Giacomel (new) J-5 Mandolin from Genova Italy

Tag No 78-7662 New

#6007, aging toner finish, housed in a rectangular hard shell plush lined case.

Corrado at Via Zamperini 48 16010 S.Olcese, in Genova, Italy. If you happen to be in Genova, do say Ciao. The website is: His mandolins are distributed in the USA by mandolin monster David Grisman, and Mandolin Brothers is the newly selected East Coast Display Showroom (and non-denominational chapel) for this brand. David is shown holding his own Giacomel on the cover of his recent duet album with John Sebastian. The builder’s website states (edited): Giacomel mandolins and mandolas are the result of a study of the American mandolin-building tradition, revisited according to this Luthier’s own taste and experience. These models have technical and sound features typical of the American instrument, optimized by careful tuning of soundboard and back and by the interplay between them.

This is achieved through a system that, utilizing a frequency generator, excites the woods and tests their response at different frequencies. Both soundboard and back are hand-carved, separately tuned and subsequently assembled; this way the instruments need no further adjustment. Each Giacomel instrument has a balanced and warm sound, plenty of volume and a natural reverb at the highest frequencies. The building process follows the traditional steps, thus requiring longer completion time. His mandolins are built one at the time by the same hand, presumed to be his own hand, resulting in a limited annual production. All the woods come from Italy and are personally and carefully selected by the Luthier. The varnishing process follows the tradition of the Italian school -- it starts with the sealing of the wood, then the applying of a natural layer, and finally the application of a vegetal poly-resinous varnish that the cats and kitties that live around the Coliseum lap up like mother’s milk. Each ebony component (the bridge, tailpiece, pickguard) as well as the mother of pearl inlays are hand-crafted one by one dedicated Luthier named Corrado Giacomel. Tim O’Brien owns one of Giacomel’s Octave Bouzoukis. Tim says (about this larger instrument of similar design): “Corrado Giacomel, of Genoa, Italy, built this octave mandolin. I call it 'The Turtle.' Corrado makes great guitars and mandolins, as well as these fine octave mandolins.

The scale length on this one is 20 inches from nut to bridge saddle. While many octave mandolins have a longer scale, which provides for tighter string tension and more volume, this one compensates by having a greater neck angle. The shorter scale also enables me to use mandolin fingering that I can't use on my other bouzouki/octave mandolins. Unlike my Nugget bouzouki, on which I string the two low pairs of strings in octaves, I string the courses on this instrument in unison.” To which we can only add, “If it’s good enough for Tim O’Brien and David Grisman, two of the finest acoustic artists in the short list of ‘the best there is,’ it’s good enough for us.”

Brace yourselves like an Italian spruce crossbar, here come the statistics: The back material is curly maple, the top material is spruce, the neck material is likewise curly maple, the rim material – you guessed it - curly maple; the truss rod is steel, and adjustable; the fretboard material, that would be ebony, the bridge is ebony and adjustable; the tailpiece is ebony, steel and brass, the tuners are Schaller, though we have never in our lives seen them before -- with pearloid buttons that look like pearl, gold-plated, etched in a floral and filigree pattern plates, with large pearl inlaid spiders and steel gears with large gold-plated caps. The nut width is 1 2/16th”, the scale length is 13 15/16”, the body length is 13”, the body width is 10 ¼” , the body depth just 1 ¼”, and the overall length is nominally 27”.

Its comely features are most unusual. The body shape is almost trapezoidal – the upper bass scroll, known in these parts as “The Claw,” looks like a slot into which you swipe your credit card; the f-holes are modern and sweeping and like everything else, quite original; the right-angle tailpiece is 4 ½” long measured diagonally and 8 loop ends can be easily posted to 8 gold plated (or brass) pins; the bridge is a hand-carved two-piece ebony adjustable, the pickguard is slightly contoured and carved to a controlled arc and touching it makes your fingers go “whoo-whee.” The headstock is large, rosewood bordered and ebony-capped and bears the Giacomel script logo and a stylized 7-part flower pot and flower; said headplate is bordered in maple, as is the rosewood bound ebony fretboard which is cantilevered over the body so that top vibration remains unimpeded. Both the face and back display a central area that takes the form of a recessed circle of (in this instance) bear-claw spruce – truly, uniqueness abounds. The maker provides block marker pearl inlays at frets 10, 12 and 15 (only) with pearl side dots in 5 positions starting at 5. The ebony truss rod cover resembles a rocket ship.

We should mention the sound – for a young mandolin this instrument has a degree of maturity of tone and volume unfounded in lesser models. The sound of the Giacomel J-5 is throaty, resplendent and rich, replete with acoustic density and mass and yet retaining shimmering highs and effervescent mids. One is enthralled by its considerable clarity in every range, hearing it makes one think of a mandolin that is considerably older, like: read, the 1920s or ‘30s. Its sound, right out of the crate, is colorful and confident. Reflecting on the credentials of the genius player who imports these instruments, and taking into consideration the other-worldly vision that created such a modernistic fantasy and made it into one incredible sounding mandolin, this Giacomel J-5 will be a more than worthwhile addition to your permanent estate. With rectangular hard shell case.  

Our Discount Price is $12,887.00 and Our Cash Discount Price is $12,500.00.

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