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14. Radionella bowlback mandolin (712)  @ 200 euros new

Old German dome-back mandolin

This is an old, German-built, bowl-back mandolin, perhaps from mid C20th. It has the type of bowl more typical of a domra, and is relatively rare. It is in fair condition after restoration. There is a makers label which says...


This instrument is now fully cleaned and playable. The top is sound with a several repairs. It has a 7-piece bowl back in stained maple, with a couple of seam repairs. It has the original fingerboard, set on a shim, with re-levelled brass frets. The tuners and bridge appear original, the tail is new. Refinished throughout with shellac and Tru-oil. It has been restrung with ultra-light GHS bronze wound classical strings, and is now playing well with a good, full, ringing sound with good sustain and fair volume. It has an easy playing action.

Other than cleaning, I have repaired as follows; 1) set the f/b on a shim and relevelled the frets, 2) repaired open seams in the back; 3) Repaired shrinkage splits in the top; 4) renewed damaged edging; 5) refinished with shellac and Tru-oil, and 6) fitted a new bone nut and tailpiece; and 7) strung and set up.


Mandolin Specifications (In Millimetres)

Overall Length of Mandolin


Width of mandolin at widest point


Approx. Depth of mandolin

130mm at bridge.


Refinished with shellac and Tru-oil varnish, replacing old distressed varnish.

Belly wood

Close-grained, book-matched spruce top. Edging and purfling renewed. Several shrinkage repairs

Scratch plate


Sound hole

40mm dia. Approx. nw sound hole edging fitted.

Back and sides

Stained maple back, and sides all sound. Seam repairs.

Neck and Head

Single piece, maple, neck and head in good condition.


All original, remounted on a shim for playability. 17 original re-levelled brass frets. New bone nut. Position markers at 5, 7 and 12

Machine heads

Probably original tuners. All working.


New tailpiece with 8 string hooks.


Original rosewood bridge refitted

Scale Length Bridge to nut

Scale of 333mm

G string height at bridge


E string height at bridge


12th fret to bottom of G string (Action)


12th fret to bottom of E string (Action)


Width of fretboard at nut


Width of fretboard at widest point


Sleeve guard


Larger photos are available on request.