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I Bought It
I bought an antique Italian bowl back mandolin today.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (6 votes) 

October 3, 2014 - 7:50 pm
Member Since: October 2, 2012
Forum Posts: 128
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italmando-1.jpgImage Enlarger

 The Label Inside says

Francesco Salamone
Fabbrica di Mandolini
Via Chiara N. 16

There are a few of the 21 wood strips that make up the bowl that have become detached and will be re-glued. There are no cracks in the top, the neck and fingerboard are straight


Italmando-8.JPGImage Enlarger

 The top has separated from the bowl in the area of the bridge and will need to be re-glued when I figure out why it has moved. The mother-of-pearl and tortoise shell edging is about half missing but since both are restricted materials I will probably re-edge with contrasting exotic woods.

italmando-4.jpgImage Enlarger

 Rays-bowl-back.jpgImage Enlarger

So today I removed the old strings, oxidized black and mapped out some of the work I need to do so that I can make a logical plan.  More pictures as I progress.


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October 3, 2014 - 8:52 pm
Member Since: March 14, 2012
Forum Posts: 1642
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Congratulations, Ray! It's lovely. I'll be interested in hearing about your restoration efforts and eventually hearing you play it.

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

Honorary tenured advisor

October 3, 2014 - 9:12 pm
Member Since: January 19, 2014
Forum Posts: 881
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Very nice.  I'm thinking first or second decade of the 20th Century? Do you know anything else about it?

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

Honorary advisor

October 3, 2014 - 10:01 pm
Member Since: September 19, 2013
Forum Posts: 234
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Hey Ray ,

Looks great .....a few repairs and yer all set ...

Here's a pic of my taterbug repairs ...violin-1267IMG_2088.JPGImage Enlarger

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California, the place of my heart

October 4, 2014 - 2:41 am
Member Since: January 11, 2012
Forum Posts: 3699
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So happy for you Ray!!! Woot woot.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato


October 4, 2014 - 2:55 am
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
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Awesome score, Ray.  Nice inlays!  That bridge is highly cool as well, don't think I've ever seen one quite like that.


"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

October 4, 2014 - 8:01 am
Member Since: October 26, 2013
Forum Posts: 22
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That's a beautiful instrument you got there! Excited to possibly hear it sometime!

Fort Lauderdale
October 4, 2014 - 9:39 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11590

Very nice instrument. Good luck on the repairs. :)

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."


October 4, 2014 - 4:04 pm
Member Since: October 2, 2012
Forum Posts: 128
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@DanielB Here is a link to this kind of bridges,  if you prowl around this Luthier Dave's site you will find a lot about mandolins, their bridges etc.  Better here is a link to his home page where he is extremely candid and forthcoming about mandolin luthiery.

Thanks to KS, Uzi, Tucs, CPO, DanielB, RosinGeeko, and Pierre for looking in. The only date I have for the builder Francesco Salamone  is 1890 in a EBay Ad so I am not swallowing it yet. Early 20th century seems right so it might technically be an antique. The seller a new university grad said it was his father's so the provinence is not extensive. Dave the Mandolinluthier says Salamone was not a premier builder but the instrument looks like it was a premium item from that shop. It is a premium item for me.

I bought some new brass pan-head screws. Where screws are used they are actually counter sink screws and in all cases they hold down either metal tuner covers or metal tail pieces which were never countersunk. These new screws after blackening in a vinegar atmosphere for a day or so, wont stand so proud nor offer a place to snag cloth or skin. Also bought some clamp tape designed to keep clamping pressure on irregular shaped items like mandolins until glue has dried. New ultra light strings are on order. These mandolins may have bridged the change from gut to steel strings but they don't handle the tensions of ordinary modern strings.

Will take some detailed closeup pictures of the individual challenges I will be working on and thanks again for checking in.


Honorary advisor

October 4, 2014 - 6:04 pm
Member Since: July 8, 2012
Forum Posts: 328
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congratulations! that's very beautiful!

cheers! - ⁰ℨ

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