Instruments – Mandolini da studio

Embergher’s special and famous ‘half’ scratch plate designs, as mentioned before, probably derive from Ferrari’s early Roman mandolins and combined with what is still very commonly seen in Rome and it’s surrounding area: a piece of paper partially rolled up. These scratch plate designs are seen on the models N. 3 up to 8 after 1900. All known preserved mandolins of the lower student types and orchestra models are from the time the firm was established up to around 1908 equipped with a large and symmetric ‘butterfly’ design. Noticeable is that the material used for this purpose on the oldest known mandolins is tortoise shell while occasionally a thin layer of ebony wood is applied. In the twenties celluloid to imitate the tortoise shell was the preferred choice for the ‘half’ scratch plate design on these models.

Scratch plate of an early example of a Tipo A Student mandolin 1906 (labelled at the time as the ‘Tipe Ordinaire’)

Scratch plate of a Orchestra Model N. 1 mandolin (1906)

The most important characteristic of each type and model is its number of ribs. For both the student A and B types the bowl is build up of 16 ribs. Both the types and orchestra models are stamped at the front of the head (occasionally at the back of the head) with the imprint ‘Luigi Embergher – lyre (image) – Roma’ imprint. Sometimes on early examples a stamp is used in which the surname is spelled without the ‘h’: ‘L. Emberger – Roma’. The inlay decoration around the sound hole is made of light and dark wood.


Tipo A palissander

Tipo B maple

The catalogue states the following about these models:

Mandolino da studio – Tipo A and Tipo B.


The two types A and B, in maple or rosewood, were made on the repeated request of clients and teachers so that their students could be offered an appropriate instrument of my art for a modest prize from the start of their studies, naturally carefully executed to ensure the precise chromatic scale and sonority of sound.

The oval sound hole is surrounded by a rosette build up from wooden linings on both models, whereas the Tipo B differs from Tipo A because of the inlay decoration [a lyre and five flower motif] on the scratch-plate and the border line of the sound table