» Banjo Cafe: a companion site for banjo

Mandolin Cafe News

New Music
Builder News
Special Events
Bill Graham

News Search

NOTE: you are viewing old, archived Mandolin Cafe News articles. Our news has relocated here.

Tony Williamson - Lloyd Loar Mandolins

By Mandolin Cafe
October 16, 2011 - 9:00 pm

Email article Email article  Printer friendly Printer friendly

Tony Williamson - Lloyd Loar Mandolins

Tony Williamson - Lloyd Loar Mandolins

Tony Williamson, one of the country's premier vintage instrument dealers and acoustic musicians has announced the release of his newest self-produced project, Lloyd Loar Mandolins.

On the recording Tony plays 13 different Loar era instruments made in the Gibson Kalamazoo factory during a two year period beginning December, 1922. All are signed by Loar except for two which were shipped out a few years later with no signature.

All instruments on the recording are preserved in original condition with the exception of #87367 which has been restored to period correct. All were set up identically and strung with D'Addario EXP74 strings. Each mandolin was played studio live into a pair of vintage Neumann U47 microphones and delivered through Neve pre-amps. There were no electronic effects or EQ used in mixing and only minimum room placement employed in mastering.

"My hope is that the listener can hear the natural brilliance of these amazing instruments and may appreciate the subtle differences in their tone. The album is available for purchase from Mandolin Central now and in November will be distributed by David Grisman's Acoustic Oasis in a download format," said Williamson.

Selections on the recording are as follows, including the instrument's nickname, serial number and date (if available).

Theme/Twin River Rag recorded on "Gold 'un"
#79719 - December 1, 1924

All Of Me recorded on "Cleveland"
#75696 - February 18, 1924

Secret Love recorded on "Tiger"
#72211 - February 26, 1923 (NOTE: listed as April 26, 1923 in liner notes)

Manha de Carnival/Tico Tico recorded on "Short Fern"

Cherokee recorded on "Crusher," made available courtesy David Grisman and Acoustic disc
#71635 - December 20, 1922

Satin Doll recorded on "Lloyd's Other Brother Lloyd"
#72450 - March 16, 1923

Never Find Another You recorded on "The Fern"

Dusty Miller recorded on "Mon"
#73994 - July 9, 1923

Fiddle Tunes recorded on "The Twenty-Two"
#71633 12/20/22

What Is This Thing Called Love recorded on "Fred"
#75702 - February 18, 1924

Ain't Misbehavin' recorded on "Zeibarth"
#72857 - April 12, 1923

Lovely Hula Hands recorded on "The Green Hornet"
#72060 - February 8, 1923

Song For Aimée recorded on "Lloyd"
#75941 - March 31, 1924

Lloyd Loar Mandolin Song recorded on "Lloyd"
#75941 - March 31, 1924

At the end of the CD there are 14 additional tracks. Each is played on a different 1920s Loar era F-5 except one which features a modern mandolin built by Australian luthier Paul Duff (NOTE: David Grisman's mandolin "Crusher" does not appear on these final tracks). With the CD is a card to mail back the instruments matched with the tracks. The person with the most correct answers will receive a $1,000 gift certificate from Mandolin Central good for any items available on their web site. Purchase of a CD is required for entry and only entries on the official form are accepted. See the Mandolin Central web site for additional details.

Winner will be announced at Tony Williamson's "Lloyd Loar Mandolins" set on Friday, April 27, 2012 at Merlefest.

Additional information:
Mandolin Central


Post a Comment

You may leave a comment if you have a Mandolin Cafe Forum account. Clicking "Post a Comment" below will take you to the forum where you can complete this action. Please note that once you have, your comment will appear both on this page and on our forum. YOU MUST BE LOGGED IN to your Mandolin Cafe forum account to comment.

» View Full Version of These Comments

Reader Comments

Mandolin Mick
October 17, 2011 02:32 AM
Can't wait to hear this! smile
October 17, 2011 05:22 AM
What a great recording effort. This ought to be something to listen to. If it is as well recorded as the "At McBanes Mill" it should sound really nice. And talk about product endorsement for Paul Duff (who deserves it).
Jonathan James
October 17, 2011 10:32 AM
This should be a great project; can't wait.
October 17, 2011 02:50 PM
Glad to see that Tony is doing this. We tried to pull off a all Loar tasting at the Loar Fest in California a few years ago, but was unable to complete the project due to circumstances beyond our control. Can't wait to hear the recordings.
Mandolin Mick
October 17, 2011 03:21 PM
My `98 Rattlesnake was built from blueprints made of Tony's Loar (#75941). smile

