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13. Old Italian bowlback (650)   @ £200  new

Old named Italian bowl-back

This is an old, Italian bowl-back mandolin from the late19th century, made by de Meglio as an entry level instrument. It has a fiarly wide fingerboard, and is in good condition after restoration. There is a label which says…

Cav. Giovanni de Meglio E Figlio

Vico Lungo Gelso 53 Napoli

Anno 1899 Mod. 1 N. 8556

This instrument is now fully restored. The top is sound with a couple of small crack repairs. It has a 17-piece rosewood bowl back NO repairs. It has the original re-levelled fingerboard in ebony, with original brass bar frets. The tuners and tail are originals, the bridge and tensioner new. The top has been lightly refinished with Tru-oil for protection, elsewhere it retains the original French polished finish. It has been restrung with ultra-light GHS bronze wound classical strings, and is now playing well with a rounded, mellow sound with good sustain and fair volume. It has an easy playing action.

Other than cleaning, I have repaired as follows… 1) replaced small pieces of missing edging; 2) made a small repair to headstock front; 3) levelled the fingerboard and frets; 4) repaired small shrinkage splits in the top; 5) finished the top for protection with a coat of Tru-oil; and 6) made and fitted a new bridge and tensioner in ebony.


Mandolin Specifications (In Millimetres)

Overall Length of Mandolin


Width of mandolin at widest point


Approx. Depth of mandolin

150mm at bridge.


Original finish in good condition. A coat of Tru-oil protects the top.

Belly wood

Book-matched, spruce top with small repairs. Top sealed with a coat of Tru-oil. Edging repaired in several places.

Scratch plate

Original in good condition.

Sound hole

Oval hole, approx. 65 x 45mm. Also side vents.

Back and sides

17-piece, rosewood, bowl-back, clasp, and sides.

Neck and Head

2-piece, stained head and veneered neck. Small repair to front veneer.


Original ebony with original re-levelled brass bar frets. MOP position markers at 3, 5, 7, 10 and 12.

Machine heads

Original steel and brass enclosed tuners with original buttons. All working.


Original with 4 string posts.


New ebony shelf bridge and tensioner fitted

Scale Length Bridge to nut

Scale of 330mm

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

Sleeve guards are available if required


I have some re-conditioned bowl-back cases available for purchase, as well as gigbags.


Larger photos are available on request.