View Full Version : F5G -vs- Weber Yellowstone

Mar-11-2004, 2:05am
I'm going to a weber dealer this week to try out a new Yellowstone. The only other Weber I have played was a Bitterroot and it played great, but even though the tone was good it didnt seem to have crisp tone and volume I like. But i was really impressed with the playability and craftmanship. It had a mahoghony back and sides, but the Yellowstone has maple, which I'm sure will sound different. I also have a shot at a new F5G that I'm also going to try. I have played several F5G's. I know that no two mandolins are the same, but of the F5G's I have played some were so-so and a couple were just as good in tone and volume as the Fern hanging next to them. With discounts, the price is comparable, but how consistent is Weber? I'd like some input from anyone who has had experience with either or both.

John Zimm
Mar-11-2004, 9:04am
I've played about a dozen Webers and only a handful of Gibsons, so I am no expert. However, I was amazed at the beautiful tone from each of the Webers I played. The Gibsons really seemed to vary. A couple didn't sound as good as my MK, but there were a couple of Gibsons I played that had such beautiful tone in the bass I was really blown away. Happy mandolin hunting.


Mar-11-2004, 9:25am
The Webers are very consistent. #It's my understanding that they don't get out of the shop without landing on Bruce's workbench (I believe he graduates the tops). #

I can't comment on the current F-5G's. #I have a '93 F-5L, with which I'm very happy after ten years of tweaking its set-up. And I briefly owned an F-9 last year (which I sold to buy another Weber). #But to be fair, this little F-9 had great tone, volume and sustain.

Anyway, good luck trying the Yellowstone, which was my first Weber purchase five years ago. #I'd be surprised if you're disappointed.

Big Joe
Mar-11-2004, 9:46am
You might have the dealer put fresh strings on the one you really want to hear if it does not sound very good to begin with. Often the strings are dead from use or hanging and the bridge may not be set properly. Those will kill the tone of any mandolin no matter the maker. Anyway, that will give you a fair comparision. If you call the dealer ahead of time and tell him you want to check out a particular mandolin and would like to have fresh strings on it and the setup checked out he will likely do that so you can hear it at its best. It is hard for any dealer to keep them restrung and ready at all times. I our retail store we have over 600 instruments and it is completely impossible to keep them all restrung and set up all the time. It is impossible to keep them clean and dust free with the factory in the same building. Just the price we pay for what we do. Anyway, that will give you a more fair system of comparing the mandolins.

Steve Perry
Mar-11-2004, 11:05am
I our retail store we have over 600 instruments and it is completely impossible to keep them all restrung and set up all the time.

So Joe... #This is kind of off topic, but... #How DO you all keep all those intruments with decent strings on them? #I was in the store last summer and was really impressed by the fact that every instrument I picked up (and I picked up a bunch!) had relatively new, good sounding strings on them.

Steve Perry

Mar-11-2004, 1:34pm
I used to have an F5-G and currently have a Yellowstone with tone bar bracing. They standard version of the Yellowstone comes with the modified X bracing.

The F5-G was a nice Mandolin but the previous owner had a pretty radical radius to the fretboard - one I could not get used to. Good tone and volume. Above average fit and finish. Built to Loar specifications. Good mojo. Traditional dove tail neck joint.

My Yellowstone has a flat board but I may decide to have a gentle radius done at some point in the future. Excellent tone and volume. My wife complains all the time that it is too loud http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif Excellent fit and finish - a trademark of Weber Mandolins. Mortise and Tenon neck joint that is glued and fastened with a small bolt. Big Joe does not like bolt on Mandolin necks but I think he has a Guitar with a bolt on neck <g> I used to think it mattered - the type of neck connection but I've not been able to detect any differences in tone/volume. Just a different building philosophy. From a cosmetic view, the Yellowstone wins hands down. Binding on headstock, neck, and back, all of which is missing on the F5-G. Fit and finish on the Yellowstone wins hands down. The Yellowstone does not sound like an F5-G. It seems to have it's own sound if that makes any sense. I've found the Yellowstones to be very consistent. Not the case with the Gibsons. I like both Gibson's and the Weber line. However in comparing the F5-G with a Yellowstone, my favor goes to the Yellowstone.

The folks at Sound to Earth are a great bunch of folks. Charlie, Big Joe and co. are great to work with too at Gibson.

As always, let your ears, eyes, head and heart make the decision.

diamond ace
Mar-11-2004, 5:57pm
I' have never owned a gibson but have played plenty. I dont claim to be a pro on the two but I love my Yellowstone. It is the best mandolin i've ever owned personly. (it is a custome one though) I think both are great companies with lots to offer. I love my Webber, but I don't think you can go wrong chosing from these two companies. Good luck and happy hunting.
oh yeh, let us know what you get!

Mar-11-2004, 7:14pm
I played both an F5-g and an F-9 within the last year. Obviously liked the finish of the F5-G better, but preferred the tone of the F-9. Both had incredible volume.

I ended up buying a Custom Yellowstone with a faded leather finish and love it more and more everyday.

I really don't think you can compare the tone of a Weber to the tone of a Gibson. It's a bit like comparing apples and oranges. They both have their own unique sound and you just have to play both to see what you prefer.

Mar-11-2004, 7:23pm
I will agree with Big Joe on this one. I've noticed that a lot of shops that don't really stock mandos will have a token Gibson mando or two. They'll almost never change the strings or tune them. I don't think it's too much to ask to have them restring when you're talking about a multi thousand dollar deal.

jim simpson
Mar-11-2004, 11:49pm
I presently own a Yellowstone and an F5-G. (I have posted this report before in another thread). I owned the Yellowstone first (std. x-braced, flat fingerboard) and bought the F5-G as a second mandolin. Well the Yellowstone has taken the back seat and I find that I prefer the sound of the Gibson over it. I didn't expect that to happen but it did. I have played many examples of each model and have found them both to be consistent in sound type and quality. I like having a 2nd mando for when one is being refretted, etc. or to have handy when a string breaks during a gig. I plan to sell or trade the Yellowstone for another F5-G. I do like the full binding, etc. on the Weber. I wish the F5-G had binding on the back and neck/headstock but then I guess I would have an F5-L.

Mar-12-2004, 10:11pm
No, then you'd have a Master Model (or am I the only person who likes the flowerpot and doesn't like the fern inlay).

Mar-12-2004, 10:30pm
I am one of those that prefer the Flowerpot too !!

FlowerPots Rule!! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif