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21. Old Carbone bowlback mandolin (638)  @ 140 euros new

Old Italian bowl-back

This is an old, Italian bowl-back mandolin with a semi concert fingerboard, from the early 20th century. It is in good condition after restoration. There is a top-stamp which says …

G. Carbone


This instrument is now fully playable after restoration. The top is sound with NO repairs. It has a 21-piece rosewood bowl back with 2 seam repairs. It has the original rosewood semi-concert fingerboard and MOP markers. The tuners and tail are original, the bridge new. It retains the original finish throughout, though the top has been finished 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 ringing sound, with good sustain and volume. It has an easy playing action.

Other than cleaning, I have repaired as follows… 1) repaired 2 open seams in the bowl; 2) replaced missing tulipwood edging on the bowl; 3) levelled and dressed the original frets; 4) cleaned up an old repair to the neck/head join, it seems stable; 5) replaced missing mop in the scratchplate; 6) finished the top and around repairs with shellac and tru-oil varnish; 7) made and fitted a new nut and bridge; and 8) strung and set up.


Mandolin Specifications (In Millimetres)

Overall Length of Mandolin


Width of mandolin at widest point


Approx. Depth of mandolin

140mm at bridge.


Original finish throughout except the top and where touched up around repairs with shellac and tru-oil.

Belly wood

Good quality, book-matched, spruce top with NO repairs.

Scratch plate

Original in fair condition, some missing MOP replaced.

Sound hole

Round hole, approx. 57mm. Dia.

Back and sides

21-piece, rosewood, bowl-back and clasp, tulipwood sides and edging. 2 seam repairs, re-enforced inside.

Neck and Head

2-piece, veneered neck and head in fair condition. An old repair to the neck head join is stable.


Original semi-concert fingerboard. 22 brass bar frets re-levelled and dressed. One or two missing replaced. New bone nut.

Machine heads

Original steel and brass tuners. All working.


Original in steel with 4 string posts.


New rosewood and bone compensated bridge fitted.

Scale Length Bridge to nut

Scale of 334mm

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