View Full Version : Please Post a Picture of Your F4

J. Mark Lane
Apr-07-2005, 9:32pm
Greetings All,

I have ordered a new F4 (Pomeroy). Now I have to make some decisions. Among other things, I'm undecided about what finish I want on it. I was wondering if I could prevail upon you kind people to post pictures of your F4's. It would be fun to see them, and it would certainly help me to visualize the various approaches.

Also, I would welcome any comments about the tonal characteristics that follow from various decisions, such as the 12 vs 14 fret neck, one or two piece back, type of wood used for top, type of bridge, etc etc.



Apr-08-2005, 2:29am
"one or two piece back, type of wood used for top,"

I love the look of a one-piece slab-cut back on an F4...

And for some reason I like the look of a very wide-grained top on an F4...

Here's a fuzzy shot of #19693's backside...
It's a blackface...

Apr-08-2005, 8:20am
J.M.L. -

You've seen my F-4 #64 posted here. Here's a back shot again.

I went with the 1-piece back after much agonizing, and I am glad I did. I simply like the look.

I also went with a solid color. For my taste, too many 'bursts out there and they all tend to look very similar after a while (my opinion only, please don't beat me). I also think that a solid color tends to show off the beauty
of the wood.

Top is Engelmann, back and sides sugar maple. I went with Don's standard bridge. Nut and saddle are, as standard, boned.

I also went with the w/b/w binding and a pick guard.

The tonal quality is VERY rich and even. And it is incredibly LOUD. The quote is "the soundbox is very alive."

Been with me for a month now, and I have no complaints or hindsight at all.

Whatever you choose is personal and thereby can't be wrong. You'll love the instrument. Don is simply unbelievable in his work.

Hope this helps. If not, PM me and I'll answer any questions you might come up with (if I can).


Apr-08-2005, 8:21am
And the front.

Apr-08-2005, 9:16am
Plain old garden-variety 1924 Gibson....

Jim Garber
Apr-08-2005, 9:25am
Here is my 1924. Back has had some finish damage but i sort of like the flames on the flames look.




Apr-08-2005, 10:09am
And for some reason I like the look of a very wide-grained top on an F4...
Me too. I love this top, though it's a 3-pointer (not mine, taken from a thread here BTW):


I think that grain suits the oval hole Fs very well.

Jim Garber
Apr-08-2005, 1:03pm
How about posting maker's names with the pics?


Apr-08-2005, 2:45pm
How about posting maker's names with the pics?
Coming right up! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

The one I posted is a Brentrup (http://www.brentrup.com/), and there is a recent thread about it somewhere here...

The one Pat posted is a Driftwood (http://www.driftwoodmandolins.com/) and is still in the making.

HTH, Germain

Apr-08-2005, 2:48pm
The one I posted is a POMEROY.

Apr-08-2005, 10:53pm
Well okaayyy, since you inSIST... here's my 1914 blackface again:

Apr-09-2005, 6:44am
Frankenmouse, that's just too good looking.

Mark, I know you got some ideas, I did the same thing in "post your blackface A's" and got a little more on track.

Ken Waltham
Apr-09-2005, 8:49am
Here's a photo of a near mint 1926 F4 I have. A stunning example.

Apr-09-2005, 8:59am
Mark, Although I just posted this yesterday in groupings, it shows some of my F4s new and old. The identifications are in the groupings post. Bursts abound but there is a black faced Rose as well. I hope this helps in your finish selection. Doug

J. Mark Lane
Apr-09-2005, 9:08am
Good lord! What a bunch of great photos. Those are some beautiful mandolins..and what a tremendous collection that last one is!

Thanks, folks. This is very helpful. I've been leaning toward a dark burst. Lots to think about....

Ken Waltham
Apr-11-2005, 1:53pm
Here's another shot of the 1926 F4.
Never had another 1926, I once owned a 1925, the first vintage instrument I ever bought. It came in a mint Loar rectangular case.

Apr-11-2005, 9:03pm
Here's my brand spanking new Eastman 814. The back.

