View Full Version : Labeda F5 Premium

Nov-02-2013, 10:31pm

Ivan Kelsall
Nov-03-2013, 4:54am
Well,we're waiting !. Do you like it /hate it ?.What does it sound like/ is it a new one or used ?.Do you consider the build quality good/bad ?. Come on !!!!.:grin:
Here's the F5 Premium that i once owned & the Lebeda 'Special' that i own now. The build quality of both was as good as i've ever seen.Unfortunately in my ignorance,i let the 'Premium' go before i'd let it open up & mature tonally. The 'Special' is superb in every way (for me) & is going precisely nowhere !,

Nov-03-2013, 8:37am

It is a VERY nice mando. Sounds nice and has a build quality that is over the top. Every little detail is there. The sound is rich and full with enough top end shimmer to sparkle. I tormented the better half and went in a private lesson room at Elderly with 5 instruments. The Lebeda was in every way the obvious choice. It had just arrived, so my timing was right.

Uncle Choppy
Nov-03-2013, 6:40pm
Another Lebeda owner (and longtime cafe absentee) here.

I have a 2005 F5 Standard plus (although I've no idea what makes it a "plus").

I like it a lot but don't see the quality that others speak of with their premium models. The lacquer is badly applied over the Lebeda name inlay and it looks like a cloudy, cracked mess from some angles. In addition there are a couple of weird green patches on the neck, under the gloss layer. I actually returned the first F5 because of the inlay problem but the replacement had the same issue so I just kept it.

I suspect that this is the lack of quality control that happens when you start to ship out instruments to other builders, as I believe Mr Lebeda did at this time. It's a pity because it plays really well (big frets, low action) a lot more easily than my other mandolin, a Pomeroy A style which was meant to replace it!


Nov-03-2013, 8:12pm
I am fortunate to have Elderly an hour from me, so I got to go a few times. I bought the Labeda based on tone and playability. The rest of the build is icing on the cake. I got what I think is a killer deal and am very happy with it. Sorry for the luck with yours.

Uncle Choppy
Nov-04-2013, 3:16am
I still really like the mandolin. As with yours, the tone and playability are great - so much so that I can't yet let it go as I'd planned!

Dave Hanson
Nov-04-2013, 3:25am
' Labeda ' ? not Lebeda ?

Dave H

Ivan Kelsall
Nov-04-2013, 5:07am
When Jiri was building mandolins in 'quantity' several years ago,he had other builders (mainly Violin makers) working for him. I've no doubt that he oversaw the build quality himself,but in a far from perfect world,a 'less than perfectly finished' mandolin escaping doesn't stretch the imagination too far. Both the ones that i've owned,my 'Premium Plus' & my current 'Special', had flawless build quality.In fact i'd venture to say that as nice as my Weber "Fern" is,in some respects,the attention to detail on my Lebeda makes it look cheap (not really) but you'll get my inference. Anybody who has a really good Lebeda,or who has the chance to buy one,should keep it or buy it. I have been told that depending on who did the final finish of some of the instruments that Jiri produced,they can be anything from pretty poor sounding to terrific. I'm very,very fortunate to own the 'Special' built by Jiri himself as a 'showpiece' mandolin, made for Jeff Cowherd (the J.Bovier maker) when Jeff was Jiri's main man in the USA.
I'm very pleased indeed that the OP has a good Lebeda himself & as we all know,it should only get better over time - well done !

Uncle Choppy
Nov-04-2013, 8:47am
Thanks for the information Ivan.

I think it must just have been a badly finished batch that were sent to the UK. It's also not something I've ever seen other than on the two standards I've played.

I haven't enough experience to judge if it's poor sounding or not. Like many F5s it seems to need to open up a bit and to me it sounds better when it's been played for a while, although this may be just the power of suggestion! Also, the biggest thing I could do to improve any tone I produce would be to learn to play (a lot) better.

As you say, well done to Chad for getting a lovely Lebeda and I'm sure he'll enjoy owning it for a long time.

I've had a bash on many Eastman mandolins as well as the odd Krishot/Kristufek, Rigel, Weber etc. and I'm happy with the Lebeda.