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Thread: Advice on Gibson F5-G

  1. #1
    ~~~~~~~~~~ Paul Haley's Avatar
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    Question Advice on Gibson F5-G

    Hello, I'm looking to buy a brand new Gibson F5-G but because of my geographical location will almost certainly have to purchase mail order (yes I know that that's not the way to buy an instrument at this level). Does anyone out there have experience of these instruments? Gibson's reputation did take a severe pounding some years ago (with some justification). Have they managed to recover by producing instruments worthy of their name (and price?). Thanks in advance.
    Paul Haley

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    Registered User Chris Biorkman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    Never buy a Gibson without playing it first. I learned that the hard way about two years ago, luckily the seller exchanged it.
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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    Paul,
    I purchased a Gibson f5g a 11/2 years ago. Like you I had to order mine. I was also nervous about ordering it. I called Gibson and spoke to Dave Harvey over the phone about it and after speaking to him I made the order. The mandolin was everthing that Dave said it would be and I am very, very happy with the purchase. I have played several f5g's and I have not played a bad one yet. So I would say give them a call and make the order. There is a killer deal on a used on on the Cafe website today.

    Like you I had read post on here and got the idea that people do not have good impressions on Gibson, but I have to tell you my experience was nothing but good. Great service, and my mando is stellar. In fact I would put it up against most mandolins in that price range as well as some that are much more expensive.

    Kelvin

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    Registered User Mike Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    I have an F5G 2005 which I recieved, through the mail, sight unseen. Result of a warranty deal, I got it without hearing it. I could not be happier. I've listened to all the grousing about Gibson on the Cafe for years. They had some VERY uneven quality in the past, but since hiring folks like Triggs, Derrington and Harvey, the quality is there. Hopefully you can purchase with a return policy in case you are not happy with the instrument. I've played a dozen or so F5Gs over the years and they all sounded good to me. There are two in my vicinity that I jam with, and frankly, they both have a very slight edge over mine. Be aware that I am an owner, and have some prejudice, but I believe that the F5G is a VERY viable choice between the current crop of plain jane Jam Masters and the more expensive Ferns and signiture mandos. Used is such a cost saving over new, that I feel that's the only way to go.
    PS- Also be aware that the opinion of Cafe members such as Chris are based on solid experience. He's not known for attitude or rash judgement. Good luck.
    Mike Snyder

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    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    There are frequently used F-5G's offered for sale -- in fact a number of them come through the Cafe classified every year -- you can save money and you can get the opinion of the owner before buying.

    In my opinion you probably won't go wrong -- I've probably picked on 10 - 15 F-5G's over the last 10 years and I don't recall a bad one. I'm sure there are some but I've not seen any. Another great option is the Mandolin Store -- they often have great used mandolins.
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    Registered User jim_n_virginia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    There are not many mandolins I would buy without playing it first but to date I have bought 4 Gibsons in 8 years without playing them first and ALL of them were outstanding.

    Pay no attention to Chris he hates Gibson, Microsoft, AOL and big oil!


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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    Many thanks to all for your most helpful advice. I suppose the real question is the extent to which manufacturers achieve a level of consistent quality which allows their products to be purchased unseen and unheard.
    Paul Haley

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    Registered User Mike Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    I feel for you, Paul. Buying without playing is always a bit of a crapshoot. Even moreso, I'd imagine, on the far side of the pond. There are two F5Gs in the classifieds currently, in addition to a Gibson built Flatiron Festival F. The Flatiron is identical to an F5G with the exception of the color. It's a 2000 model. I owned a 2001 which was it's twin. Very nice mandolins, indeed. Several Cafe members own similar instruments. I guess the return policy on a mandolin is little incentive to buy without playing if you live in Scotland. The best advice you've got so far was from Kelvin. Call Gibson and talk to Harvey. Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
    Mike Snyder

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    Registered User pickinNgrinnin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    Also consider a Nashville Flatiron Festival F. They are essentially the same Mandolins as the Nashville Gibson F5-G's with some minor cosmetic differences. The Festivals sell for quite a bit less than the F5-G's Both Mandolins are graduated to Loar specifications.