You can read about his association with Rattlesnakes and Olin Davis here:

October 19, 2011 08:35 AM
Got my copy in the mail this morning and it is playing in the background as I write this. Beautiful recording- thanks Tony! But there is no way in Hades that I will be able to guess which Loar is which in the contest. They all sound wonderful.
October 20, 2011 05:01 AM
Quote from stever1422: Got my copy in the mail this morning and it is playing in the background as I write this. Beautiful recording- thanks Tony! But there is no way in Hades that I will be able to guess which Loar is which in the contest. They all sound wonderful. End Quote

Could you please post a more indepth review about this recording.
- How's the recording setup? Does it sound organic (acoustically pleasing like the Tone Poems/-Poets recordings)?
- Does each track cover most aspects of mandolin playing (double stops, tremolo, chops etc.)?
- Is it just the mandolin by itself or is there acompaniment (if so, what instrument)?
- Were the tracks all recorded in the same environment (I remember "The Lloyd Loar song being recorded on the "All For Naught" record allready and "Cherokee" is on the Tone Poets CD)?
- Do the instruments sound alike or do they have significant differences in the sound?

Looking forward to your (or someone else's) review.
Jeff Hoelter
October 20, 2011 02:58 PM
Tony Williamson makes some of the most amazing recordings...time to dig some of them out, and buy this new one.
Mandolin Central
October 26, 2011 02:28 PM
Thank you to all the Mandolin Cafe subscribers for the overwhelming support for my new project, "Lloyd Loar Mandolins." As you might expect it is a labor of love and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to play these wonderful mandolins for you. Here, I want to answer questions I have received: yes, some of these mandolins are for sale and listed at mandolincentral.com; some are ones that I own or have owned. All are among my favorite instruments I have ever encountered. The recording is definitely organic, as I explain in the website and on the liner notes, these are solo arrangements recorded live in a pure, audiophile setting. All the tracks were recorded in this setting on two days in August except the "Cherokee" which was borrowed from my performance on David Grisman's Tone Poets. CD Copies are already being shipped from Mandolin Central even though the release date is not until November 1st. We will also be distributed online by Acoustic Oasis and high quality wave files will be available. The session: my mandolin tech Ben Maschal and I spent several days getting the instruments set up, all to the same specs using D'Addario EXP74strings. Ben was also on hand at the studio with last minute adjustments, and as he handed me each instrument, I simply began playing and the resultant track is the music that the mandolin and I connected with at that time. There are individual bonus tracks where all mandolins play the same piece. After mastering, my engineer set the bonus tracks on shuffle play and the resultant order was determined for the CD and the only listing of the order was in the form of a print out, which is stored in the vault at Mandolin Central. It will be opened prior to my solo set at Merlefest in April 2012 and the winner will be decided then and the contest will officially be over. Even I do not know the order and plan to take the test myself (but I will not be qualified for prizes!) To me, all the mandolins are great; there are significant differences in tone, however, which to me are distinct but subtle. If you are interested in discerning these nuances, I would say listen closely! You will not be able to benefit from the subtleties of these instruments by listening to mp3s versions. If you just want to enjoy the program of music, I would hope that the Cd will be very satisfying in that regard as well. Let me know what you think!! --Tony Williamson
Clement Barrera-Ng
October 26, 2011 05:37 PM
Just ordered my copy online. Can't wait to get it. Thanks
October 26, 2011 05:54 PM
Very Sweet and Super Kool CD!!,,I got 3 copies of it from Tony a few days ago,,and simply love it "And 2 are gifts",,Awesome CD,,really can hear the different tonal qualities of each mandolin,,all sound great but I do have my favorites,,this goes along with the different threads here on the forum I think?,,Everyone should give this a listen if ya think all Loars are alike,,Personally I think even some non-loars sound everyway as good if not better than some Loars!,Its all personal preferance!
Tony knows how to get the tone out of em and he is a real good guy to deal with,down to a cd or 2 or a fine vintage instrument!
Buy this CD,,you will love it! Happy pickin,,Billy Smith smile
November 01, 2011 01:52 PM
Today's the release day! I've already got my pre-release copy, and must say that it's the most amazing cd I've ever heard! I have reviewed it here:

Lloyd Loar Mandolins
November 01, 2011 02:01 PM
Quote from Mandolin Central: Thank you to all the Mandolin Cafe subscribers for the overwhelming support for my new project, "Lloyd Loar Mandolins." Even I do not know the order and plan to take the test myself (but I will not be qualified for prizes!) End Quote

Now there is a fair guy- disqualifying himself from his own contest!

