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Location: Oosterhout, Noord Brabant, Netherlands

Monday, November 06, 2006

Cremona 545' by masterbuilder Bräuer / Castagnieri / Mario Casella / La Corona

Handcarved mandolin 

It took some effort to learn more about this typical mandolin.
It was already obvious that the manufacturer would be European.
The string holder e.g. has been used by Framus and Hoffner a.o.
Thanks to some people who reacted on my question and now
it is clear. A Cremona model "545' by master builder Bräuer
from Schonbach. This particular model resembles the model
457 from Hoffner. What exactly happened between Hoffner
and Cremona (Bräuer) is not yet clear. High end models of
bigger companies were often made by luthiers and by hand.

From the information I've got from the readers of the
mandolin cafe materials for the soundbox were all
laminated and pressed in this form with the help of steam.

I do my best of course to make beautiful pictures but
the honor in photographing this instrument must go to:
Simply great pictures of a remarkable instrument.

The strange form of the "F" holes are sometimes called "cats' eyes"
and indeed, I can agree to that.

Meticulous woodwork can be seen by observing the bridge.
The bottom being ebony and the top out of rosewood.

The string holder that can also be seen on the Framus andHoffner mandolins.

Riveted worm wheel holders that are present on most better
quality tuners.

Special attention to detail! It can be seen here in the binding.


A plain mandolin that proves that basic instruments
doesn't have to be of poor quality. In the contrary:
This instrument has a loud, fresh tone and very even
sound among the stringpairs. The way it sounds
reminds me a lot of the Nicolas Spoto mandolin
further in this blog.

The back that has been unaltered because it still was
in great shape. 15 ribs made out of brasilian rosewood.
A nice straight neck that received a newly added
ebony fingerboard (19 frets)
It stays in tune well and the octavepitch is
OK. Original tuners that work well.

I think most of these mandolins come from other manufacturers
as the brand can be added later on by its seller.
This is a neapolitain mandolin from around 1900.

The knobs have been cleaned and the tuners
oiled a bit. Still working great!


This mandolin clearly shows other decorations as opposed to the
Napels based builders of that time. The soundhole has a straight side
on the right which is thought to be a Calace invention.
The back of the Casella mandoline shows 19 ribs.

The handsigned label of this mandoline from Catania.

And another Mario Casella that shows some features of
the famous Embergher mandolins e.g. de non symmetrical
scratchplate and the headform (a bit), More Sicilian builders
did this, Puglisi Reale e Figli for instance.

A nice Brasilian rosewood back in pristine condition.

What allways is of importance is the neck angle as more
than often the soundboard deforms under the string pressure.

The seam of the two halves of this soundboard loosened
and to make things stable again I made an insert from
the bottom all the way up to the scratch plate.
Though the Catania based builders do not have the 
same status as the ones from Naples and Rome this is a 
decent built instrument with a nice sound quality.
Casella allways branded his instruments as can
be studied here. It says: Mario Casella - Catania.
The label has been hand signed as on most of
his instruments.

La Corona

This instrument has been restored to its' original condition.
It is a finely made instrument with the original fingerboard
and frets. Nicely decorated edges and soundhole.

Beautifully shaped back as well and closed tuners that
are tastefully engraved and still work well.

A close shot of the sound hole decoration but also the
fine grained top can be studied here!

I made an effort to make a picture of its' label which says:
Strumenti a Corda (Stringed instruments)
La Corona
Marca di Fabrica  (Factory brand)
Materiali Scelti (Selected materials)
Lavorazione accuratissima (accurate work)
Voce Brilliante e Robusta (brilliant and strong voice)

The tuners that a securely engraved.

The head form that is pointing towards the Napolitian
mandolin builders as the Vinaccia family. This brand 
can be found also on the site of Dave Hynds.


Blogger Selena said...

I have a Casella mandolin in need of repair. Can you tell me abit about when they were made and what is the value? Mine has a peacock inlay under the sound hole, fancy inlay around the sound hole, etc.. But the top has serious issues, unfortunately. Thanks

9:06 AM  
Blogger DasPasKunst said...

Hello Selena,

I just can't find out how to mail you directly but here are some answers to your questions.
The mandolins from Catania (Sicilië) are estimated being of lower quality than the Roman or Neapolitain ones but I know Casella made some really nice decorated mandolins.
I think they were made well into the twenties and thirties of the past century. If the soundboard is straight some cracks aren't that
much of a problem. If it is deformed costs will probably be more than the whole value of the instrument. So in its current condition under $ 100,- Alasss

4:04 AM  
Blogger malina said...

Tady Maartina, mám doma mandolinu Catania a chci ji prodat, kam bych se mohla obrátit?

9:33 AM  
Blogger Legolasicek said...

Třeba na mě, nějakou sháním, ale v dobrém stavu a s cenou do 2.000,-, což asi nebude odpovídající. V případe zájmu (Praha)

5:57 AM  

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