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Thread: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

  1. #26
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    I am assuming that this is a shot off your web cam and that this is actually a right-handed instrument, correct? Welcome aboard to the Loyal Order of the Bowl.
    Jim

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  2. #27

    Smile Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I am assuming that this is a shot off your web cam and that this is actually a right-handed instrument, correct? Welcome aboard to the Loyal Order of the Bowl.
    Hi Jim, thanks for your comment. Yes it is a right handed mandolin; I didn't realise that it would come out that way (obvious really). So I'm now in the Loyal Order of the Bowl? - great! I got the mandolin off Ebay here in England and from my research on here and other sites, I expected it to fetch a higher price, so was very pleased. One small niggle though, and wonder if anyone can help? I changed the strings to Ultra Light GHS as recommended for older,Bowlback mandos, and now when i fret the G string at the 7th fret it is way too sharp. The 12th fret is ok and so are the other strings, also the open strings are all fine. Is this the nut, perhaps? I've tried moving the bridge but that sends everything out! Any ideas anyone? Thanks again, I still love the thing anyhow!

    Robert
    England

  3. #28

    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    Hi all, has anyone any tips on how to correct this intonation/nut problem, it's bugging me now. Any suggestions pleeeez??
    Thanking you in anticipation


    Robert.
    Still in England

  4. #29
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    It could be the nut, or it could be that one of the frets is too tall or too short.

    I saw a Carmelo Catania bowlback in an estate sale not long ago, but it was tourist grade ... appeared to be pretty cheaply made, and had a neck problem. So I passed it up. I hope I didn't throw away $1,000.
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  5. #30

    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    Quote Originally Posted by zackfrio View Post
    I have a Catania which is very similar to the one in th picture, with the same design. I absolutely love the sound of it as well as the look. I got it for an excellent price, and was pleased when I found out that his mandolins can fetch about 1000$. On the original sticker inside my mandolin, it says that his company was founded in 1936, in Mascalucia. This is a comune in Catania, Sicily. I confirmed this with my own research. He is quite a famous italian mandolin maker, and I suggest you hold on to that instrument and keep playing it, because mandolins of this quality are hard to come by!
    I don't think the company was founded in 1936, because the sticker on the inside of mine is dated 1921.

  6. #31
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    Yeah, but does your 1921 label say "founded in 1936" anywhere?

  7. #32
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    I checked and the link I posted earlier in this thread about the history of the company does not work any more. Here is the updated Fetish Guitars link.

    Here is the rather lame translation via Google Translate. Maybe someone else can do better:

    At 20 he returned to Catania and begins to work on their own, although at the beginning for others, and builds a second and more elaborate harp guitar which image will use as a trademark of his company.

    In 1936 he recorded his company to the Chamber of Commerce of Catania and get to see with their own name.
    If he was born in 1908, then he returned to Catania in 1928. If he built that mandolin in 1921, then he was only 13 years old. Hmmmmm...
    Jim

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  8. #33
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    Welcome to the Cafe, J.C. I wonder if your 1921 mandolin was built in Catania the town, but not by Carmelo Catania the manufacturer. Can you post photos?

  9. #34
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    Ah, Bruce, that would explain a lot!!
    Jim

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  10. #35

    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    Here is a picture of the label:

    I could be mistaken, but it looks like 8 4(11?) 1921

  11. #36
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    Mighty hard to make out the date from that photo. But the label itself doesn't look like an old one. And I see in this other thread a similar label with a similar serial no. pretty clearly dated 1971. So it's probably a matter of handwriting style.

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...hlight=carmelo

  12. #37

    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    I'll try to upload a better picture. If it's indeed 1971, it's the worst writing of a 7 in the world.

  13. #38

    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink.

    Quote Originally Posted by zackfrio View Post
    I have a Catania which is very similar to the one in th picture, with the same design. I absolutely love the sound of it as well as the look. I got it for an excellent price, and was pleased when I found out that his mandolins can fetch about 1000$. On the original sticker inside my mandolin, it says that his company was founded in 1936, in Mascalucia. This is a comune in Catania, Sicily. I confirmed this with my own research. He is quite a famous italian mandolin maker, and I suggest you hold on to that instrument and keep playing it, because mandolins of this quality are hard to come by!
    My parents are from a town near Catania. Back around 1980 I brought back a Carmelo Catania mandoloncello. I had a luthier put Grover machines on it and helped me tune it to an octave mandolin, using very light strings. It was a blast, especially for playing Medieval and Renaissance tunes. I just dusted it off several months ago, after many years of neglect. Perhaps because it didn’t have to sustain the full tension of a mandoloncello, it was in very good condition, and the intonation is still near perfect. I put on a set mandolin strings (Martin, if I recall), which were long enough, and at that length, they tuned comfortably into mandola tuning (C, G, D, A). Because of the looseness of the strings, I can even fingerpick it like a lute. (If I’m not mistaken, it’s believed that early lute technique used more pad than nail. If I’m wrong, don’t let me know, so I can go on believing I’m playing it like a medieval lute.) In any case, it has a big sound with lots of resonance and is loads of fun.