Apr-11-2005, 9:06pm
And the front... #It's no teens Gibson but I love the look and how nice it is to play. Spirit Varnish finish.


Ken Waltham
Apr-12-2005, 7:14pm
Back shot of the 1926 F4. Note the wavy lines in the varnish.

Darryl Wolfe
Apr-13-2005, 10:14am
Back shot of the 1926 F4. Note the wavy lines in the varnish.
That's because it's lacquer http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Apr-13-2005, 3:12pm
Interesting; on the 1926 F-4, the pickguard is screwed onto the body, same as the F-5. What year was the last year the old funky clamps were used??? Maybe it went back to the factory and they 'upgraded' from the clamp?

Ken Waltham
Apr-13-2005, 6:47pm
Funny thing, Darryl, it's not lacquer. But, I have a 1924 that is. Go figure.
The 1924 displays the same channeling that Ferns get, that grooving in the lacquer.
As for the p/g screw on bracket, those appear on F4's and A4's in late 1924. I've had a few of those, and frankly, prefer them over the clamps.

Apr-13-2005, 7:13pm
I don't blame you, every one with clamps I've seen has plain dug into the finish due to the owners not replacing the felt.

That's a beautiful mandolin, I want one real bad, and I know they just get more pricey as the years go by.

Jim Garber
Apr-13-2005, 9:07pm
My black 1924 A2(Z) has that screw on clamp also.


Darryl Wolfe
Apr-14-2005, 8:39am
My 25 A-2 has the screw clamp. I make my repros that way too. Ken is correct on the time frame...it started late '24.

Ken, I'll bet $50 that denatured alcohol does not melt that finish

Apr-14-2005, 11:30am

Apr-14-2005, 2:39pm
Nice work Don! Is that Batten #1 in teh 2nd pic? Did you refinish it then? Beautiful F4. (Looking forward to the 23rd. Trying to have at least one Monroe tune down.)

Apr-14-2005, 2:42pm
This topic is crazy. I just love these F4's. Ken Waltham - the next time I go back home to Canada (Grimsby), can I call you? I'd love to see some of your collection!

Apr-14-2005, 4:00pm
yeah, Alan, thats #1 and #3 on the left. I did'nt refinish it yet, but plan to strip the laq. off and varnish it along with #2. 23rd is closing in fast, i can't wait. Don

Ken Waltham
Apr-14-2005, 7:34pm
The thing with this 1926 F4, Darryl, is how much it is really like a 1924. Other post Loar F4's I've had show a variation in the flowerpot. It becomes more refined, and "pointy" in the ends of the flower leaves, and the logo always looks different... better.
This looks just like a Loar period F4 flowerpot and logo.
I won't take your bet on the alcohol, because it's way too mint to test!
But, I might have a nip, if you're buying.
I am Canadian... after all.

Ken Waltham
Apr-14-2005, 7:34pm
Levin for now... Grimsby is really close. Sure.

Ken Waltham
Apr-15-2005, 7:43am
Here's a look at my 1924 F4.
Has the same screw in clamp. This one's a very late one, I really like it. Very slim neck, which I prefer.

Ken Waltham
Apr-15-2005, 7:44am
The back. Interesting wood on this guy, a lot like a Fern.

Ken Waltham
Apr-15-2005, 7:46am
Finally, that lacquer "channeling" I was referring to earlier. Commonin Fern F5's from the 20's.

Loren Bailey
Apr-15-2005, 3:34pm
My Weber. #I call it an F2.4


Apr-15-2005, 3:47pm
Ken - that F4 is STUNNING!

Apr-15-2005, 3:49pm
There's not a dog in the bunch. Really beautiful instruments.

Ken Waltham
Apr-15-2005, 3:59pm
Thanks, Mandopete. You can't really see the wood in the back like I'd hoped.
It's really pretty. And nice rims, too.

Apr-22-2005, 10:49am
My new F4.....finished 4-16-05 or so. (#4) JD

Apr-22-2005, 10:52am

Apr-22-2005, 10:53am

Apr-22-2005, 10:54am

Apr-22-2005, 11:06am
Very, very nice JD. You're gettin' good at that building mandolin thing!

