Hendrik van den Broek violin, guitar and mandolin maker.
The first time I was involved in mandolin making and restoring was in 1992 when I met the very talented Alex Timmerman, a well known guitarteacher , guitar and mandolinplayer in the Netherlands and known as conductor of the famous Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra The Consort, an Orchestra which has won important prizes in Italy, this orchestra has given many concerts in Europe and in the United States, because of his interest and knowledge in historic instruments, he writes books and articles about historic guitars and mandolins, at that time I met Alex Timmerman he was guitar teacher at the Academy for music in Zwolle in the Netherlands, he was then already many years interested in the history of mandolins, lutes and classical guitars,
A good friend of mine, who was teacher on recorder at the academy for music in Zwolle, in his spare time he is a professional maker of recorders, he also was the one who helped me to chose for the profession of guitarmaker and restaurer of instruments, he told me after he had contacted mister Timmerman that mister Timmerman was interested in my way of guitar making and restoring instruments.
At that time I made classical guitars and restored occasionally American mandolins like the Gibson mandolins with a flat back and did repair jobs of steel stringed guitars, classical guitars and bowed instruments.
Through my whole Iife I was interested in all kinds of music from different countries, I have seen lots of instruments of many countries used for all kinds of music and stayed all the time interested in all these instruments.
From that time on, we shared our interest in the historic instruments and I became more and more familiar with the Roman mandolins especially the mandolins of Luigi Embergher.
In the past years I met a lot of musicians who were interested in the Roman mandolins and occasionally they played on an Embergher concert mandolin, like the 5 bis.
I was very impressed by the instruments of Luigi Embergher, especially the models Three, Four,Five and model Six, they have an appearance of a solitude instrument, an instrument which could not compared with other instruments, the design and the musicallity was almost perfect, when an expererienced player played this instrument, the instrument became larger in sound and gave more projection and lots of power was generated by the player, no other instrument is playing on this level, for instance it is easy of an instrument like the Embergher 5 bis,to play together with a much larger instrument like the piano, an Embergher mandolin can do this job with the right settings, strings and the right tuning.
When I became much more familiar with the instruments of Luigi Embergher, I experienced that the instruments had so many features which were developed by Luigi Embergher, all these features were the cause that the instruments acted on a higher level than any other instrument, an other phenomenon was the playability of these instruments, when holding the instrument in playing position, with your left hand around the V formed neck, you feel that your hand is automatically in the right position to play, the curved fretboard with its compensated frets, with its extended fretboard over the sound hole and the narrow shoulders of the upper soundboard makes it easy to play fast tunes on the higher frets, combining several tunes in the highest position is possible, because the frets on the fretboard are compensated above the 12 th fret.
My experience in restoring Embergher mandolins the past years, was a great help to build these mandolins in the tradition of Luigi Embergher, for me it is very important to make an instrument that is looking like an Embergher, but it is of course very important to catch the sound of the Embergher mandolin.
When I made my first mandolin, I was in the position that I had an original Embergher 5 bis from 1927 for restauration and measured the whole instrument, every detail was drawn and measured, I have taken a huge amount of pictures to study, I have used a special device, which I made myself to measure the outside curves of the back from the original Embergher mandolin, I made a mold to work on, it took a lot of time to arrange all these extra tools, but although the extra time it cost, I was very happy with the result when the mandolin was finished.
Hendrik van den Broek | email@example.com