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Thread: Rosario Genovese mandolin

  1. #1
    Registered User Greg Stec's Avatar
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    Default Rosario Genovese mandolin

    My father-in-law gave me a mandolin today that someone gave him @ 40 years ago.
    It's in the same condition the day he got it.
    It's rather beat, but it's still a looker. There is a lot of adornments including what appears to be turtleshell inlay around the head. The neck appears to have turtleshell on it too.
    The label inside has the name Rosario Genovese, manufacturers of fine mandolins, guitars and mandolas. 241 East 75th Street, New York.

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  3. #2
    Registered User Greg Stec's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rosario Genovese mandolin

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  4. #3
    Registered User Greg Stec's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rosario Genovese mandolin

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    Forgot one

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  6. #4
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rosario Genovese mandolin

    Greg, that is some ornate one. Even tho the label says they are manufacturers, my hunch is that Rosario Genovese is a store or distributor/importer. The neck joint looks very Neapolitan made -- for some reason most Italian-American luthiers even back then (around the turn of the last century) seemed to abandon that style of neck construction. There might be a possibility of another label of the real maker under that black label.

    Very interesting in any case... does your FIL have any clue as to the initials on the headstock?
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  7. #5
    Registered User Greg Stec's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rosario Genovese mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Greg, that is some ornate one. Even tho the label says they are manufacturers, my hunch is that Rosario Genovese is a store or distributor/importer. The neck joint looks very Neapolitan made -- for some reason most Italian-American luthiers even back then (around the turn of the last century) seemed to abandon that style of neck construction. There might be a possibility of another label of the real maker under that black label.

    Very interesting in any case... does your FIL have any clue as to the initials on the headstock?
    Hi, Jim.
    Going in reverse order, no, neither he nor I have a clue to the initials. You may be correct in assuming there is another label under the one I see. *IF* there is, the initials MAY match those on that label. The initials could be those for whom it was made. I dunno.

    I don't know if you noticed but there is A LOT of tortoise shell on this thing. The head has a inlay on the outside of it. If you look REAL close at the pic of the head, you can see that some of it has popped out a bit. It's on the back of the head too, but the metal encasing the tuners reflected the camera's flash and washed out the pic. There is tortoise on the whole length of the neck, from the head to where the neck meets the body. You can't see it too well in the pic of the bowl, but there looks to be inlays of rosewood (my guess) around the bowl just below the top. And I'm assuming it had white frets the whole length of the fretboard. The butterfly pickguard is killer, IMO.
    Outstanding to see. The instrument must have been a sight to see in its' day.

    My problem is what to do with it. I've thought of restoring it, but who would do it and at what price? I've also thought of just making it playable, but w/o all the abalone, pearl and tortoise. That is, just building on the bowl which APPEARS to be in good shape. But it would loose its 'uniqueness,' to coin a word.

    Maybe I could sell it for parts. The tortoise could be used for picks. And the abalone could be recycled.

    I really don't know what to do.

  8. #6
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rosario Genovese mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Stec View Post
    ...My problem is what to do with it. I've thought of restoring it, but who would do it and at what price? I've also thought of just making it playable, but w/o all the abalone, pearl and tortoise. That is, just building on the bowl which APPEARS to be in good shape. But it would loose its 'uniqueness,' to coin a word. Maybe I could sell it for parts. The tortoise could be used for picks. And the abalone could be recycled.

    I really don't know what to do.
    My 2: there are instruments now and again that are sold as "wall hangers," with the idea that they would look pretty on display, but aren't really playable. This mandolin may well be such. It's beautifully ornamented, uniquely covered with shell, and as ornate as any instrument I've seen. Perhaps it should be displayed rather than played...?

    I think the idea of stripping off the ornamentation, with the hope of getting some value from recycling, and then turning the stripped instrument into a playable mandolin, is a poor one. There's a world of vintage bowl-backs available out there, at reasonable prices, if a bowl-back "player" is what you want. This is a unique "presentation grade" instrument, and could be seen as a museum piece or a centerpiece of musical decor.

    Usually, my prejudice is to restore instruments to playability and play 'em, but this may be one of the exceptions. I'm sure that some collector would be glad to put it on display, if that doesn't appeal to you.
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  9. #7
    Registered User Greg Stec's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rosario Genovese mandolin

    Hi, Al.
    RE: Wall hanger.
    You're more than right on that one. This mando could be an ancient variant of the overly-abalone encrusted Taiwanese flat-backs one finds on ebay these days. More for the "show" than for the playing.