Apr-22-2005, 11:09am

That looks great.


Apr-22-2005, 11:14am
JD, I see a 3 year waiting list in your future.

Apr-23-2005, 4:54pm
Here's my 1923 F4. Just purchased this month!

Apr-23-2005, 4:56pm
Here's the back

Apr-24-2005, 12:41am
Gary H. Nice looking F4, How does it sound?

Apr-24-2005, 8:57am

Thanks for asking....It sounds as good as any F4 I've heard! I've been trying to buy this one for over two years but the previous owner wouldn't entertain selling it. Either that or he wanted waaayy too much for the sale. Must have caught him at a weak moment.

Scotti Adams
Apr-24-2005, 9:05am
great looking box Garry....something to be happy about and to hold on to.

Ken Waltham
Apr-25-2005, 12:31pm
There was some talk awhile ago about refinned, or non original F4's. There seemed to be a group who had the opinion that for the player, these may be preferrable.
I know for myself, this year I retired my '65 Tele from most of our shows, and am using a G&L Asat instead.
I own a 1929 Fern that fits that bill, too. Sounds fantastic, but, is less of a risk than an original one in a live setting.
Anyway, here's a player's F4. Refinned by Gibson in the late 40's to early 50's. At that time they changed the bridge and the tuners.
Prewar A50 p/g is courtesey of myself.
Nice back on this one.

Ken Waltham
Apr-25-2005, 12:32pm
The back.

May-26-2005, 11:20am
Here's some pix of my Cremona brown '21 f-4.

May-26-2005, 11:21am
Back...one of the prettiest backs I've seen on an F-4.

May-26-2005, 11:22am

May-26-2005, 8:18pm

Thats a fine looking F4, I could tell its a 1921 by the way the Gibson inlay is lower and touching the string post bushings. My 21 is the same way. I have noticed earlier/later examples the logo is set higher on the headstock...just some useless observations I have made http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

May-26-2005, 8:29pm
Wow - I've been hypnotized by that back! Looks like a close up of the Cosmos.

May-26-2005, 9:46pm
It's clearly defective, as there's no dot over the "i" in Gibson. I'd send it back for a refund. Let's test that so-called "Guaranteed" statement on the label...

May-27-2005, 9:08am
Michael, is yours Cremona? Someone has its sister in the batch, #68128. This one is 68127.
Mouse, not a chance! It's not going anywhere. # http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

May-27-2005, 9:52pm
Hans, Mine is not Cremona, its sn# 68036, can be seen in the archives

Rich Michaud
May-28-2005, 4:52am
Here's my 1912 blonde F4:

Rich Michaud
May-28-2005, 4:57am
Here's the peghead:

Rich Michaud
May-28-2005, 5:05am
One of my favorites is this my black faced 1920 F4:

Rich Michaud
May-28-2005, 5:11am
The 1920 F4 back:

Ken Waltham
May-28-2005, 10:23am
Rich; it's rare to see a black one this late, they tend to be earlier.
Very nice.

uncle ken
May-29-2005, 12:34am
I love this inlay pattern on the F4. Does anyone know where it came from originally and is it unique to the F4?

Jun-02-2005, 2:51pm
1913 Blond as fine as she looks.



Darryl Wolfe
Jun-02-2005, 3:33pm
Wonderful patina and color on that one

Jun-02-2005, 4:21pm
Rich: wow! love the back on that one. Do I have that one in the archives?

Jun-02-2005, 4:33pm
Here is my F4

Rich Michaud
Jun-18-2005, 4:17am
Dan, I dont think you have my 1920 blackface in the archive-I will send you some pics. It has an interesting background. It was played in a Russian Balalaika orchestra in the Bronx that played at Carnegie Hall in NYC in the 1930s. Rich

Aug-05-2005, 5:54pm
Copied from another thread because I'm a proud photo-mommy:


Aug-05-2005, 5:54pm
Dang lens has some sphere-izing


Aug-05-2005, 5:57pm
Check out how much more detail there is in the double-pot.. that's '22 on the left, '17 on the right

Aug-05-2005, 6:00pm
'22 on top, '17 on bottom.. scrolsesses

Aug-05-2005, 6:02pm
Light & Dark bursts

Jim Hilburn
Aug-05-2005, 6:44pm
That's the best mando photo I've ever seen.

