mandolin into?

    Modern women's clothing generally have pockets barely big enough to fit a pick

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  15. #9
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: A small bowlback - travel mandolin? piccolo mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    I think these things were designed for self-amusement...AND for a time when men's fashion allowed for finding a place for a long thin instrument...
    Had a veritable cornucopia of double entendres picked out; thought better of it.
    Allen Hopkins
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    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: A small bowlback - travel mandolin? piccolo mandolin?

    I have a Weber Sopranino Gallatin. I do play it a lot at home or in jams where particular friends are known to show up. It is great fun.

    Actually I have the second one made, and Eva Holbrook has the first.

    Check it out.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

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  19. #11
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: A small bowlback - travel mandolin? piccolo mandolin?

    Awesome playing by Ms. Holbrook!

    I have one of these, but it has a conventional scroll rather than the "hook" that the earliest ones had. Very fine little instrument.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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