    I'm going to put in a safe place and keep it around 'a while.'
    Thanks to both of you.

  10. #8

    Default Re: Rosario Genovese mandolin

    hi,i was glad to see this post,you are the only other Rosario Genvese ,that ive seen,that i know of-i have one myself,i love it ,though its not as ornate as yours, it had almost the same label as yours, inside the mandolin. from new york,rosario genovese,mandolins, 75th street and it also had hand written what looked like-2-41,anyways,after years,i finally had the nerve to peel off that label and see what was underneath,,and it said Neapolitan,#155 maker Rosario Genevese.,mine too was probably a wall hanger ,but i strung it up made my own nut ,it took 2 tries making that nut,,and i played the few chords i know and it stayed in tune for days quite well!! however, it does look to be "warping"on top,like its low in one spot and high in others , near the sound hole-- but sounds fantastic!!--but i reluctantly loosened the strings,!maybe i'll still play it a little "loose",thats when i saw the label underneath which i think is the original,? im guessing that 2-41 is 1841?idk,but.i hope this helps -ill post the pics,if anyone can tell me any info about this it would be great.take careClick image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by antykathera; Dec-09-2019 at 6:42pm. Reason: added old label ,better pic

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  12. #9
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rosario Genovese mandolin

    This is very exciting to me. Sometime after this thread I acquired this Rosario Genovese mandolin from Greg. I have not seen any others by this maker (or dealer). I am not sure what to do with it either. Strange that just the other day I was looking through my closet and found this one. I thought I had posted some of my photos somewhere else in these forums back then but I can't seem to find them. So, see below for some details,etc.

    antykathera: can you post some photos of the back, of the bowl itself and also of the back of the neck and headstock. What is unusual about the one in my possession is that the maker made the neck joint similar to makers in Napoli, with a sheath of veneer or, in this case, tortoise shell and a triangle of pearl. Even though there were Italian makers in the US they seemed for the most art to abandon that neck joint design.

    Also the label on yours looks very different from the one I post here.
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    Last edited by Jim Garber; Dec-10-2019 at 12:44pm.
    Jim

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  13. #10
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rosario Genovese mandolin

    Even more important, antykathera: These mandolins will not tolerate standard modern strings. You need to string them with extra-lights. I fear that may be why the top looks like it maybe be warping. I assume you are tuning up the strings that are on it or perhaps you put new one on? I can't really tell but they do look a little on the heavy side. In any case, it looks like a decent mandolin and while I applaud your making your own nut, if you really want to play it yu might want a pro to make a nut for it.
    Jim

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  14. #11

    Default Re: Rosario Genovese mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by antykathera View Post
    hi,i was glad to see this post,you are the only other Rosario Genvese ,that ive seen,that i know of-i have one myself,i love it ,though its not as ornate as yours, it had almost the same label as yours, inside the mandolin. well said almost the same thing anyways,from new york,rosario genovese,mandolins, 75th street and mine also had hand written what looked like-2-41,i also thought that rosario genovese was just a repair place and that they just put their label over another maker,anyways,after years,i finally had the nerve to peel off that label and see what was underneath,,and it said Neapolitan,#155 maker Rosario Genevese new york.,mine too was probably a wall hanger ,but i strung it up made my own nut ,it took 2 tries making that nut and a lot of trial and error,,and i played the few chords i know and it stayed in tune for days quite well!! however, it does look to be "warping"on top,like its low in one spot and high in others , near the sound hole-- but sounds fantastic!!--but i reluctantly loosened the strings,!maybe i'll still play it a little "loose",thats when i saw the label underneath which i think is the original,? im guessing that 2-41 is 1841?idk,but.i hope this helps -ill post the pics,if anyone can tell me any info about this it would be great.take careClick image for larger version. 

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ID:	181845bridge shimmed with plastic zip tie.i see now from your label "Rosario" that the 2-41 that was handwritten on my label, was actually the address!!.i think these were lite strings ill have to get extra lite like you said,,i tuned a full step down and it seems fine and sounds great.im not sure how that scroll thing is supposed to attach.ive been playin this thing and it seems awesome, !!!stays in tune!!!!!thank you to everyone!
    Last edited by antykathera; Dec-11-2019 at 12:04am.

  15. #12

    Default Re: Rosario Genovese mandolin

    thanks jim,i will definitely do that,i also posted those pics of bowl etc

  16. #13
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rosario Genovese mandolin

    Best strings in my opinion are Dogal Calace RW92b Dolce. In US available from Bernunzio.com. I am not sure where you are located.
    Jim

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