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Fine, Vintage Maple-Back Mandolin

Raffaele Calace

1910 Mandolin

Up for consideration is a vintage RAFFAELE CALACE round-back mandolin and case. This mandolin was handmade in the famous Calaci family workshop in Naples, Italy in 1910, by the great composer, luthier and performer, Raffaele Calace. The mandolin is in excellent condition, and sounds incredible (see sound clips, below). Here is a rare chance to pick up a wonderful Italian handmade mandolin by one of the world's most revered makers!!!

I bought this mandolin in Basle, Switzerland in 1985 from (now) Early Musical I was an employee back in the early 1980s, and wonderful instruments like this would walk in the door on a weekly basis. I played it briefly in the early 1990's as a church musician at Our Lady's Maronite Catholic Church, but have not played it in the last 15 years, and since my switch to playing Classical Harp Guitar full-time, I no longer have any need for this beautiful mandolin, and am hoping to find it a nice home. 1270 DPI high-resolution photos are here. This mandolin is incredibly loud, with amazing projection and beautiful tone, and this mandolin would make a great instrument for acoustic concerts, as well as studio recordings.

* Spruce Top
* Maple Back
* Rosewood Fingerboard
* Overall length = 620 mm
* Scale length = 333 mm
* Nut width = 27 mm
* Neck With @ 10 = 37 mm
* Vintage leather case
    * Made in Italy

The Calace family has been involved in mandolin making in Naples, Italy for well over 150 years. The workshop was founded by Antonio Calace, and Raffaele (1863-1934) was originally trained as a musician. He graduated from the conservatory and started giving concerts while touring Europe. He went on to write around 200 pieces for mandolin, which are still considered among the best music ever written for the instrument. His instruments are prized in their own right, as fine examples of Neopolitan mandolin-making, with many innovations introduced to further mandolin design. At the time of the construction of this mandolin (1910), Raffaele was running the Calace workshop with his daughter, Maria.

SOURCES : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

This guitar is in amazing condition for a 100-year-old onstrument. It has one missing piece from the back of the headstock, and the tuners are missing 4 mounting screws. The seller told me that he thought the mandolin was in original condition, and that it had never been played. He selected it for me from his collection of 200 vintage mandolins as a good player's instrument. The build quality still feels very solid and stable, and should last for many more decades of excellent music making.

The mandolin has an amazingly loud sound, with projection that is several times lounder than any guitar I have ever played. I think this could compete ith a loud violin -- which is very hard to do. Here are several sound files to give you an idea of what to expect. The first 5 sound clips are totally improvised with no compression, EQ or reverb -- just mic'd through a a Wunder CM7GT and a Neumann Gefell CMV 563 tube mics, into a Presonus ADL 600 preamp into a Rosetta 200 A/D converter. The last 2 sound clips are all the clips mashed together with reverb (please forgive me, but I couldn't resist!) Please remember, I have not played this instrument regularly in 15 years, but it sure is fun!

MP3 FILES: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7


USA FedEx Ground is $25, and I do accept PayPal. Thanks for looking. Please ask questions before bidding. No returns -- sold as is. This auction is for one RAFFAELE CALACE mandolin and vintage leather case. No other accessories are included.

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