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Location: Oosterhout, Noord Brabant, Netherlands

Monday, November 06, 2006

Embergher Luigi Mandolin and Mandola


A bit of an odd looking Luigi Emberger as on most models
that typical asymmetrical scratchplate can be found.
This model definately is an orchestra model as Embergher
only started to produce student instruments on request
after a while. This instrument can be dated 1902.

The back still is in a gorgeous condition but that has
everything to do with the way he veneered the inside
of his backs so chances are small that ribs will open.

Information can be found on various sites that claimed Embergher
started in the Via delle Carrozze 19 in 1903. That explains this
fairly plain label though it is widely known that Embergher
used a variety of labels. This instrument is dated on
this label 1902!

By clicking on this picture you are able to determine
that in the lower middle of this label the year has been
handwritten. The veneering of his mandolins can
be studied here as well.

The nice headshape with its new tuners and still
the broken nut that I've replaced with an ivory one.

Curious of course is that this engraving has been done without the h
but original anyway. Check Willam Petits' site regarding this
particular model. The engraving on the back of that headstock
appears to be exactly the same.

Though not clearly visible this instrument has a nice playing action
the Embergher mandolins are known for.

A shot of the stringholder and the endcap. It has to be
said once again: Soundwise these instruments are hardly beatable
not only volumewise but they also have a great tone
and nice basses as well. The odd key under the stringhooks
has a purpose as well: To keep the metal stringguard in
place. However that has disappeared regretfully.


Presented here is a mandola out of the Orchestra Series 1.
This particular instrument was made in 1925 and has all original
parts though it needs some restaurationwork as the harmonic
bars came off and as a result the soundboard deformed.

In fact a bit strange as some ribs loosened while
Embergher mandolins are known for their solid
bowl construction. But in nearly 100 years a lot
can happen to an instrument.

The head form from the Orchestra modells differs from
that of the student models although even these instruments
are of a high quality. Original tuners with ebony knobs.

The head has been stamped on the front and you can study
it quite close by clicking on this picture.

Somebody tried to reglue some ribs but this
can be done better once the soundboard has been removed.

The tuners that only needed to be oiled to work properly again.
These tuners also stand for quality as do the woods choosed.

The Mandola with its' fingerboard removed. The first thing
to do was to make this removal as only then the soundboard
can be removed. This can be done with fairly simple tools
as a sharp and thin cutting knife and a Hair dryer.
I start at the top (first fret) and while masking of the wood 
of the head, I''ll heat the fingerboard only on the first 2 or 
3 frets.That's enough to work in a razor blade knife (The 
ones in the older shaving equipments) Than follows the 
slightly thicker blade so I can work in some water with 
an injection needle. After some time (hours!)repeat the last
procedure and try to work the knife towards the soundbox
carefully checking both sides of the fingerboard to keep
things straight. The other end of the fretboard should be kept
wet by winding a wet towel around it. Leave it there for
at least 8 hours. When you have worked your way towards the 
soundbox the extended fingerboard allready should be loose.

The soundboard removed without any damage and that
is something you allways hope for. At first I tried it with 
in water drenched cottonwool and place it on the glued
parts to be removed. The rest sometimes with a heated 
knife, a hair dryer and even a flatiron for the part nearest
to the inner heel. No cracks anywhere!

A nice shot of the label then is possible.

The inner bracing loosened and most likely after that the 
soundboard deformed as a result of string tension.
A possible solution could be to remove the braces and
bow the soundboard back as too much pressure is needed
to glue them back in place now.


This family is claimed to be one of the more important families
that built mandolines at the turn of the century.
This instrument has a good balance and even response of all stringpairs.
A nice full and brilliant tone comes out of this mandoline.
The back of the Esposito mandoline shows clearly that
maple ribs have been used for this bowlback.

The label of the Fratelli Esposito mandolin
stating they are pupils of the Vinaccia family.
It also dates this instrument on 1897.


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