Many reactions about where to buy these instruments. Alas, I'm more a collector though sometimes I'm willing to sell one of my dear ones. Please, if you have any further information regarding luthiers etc. please contact me at

Location: Oosterhout, Noord Brabant, Netherlands

Monday, November 06, 2006

N. Luigi Borelli / Castagnieri / Mario Casella


Though sometimes one must keep in mind that instruments
only branded on the soundboard tend to be just dealers,
not luthiers, I found a Luigi Borelli on E-bay that had a label 
inside as well. So it could have been the other way round:
Someone else built this instrument for Borelli.
In those times it was not uncommon luthiers
supplied each other with parts and even instruments.

Anyway, a nicely decorated  instrument with a very loud voice
and apart from that simply a good sound as well.

I think the cristal clear tones from this instrument can
be contributed partly to the use of a brass bridgesaddle.

I've added a new fingerboard (and frets of course)
in order to get a comfortable playability and a
possibility for the higher notes (2 octave neck.)
As the new fingerboard has been held thicker, the
mandolin has a better resistance against string
pressure and there is more space for picking as the
strings are a bit higher from the soundboard.


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.


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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