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Thread: Bowl back identification

  1. #1

    Default Bowl back identification

    A friend from Amsterdam found an old bowlback mandolin in his grandfather’s house. Any thoughts on what it is?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Bowl back identification

    file:///var/mobile/Library/SMS/Attachments/21/01/AB2802C3-B1D6-480C-B483-4A584AC0DFB1/IMG_9405.jpeg

  3. #3

    Default Re: Bowl back identification

    Quote Originally Posted by Emily Wilson View Post
    A friend from Amsterdam found an old bowlback mandolin in his grandfather’s house. Any thoughts on what it is?
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Bowl back identification

    Sadly, the photos are a bit small to examine the finer points that might give clues to who, what where and when? It is very colourful- and is that flower a "tulip from Amsterdam?" I guess not but it was worth asking! I suppose, it will either end up being identified as German, Czech or Italian in origin. It is colourful enough to something like a Catania Carmelo of Sicily, although that firm was good at gluing in labels.

  5. #5
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bowl back identification

    I think Nick is on it with the Sicilian suggestion: the multiple courses of top edge banding (which I enjoy) the free form floral pick guard, headstock profile, beefy bridge and carved wooden sleeve guard.
    I'm tempted as well to think post war to early '50s, but we've seen some of these design flourishes from the late '30s, too.
    I don't think it is that old, though.
    A lot of shops in Catania, but the heavy bombing there took it's toll.
    Mick
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bowl back identification

    Question for the bowl-back experts: how common were the alternating-woods (maple/mahogany, maple/rosewood) staves, such as this one has, on European mandolins? I've seen quite a few American turn-of-the-20th-century instruments with them; I have an 1890's Washburn mandola made that way. Did the European makers stop using them in the early 20th century, as seems true in the US?
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  9. #7
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bowl back identification

    I am agreement with the sage folks above that it is quite possible that this mandolin was built in Catania, Sicily. So far, the only feature I could match in my files is the headstock shape which is only somewhat similar to one built by S. Sgroi Mancuso in Catania. The rest of the mandolin I have in my files is simpler and IMHO more tasteful than the OP's friend's. However other features generally fall into the Catanian aesthetic.

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  11. #8
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bowl back identification

    Jim, that double lobed headstock is pretty common on Catanese mandolins. I wouldn't feel comfortable making an attribution based on that detail alone.

    "Simpler....and more tasteful" isn't going to get one very far with Sicilian mandolins.

    Like the wine, the food, the language, the mandolins are a bit more effusive.

    A silly dragon and a War-of-the-Worlds headstock just aren't enough.


    Allen....I think this mandolin is from later than when the US builders abandoned the bi-color bowl scheme, perhaps in response the "taterbug" slander from Gibson, et al.

    Mick
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