Neapolitan School of Music

Discussion groups for those of you with an interest in the construction and repair of the mandolin family instruments.

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Neapolitan School of Music

Postby leoroberts » Thu Nov 27, 2008 5:18 pm

Hi, everyone - first time poster; please don't shout!

I have a guitar-shaped mandolin "Neapolitan School of Music" - with a lady playing the tambourine on the back. I know very little about it - other than that the patent (#2272) was registered in 1902 and that, allegedly, my grandfather bought it for my grandmother - neither of whom I met, the mandolin was given to me 20 years ago by an aunty.

It has a small, but significant, crack in the wood on the back of the instrument ... the question is: is this an instrument worth repairing? or should it just be kept because it looks nice? (I currently play a Giannini MPB) and, if it's worth repairing, does anyone know of a luthier in the North West of England?

Many thanks.
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Postby Ray(T) » Thu Nov 27, 2008 5:52 pm

Hi Leo and welcome to the forum.

Over the years, I've seen a number of that type of mandolin. I don't think they're that rare or particularly valuable. Without seeing it, its impossible to say whether its worth repairing - it may be just a crack or it may have other issues.

Repairs don't come cheap - I recently paid £70 to have a new bridge and nut made - whether you consider it worthwhile depends on how valuable the instrument is to you. Have you thought of doing it yourself? If its just a crack it might just be a case of running the glue in and clamping it tight 'til it sets.

The principle is not to use glue which can't be undone - superglue/evostick is a no-no hide glue (as its known in the states), which can be softened by heat and moisture, is the one to use. As for clamping, I believe thick rubber bands or even sticky tape are the usual suspects.

As to a luthier in the NW, this depends upon where you call the NW. Many of the better ones are so busy they'll only touch expensive instruments. If you can get as far south as the E Midlands, I'm sure Colin Keefe would sort you out - check out "Makers" above.
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Postby leoroberts » Thu Nov 27, 2008 6:11 pm

Thanks for the info, Ray.

I shouldn't think it's an expensive instrument - but it looks pretty and plays nicely. I once had a report from my woodwork teacher at school: "give him the job and he'll finish the tools" - so I don't think a home repair is on the cards any time soon!
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