1/25/2012

c.1915 Italian-made Puglisi? Bowlback Mandolin


Practically identical in construction to this Puglisi-branded bowlback I finished a few days ago, this (also Italian, probably by the same maker) mandolin is a fantastic instrument. Unlike the other, which has light relief to the neck, this one has a dead straight neck and plays perfectly -- and in addition to that -- this is one of the loudest wood-bodied mandolins I've ever played, which is all the more striking since it's a bowlback. This thing can cut.

My work on this instrument included replacement of two missing mid braces, various seam repair to the top edge on the treble side, general cleaning, fret level/dress, setup, and whatnot. The bridge is also a replacement -- in this case a modified vintage rosewood one I had in my parts bin. The tuners are probably 60s/70s replacements which I intended to swap out for parts-bin vintage ones, but I didn't have any on hand with the proper post spacing, so after a quick lube I popped them back on and they work just fine.


Simple design with alternating "rope" binding and simple multi-ply wood purfling. Celluloid "tortoise" inlaid pickguard with pearl-inlaid rosette. The bowl is made from Brazilian rosewood and the neck and headstock are veneered with rosewood. The top is spruce and the whole build is quite light. Fretboard and bridge are also rosewood and the frets are brass and include a zero fret at the (bone) nut.



MOP dots in board.




While fairly simple in decor as far as Italian bowlback mandolins go, this one has it where it counts in terms of tone, volume, and playability.




Rosewood bowl is in great shape.



Skirted neck join.




I like these "two strings per peg" tailpieces. They just look classy!

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