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12. Old bowlback by Porto from Catania  (669)  160 euros new

Larger photos are available on request.

Old Italian bowl-back

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

R. Porto E Figli

Catania Sicily

Geo. M. Froggett, 73 Attercliffe Rd. Sheffield, English Agent.

(the No. 240 and signature 'George Froggett' are also inked across the label)

This instrument is now fully playable after restoration. The top is sound with no splits. It has a superb 30-piece rosewood bowl back with 1 seam repair. It has a new semi-concert, fingerboard in rosewood. The tuners, tail and bridge are originals. It has been refinished throughout, with a coat of Tru-oil for protection on the top. It has been restrung with ultra-light GHS bronze wound classical strings, and is now playing well with a strong, ringing sound with fair sustain and volume. It has an easy playing action and is a pleasure to play.

Other than cleaning, I have repaired as follows… 1) repaired an open seams in the bowl; 2) made and fitted a new fingerboard in rosewood; 3) restained the neck; 4) refinished throughout replacing old old distressed varnish; 5) applied a coat of Tru-oil varnish to the top for protection; 6) made and fitted a new bone nut, strung and set up.


Mandolin Specifications (In Millimetres)

Overall Length of Mandolin


Width of mandolin at widest point


Approx. Depth of mandolin

150mm at bridge.


Refinished throughout, with shellac and Tru-oil, except for the bare wood top which has a coat of tru-oil.

Belly wood

Good quality, close-grained, book-matched, spruce top with small repair to 2 long scratches.

Scratch plate

Original in good condition. Lots of MOP

Sound hole

Oval hole, approx. 70 x 40mm. Lots of MOP

Back and sides

Superb 30-piece, rosewood bowl-back & clasp. 1 seam repair.

Neck and Head

2-piece, stained neck and head, in good condition.


New, semi-concert, rosewood fingerboard with 24 dressed and levelled frets. New bone nut.

Machine heads

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


Original in steel with 4 brass string posts.


Original ebony shelf bridge refitted.

Scale Length Bridge to nut

Scale of 328mm

G string height at bridge


E string height at bridge


12th fret to bottom of G string (Action)

1.5 mm

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