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The Loar Announces The LM-300 Mandolin

By Ashley Atz - The Loar
July 27, 2010 - 6:30 pm

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Brisbane, Calif. — The Loar has announced the release of their first x-braced A-model mandolin, hand-carved by their team of expert luthiers at The Loar Hand Carved Workshop, the birthplace of the best-selling LM-400, 600 and 700 mandolins.

The Loar's new hand carved A-model mandolin (LM-300-VS) was developed using classic tried-and-true design techniques. With hand-shaped x-bracing and stripped down appointments, the LM-300 gives players the sound they've come to expect from The Loar at an unprecedented price point.

The Loar LM-300 mandolin is assembled with a solid carved spruce top and solid maple back and sides. The maple neck has a comfortable rounded v-profile to fit in the hand perfectly.

For players who prefer a more streamlined look, the LM-300 has no purfling, just a single layer of ivoroid binding. High-quality Grover tuners, nickel hardware and an extremely thin polyurethane lacquer finish all combine to make this professional-quality instrument an amazing value and a first for the professional mandolin market.

The Loar LM-300-VS has a street price of $374.99 and is available now. Additional detail images of the LM-300 are available at their web site (links follow).

Additional information:
LM-300 at The Loar web site
theloar.com

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Reader Comments

Dfyngravity
July 27, 2010 08:48 PM
Very nice! This seems like another great bang for your buck. It is nice to see a great company recognize the need for more affordable great mandolins. And of course the "Loar A5" had to be there next step. I have been looking for my next bluegrass mandolin, and this may be just what the doctor ordered!
Ron McMillan
July 29, 2010 04:24 AM
The Loar has managed to engineer a serious market presence in what feels like rather a short time, and the LM-300 (along with the LM-400 that was only announced a short time ago) is another solid marketing step. Hand carved, good quality control, fine components - and prices that place them in direct competition with far inferior factory-made instruments. What's not to like about that? Budget restraints dictate that The Loars are likely candidates for my next mandolin, which will be an A model, and in a very short period the competition for my measly budget has become much more intense. I think it'll be an LM-400 for me, and soon.

br
f5joe
July 29, 2010 03:48 PM
Admittedly, I've been taking a break from my mandos for a little while. I just can't get a head of steam up over "The Loar" products. They are reasonable instruments (yes, I've played quite a few) for the price ranges. I think my problem is "The Name".

Seems underhanded to me. Sorry, that's just how I see it. ymmv
J.Albert
July 29, 2010 05:39 PM
"Admittedly, I've been taking a break from my mandos for a little while. I just can't get a head of steam up over "The Loar" products. They are reasonable instruments (yes, I've played quite a few) for the price ranges. I think my problem is "The Name".
Seems underhanded to me. Sorry, that's just how I see it."

I believe that Greg Rich somehow got control of the "Loar" name back when he was working at Gibson in the banjo department. Apparently Gibson wasn't interested at the time, so Rich trademarked it. He is either directly involved in the production of "The Loar" mandolins, or if not, that they are being made under his license.

Greg also got control of the "Recording King" name, again which may have been because Gibson wasn't interested in it. He's done very nice things with the Recording King line of banjos and guitars (the latter of which I've seen Big Joe Vest speak very highly).

Whether he did anything "underhanded" or not, I can't say. Greg doesn't seem to be a member here, although he does post frequently over at banjohangout.org.

- John
Potosimando
July 30, 2010 06:17 PM
I assume the name is perfectly legal. Regardless, I would never buy a "The Loar", nor would I ever talk it up or encourage anyone to consider buying one, simply because of the name...it is hard for me to see the name as anything but underhanded piggy-backing and misleading, and it likely will prove to be more so as time goes on. Being legal doesn't mean that something is right.

And what a shame, as the instrument line gets high marks for tone and playability, relative to others in its price range and beyond. In my opinion an instrument ought to be able to stand on its own two feet without relying on marketing gimickry or slight-of-hand...but I guess we are more of a "marketing" culture than a "quality" culture (marketing first, quality second). Surely "The Loar" name will always be a problem for many, especially those of us who hold the name Loar in a special place.

Were I to sign this post "The David Grisman", "The Chris Thile", or whoever, then many would be P.O.'d and rightly so.
Mike Bunting
July 30, 2010 07:43 PM
Quote from Potosimando: I assume the name is perfectly legal. Regardless, I would never buy a "The Loar", nor would I ever talk it up or encourage anyone to consider buying one, simply because of the name...it is hard for me to see the name as anything but underhanded piggy-backing and misleading, and it likely will prove to be more so as time goes on. Being legal doesn't mean that something is right.

