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Thread: Bowl Backs

  1. #1

    Default Bowl Backs

    I have heard that Bowl Back Mandolins made today arenít very good. Does anyone have and play a fairly new one that sounds at least okay? What brand? Italian? Japan?

  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Howell, NJ

    Default Re: Bowl Backs

    There are a whole lot of less than exciting mandolins in every mandolin style in the world but if you're looking for a new bowlback mandolin look at Brian Dean's mandolins.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Bowl Backs

    Thanks, Mike.

  4. #4
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    Upstate New York
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    Default Re: Bowl Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Picking Dick View Post
    I have heard that Bowl Back Mandolins made today aren’t very good.
    I am not convinced that is more true with bowls than any other category of mandolin. There is bad and good and excellent and legendary in all types of mandolin, both new and vintage. Some of the bowl heads will chime in here but there are great bowls being made today, and some under the same brand names as their historically great predecessors.

    I don't have enough experience playing modern bowls to give you a representative sample, others can do much better.
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  6. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Mar 2003
    Westchester, NY

    Default Re: Bowl Backs

    First of all, Dick, where do you live? Bowlbacks do not have large fan clubs in North America and many of the finder makers are in Europe.

    Actually there are quite a few makers of excellent bowlbacks, a lot more these days than a few decades ago. Believe it or not, I think it is partially from some of us stubborn bowlheaded folks here on these forums.

    A few years ago Eastman imported some of their line of bowlbacks and they were quite nice for the money. I don't think they are available in the US any more or possible may not be made at all. I have seen some come up in the Classifieds here amd I would grab one if you find one in good shape.

    While Labraid/Brian Dean is a very good maker he is in the upper end for price. There are quite a few makers listed on this Eye Candy page.

    Calace is a long time small shop that was making excellent mandolins back at the turn of the last century. They still make decent mandolins in Naples, Italy.

    Also, bear in mind that there are variants within the category. Standard are the Neapolitan style but there are ones with features part of the Roman style and even more different are those made for playing classical music in Germany.

    Also, if you are careful there are some excellent quality vintage bowlbacks, Italian, American, German, French, etc. And you ca get some excellent playing instruments for little money, however you really need to know what you want and how not to get stuck with something that needs lots of money to make playable.
    From that Eye Candy page, check out:
    Sawchyn, Mazzacarra, Woll, Knorr, Labraid, Lippi, Pandini, Gabrielli to start...

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  8. #6

    Default Re: Bowl Backs

    Thanks, Jim. I keep shopping.

  9. #7
    Registered User
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    Feb 2011
    SF Bay Area

    Default Re: Bowl Backs

    User carlomazzaccara has some interesting options now in the Cafe classifieds. NFI.
    Pava S/N 21
    Calace Bowlback

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  11. #8

    Default Re: Bowl Backs

    This just popped up in the builders section. New build, bowl-back modern style Mandolin

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