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    Registered User F5G WIZ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    Unless for some reason you have your heart set on a brand new one, buy a used one. The only advantage to a new one is the warranty and unless you plan on keeping it forever (most people do not) it's not worth the extra thousand or so bucks. Hypothetically if you had to sell your brand new F5G a week after you bought it for some reason, you're not going to get anywhere close to what you payed for it new. On the other hand if you buy one used you can usually sell it later for what you payed or more. However if it must be a new one, get ahold of Dennis Vance at the Mandolin Store. He will send you one that sounds great and is set up right.

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    Mike Parks woodwizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    I owned a 2001 F5G once and thought it to sound and play pretty nice. Played several of them as well. Some were better than others but none were bad. If you're looking for new I'll second Dennis Vance at the Mandolin Store. He's a straight shooter. But I also really think getting a used one is not a bad idea when you think about the money part. oh ... did I say I love Gibsons.
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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    Once again, many thanks for your advice.
    Paul Haley

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    Registered User John Gardinsky's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    I bought an F5G new in 01. If I had to do it over I would have let someone else buy it then buy it from them. Go used. Good mandos. John

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    A Baker Family Tradition Bluegrassrules's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    I will "third" The Mandolin Store, great owners. I have bought two mandolins from them. Call and talk to them, tell them what type of sound to are going for,ask that they pick the best one to suite your ear.
    Good luck
    "The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over and then expecting different results" (so buy a better mando) Sir Winston Churchill
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    ~~~~~~~~~~ Paul Haley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    Well colleagues, despite all of your excellent advice my attempts to source a Gibson F-5G have failed miserably despite having a Gibson dealer trying for weeks to do so. It would appear that the recession isn't affecting the guys in Nashville as they seem completely uninterested in shipping to Scotland. I wish them well and will move on. No wonder the Acoustic Music Company seems to be so beloved in the UK. Now it's the relatively trivial business of the 1232 mile round trip to sample their wares.
    Paul Haley

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    Registered User kirksdad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    Paul;

    Good luck on your search. I haven't ever played a bad F5-G, but would heed the words of the others saying try to buy it used. jim_in_virginia has some guidlines for the used ones, including anything after 2001 (i think thats right). Another Gibson model that will shock you in a good way...is the Jam Master Series, really good low frills Gibsons, with great sound and feel.
    One day I'll stop all this crazy buyin', practicin', and playin'........course I'll be dead.......

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    Registered User Steve Perry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    Have you tried First Quality here in Louisville? The last time I was in there a couple of weeks ago they had a pretty good F5G hanging on the wall. I'm pretty sure they would have no problem shipping one overseas.

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    Okay, I'm with you fellas tburcham's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    Having owned an F5G in the past, I would prefer the hands-on play policy. My F5G turned into a good mandolin, but only after a lot of play time (including Siminoff DeDamping). I would have a satisfaction guarantee before I committed that much money to a mandolin purchase through a mail order. I think most reputable dealers out there will do this.
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    Registered User J.Albert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    Paul wrote:
    "Many thanks to all for your most helpful advice. I suppose the real question is the extent to which manufacturers achieve a level of consistent quality which allows their products to be purchased unseen and unheard."

    If you are looking for a brand that has perhaps the best consistency, workmanship, and sound from one example to the next, perhaps you ought to be looking at Collings.

    If you have the money for a new F-5g, you have enough for either a new Collings MF, or a used MF-5.

    Buying sight and sound unseen, your best chances of getting a winner that's "comparable to others from the same manufacturer" is with a Collings.

    Just some thoughts,
    - John

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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    I have a '91 Flatiron (Weber). I've played over 20 Gibsons since I bought the Flatiron in '91. I have only played one Gibson that I thought was better. I'm only referring to Gibsons that were built since '91. I have not played any of the distressed/higher priced ones. It sure looks like there are a lot of Gibson fans here who aren't afraid to buy it my mail.

    However, I've played several Daley mandolins, $4,000 for the Standard. I thought they all were better than my Flatiron. Just my experience and opinion.
    re simmers

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    ~~~~~~~~~~ Paul Haley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    I have bought an airline ticket and am heading to the south of England to visit the Acoustic Music Company which has a wide range of mandolins for sale (no Gibsons).
    Paul Haley

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    Default Re: Advice on Gibson F5-G

    Have visited TAMCO. I was truly astonished at the variability of finish quality on very expensive instruments from shabby to sublime. Much more than I am used to with Guitars. I am now the proud owner of a new Summit Artist mandolin. Many thanks for all your helpful suggestions over the past few weeks. I now need to do sufficient practice to justify the expenditure.
    Paul Haley

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