  14. #39
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    Whatever works. Personally, I'd be more interested in it as a mandocello.
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  15. #40
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink.

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonio S View Post
    My parents are from a town near Catania. Back around 1980 I brought back a Carmelo Catania mandoloncello. .....In any case, it has a big sound with lots of resonance and is loads of fun.
    Welcome, Antonio. What is the name of the town your folks are from? Some of us here are very interested in Catanese mandolins.

    Do you have some photos of your mandocello/dola that you could post? I'd love to see it.

    Mick
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  16. #41

    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink.

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    Welcome, Antonio. What is the name of the town your folks are from? Some of us here are very interested in Catanese mandolins.

    Do you have some photos of your mandocello/dola that you could post? I'd love to see it.

    Mick
    My parents are from Belpasso, on the volcano Etna. Since I’m technologically challenged, it might take me a little while to get a picture on here. This conversation has renewed my interest in my Carmelo Catanias, and I dug up the CC mandolin that I own as well. I’ll work on getting a picture of the Mandoloncello up.

  17. #42

    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink.

    Here are some pics of my Carmelo Catania mandoloncello, with Grover guitar tuners.
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  18. #43
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    Thanks, Antonio, for the pictures. That is a nice looking m'cello. I can't imagine how one would hold something like this. Must sound great as an octave. Did you get it from a shop or from a private owner?

    BTW, we're watching Visconti's "La Terra Trema" this evening which was filmed (as I'm sure you know) in Aci Trezza, not too far from Belpasso (or Catania). We're only a half-hour into the film so far, but it is pretty great. Some nice songs in it I'd love to learn....

    Mick

    BTW I have a mandola (or maybe it is a short octave) from Puglisi Reale. Curiously enough, it has a carved back in the Gibson style with a typical canted top. It was a wreck when I got it and I'm still working to iron out all the fret issues. It does sound good though.
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  19. #44

    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    Thanks. I told you I am tech-challenged, and I figured out how to get the photos right-side-up after the fact! The thing is big enough to hold pretty much like an acoustic guitar, sitting with legs crossed. I bought this instrument directly from the Carmelo Catania shop. I’m sure it all started way back with a Geppetto-like craftsman named Carmelo. But when I went there around 1980, it was a fairly large operation. I remember that they were proud of the fact that some of their bouzoukis were bought by Greeks.

    La Terra Trema is a classic film of neorealism. Visconti had the non-professional actors (real fishermen) speak Sicilian dialect, and so it was released in Italy with Italian subtitles. I believe it was Aci Trezza — where the novel that inspired the film, I Malavoglia (House by the Medlar Tree) by Giovanni Verga is located.

    The mandola used to have two possible tuning: C and G, the latter being like an octave mandolin. (I don’t think many American players are aware of this.)

  20. #45
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    Yes, Antonio, the pictures are good. An interesting story that you bought the mandocello straight from the CC shop. Is the company still in business? Do you remember where they were located?

    Actually, there has been a lot of discussion around here of the C vs G tunings and the different uses of the term 'mandola' between the US and Europe. I know there are advocates for all the various naming conventions but C (mandola) and G (octave) make the most sense to me now, despite the presumed histories of the names themselves.

    We thought the movie was pretty good, particularly the cinematography. My wife and I speak Italian pretty well (she better than I) but couldn't follow much other than the voice-over. Good thing for subtitles. I read that Visconti had a trio of 'work' related films in mind and that La Terra Trema was the only one that was filmed. I've got I Malavoglia on my summer reading list.

    Mick
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  21. #46

    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    Location of C. Catania shop: It was a long time ago, and I was driven there a few times from Belpasso. The tag says Mascalucia, so it must have been there (probably can Google it). I remember that my former Science professor liked the mandoloncello so much that he ordered one from them and they shipped it to him. But I'm not sure if the shop still exists.

    As you know, I'm new to Mandolin Cafe, so I missed out on the C&G mandola discussion.

  22. #47

    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    On researching, in the age of mass communication, I was excited to discover this discussion concerning Carmelo Catania instruments and would like to show my mandola off. An American girl, upon hearing me fooling around on a guitar in the 1970s, suggested that I try the mandolin. I did but thought that the lower octave mandola would be more suited to my stumpy fingers. On a trip to Rome mid-seventies this beauty gave me no option but to purchase it. A case maker in Bologna was recommended and I stopped there on the way home to order one. For years I attempted to play but when it decided that I was not, my hero at that time, Andy Irvine or even a competent musician, it took to the case in a huff. There it has remained languishing for decades. Every once in a while I’d inspect it, admire and wonder what would become of it especially now that I am old! I have tried unsuccessfully to give it away, considered selling it or donating it to a mandolin orchestra but it still refuses to go!Click image for larger version. 

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  24. #48
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    Very interesting, that mandola is in excellent shape which makes a lot of sense according to your story. It is also interesting that it was made with that Dave Apollon-style missing high fret. He used to pull the high fret on his mandolins so he could cleanly play that note way up on the fretboard.
    Jim

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  25. #49

    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink


  26. #50

    Default Re: CARMELO CATANIA MANDOLIN, what you tihink

    Here I am playing something on it.


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