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Thread: Early 1900s Calace

  1. #1
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    Default Early 1900s Calace

    I'm about to pull the trigger buying this mandolin and wanted to see what the kind experts here think. I've never owned a bowlback and the only ones I've been able to play were underwhelming tourist models in Europe.

    http://mandolinluthier.com/mandolins_for_sale_12.htm

    Video demo-
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcM7Yjwrsco

    The owner is a luthier who noted the repair work he has done-
    • Leveled the fingerboard and frets
    • Refitted the bridge
    • Repaired and reinforced a shrinkage crack on the top
    • Cleaned and revarnished the top with Tru-Oil


    Buying from a luthier who can do a good assessment and setup is very appealing because my local luthier's turnaround time for anything is very long.

  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early 1900s Calace

    Dave Hynds has been doing this work for quite a few years and stands by his work. I would suggest getting a set of Dogal Calace RW92b dolce strings for optimal sound. The GHS are ok but the Dogals are far superior.

    let us know when you get this one. It looks very nice.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Early 1900s Calace

    I bought my Calace from David Hynds. He did an excellent restoration and it has excellent tone. I use the Dogals and agree with the recommendation from Jim G.
    Pava S/N 21
    Calace Bowlback

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    Default Re: Early 1900s Calace

    Thanks again Jim! I'll put those strings on with haste once it arrives.

    The online research I've done shows a ton of variety in appointments and labels for Calace's and Mr. Hynds's dating is vague. I'd be curious if you or others could place this mandolin into a more certain period of time?

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early 1900s Calace

    Quote Originally Posted by jamman View Post
    Thanks again Jim! I'll put those strings on with haste once it arrives.

    The online research I've done shows a ton of variety in appointments and labels for Calace's and Mr. Hynds's dating is vague. I'd be curious if you or others could place this mandolin into a more certain period of time?
    I can't offer you a precise date, but from the numerous Calace mandolin images in my files, they did use that particular headstock shape often in the '00s and '10s.

    Of course Calace recycled numerous design elements over the years.

    I did find a Nicola Calace (fratello di Raffaele) with the same Swiss dealer's label on it. It seems like I've seen others...perhaps with a Fratelli Calace label as well.

    Unfortunately this one doesn't have a date on it either, though it was typical for Raffaele to add a date to his labels.

    A lot of Calaces have passed through the internet sites over the years so my guess is that someone is going to be able to offer something from their files to help narrow the date down.

    The latest Fratres Calace labeled mandolin I have is from 1901, so perhaps this one from Nicola comes from after their split. Raffaele appears to have been dealing with the Swiss firm on his own as well.

    Mick
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    Default Re: Early 1900s Calace

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Dave Hynds has been doing this work for quite a few years and stands by his work. I would suggest getting a set of Dogal Calace RW92b dolce strings for optimal sound. The GHS are ok but the Dogals are far superior.

    let us know when you get this one. It looks very nice.
    The mandolin completed its trip across the pond and now has those Dogals strung. It's a fine instrument and Dave did a great job on the setup. Nice addition to the collection.

    Adjusting to sitting with the bowl and using a non-elevated fingerboard is going to take some time. Caterina Lichtenberg places her mandolin between both of her legs, but that changes my arm positions quite a bit from how I normally play. I've seen others putting it on their propped-up right leg and that feels more natural.

  10. #7
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early 1900s Calace

    Fair play to you, jamman.

    I'm glad to hear you are happy with your Calace and with your Dogals.

    I've been playing more often with my right leg up on a guitarist's type footstand. It also puts my right shoulder in a more comfortable spot as well.

    But admittedly, I play in all kinds of other lazier postures.

    BTW...did we ever get to see this Calace?

    Some photos would be great!

    Mick
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    Default Re: Early 1900s Calace

    Thanks Mick.

    I may use a similar footstand for now with the hope of graduating to lazier postures in the future.

    Dave still has the photos on his site for now-
    http://mandolinluthier.com/mandolins_for_sale_12.htm8

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    Default Re: Early 1900s Calace

    Congratulations on the new bowl back! Iím glad your experience was good, same as mine. When I first got mine I found this very helpful video from cafe member Tavy on how to hold a bowl back.

    Pava S/N 21
    Calace Bowlback

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  14. #10
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early 1900s Calace

    Quote Originally Posted by jamman View Post
    Dave still has the photos on his site for now-
    http://mandolinluthier.com/mandolins_for_sale_12.htm8
    For some reason the link doesn't work. Let's try this one: http://mandolinluthier.com/mandolins_for_sale_12.htm

    Oh, I see you added an 8 to the URL.

    Here's a few pics for posterity. It does look pretty nice.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Jim

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  16. #11
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    Default Re: Early 1900s Calace

    I concur from a place of enormous bias. Good design elements yet simple. The pickguard and headstock instantly appealed to me I first saw the mandolin.

    The sound coming from the mandolin/strings combo is new to me as a player and I'm enchanted. It's been stealing a lot of time from my beloved Lyon & Healy that came back from the shop recently.

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