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Bowlback Mandolin Sings Again
3 months of hand work, sanding, scraping, fitting and fussing have restored this antique Italian Bowl back Mandolin to playing condition
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 

November 21, 2014 - 3:27 pm
Member Since: October 2, 2012
Forum Posts: 128
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All the missed notes are mine that more practice will correct and I might also have some fine adjustments to the setup to make. After repairing 4 cracks in the bowl, I removed the old finger board and carved a shim to level the neck and then I cut a slotted fingerboard to fit, hammered in the frets, leveled the frets then glued on the fretboard. A taller nut and bridge were required so I carved and fitted them and installed a set of GHS A240 ultralight strings at 09-13-20-32 guages. I still have some fake Mother of Pearl and Tortoise Shell edging to cut, shape and glue in before the restoration is totally finished and much more technique to learn about playing this kind of mandolin. If you cannot afford a bowlback mandolin, find one in distress and bring it back to life it is very rewarding. I bought this instrument for $125 and may have spent that much in tools and supplies to get it back in shape. More details of this restoration may be found in the Mandolin portion of the Forum entitled "OPEN SALAMONE" ... I am not a luthier but have a background as a HS Shop teacher though the only power tools used were a bandsaw and belt sander used to rough out the pieces of wood needed. Hand carving shaping and sanding did the rest.


Octave Ray

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November 21, 2014 - 7:30 pm
Member Since: September 19, 2013
Forum Posts: 234
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Hey Ray ,

Love yer work buddy ...very cool ...sounds great too ...

Setting at 2 mm is very demanding and can end up chasing buzz etc to a point of distraction ... you've got more patiance than i it seems 'cause i defer to 2 1/2 mm to avoid the extra challenge myself ...lazy me ...

Know yer doin' bridges as well so here's a pic of the ebony taper bridge on my 1920 Victor Natural by Montgomery Wards fer yer archives ....had as much fun restoring it as well ...

Goody playin' to ya ...violin-1267IMG_2685.JPGImage Enlarger

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Fort Lauderdale
November 21, 2014 - 9:27 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 15626

Good job Ray. Thanks for the post. :)

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

California, the place of my heart
November 22, 2014 - 1:11 pm
Member Since: January 11, 2012
Forum Posts: 4180
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Ray.. I love it. 

I so  so very much love Ashokan on the Mando.  

You must be in heaven with that bowl back lil gal!

Cheers and thank you for posting. Big smiles.

Sounds GOOOOOD!thumbs-upthumbs-upthumbs-up

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

Honorary tenured advisor

November 22, 2014 - 10:39 pm
Member Since: January 19, 2014
Forum Posts: 973
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Awesome work Ray. 

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


November 23, 2014 - 12:12 am
Member Since: September 30, 2014
Forum Posts: 1272
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Great work Ray nice madoiln you have now.concertina-4198

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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