View Full Version : The LAST Brentrup F5C

Nov-29-2015, 10:07pm
I have long been a proponent of Hans Brentrup's work, having originally learned of his creations nearly 15 years ago on this great forum of players and aficionados. He ultimately built two magnificent mandolins for me: a model "M21V" (prototype A) in 2003, and a "23V" F-style in 2007 that he was quick to dub "Der Bogle". These two are still with me, and they are "keepers" to be sure.

More importantly however, Hans and I became friends, and he would often share photos via email of his projects, including his iconic "Stealth" and "Eclipse" models. It had been quite a while since Hans and I last spoke, so I gave him a call last Tuesday night, just before Thanksgiving. We had a great conversation, and I enjoyed catching up with him.

As many of you may know, Hans now suffers from COPD; dust along with chemical fumes exacerbates this affliction, and one's body can become quite fatigued in fighting it. He is now on oxygen constantly, however he is dedicated towards improving the quality of his health. I was pleased to learn that he is walking a mile or so per day, as well as working out on an elliptical cross-trainer. He's working hard to keep up his physical strength because he realizes the importance of doing so. Unfortunately, COPD has hastened the end of his mandolin and guitar building. He has two guitars in the final stages; once they are completed (health permitting), these are quite possibly his last instruments. I know that you all join me in wishing Hans nothing but the best, as he works to improve his health.

As mentioned, Hans has shared photos with me on prior occasions, so I thought it would be a good thing to share the most recent photos with you folks on the Cafe as well. So, courtesy of Hans, here are a few shots of the last Brentrup F5C (the C is for Classic). It's based on a July 9 Loar, and I understand it is quite powerful. As you can see, it's tastefully distressed with a few small dings in the proper places, yellowing binding, neck wear, tarnished tailpiece, weathered tuners with MOP buttons, bone points dovetailed into the binding , quad sidebound, and violin varnish. For balance, Hans also created some other body finish wear in the proper areas, along with a bit of tarnish!

George R. Lane
Nov-29-2015, 10:31pm
I met Hans in 2008, while in town on business. I got to spend an afternoon getting a tour of his shop, (basement) and playing several mandolins. I had hoped to one day own one of his instruments but, life gets in the way. He is a great artist and a damn fine gentleman.

Nov-30-2015, 2:26am
I pray one day I will own his pink Ivory mandolin...

Ivan Kelsall
Nov-30-2015, 4:03am
Bogle - Many thanks indeed for your post regarding Hans. I'm sorry to hear that he's in poor health & i sincerely wish him well for the future & hope that he regains much of his lost health.
Regarding Hans's mandolins,one word always sprang to mind when seeig them - ''elegance''. They always looked 'right',everything in proportion & immaculately carried out,& the mandolin in your photos.is no exception - stunning !,

Nov-30-2015, 4:24am
+1 on the stunning. So sorry to hear about Hans health issues, here's hoping those walks do the power of good!

Nov-30-2015, 5:46am
Best to Hans in his health struggles. I had the chance to taste several of his stunning creations at a mando get-together some years ago. Here is one of his F-5 beauties.

Randi Gormley
Nov-30-2015, 12:04pm
A stupendous instrument -- what we've all come to expect of his work. Sorry to hear of his health issues, though. Thanks for the update.

Jan-25-2017, 12:49pm
I am lucky to have a 21V and had a wonderful talk with Hans and Maureen today. Yes, a wonderful couple and a great master. We are so lucky to have had Hans in our lives, and he will be as long as his mandolins are played and enjoyed by those who play and hear them.

John Soper
Jan-25-2017, 1:08pm
A wonderful looking instrument, and judging from the Bentrup I've played before, I'm sure it would be a keeper for the lucky owner. My best wishes for the health of a talented luthier!

Jan-25-2017, 4:13pm
I was doing the "A" "B" thing the other night with my M21V and 23V. So amazingly different in tonal characteristics, yet both are lush and smooth, with amazing projection. They have been a true joy to own and play through the years (and will continue to be)---I'll stand by the "keeper" terminology, as they truly fall in that category!

Jan-25-2017, 5:35pm
Beautiful instruments! So sorry to hear of Hans' health struggles...if you're reading, best wishes!

Jim Garber
Jan-25-2017, 6:23pm
Please note that this thread is over two years old. I also hope that Hans is doing well and tho I bought my A4C used from a prior owner I have had a few very nice email conversations with Hans and wish him the best.

Jan-25-2017, 7:07pm
Yes, I knew it was a little over a year old, but after a wonderful long conversation Hans, I happen to see it and brought it back.

Fred Keller
Jan-25-2017, 8:54pm
I've played it. Nice mandolin. I still love playing mine. Hans and Maureen are the best of folks

Jan-25-2017, 11:04pm
Sorry Jim you were right two years, was thinking this was still 2016. Good grief it is fun to be this old.

Yea I think I played that one too Fred, it's really nice. Also loved playing his guitars.

Jan-28-2017, 5:47pm
Does anyone know how many Brentrup F5C (Classics) there are?

