View Full Version : Flatiron 1N

Jan-25-2004, 8:47pm
I couldn't help it. To good to pass up. Let's see, what else sounds good to the wife? Alright, I just wanted it. A 1986 Flatiron 1N on elderly. It was 225 dollars, which is fair enough, but according to them it needs a refret to straighten a bowed neck. Am I wrong in thinking these have truss rods, and even if it does need work, I could put 400 into without feeling like I got a rough deal. Has anyone heard these, and what's the skinny on a refret to straighten the neck? Thanks everyone.


Jan-25-2004, 9:28pm
a few may have been made with truss rod: if so only a very few. There are a number of them on the market- both ebay and here on the Cafe. I would wait and get one for $350-$450 in very good condition. I got mine offf ebay for $325 in great condition.

Jan-25-2004, 10:01pm
what do you think about tone and playability? Thanks

Jan-26-2004, 9:39am
playability is great. High end is also great. Low end does not compete with bluegrass G&D strings. But it is a flat top oval hole and not a bluegrass instrument. I play fiddle tunes and it is very good for that. I have a Phoenix Bluegrass and wanted a less expensive mandolin to play at lunch or take places I would rather not take a more expensive mandolin. Lately i have been taking both mandolins to jams and letting folks play the Flatiron who are interested in learning to play the mandolin. I
like mine a lot and think it is great value for the money.

confession: because i play chop cords high up the neck, i can get chop out of it, but not like good bluegrass designed mandolin.

Jan-26-2004, 9:48am
Sounds like this mando will be a good match for my purposes. Playing some celtic and lots of fiddle stuff. I like the fact that they aren't made anymore, and perhaps over time will gain some value. Thanks Bowzette.

Jan-26-2004, 9:44pm
a great looking MC3 Flatiron hit ebay today. reserve was met at $375. check it out.

Jan-27-2004, 9:11am
steady, I am just getting ready to sell a Montana made Flatiron 1CH (ser. No. 91104410) that I purchased from Elderly in 1993. It looks like the same instrument as the 1N but it has a dark tobacco finish. It has been a greaet instrument but I just bought a Rigel and don't need both instruments. I had Elderly look at it last February for trade in, and thay said the structural condition is fine. They thought there was some minor fretwear that could be leveled. They estimated total repair work @ $50.00. Let me know if you have any interest.

Jan-27-2004, 11:41pm
I have a 1N. No adjustable truss rod. Put the silk and steel strings on it and it sounds great! I think the 2N is about the same instrument with the adjustable truss rod. I do not think that you will see one in mint condition for $325.00, but if one is found for that price, take it. Mine was about that amount, but shows much wear and someone decided to restain a worn part of the top. I would think a vg condition pre-Gibson 1N would be in the $500.00 range. If you have a bluegrass mandolin, the 1N would be a good fit.


Jan-28-2004, 6:40am
Silk and steel strings because they exert less tension? Why is that, does the 1N have less strength at the neck joint? Thanks very much for your help.

Dan Adams
Jan-30-2004, 7:59pm
I bought my 83' 2M in 86' and have played it hard ever since. It's my primary lay around the house, take on business trips, vacations mandolin. The great thing, it has the volume to carry itself in any bluegrass jam or celtic jam. No truss rod. Pesky hammer dulcimers and banjos. I think the 'mandatory' truss rod was later in the production. My 2M has bookcase spruce top, maple sides, and maple back. All matching sets. Any opportunity to get one of these should be taken advantage of because of the versatility.

All That Glitters is not Scrolled, Dan

Jan-31-2004, 2:20pm
Can anyone explain the difference between the number/letter designation for these models? What is the difference between the 1N, CH, 2M, etc?

Dan Adams
Jan-31-2004, 5:21pm
I know the 'M' designation stands for maple. Like most manufactures, the higher the number, the more ornate the instrument became. Gibson from the teens for example, A, A-1, A-2, etc... A 'K' designation on the Flatirons was for Koa, and now I need help with other explanations. Thats about as much as I know. But the book matched sides, back and top, really impresses me for this level of instrument. I have a friend with a 3M and it is the same, only has all that cool binding.

"Thats one killer pancake there you play!" Dan

Jan-31-2004, 10:07pm
Dear steadypluckinaway,

I am not sure whether the silk and steel have less string tension (I'm sure the answer is amoung those in the NG). I have used them on my oval hole mandolins as they have a more "folk" sound. I agree that the 1N has great projection and would probably work just fine in a bluegrass setting, but it is fun to try different strings and enjoy how they work wiht the instrument. I suspect there are many 1N's with J-74s out there and doing just fine.

BTW, There is (or was) a 1996 (or thereabouts) 1N on Ebay and it had an adjustable truss rod. So, I guess it was either an option or they began to make them that way somewhere under the Gibson ownership. Again, there is likely to be someone out there who would know more than me.

Good luck. I bet you will love having a 1N (or 2K or whatever). More is better - ha.


Jan-31-2004, 10:50pm
Thanks fatt-dad, and everyone for your insight. I went ahead and took the plunge, I think for $225, it really can't hurt. It should be here on Tuesday, and hopefully the neck is still within reason. I wonder how big the frets are on the 1N, and if I have to have a refret, the advantage is I can choose what frets I get. I like the larger frets, as I am sure most would, and there is supposedly a very good luthier here in Denver. (Colfax Music) Wish me luck, and I'll let you know what's with it when it arrives. I hate this part, looking out the window and checking the UPS tracking page every three minutes.(Actually I secretly love it)

Dan Adams
Feb-01-2004, 4:26pm
Let me know how the luthier works out. I would like to find somebody local, in town, reasonably priced, and is accessible. If not, I send my mandos away to somebody I trust. IM me and let me know if and when you have the work done.

Sound like I want it all! Dan

Feb-04-2004, 6:16pm
Well, I got 'er!! It's like a weird lucky coincidence that is like no luck I have ever had, but here goes: I had no problems with UPS. I had no problems waiting for the box to slowly warm (not totally true), and the cool part is that the ad said that it needed extensive repairs to make it playable, with a severely bowed neck. Well guess what. The darn thing arrived with heavy gauge strings, and they didn't even detune it for shipment. I put some j62's on her, and the neck is just as straight as ever. The tone is incredible. Granted, I have been playing a plywood east german piece, but seriously, the thing sounds great. Very responsive and bright with unbelievable clarity and the volume is everything I will ever need. I like her.

Rob E.