I still have no clue about the order of instruments, but every time I listen to the CD I like it more. Nicely done!
Clement Barrera-Ng
November 01, 2011 06:59 PM
Just got my copy in the mail today. Can't wait to pop it in to the CD player when I get home!
Mandolin Central
November 07, 2011 11:49 AM
Each week, the "Lloyd Loar Mandolin" page continues to grow, with more photos of mandolins and stories about the songs and details about the instruments. This is an absolutely FREE aspect of this project and is available to everyone, whether you buy the CD or not. Just click on the link below. Thank you to all who have purchased the CD, and it is our hope that this information will enrich your experience with the project. Also, there are hints there which may help with your contest entry (purchase of the CD IS required to enter the contest). Enjoy!

November 16, 2011 07:24 PM
Received my copy of Lloyd Loar Mandolins last week. I'm enjoying the CD, not only the sounds of the mandos but the songs themselves.

Inspired me to stop by Mandolin Central. Tony was gracious enough to allow me to listen to and play three of the Loar F-5's he used on this project. Man! Made my heart flutter!

Thanks Tony!
November 16, 2011 07:37 PM
So , Whatdjya think ?
How'd they compare to other mandos you've played & to each other ?
I've only had the good fortune to pick on one, on a couple of different occasions .
Mandolin Central
April 02, 2012 07:40 AM
thanks for all the wonderful feedback on my latest cd "Lloyd Loar Mandolins". I wish to remind all those who have purchased and those who intend to get a copy that the deadline for the $1000 gift certificate contest is April 27, the Friday of Merlefest where this material will be performed live. If you plan on mailing your entry form, please make sure your mailing ARRIVES at Mandolin Central no later than April 25 so we can get them counted and graded. Also, we will continue to accept entries delivered in person at Merlefest, right up to the hour of the contest. Good luck!!
Scott Tichenor
April 28, 2012 06:43 AM
Tracks revealed. Tony just sent this email:

At the conclusion of Tony Williamson's "Lloyd Loar Mandolin" set at Merlefest on Friday April 27, a gift certificate for $1000 worth of merchandise from Mandolin Central was awarded to Hayden Savery, the winner of the Lloyd Loar identification contest. Here, for the first time, we reveal the identity of all the mandolins played on the CD bonus tracks 15 through 27:

scale A: The Fern #84682
scale B: Fred #75702 2/18/24
scale C:. 22 #71633 12/20/22
scale D: Cleveland #75696 2/18/24
scale E: 2006 Paul Duff F-5
scale F: Gold 'un #79719 12/1/24
scale G: Green Hornet #72060 2/8/23
scale H: Lloyd #75941 3/31/24
scale I: Lloyd's other brother Lloyd # 72450 3/16/23
scale J: Mon #73994 7/9/23
scale K: Short Fern #87367
scale L: Tiger #72211 4/26/23
scale M: Zeibarth #72857 4/12/23

Mandolin Central
June 01, 2012 01:38 PM
As many of you already know, the Lloyd Loar mandolin project is now available for download at Acoustic Oasis:


I would love to hear some feedback on the downloads. My first impressions are that, while the mp3s do give a nice sense of the performance aspect of the project, they do not give the aural definition of the mandolins as captured in this audiophile recording. The FLAC on the other hand is remarkable well defined and compares well with the Cd quality; I am pretty happy with those. Anyone have any thoughts? thanks! tw
Mandolin Central
June 01, 2012 01:42 PM
ps. Due to the amazing response to this project, I making plans to begin recording Lloyd Loar Mandolins Vol. 2 with another amazing dozen; stay tuned! tw
June 02, 2012 05:09 PM
Awesome! Include the matching tracks for all of 'em together on the new CD!
Mandolin Central
June 04, 2012 11:50 AM
There is some talk here of making the next volume a DVD instead of a CD... Same high quality audiophile audio recording, just feeding the Neumanns directly into the iPad camera. I think this might actually be very useful in terms of appreciating and associating each unique sound with the individual mandolin. thoughts anyone?
June 05, 2012 08:51 PM
Great idea! Better yet, get a local photographer to use a digital hi-def camera and spend a few moments showing the mandolin before playing.

Weber MandolinsFolkMusician.com - Acoustic Instrument OutfittersEllis MandolinsJustStrings.comElderly InstrumentsMandolin World HeadquatersThe Music EmporiumMorgan MusicThe Mandolin StoreEastman MandolinsD'Addario StringsKentucky MandolinsAcoustic Music Company