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Italian Flat-Back Mandolins

Here are instruments photos and videos from past restoration projects "gallery only"

, for instruments available for sale please see page "Instruments for Sale"

Antique Italian Flat-back Mandolin

Antonio Monzino

Milano

circa late XIX – early Xxc
 

Seven generations of Monzino family have been making and distributing musical instruments since 1750, with business establish date as 1767. Monzino family was also very active in publishing, involved in string making and developing modern machinery for wood manufacturing. Although label does not carry actual date of make it is most likely that the mandolin was made at time of Antonio Giacomo Monzino IV (1847-1929) who also created a “Mandolinist Club” which would indicate was the one who cherished mandolins in particular.

Mandolin has a flat-back body made of highly flamed maple, it has a canted soundboard made of tight grain spruce, finished with ornate soundhole and MOP inlayed tortoiseshell pickguard. Tailpiece with sleeve guard itself was imported from Germany as it carries patent information DRGMSCH No 41988 (as the image on label suggests, this type of tailpiece was originally fitted on mandolin). Craftsmanship of Mandolin feels different from other flat-back mandolins, it feels more precise, it's very light, responsive and producing very loud tone for such small bodied instrument.

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Mandolin is fitted with light set of strings - Pyramid Silver Wound .032-.009

Instruments measurements are as follows:

- total length 59cm - body width 20.2cm

  • body length 31.3cm - body depth at cant 5.7cm

Antonio Monzino
Antonio Monzino
Antonio Monzino
Antonio Monzino
Antonio Monzino

Lazzaro Mandolin

Napoli


 

Antique Italian Dome-Back Mandolin labelled “Fabbrica Strumenti Musicali Lazzaro – Napoli”, it also mentions an importer - B and S (Beare and Sons) London England & Toronto Canada.

No date or address present here, having looked at other Lazzaro labels it quotes workshop address as “Vico S. Gennaro, Napoli”.


 

At first mandolin looks like a typical German Dome-back but there are few elements that were made differently here. Back is made of one piece of thin rosewood sheet with interchanging pieces of maple and rosewood veneer glued on top (in a manner of laminate which works better than separate ribs that split easily within time). Soundboard has additional two holes with grommets but here it's canted, not flat like German dome-backs, and there's of course quite unusual sound-hole and decorative elements on upper soundboard, made of faux tortoiseshell.

Hardware is also very much like these on German mandolins which would suggest that mandolins was perhaps made around late 1920-30's when Dome-backs became popular.


 

Mandolin is fitted with new premium set of strings – OPTIMA Goldin, specially polished SET2125


 

Mandolin specification:

Soundboard – Solid Spruce with tortoiseshell pick-guard

Back and sides – Rosewood and Maple

Neck – V shaped, made of maple

Fretboard – New Ebony with MOP inlay

Nut – new bone

Bridge – original, rosewood with bone elements

Frets – 17 1.1mm crown width, Japanese Nickel-silver


 

Instruments measurements are as follows:

- total length 60cm   - body width 26.3cm    - body depth 9.3cm

- from nut to 12th fret 167.8mm (total scale length 335.6mm)

- Neck width at nut is 28.5mm, at body merge 39.5mm

Lazzaro Mandolin
Lazzaro Mandolin
Lazzaro Mandolin
Lazzaro Mandolin Label
Lazzaro Mandolin
Lazzaro Mandolin

Francesco Perretti & Figli
Napoli




Antique Flat-back Mandolin labelled Francesco Perretti & Figli, Fabbrica di Strumenti Musicali, Fondato nel 1840, Napoli, Italia. Date not present, possibly made around 1920's.

Mandolin was in very good condition for it's age, not requiring any structural repairs. Fretboard and frets were too worn to work with so replaced completely
to allow set up with action as low as 1.3mm on treble side and 1.6mm on bass side at 12th fret therefore plays very easily. Finish is original throughout but received a thin film of shellac on top to revive wood grain.


It's fitted with a premium set of strings - Optima Chrome Special SET4105


Mandolin specification:
Soundboard – Solid Spruce with faux tortoiseshell pick-guard 
Back and sides – Solid Rosewood
Neck – V shaped, made of maple (stained dark brown)
Fretboard – New Concert, Ebony with MOP inlay 
Nut – new bone
Bridge – New ebony with bone saddle
Frets – 24 1.1mm crown width, Japanese Nickel-silver

Instruments measurements are as follows:
- total length 63cm (body length 32.5cm)
- body width 22.4cm
- body depth 5.5cm at neck, 7.7cm at tailpiece
- from nut fret to 12th fret 166.5mm (total scale length 333mm)
- Neck width at nut is 29.9mm, at body merge 39.5mm


More photos available upon request.

Francesco Perretti
Francesco Perretti Label
Francesco Perretti
Francesco Perretti

Giuseppe Carbone

Model - Piatto No.5624, Year 1920

Antique Italian Flat-Back Mandolin labelled “Giuseppe Carbone”, Grande Fabbrica di Mandolini e Mandole, Speciallita in Mandolini con tastiera estesa. Vico Caricatoio a Cariati 28, Napoli. Mandolin is restored to fully playable condition, originally made as a 10 string mandolin tuned as usual to GDAE but with triple course for A & E strings, it is now set up as standard 8 string mandolin. Additional course was really there just to increase volume but due to it's age reducing unnecessary strain seems more reasonable here. It's quite a unique model combining a styles of De Meglio at front and Cristofaro at back. Such combination provides excellent tonal qualities for tremolo style of playing. String action wise, mandolin is therefore set up for this style of playing with action at 12th fret of 1.6mm over treble side and 1.9mm over bass side. General condition of mandolin was very good for it's age with only one minor crack to soundboard near fretboard (treble side, now repaired). Restoration mainly involved improving playability side so fretboard has been replaced completely with slightly thicker one to create better clearance between strings and pickguard. Entire body has been cleaned and re-finished using shellac. Tuners work fine but some turn a little hard when reaching final pitch (pretty much as usual for tuners of that age). Mandolin is fitted with new premium set of strings – OPTIMA Goldin, specially polished SET2125 For sound sample please see video below (Additional sound sample upon request Mandolin specification: Soundboard – Solid Spruce with tortoiseshell pick-guard inlaid with M.O.P and Silver Back and sides – Solid Rosewood Neck – U shaped, maple with rosewood veneer Fretboard – New Ebony with MOP inlay Nut – new bone Bridge – New, Ebony with bone saddle Frets – 17 1.1mm crown width, Japanese Nickel-silver Instruments measurements are: - total length 61.5cm   - body width 19.7cm     - body depth 8.4cm - from nut to 12th fret 165mm (total scale length 330mm) - Neck width at nut is 29.2mm, at body merge 38.7mm

Giuseppe Carbone Mandolin
Giuseppe Carbone Mandolin Label
Giuseppe Carbone Mandolin
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