And what a shame, as the instrument line gets high marks for tone and playability, relative to others in its price range and beyond. In my opinion an instrument ought to be able to stand on its own two feet without relying on marketing gimickry or slight-of-hand...but I guess we are more of a "marketing" culture than a "quality" culture (marketing first, quality second). Surely "The Loar" name will always be a problem for many, especially those of us who hold the name Loar in a special place.

Were I to sign this post "The David Grisman", "The Chris Thile", or whoever, then many would be P.O.'d and rightly so. End Quote
I totally agree, I thought it was a cheap marketing ploy when they first came out and still do.

The Mike
dkinyon31
July 30, 2010 10:08 PM
I am very disappointed in the Loar Mandolins. I purchased a Loar LM-700-VS about 6 to 7 weeks ago. I went through the whole climate adjusting proccess like I have with my Martin guitars. In addition the instrument was never out of my home and what happens, a top crack running from the lower F-Hole developed about an inch long. I contacted my online dealer and explained the problem to him and I was told I was the second one with a 700 model this month that has developed a top crack in the SAME place. I was told this month alone, he has had 2 700s and 1 300 develop top cracks. My 700 was shipped back to him and at my dealers recommendation a Kentucky 1000 is now on it's way to me. Though the Loars look good, based on my experiece and what my dealer has seen, I would not recommend the Loar Mandolin.
Dave
f5joe
July 30, 2010 11:00 PM
All the KM-1000's of the recent configuration I've seen have been excellent plus. Good luck dkinyon13.
Ron McMillan
July 31, 2010 02:14 AM
I always thought the name 'The Loar' was clumsy at best, but I am baffled by how it seems to have raised some hackles among mandolin lovers. Mr Loar's huge contribution to musical instrument acoustics is highly valued, and quite rightly so, but to raise his very name onto an untouchable saintly pedestal is quite scary, and rather reminiscent of personality cultism or even worse (in my own view), blinkered religious adulation.

I still think the name stinks - but now I am beginning to wonder if it might have a hint of irony to it. I hope so.

Of far greater interest to me is how the instruments under that brand are threatening to re-write the value-for-money expectations of budget-priced mandolins, and to permanently raise the quality bar at the same time.

br
f5joe
July 31, 2010 08:17 AM
blueron: Naw, Kentucky's already raised the bar. And, no ..... I don't own a Kentucky mandolin.
Ron McMillan
July 31, 2010 09:09 AM
Quote from f5joe: blueron: Naw, Kentucky's already raised the bar. And, no ..... I don't own a Kentucky mandolin. End Quote

I'm delighted to hear it. The more the quality/price coefficient improves, the better off we all are. Do you mean with regards to the 900 model Kentucky, or do their lower-priced mandolins also represent a raising of the bar?


ron
Mike Bunting
July 31, 2010 03:14 PM
Quote from blueron: I always thought the name 'The Loar' was clumsy at best, but I am baffled by how it seems to have raised some hackles among mandolin lovers. Mr Loar's huge contribution to musical instrument acoustics is highly valued, and quite rightly so, but to raise his very name onto an untouchable saintly pedestal is quite scary, and rather reminiscent of personality cultism or even worse (in my own view), blinkered religious adulation.
br End Quote
I think that you miss the point, my concern was not about the name used but the fact that it is a cheap marketing ploy. Loar generally refers to a fairly desirable Gibson mandolin of a particular era, not a "budget" priced mandolin.
Ed Goist
July 31, 2010 08:43 PM
Quote from Mike Bunting: ...snip...it is a cheap marketing ploy. Loar generally refers to a fairly desirable Gibson mandolin of a particular era, not a "budget" priced mandolin. End Quote

This is an excellent point and really not debatable. This is exactly why French winemakers (justifiably) are upset when American bulk wine producers call their wines Chablis, Burgundy, or Champagne based simply on style. When a product designation is hijacked like this it is clearly being done as a marketing ploy to 'piggy back' on the name and the beneficial reputation it has earned over decades (as with the Loar mandolin name) or centuries (as with the French wine regions mentioned).
f5joe
August 01, 2010 07:13 AM
Quote from Fast Eddie: This is an excellent point and really not debatable. This is exactly why French winemakers (justifiably) are upset when American bulk wine producers call their wines Chablis, Burgundy, or Champagne based simply on style. When a product designation is hijacked like this it is clearly being done as a marketing ploy to 'piggy back' on the name and the beneficial reputation it has earned over decades (as with the Loar mandolin name) or centuries (as with the French wine regions mentioned). End Quote

