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A comprehensively illustrated book on the history of mandolins, a fascinating and varied stringed instrument.
A comprehensively illustrated book on the history of mandolins, a fascinating and varied stringed instrument.
357 backers pledged AU$ 38,200 to help bring this project to life.

About

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AU$ 38,200

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The Mandolin - a history

I have been fascinated by mandolins for well over forty years. I bought my first one in the early 1970s and built my first around a decade later. A few years after that I started writing about them an in 2004 published a book, a workshop manual, on building Irish bouzoukis, a larger version of a mandolin. I followed that in 2008 with another book on building mandolins themselves. I included a chapter on mandolin history and realised that little has been written on the history of mandolins, at least in comparison to the many books about guitars, banjos and ukuleles.

A Vinaccia mandolin 1770
A Vinaccia mandolin 1770

I suspect this may be because of the two distinct schools of mandolin building: the bent soundboard European bowl back style and the American instruments with carved soundboards and backs. Both styles of instrument are mandolins,but with quite different tonal qualities and used for different styles of music. What has been published had tended to concentrate on the instruments or music from one side of the Atlantic or the other with little interest in exploring the other side of the story.

A DeMeglio mandolin 1900
A DeMeglio mandolin 1900

A fair bit of the past six years has been spent researching and writing this new book on the history of mandolins. It will be printed and bound as a soft cover perfect bound book (sewn and glued rather than just glued) in a 10"x8" size and has ended up at over 400 pages, close to 100,000 words with more than 450 illustrations, rather bigger than I expected when I started. The book is about the instruments themselves and the people who have built them. I have tried to include as many varied photos of mandolins as possible, and greatly indebted to the people all over the world who have allowed me to take photos of their instruments, or generously gone to the effort of taking photos themselves and sending them to me. They are all credited in the photo captions.

A Regal mandolin 1930s
A Regal mandolin 1930s

Along the way I have met mandolin builders, collectors, dealers and people who are just enthusiasts for the instrument. I have been able to examine and photograph mandolins in the back rooms of museums, in music shops as well as in people’s living rooms and kitchens.

The design and layout of the book is done, and final proof-reading and editing is all that needs to be done before delivery to the printer The aim of this Kickstarter project is simply to pre-sell enough copies to pay for the printing. It will be a high quality printing job in full colour on a heavy matt art paper which will allow the best reproduction of the many photos of the instruments in the book. The Table of Contents can be downloaded from my website as well as two chapters as pdf, one on early Italian mandolins, and the other about the beginnings of the American mandolin.

Also in preparation is an electronic version of the book, but that won't be available for a few months.

I hope you enjoy it.

Cheers

Silvo electric mandolin 1930s
Silvo electric mandolin 1930s

Risks and challenges

The biggest risk for this project is not getting enough pre-orders to pay for the printing. I want this to be the best publication it can be and that needs a quality printing job. I have published several books before and I do understand all the pitfalls along the way. A further complication is having to pay the US based printer in US$, while taking pledges in AU$ with a fluctuating exchange rate, mostly downward in terms of the AU$!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 15 or more About $11

    A downloadable electronic copy of the book in iBooks (epub) or Kindle format.

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    51 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 60 or more About $44

    A copy of The Mandolin shipped to your door. Postage is included for those mailed within the USA. Another $35 for anywhere else, which is USPS First Class postage. Retail price of the book will be $45 USD (AU$60 is close to US$45 or 40 Euro)

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    Pledge AU$ 150 or more About $111

    A special limited-edition hard-cover and leather-bound copy of The Mandolin. A personal thank you in the book. Postage included within the US and $35 elsewhere in the world.

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    Reward no longer available 50 backers
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    Pledge AU$ 1,250 or more About $921

    A copy of The Mandolin, a thank you in the book plus a custom made flat-top mandolin, delivered anywhere in the world

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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    Pledge AU$ 2,500 or more About $1,842

    A copy of The Mandolin, a thank you in the book, plus a custom made carved mandolin, A or two-point body, oval or f-holes. Delivered anywhere in the world

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)