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danb
Mar-02-2006, 6:42pm
You might remember this one from ebay a couple of weeks ago, it came to visit tonight. I was pretty skeptical.. but nothing about it seems wrong, it very likely is a 1934 F5 copy.

First off, here's the signature visible in the bass fhole..

danb
Mar-02-2006, 6:43pm
Face..

danb
Mar-02-2006, 6:44pm
Back

danb
Mar-02-2006, 6:45pm
Bound f-holes!

John M. Riley
Mar-02-2006, 6:45pm
so hows it sound and play??

danb
Mar-02-2006, 6:47pm
Probably Gibson A tuners from the teens.. note how one plate was modified to not overhang the edge of the peghead

danb
Mar-02-2006, 6:49pm
compare to a Gibson '26/'27 F5

danb
Mar-02-2006, 6:50pm
Cool case also looks pretty much hand made folk-art

danb
Mar-02-2006, 6:51pm
Scroll

danb
Mar-02-2006, 6:52pm
Peghead

danb
Mar-02-2006, 6:53pm
Grained Ivoroid.. up & down!

danb
Mar-02-2006, 6:55pm
Back wood detail

danb
Mar-02-2006, 6:57pm
The Front

danb
Mar-02-2006, 6:58pm
Back

danb
Mar-02-2006, 7:00pm
Point protectors. Interesting solution..

danb
Mar-02-2006, 7:00pm
Case

danb
Mar-02-2006, 7:01pm
I've seen this tailpiece in period catalogs.. note the wood quality too

danb
Mar-02-2006, 7:08pm
Fingerboard extension

Antlurz
Mar-02-2006, 7:10pm
It appears to have a bit longer scale from the pictures. Is that correct, or just the perspective from the angle they were taken?

Ron

danb
Mar-02-2006, 7:10pm
Nothing holding it up!

danb
Mar-02-2006, 7:12pm
Last one.. the bridge

danb
Mar-02-2006, 7:14pm
One more for scale.. just about matches a '26 f5, though I didn't measure it (whoops)

danb
Mar-02-2006, 7:17pm
The sound is pretty decent considering. I'd still take an F4 from Gibson over this one, but it could use a little setup too. With a properly fit bridge (maybe that one on there is later..) it has some definite potential. The F-holes are quite slender compared to the '26 too. Pretty respectable though ,has some elements of the F5 sound you can hear in there vs the F4 or oval-hole tone. Didn't check the inside for bracing pattern either, though I'm kicking myself a bit now over that!

So whaddaya know. To me, it looks like the signature info in there plus feaures add up, I can't think of anything off the top of my head to say that would make it not likely a 1934 instrument.

danb
Mar-02-2006, 7:44pm
Here's a Windows AVI video clip (http://www.mandolinarchive.com/sound_clips/MVI_1657.AVI) from my point & shoot of Phil playing a tune on it

f5loar
Mar-02-2006, 7:54pm
Looks closer to an H5 mandola than the F5 mandolin.
At least they didn't use the Gibson name anywhere.

MML
Mar-02-2006, 8:42pm
Thats a pretty cool looking F5 copy.I like the elongated proportions, captures the look but shows some originality. Nice to see one so old, seems that most F5 copies date from much later. I once found a F5 copy from the 40's or 50's made by some Italian maker from NYC, didn't buy it because the workmanship was very crude,but still was an interesting piece.

Jim Garber
Mar-02-2006, 10:01pm
Well, from your pics, I would say there is no mistaking that for a Gibson. Aside from the inlays etc, it seems that the proportions are different, longer body and different f-hole placement as well as shape of the scroll and peghead.

BTW that bridge looks similar to one I have on a Weymann-labelled mandolin I have that is a dead-ringer for a Strad-O-Lin.

Jim

Bob Sayers
Mar-02-2006, 10:03pm
Dan,

I wonder who would have wanted to duplicate an F5 in the 1930s--or even knew at the time that these rare birds existed. #The mandolin orchestra crowd? #Maybe. #But F4s and A-models seem to have been more popular with those folks--and vastly more plentiful! #Bill Monroe is most widely credited with introducing the F5 to country music. #But he didn't have his until 1943, though he did play an F7 before that. #

Then there's the issue of the Florentine design. #Judging from what I've learned here on the Cafe, it's not the easiest thing to make even a rough approximation of an F5 from scratch. #An amateur builder in the 1930s likely wouldn't have had many pictures at hand to copy--let alone a genuine F5. He also probably wouldn't know much about tone bar bracing or creating a raised fingerboard.

My instinct, therefore, tells me that this was made in the 1950s or 1960s when bluegrass was really catching fire with rural musicians. #And original Gibson F5s--even postwar F5s--were either very scarce or very expense. #(I seem to recall that a new F5 cost around $1,000 in 1965--a lot of money compared to about $400 for a new Martin D-28 guitar.) #Isn't that about the time when the first good F5 copies were starting to appear? #

Just my two cents worth. #Feel free to tell me that I've got it completely wrong!

Bob

thistle3585
Mar-02-2006, 11:08pm
Bob said, "I wonder who would have wanted to duplicate an F5 in the 1930s--or even knew at the time that these rare birds existed."

What about an employee or repair person? They would have had the knowledge and skill. Just speculation, but worth the mention.

Jim Garber
Mar-02-2006, 11:27pm
I wonder who would have wanted to duplicate an F5 in the 1930s--or even knew at the time that these rare birds existed. The mandolin orchestra crowd? Maybe. But F4s and A-models seem to have been more popular with those folks--and vastly more plentiful!
I think there were enough f5s around even at that time for folks wo want them. Maybe this was made for someone who did want an F5 but could not afford a Gibson. There were plenty of makers at the time who could undercut the big guys. Even D'Angelico started out as a copyist of Gibson instruments and I bet his early ones were cheaper than what Gibson charged.