Ken Berner
Aug-05-2005, 7:12pm
Jim, Talk about treasures; I'll bet they both sing!

Aug-06-2005, 3:12am
Thanks Jim. I'm building up a stack of the good ones, some day I'll have a pack of prints for sale somewhere!

Karen Kay
Aug-06-2005, 9:27pm
That 'Light & Dark Bursts' pic is really nice. #My very favorite is the one you posted on 'groupings' in January, '03 & 17 scrolls'. #It's been our screensaver on & off since I saw it. #You are clearly a gifted photographer which goes along with your gift for playing those great mando's. #

Aug-07-2005, 4:07am
Thanks Karen, very kind of you. Really I'm a hack with a point & shoot camera. Sometimes a tripod, sometimes the weather (ie my lighting) cooperates.

Just for fun, I sat with photoshop and color corrected the one at the top of this page. I'm trying it out printed and on a mousepad. If it turns out ok I'll add the prints up on one of the sites that makes prints in the states. I got a couple of nice shots of Reischman's Loar as well that I printed up and framed for the walls. It's nice to have mandolin prints around!

If you can imagine this, they go on the wooden floor.. the dog is kept at bay.. the tripod comes out, and I wait for the light to behave.. eventually I click, run upstairs, check it, curse, go back down. That shot on the top is one of 30 tries heh. Just as I think sheer bloody-minded persistence is the way to learn to pick, it seems also to be the case with photography!

Aug-17-2005, 11:55am
That shot on the top is one of 30 tries heh. Just as I think sheer bloody-minded persistence is the way to learn to pick, it seems also to be the case with photography!
dan, even professional photographers will take a few rolls of film before they get one thats good...if your only up to thirty, your doing great, nice F4's btw http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

JD Cowles
Aug-17-2005, 1:50pm
wow dan. #those two beauties are now wallpapering my oh so in need of a new background laptop (if that's OK). #thanks for the pics. #do you know the best way to get drool off of dell monitors?

Aug-18-2005, 7:08am
danb, You will sure have me in the line if you get them into selling status. Great photo, and, squeeze your heart F4's.

Aug-18-2005, 7:30am
Thanks, glad you guys like 'em. I can get a successful print at about 11x14".. because they are digital they aren't quite photographic quality (a little pixelly at hat slight enlargement). I haven't found a good digital photo printer in the states.. I looked at cafepress (they did that archive mousepad) and all my prints are a little too small for their formats. Ideally I'd have it go through one of the photo-prints from digital image places, tack on a little surcharge, and let them go. Does anyone have experience with a place to get good prints from digital photos in the states? I use photobox in England, and like the results.

The older photo from groupings is a little soft on the focus, so maybe not quite blow-up quality.. but I do have some nice prints from the Reischman photoshoot here- (the first three in particular) (http://www.mandolinarchive.com/perl/show_mando.pl?182)

Those do pretty well at about 8x10 or 11x14. Anyway, if anyone has suggestions for decent places that do prints and mail them from the net, let me know and I'll get some of these up there.

I'm a proud mommy, so much fun to photograph these beauties!

Bill Halsey
Oct-06-2005, 5:25pm
A newguy, I just made it thru this wonderful F-4 thread. Speaking of light & dark 'bursts, here's my two Gib's worth:

Bill Halsey
Oct-06-2005, 5:28pm
That's #22990 (1915) & #32875 (1916) on the right.

Bill Halsey
Oct-06-2005, 5:33pm

Bill Halsey
Oct-06-2005, 5:35pm
...and #32875

Oct-06-2005, 5:43pm
Bill, those are really nice. I like the one-piece back on #22990.

Jim M.
Oct-06-2005, 5:43pm
Wow, beautiful! I love the one-piece back. Those both look pristine. Are you the original owner? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

How do you decide which one to play?