What he said!
bjewell
August 01, 2010 03:13 PM
You can call them Frisbees for all I care but a decent mandolin at these prices rocks in my book. Don't like the name? Okay, then do what Bill did! ;- )
f5joe
August 01, 2010 08:22 PM
Quote from bjewell: You can call them Frisbees for all I care but a decent mandolin at these prices rocks in my book. Don't like the name? Okay, then do what Bill did! ;- ) End Quote

Nice ..... or don't buy 'em. That's my choice.
Knucklehead
August 02, 2010 02:02 AM
I think The Loar products, especially the L600 mandolins are the "best" per dollar value among the lower priced F style mandolins.
I bought one from The Mandolin Store, and it's easily the loudest among several of my mandolins including two Gibsons. it's also one of the easiest to play with it's thicker and wider neck.

I've hear they may include a Gibson H5 mandola and K4 to their product line in the future; has anyone else heard this?
f5joe
August 02, 2010 06:07 AM
Quote from Knucklehead: I've hear they may include a Gibson H5 mandola and K4 to their product line in the future; has anyone else heard this? End Quote

Gibson? They have NO shame. LOL!
captpat
October 29, 2010 06:04 PM
I missed something. What did Bill do? I love my 600. Plays great for the price. I don't care if it's called a "car" or an "automobile". If it does what you're told it's going to do for the price you are paying, it's all good. A name is just a name.Everyone knows it's not a Gibson. So what? Anyone fooled by the supposed "marketing is an idiot.
Clement Barrera-Ng
October 30, 2010 04:28 PM
Quote from captpat: I missed something. What did Bill do? End Quote

Bill = Bill Monroe. See picture here:

http://www.mandolincafe.com/news/uploads/monroe-headstock-large.jpg
Pikalot
October 30, 2010 04:48 PM
Quote from bjewell: You can call them Frisbees for all I care but a decent mandolin at these prices rocks in my book. Don't like the name? Okay, then do what Bill did! ;- ) End Quote

Exactly. Gouge the name off and pick away. They're great instruments.

BTW.. One person that gets a couple of bad mandos and declares the whole line ####... There's an intellectual giant for you. Good grief.
CES
October 30, 2010 05:36 PM
I think I'd take Dawg's approach, so that I could sell to upgrade later (he used electrical tape rather than a pocket knife)...

I was remarkably turned off by the name at first as well, but I played a 700 model for about 15 minutes a couple of weeks ago along side a Kentucky 505, 855, 630, a couple of J. Boviers, and an Eastman 615. IMO, which is humble indeed, the Loar was the best sounding and playing of the bunch, with equivalent set-ups; it and one of the Boviers were really close, actually. Granted, my sampling was limited to those few examples of their respective lines, I wasn't able to compare to a KM-1000, and I also prefer the wider nut of the Loar and Bovier which is probably why I liked them better. But, after playing one, I'd consider a Loar if I were actively shopping in that range, name notwithstanding.

And I do own a Kentucky 675-S built shortly after their move to China...they have absolutely improved their product over the last 6 or 7 years. And, I can't imagine their audacity, ripping off a whole STATE!!! Pretty much all of the imports, Eastman and Gold Tone maybe withstanding, try to tag their products with USA/bluegrassy sounding monikers...I'll just stop there. Suffice it to say I can see both sides of this discussion...
Ivan Kelsall
November 01, 2010 02:11 AM
From Blueron - "......but now I am beginning to wonder if it might have a hint of irony to it " - Just a tad Ron. For me,the name is pretentious at least. But,regardless of the name,they should be judged on their quality or not,which seems self evident.
Like nearly all the Pac-rim Instruments,they'll have their adimirers & detractors,if you find a good one what's not to like,if you don't,then purchase another make.
Re.names,personally i love the name "Kentucky". To me it's redolent af ''all things Bluegrass'',not least because it was the home state of the man who started it all off,
Ivan
PS - Oh dear !,something ain't working ! ie.no italics & no 'bold' lettering ???.
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