Mandola & Liuto

Here are instruments photos and videos from past restoration projects. It is a gallery only, for instruments available for sale please see page "Instruments for Sale"

Liuto Cantabile

Luigi Poppi


Liuto Cantabile, Liuto Moderno is a rather rare mandolin family instrument and certainly very few survived to these days. This particular one was made by Luigi Poppi in Palermo sometime early 1900's or possibly even earlier. Whereas scale/dimensions of mandolins kept some standards, Luthiers had their own interpretations of Liuto therefore scale size and dimensions varied between makers. Who exactly invented this type of instrument is unclear as some sources point at Vinaccia, other at Calace (thought to have invented it around 1880's). Such type of mandolin surely must have already existed for some time before Calace, Vinaccia, Embergher, Poppi had made their own version of Liuto however it is Raffaele Calace who have mastered the liuto and promoted it as solo instrument.


This Liuto made by Poppi resembles style of De Meglio mandolins with pickguard glued on top of soundboard, tulip-wood binding and three holes on each side of bowl. General construction of Liuto remains same as mandolins though with only difference where mandolins top was made from two pieces of spruce wood here soundboard is made of 6 pieces of Spruce. Dimensions of this liuto are 93cm total length, 31cm width of body at cant and 39cm body length, bowl is 20cm deep. Liuto is tuned an octave lower than Mandola with extra double course E so tuned in C G D A E. Just as mandolin, liuto has 17 frets but scale length of 542mm ( 271mm from nut to 12th fret). Neck width at nut is 4.1cm and 5.2cm where the neck meets body. Tuners on this liuto are quite unusual and possibly made to order just for liutos.

For stringing I have used D'Addario phosphor-bronze strings with following gauges C-.056 , G-.046 , D-.032 , A-.022 , E-.012

For sound sample see video below.

Antique Bowl-backed Mandola

An antique bowl-backed Mandola fully restored to playable condition. Although there's no indication who made the instrument it is most likely to be of German origin as marquetry inlaid pickguard was very popular way of ornamenting instruments there. The age of Mandola is estimated to be around 90 years old with anything between 1920's-30's

In brief, Mandola is bigger sister of mandolin with tuning CGDA with body usually larger around 10-15cm (total length) than mandolin. As mandola wasn't as popular as mandolin they are rarely available and hard to find therefore it was a pleasure bringing it back to life.


Approximate measurements are as follows:


- total length 73cm

- body width 24.5cm

- from nut to 12th fret 215mm (total scale length 430mm)

  • Neck width at nut is 31.5mm, at 10th fret 42mm


Antique Bowl-backed Mandola


*Dreima - E.A. Dreier aus Markneukirchen - Musikinstrumenten-Bestandteile-Fabrik


An antique bowl-backed Mandola fully restored to playable condition. The instrument doesn't have a label and the brand named on engraving on tailpiece - Dreima was a Music Instrument Hardware Factory based in Markneukirchen - Mentioned in the World Addressbook 1926 and 1930.

The Mandola is made in style of Embergher mandolins which was a popular style that German makers had often copied. The age of Mandola is estimated to be around 90 years old with anything between 1920's-30's

As it's original old appearance has good aesthetic value I've retained it's antique look as much as possible – original finish has been lightly cleaned and covered with a thin layer of new finish to re-fresh the surface. This way instrument can be enjoyed with antique look while fully playable.


Mandola is fitted with new set of strings – D'addario set EJS74

Instrument dimensions are as follows:

- total length 72cm

- body width 24cm

- from nut to 12th fret 198.5mm (total scale length 397mm)

  • Neck width at nut is 34mm, at 10th fret 42.8mm


Old German Bowl-backed Mandola


An old bowl-backed Mandola fully restored to playable condition. The instrument doesn't have a label and the only indication of maker is an engraving on tailpiece – Marcelli (*which possibly is just brand of hardware rather than instrument builder). The age of Mandola is hard to estimate as it may have been made pre-2nd WW but may as well be post WW in 50-60's. It is made in a bit more modern style and has very large bowl compared to other mandolas I worked on. The bowl is made of maple stained brown with 22 ribs. The scale length is standard 210mm from 0-12th and 420mm from 0 fret to bridge.

Mandola measurements are:


- total length 75cm - body width 26cm - bowl depth 18cm

- from zero fret to 12th fret 210mm (total scale length 420mm)

- Neck width at nut is 34.4mm, at 10th fret 46.2mm


© 2014 - 2021 Lucas Sobieranski All Rights Reserved

Photo by Monika Karpiej, Manchester United Kingdom 2017

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