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Thread: Bill Monroe's Loar

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    Registered User JAK's Avatar
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    When Bill FIRST BOUGHT his Loar Mandolin, did he know the reputation of the Loars, or did it just sound good to him so he bought it?
    John A. Karsemeyer

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Bill Monroe is, in large part, responsible for the reputation of Loars. When He bought it, it was a used mandolin, for sale in a barber shop in Florida. The heyday of the mandolin in America, the era of mandolin orchestras in nearly every city, was long over, and used mandolins were not worth much money, though the price Monroe paid ($150? someone will correct me if that's wrong) was not trivial by the standards of the day.

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    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Monroe was aware that Gibson made the F5 model which was several grades above his then owned '30's F7 short neck.
    At the time I suspect the new price of $250($275 with case) didn't meet his status at the time and he may not have liked the way the new ones sounded in the early 40's.
    He knew brother Charlie bought a new 1941 F5 for his then new mandolin picker/singer Lester Flatt. But as far as the legacy or mystic surrounding a Loar in 1945 when he found his used Loar he knew nothing about it other than it had the tone/sound he knew would be good for his music.

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    Registered User JAK's Avatar
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    Interesting, thanks!
    John A. Karsemeyer

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    Yeah, he would have known of them, but he hadn't yet had the chance to transform them into the Holy Grail. Throughout his long career he would also try to aquire more of them if he could, once having Joe Val's widow refuse a "grocery bag full of cash" which one of the Bluegrass Boys was about to fetch from the bus.....
    But Amsterdam was always good for grieving
    And London never fails to leave me blue
    Paris never was my kinda town
    So I walked around with the Ft. Worth Blues

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    Fretbear....I have seen Joe Val at about 6 festivals down through the years and he didn`t play a Loar then, do you know when he might have got his? I have jammed with him a few times and to be honest I never cared for his mandolin sound, always sounded too shrill for what I like, but it matched his voice...Willie

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    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    I recall he got it around in the early 80's. Before that he played a 50's F5 Gibson.

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    I have heard that the F-5 on the cover of Jack Tottle's "Bluegrass Mandolin" book was that Loar, but that may or may not be true...
    But Amsterdam was always good for grieving
    And London never fails to leave me blue
    Paris never was my kinda town
    So I walked around with the Ft. Worth Blues

  9. #9
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    it is
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
    www.f5journal.com

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    so much depends upon
    a brown mandolin
    glazed with varnish
    beside the old picker.

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    Registered User evanreilly's Avatar
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    Joe Val's widow did not refuse a grocery bag full of cash for her husband's mandolin. Bill couldn't tune it because it had mismatched tuners; he handed it to me and I couldn't tune it either. Then Bill asked her how much she wanted for that out-of-tune thing......

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    Registered User JAK's Avatar
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    So what happened when Bill offered to buy it from her? Did he get it? Does anyone know how many Loars Bill had? More than one?
    John A. Karsemeyer

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    Registered User evanreilly's Avatar
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    Bill did not buy Joe Val's mandolin. He had two Lloyd Loar mandolins.
    When I asked him how many mandolins he had, he told me he had about 14.

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    Registered User JAK's Avatar
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    Thanks Evan, interesting information. There is a guy here in the San Francisco North Bay Area, a guitar player, who auditioned and got a job with Joe Val, but it didn't last very long because Joe got seriously ill, as you know, it was quite a number of years ago.
    John A. Karsemeyer

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