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36. Old Italian bowlback mandolin  (707)  @  180 euros new

Old Italian bowl-back

This is an old, Italian bowl-back mandolin from the late 19th or early 20th century. It is in good condition after restoration and has a relatively wide fingerboard. There is a label which says

Il Globo


Fabbricato in Italia

(the somewhat Anglicised Italian suggests to me it was made and labelled for export to the UK)

This instrument is now fully playable after restoration. The top is sound with 1 small shrinkage repair. It has a 23-piece rosewood bowl back with a few almost invisible seam repairs. It has the original rosewood fingerboard and frets. The tuners and tail are originals, the bridge new. It retains much of the original finish though, touched up around repairs, 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 and an easy playing action.

Other than cleaning, I have repaired as follows… 1) repaired a small shrinkage crack in the top; 2) reglued several open seams in the bowl; 3) replaced damaged veneer on the neck; 4) replaced missing edging; 5) levelled the original frets; 6) refinished or retouched as appropriate with a coat of tru-oil on the top; 7) made and fitted a new 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

145mm at bridge.


Original finish throughout, but touched up around repairs and tru-oil to protect the top.

Belly wood

Book-matched, spruce top, close-grained at the centre. Missing edging, MOP and faux t/s replaced.

Scratch plate

Original in good condition. Lots of MOP

Sound hole

Oval hole, approx. 65 x 40mm. Lots of MOP

Back and sides

23-piece, rosewood bowl-back, clasp and tulipwood sides. Some invisible seam repairs.

Neck and Head

2-piece, veneered triangular-ish neck and head, neck veneer new.


Original rosewood f/b with 18 levelled German silver bar frets. Original bone nut. Position markers at 3, 5, 7, 10 and 12

Machine heads

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


Original in steel with 4 string posts.


New rosewood and brass shelf bridge fitted.

Scale Length Bridge to nut

Scale of 332mm

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


Larger photos are available on request.