Jim Garber
Feb-09-2017, 12:07pm
Keeping this thread alive! I just noticed this beautiful 2002 23V (http://www.ebay.com/itm/302135755607) on eBay. I would guess the seller is a member here? I am not sure that it is in the registry. Oh, man, it is about 40 minutes from my house.

153874 153875

Feb-09-2017, 12:58pm
I have been watching that too. I believe Hans has his still and is thinking of selling as he can no longer play it.

Feb-09-2017, 1:37pm
Keeping this thread alive! I just noticed this beautiful 2002 23V (http://www.ebay.com/itm/302135755607) on eBay. Too bad I just emptied out my bank account on a new guitar and a tenor banjo. I would guess the seller is a member here? I am not sure that it is on the registry. Oh, man, it is about 40 minutes from my house.

153874 153875

Billy Parker of James Reams And The Barnstormers plays a 23V that I got to pick on back in October; very "Loarish" and a good'un!

Jim Garber
Feb-09-2017, 1:58pm
I have never owned an F-5 of any maker but that one certainly has a great appeal.

Feb-09-2017, 2:13pm
That's been for sale for quite a while.

Jim Garber
Feb-09-2017, 2:47pm
That's been for sale for quite a while.

I had a feeling tho the price seems reasonable. I have seen other of Hans' mandolins for much higher prices.

Feb-09-2017, 3:06pm
The ad states that it comes with a Calton. The case shown appears to be an Eastman.

Feb-09-2017, 3:39pm
I had a feeling tho the price seems reasonable. I have seen other of Hans' mandolins for much higher prices.

seeing prices and actual selling prices are pretty different. That is an older model (from 2002). These tend to have baseball bat necks, and they are quite heavy. The tops are very thick. You really have to work at getting that top to vibrate.

After looking at the case, I have to wonder about the store selling this.

Feb-09-2017, 3:56pm
I have an A from this period, the top is heavy but very resonant and sounds very rich. It will take as much force as you want to play with and not have a problem. It sounds wonderful playing softly also. The neck is very slim and nowhere near a baseball bat. In fact it has spoiled me for most other mandolins as their necks are deeper by quite a bit.

Feb-09-2017, 4:44pm
I owned one just like this one, although this is not mine as it was retrofitted with a James tailpiece. The neck on it was enormous, and I felt like I was fighting it constantly. Hans told me he realized the neck was very large, but it was a demo, and for years it and I struggled. Our parting was not for lack of trying though. It spent a lot of time on my luthier's bench as we tried to adjust the action, etc, but I finally let it go. I have nothing against thick tops, but couple that with a huge neck, and those heavy mahogany blocks he was using at the time, and it was like wrestling a bear at times. The fretboard was also flatter than I would have liked. It had a great voice, but I came to realize that it was just not for me.

I think at another shop this one would sell fairly quickly. In some instances, sellers have to represent instruments better. The faux pas on the case could be offputting to some buyers. I am also wondering if the price expectation is partly based on selling it with a "Calton".

Jim Garber
Feb-09-2017, 4:50pm
My A4C (https://brentrupmandolinregistry.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/708197-rs-a4c-oval-hole/) is from 2008. It has more than the volume I need and excellent tone. The neck is somewhat "baseball-battier" than my '23 Gibson but I have gotten used to it. If I have a chance and can take a drive to look at this F-5, I will and will report back. I don't know why the seller said it was a Calton. BTW I don't think this seller has a "brick and mortar" store that I can find. They do have a reverb "store" and sell on eBay.

Feb-09-2017, 5:35pm
The seller had an ad in the classifieds a while back asking for consignments. Jim, I think it's an antique store or something of that sort.

Jim Garber
Feb-09-2017, 6:09pm
Or a guy working out of his basement.

Feb-09-2017, 7:09pm
Originally it was priced at $7k. Hard to tell from the pictures, but I made a side view marking of my neck and enlarged the pic up until it matched and I think this is NOT a baseball bat neck. I made marks for the binding on mine and enlarged the pic until the binding marks matched and the other mark for the bottom of the neck also matched. Think is what I view as my favorite neck at 7/8" from the top of the binding to the back of the neck. I am not a scroll guy, I like A models, but wish I had the funds for this.

Jim Garber
Feb-09-2017, 8:27pm
It is very funny to me to call any mandolin neck a "baseball bat." Probably closer to a ping-pong paddle handle. I have a 1950's Kay Jumbo guitar that does have a neck that is truly close to the measurements of a Louisville Slugger™. Great sounding guitar tho, almost Gibsonoid. I am not really very interested in a scrolly mandolin either but if I had extra cash it would be nice to own and play one for awhile.

pops1: how do you measure that 7/8" neck depth? At the nut or elsewhere on the neck?

Feb-09-2017, 8:36pm
Jim, I measured about the 1st fret. It goes pretty much the same up the neck tho which is what I like also.

Jim Garber
Feb-09-2017, 9:01pm
I will measure mine. I believe that Hans built mine for himself, at least that is the rumor. Maybe he told everyone that. :)

Feb-09-2017, 9:37pm
Will be curious what yours measures.