All you had to do in those days was to look and see an F5 in a catalog or magazine ad. "Hey, make me one like that."

Jim

PaulD
Mar-02-2006, 11:31pm
Looks closer to an H5 mandola than the F5 mandolin.
At least they didn't use the Gibson name anywhere.
... or flowerpot! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

That's funky... everythings just a little off (scroll a little longer, peghead pointier). I wonder if the builder was working from pictures rather than having an instrument in hand. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

Thanks for sharing the pics!

pd

stevem
Mar-02-2006, 11:31pm
It's a very interesting mando. I remember seeing it a few weeks ago. Does anyone know of any other pre 50's F's, besides Gibsons? This is the first I've heard of (if it's legit.)

danb
Mar-03-2006, 3:52am
Yes, it still seems improbable.. how widespread was the knowledge of the F5 back then? But.. nothing really leapt up at me and said "later work"..

AlanN
Mar-03-2006, 7:41am
Certainly is loud.

fatt-dad
Mar-03-2006, 8:41am
I had a tailpiece like that on my Kalamazoo army-navy (I think it was a K-11 or something).

f-d

Jim Garber
Mar-03-2006, 9:03am
I've seen this tailpiece in period catalogs.. note the wood quality too
This is one of the few non-Gibson, older style tailpieces still available. Stew-Mac (http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Bridges,_tailpieces/Mandolin_tailpieces/Scalloped_Mandolin_Tailpiece.html) carries them.

Jim

mandopete
Mar-03-2006, 10:00am
Certainly is loud.
A real "pre-war banjo-killer" !

Darryl Wolfe
Mar-03-2006, 12:26pm
I think the mandolin has alot of really cool mojo. #It definately displays the age and period that it was made, and is actually a fairly historically important piece of work. It captures the elements of an F5, it was obviously not intended to be fake or clone, but still pays homage to design of an F5. #I believe we would be hard pressed to find another instrument of it's sort that was not made sometime in the 60's or later. #Mr. Wilson certainly deserves some piece of historical "mandolin lutherie" mention, note or footnote in the whole deal.

Darryl Wolfe
Mar-03-2006, 1:11pm
I can't get this mando off my mind. #This thing is really quite interesting and important. #Consider the following. #To my knowlege all F5 "homemade mandolins" essentially started in the 60's with Bob Givens, Randy Wood, Mr Fowler and Tom Morgan, Wayne Henderson ect. #Prior to that a few folks had converted F4's, (Tom Morgan and Bob White in Columbus OH). #All of these mandolins were "for Bluegrass" and related to the Bill Monroe phenomenon.

Bill Monroe turned 23 the same month this mando was made. # A '24 Lloyd Loar mandolin was only 10 years old. Like a '96 F5L or Gilchrist

This Mr. Joe Wilson almost certainly took it upon himself to build this mandolin for totally different motives than we are accustomed to. #The style of sound we like and hear from an F5 mandolin essentially had not been developed. #He just about had to be paying homage to people like Dave Appolon, Wm Place and such and wanted a mandolin like theirs. #How cool is that.

MML
Mar-03-2006, 1:27pm
I think you summed it up very well Darryl.

Scotti Adams
Mar-03-2006, 1:27pm
..Im with ya Darryl..

Darryl Wolfe
Mar-03-2006, 1:38pm
"Itís news to me that anyone would have done an F-5 style copy this early. Iím a skeptic since itís easy to fake a name and date, but maybe itís a piece of history."


George Gruhn

Tom C
Mar-03-2006, 1:41pm
Who is Joe Wilson? .... found this (related to determining an instruments authenicity ...Goto bottom on page (http://www.edromanguitars.com/rant/ebay.htm)

Joe Wilson is a very well known Luthier. He has been repairing guitars professionally since 1964. He also owns and operates an authorized Fender service center. Precision guitar Mt. Pleasant SC

http://www.edromanguitars.com/resources/images/joethumbnail.jpg

Maybe his father made it as this guy looks to young?

danb
Mar-03-2006, 1:45pm
It's pretty interesting in person. The binding is grained ivoroid that would match what you'd find on a national- grain up and down rather than horizontal with the line of the binding.. the tuners were *probably* Gibson A machines filed down to fit. That clamshell tailpiece appears in some ancient catalog I've seen.. the case has a very home-made look to it (all those rivets!). The work is pretty good overall, though not up to modern standards.. and the tone was interesting, but it's more a visual homage than an acoustic one.

But what about the bound f-holes.. that's the detail I'm stumbling on.. were there any examples of this on anything that would predate 1934? Quite an interesting piece. I have a few more pictures, but not much to add that isn't already there.. I guess I can't think of a good reason it's not a '34 yet, so I'm fishing for that at the moment!

Is the Joe Wilson pictured above contactable?

trevor
Mar-03-2006, 1:52pm
Dan,
The f hole bindings could have been added later???

Scotti Adams
Mar-03-2006, 1:52pm
..Hmmm Tom..now youve got me thinking in the other direction some...and the bound F holes that Dan pointed out kinda makes me wonder too...

danb
Mar-03-2006, 2:05pm
Looked pretty original to the piece.. though the fholes were pretty small (added binding makes them seem smaller you see?)

Darryl Wolfe
Mar-03-2006, 2:06pm
Gibson Super 400 1934, bound F-holes, D'Angelico 1932 Bound F-holes

danb
Mar-03-2006, 2:07pm
By the way- the body shape and contours are more evocative of a 3pt. I don't think the builder had an F5 to copy, except perhaps in a photo