Mandolin by Gennaro and Achille Vinaccia from 1890


Gennaro (1832-1908) and Achille (1836-1920) Vinaccia are the sons and students of Pasquale Vinaccia (1876-1884), the inventor of mandolin tuners and metal strings. After the death of the latter, the “fratelli Vinaccia” took over his workshop at number 53 rue Catalana, perpetuating the family tradition and excellence.

This instrument testifies to the maturity of the two makers and their constant search for innovation: It is, to our knowledge, one of only two designed with both a maple back and a Roman type head, which constitutes a double rarity for a Vinaccia instrument. In fact, maple, little represented on mandolins of this period, remains an expensive wood reserved for quartet instruments, the majority of mandolins being made of rosewood. The use of an “open-book” Roman head is also reserved for high-end instruments by fratelli, a signature adopted by the best luthiers such as Del Perugia and Calace.

This mandolin, in superb condition (top without slot) and integrity, bears a signed label, an original ebony fingerboard and hardware, with the exception of the bridge which is a modern copy of the original bridge. This one, made of rosewood and perfectly adjusted to the instrument, helps to restore its original voice at the same time as a low action. Maple brings a warm, malleable sound to the instrument that the musician can shape. The mandolin is delivered fully tuned, with oiled and functional tuners, mounted with Thomastik Präzision flat wound strings which emphasize a rounded, well-balanced and defined sound in all registers. No additional costs are expected.

Without embellishment, this instrument resolutely targets the musician, with a perfectly executed bowl and thick plating, qualities also highlighted by the perfectly placed purfling.

It is possible for you to upgrade this orchestral instrument into a solo instrument at a lower cost by extending the last frets to create a concert touch which would rest on the table. However, our philosophy is to return each instrument to a condition as close as possible to that on the day of its conception and to restore its original historical state as much as possible, so we do not carry out this type of transformation.

Technical characteristics :

  • Top: Spruce
  • Back: 21-rib curly maple
  • Handle: Beech veneered with rosewood
  • Fingerboard: Ebony
  • Width at nut: 29.5 mm
  • Radius: Flat
  • Frets: 17 frets
  • Scale: 330 mm
  • Profile: Neapolitan
  • Pickguard: Tortoiseshell, gold plated
  • Country of manufacture: Italy, Naples
  • Year: 1890
  • Finish: Natural
  • Decorations: White mother-of-pearl key markers, two in the shape of stars and two in the shape of a round / Rosette inlaid with white mother-of-pearl in the shape of a half-sphere
  • Details: Bridge remade as a copy of the original / The scratch present on the right side (see photo) of the mandolin is purely superficial and aesthetic, and in no way affects the structure of the instrument / Mandolin in excellent condition conservation

It should be noted that the instrument does not have a slot.

Like all our instruments, the mandolin is perfectly tuned and ready to play.

The sound is very well balanced in all registers, as expected on a Vinaccia mandolin.

While Vinaccia rosewood mandolins generally offer more delicacy than power, this maple example can rival Roman mandolins in its projection, while presenting the full sound and harmonic richness of Vinaccia instruments. 

The mandolin is delivered in its original blackened wooden case, fitted with Thomastik Präzision light strings presenting a fine feel and tone, as well as effortless playability that respects the 133 years of this venerable instrument.

We guarantee that this mandolin is indeed an authentic Vinaccia.

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