Oct-06-2005, 6:56pm

Rich Michaud
Oct-06-2005, 9:24pm
Here goes-

Darryl Wolfe
Oct-07-2005, 7:46am
Notice how 32875 appears to have a mandola guard. Gibson had several sizes in their guards, but often mixed them up installing them

Bob DeVellis
Oct-07-2005, 8:09am
Here's a 1917 from a different perspective.

Darryl Wolfe
Oct-07-2005, 9:54am
Notice the traditional Gibson "twisted neck" syndrome. Another odd trait of most all Gibsons of the period...a little bit of counterclockwise set to the neck

Bill Halsey
Oct-07-2005, 10:51pm
Notice how 32875 appears to have a mandola guard. Gibson had several sizes in their guards, but often mixed them up installing them
Darryl, thanks for that reply -- I've wondered about that fingerrest for a long time. I checked the binding where the nails plug in and it's never been re-drilled, so I presume it's not a replacement. Certainly appreciate your expertise.

Bill Halsey
Oct-07-2005, 10:55pm
Notice the traditional Gibson "twisted neck" syndrome. Another odd trait of most all Gibsons of the period...a little bit of counterclockwise set to the neck
Right, D. I've got 'em going both ways! Gawgeous photo, Bob -- does that one have the large fingerrest, as well?

Oct-08-2005, 3:39am
Deep Purple.....

Bob DeVellis
Oct-08-2005, 9:37am
Bill - I guess it is the larger pickguard. Here's another shot where it can be seen better.

Oct-08-2005, 10:32am
the f-4 is such a beautiful instrument.

Oct-08-2005, 4:01pm
OK, I might as well jump in... here's some images of a cremona brown F4 (1922) that I just bought about a month ago. In a closet for the last 16 years. 100% original and GREAT sounding. A lucky find to be sure. Think vintage Gibson F4s are undervalued? Absolutely...

Oct-08-2005, 4:03pm
and another image...

Oct-08-2005, 4:06pm
and yet another image...

Oct-08-2005, 4:08pm
here comes another...

Oct-08-2005, 4:10pm
last one...

Bill Halsey
Oct-08-2005, 4:12pm
A lucky find to be sure. Think vintage Gibson F4s are undervalued?
I'm certainly counting on it!!

Congrats! Great find, lovely images...

Jim Hilburn
Oct-10-2005, 6:32pm
Here's #69147 that I'm doing a little work on the pickguard mount on. I think I was told it's a '21. I still have to hack off the excess threads protruding from the pickguard.

Jim Hilburn
Oct-10-2005, 6:34pm
Here's a detail front shot.

Jim Hilburn
Oct-10-2005, 6:37pm
Note that the extension frets are missing. It also has guitar-size frets and a radiused board. Based on Glassweb's shots, the fingerboard looks original, although there's still a lot of binding height even with the radius.

Jim Hilburn
Oct-10-2005, 6:39pm
Here's the peghead. At some point it got a customized truss rod cover.

Oct-11-2005, 1:51am
The truss rod cover is probably an original late '21. There are two loars with with engraved T-rod covers (one initials like this one)

Oct-11-2005, 6:02am
how rare are those aluminium bridges? btw thats one nice F-4 glassweb.

Oct-11-2005, 7:34am
2nd half of '21, then special order..

Oct-11-2005, 10:55pm
they appear later, tho.....
i wonder if gibson just tossed them out randomly....

Oct-12-2005, 4:37am
Those are obscenely tantalizing to an onlooker...

Someone should be forced to listen to a "Cher Does Los Angeles Bluegrass" album for posting them.. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif


Oct-12-2005, 7:24am
This one (currently in the classifieds) is a nice example of an Orange finish one from the early 1910s..


The chap selling it is a nice fellow who inherited it. Interesting things to note.. the earlier fretboard has a "Z" figure to the extension.. the orange finish was not used much after 1910-1914ish. These aren't the current vogue in aesthetics, but I've always been partial to them!

Oct-19-2005, 6:11am
Hi guys,

I discovered that the place I get digital prints from can set up a "public gallery", so some of the shots up here that folks like can be ordered from them..

Here's the link:

The lower gallery contains the good ones that I took from this thread. They look pretty nice on the wall, I've got some of the Loar ones up on the wall at home. I imagine that other sites that do digital printing also do this, so check it out if you do digital prints!

Chris Burt
Oct-19-2005, 11:51am
Dang, Nice F4. I've been opening the wrong closet doors.

Oct-19-2005, 3:44pm
...excuse me.. - I just "slobbered" onto my keyboard!### (an' it ain't even MY keyboard!) hee... hee... What beautiful machines!!! - Thanks for sharing!! - Moose. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

Ken Berner
Oct-19-2005, 4:49pm
I just don't have the best word to describe what my tired, old eyes are seeing, but would PRISTINE be acceptable? That mandolin looks new!

Oct-19-2005, 4:56pm
"...pristine..." Yeah buddy!!! - I'll buy that descriptive adjective!! - Moose. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

Feb-28-2008, 9:04pm
I love F4's and cant believe I have never stumbled onto this thread!! Here's my '24....thanks Lowell!!

Feb-29-2008, 6:44pm
Here is a nice presentation of an 1924 Gibson F-4 (http://www.wncbluegrass.com/special/instrument/mand.html) that is currently being offered for sale.

Feb-29-2008, 7:12pm
cool link there, Evan. So is it the one in this picture of Pee Wee Lambert below or Curly's?


Feb-29-2008, 7:33pm
Let me adjust my mirror here...
I have never seen that pic before!
But my guess is it is Pee Wee.

Steve Davis
Feb-29-2008, 7:40pm
Someday I hope to own one. I think they are beautiful. Thanks Dan for my "Avatar."

Feb-29-2008, 7:47pm
Let me adjust my mirror here...
I have never seen that pic before!
But my guess is it is Pee Wee.
I found it in an old Bluegrass Unlimited article on Lambert from the early '70s, funny thing is -- that's exactly how the picture appeared in the article.

Mar-02-2008, 9:16pm
Yep, that's PeeWee Lambert. He always was a sharp dresser in the Monroe tradition. And that F4 of his that is now for sale is one fine sounding/playing F4. I put it up against my '23 F4 which to me they don't get no better and this one really stays up with it. Anything connected to the original Stanley Bros. is highly collectible these days. Finding original Stanley stuff is really hard these days. There was only one F4 that cut those original recordings on the Stanleys and this is it. I'm really surprised this one got out of the Lambert family.

Mar-04-2008, 11:41pm

Mar-04-2008, 11:42pm
BACK/ sorry the pics are blurry..

Mar-04-2008, 11:47pm
these are not my mando's but nice all the same.. from a japanese website..

Mar-04-2008, 11:49pm
and another, both built by sumi..

Gail Hester
Mar-05-2008, 12:17am
I love all of these F4 pictures, here's mine.

Gail Hester
Mar-05-2008, 12:20am
...and a better look at the headstock inlay.

Mar-05-2008, 2:25am
Gail, whooaa ! That's a stunner.. love the truss rod cover.. great colors. can we see the back ?? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

Gail Hester
Mar-05-2008, 2:49am
Thanks, here's the back.

Mar-05-2008, 3:07am
SHOWOFF!~ http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif


Mar-13-2008, 8:35am
Howdy, Here's my 1921.

Rick Albertson
Mar-14-2008, 9:03am
I've posted this pic before. Recently had this 21 set up by David Harvey. Sounds and plays fantastic! Love F4's.


Mar-14-2008, 3:45pm
Y'all are missing a point..

Mar-14-2008, 3:46pm
or *the* point http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Mar-14-2008, 3:59pm
Point "well taken" Dan-O!

Mar-14-2008, 4:33pm
Hah! Not me...

Mar-14-2008, 4:42pm
This is pointless...

Mar-14-2008, 4:43pm
Pointless peghead...

Mar-14-2008, 7:03pm
1924, that Dawg eventually acquired.

Gary S
Mar-17-2008, 3:26pm
My 1917 and 1923 F-4s...Gary

Gary S
Mar-17-2008, 3:27pm
And a closeup...Gary