View Full Version : Howard Frye´s Ajr for sale

Mar-24-2006, 3:28pm
For me Howard Frye´s Gypsy Mandolin Album is one of the Top Ten Mandolin Albums of all time. Beside the very emotional music style , his unbelievable fast and clean playing , it was allways the tone of his Ajr that really made me running wild

now this mandolin is for sale.... What A Mojo !

I didn´t asked for the price because it will be out of my range but I am lusting for it so bad

I hope it will come to a player ( and not a collector)

here it is :


Tom C
Mar-24-2006, 4:13pm
Interesting Ajr. Binding? and on back? Doesn't this look like one of the '30 C-1 or something like that?
But it does say Ajr.


Jonathan Rudie
Mar-24-2006, 4:24pm
Howard's wife kindly let me briefly play this instrument at the 2004 CMSA convention in San Deigo. It was a pleasure to play, with great tone and well set up. I was also hoping just touching the instrument would channel great technique through Howard' spirit and great chops! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif This is a real piece of mandolin history.

Mar-24-2006, 4:46pm
what is so great about this instrument is it shows what we already know, but nobody wants to *really* admit - that its the player, not the instrument - here we have one of the greatest mandolin genius of all time, and he chose to play the lowly a-jr for his entire career.

i'll have to drive over and see tony before this one goes to a new home - plus, it will be a special treat to hear tony play a tune on her!

John Rosett
Mar-24-2006, 4:47pm
go ahead and ask how much it is. mrs. frye's lyon & healey is pretty reasonable priced, so maybe it's not as much as you think.
besides, if you hesitate, david grisman will buy it and we'll never know.....

Mar-24-2006, 4:48pm
I left a message at Mandolin Central. Anyone know how much they're asking? Just curious.

Mar-24-2006, 5:21pm
It would be kinda cool if Grisman gets it.

Michael Gowell
Mar-24-2006, 5:40pm
About the binding not usually found on A Juniors - the seller's description says that the instrument was customized many decades ago.

Jim Garber
Mar-24-2006, 11:00pm
The asking price is $6900. It was customized by D'Angelico BTW. Great mojo on this one.

I probably played it briefly years ago when I was in the NY orchestra.


Bob DeVellis
Mar-25-2006, 9:31am
I find this thread interesting. Most discussions about "celebrity mojo" seem to slant toward the view that it isn't worth much. That doesn't seem to be what's happening in this case. I like the looks of this instrument and I'm sure that it has a great voice but a non-original A Jr with an asking price of $6900 seems to be getting more props than I would expect. I'm not saying it isn't worth it, just that its association with a big name seems to gving it more of a halo than is usually the case.

Jim Garber
Mar-25-2006, 10:17am
Bob, that is the asking price. That doesn't mean that it will sell for that. I guess it just depends on how much Mr. Frye's mojo is worth to today's mandolin players. (I wonder if he ever heard that word applied to himself while he was alive.)

There are a few of Dave Appolon's mandolins out there. I think that Bernunzio had one or two, as I recall.


Mar-25-2006, 10:49am
I wonder how much the famous Jim Garber theorbo-bazooka will sell for, say 50 years from now.

Bob A
Mar-25-2006, 11:50am
Regarding celebrity mojo - I bought John Hartford's violin (one of them, anyway) and was pleased to find that it would have been worth what I paid even if it had no pedigree. The fact that it had been used extensively in public performance was my guarantee that it would be a worthwhile player's instrument; the fact that it was Hartford's was icing on the cake.

Jim Garber
Mar-25-2006, 12:10pm
I wonder how much the famous Jim Garber theorbo-bazooka will sell for, say 50 years from now.
It has Victor's mojo on it so it will be worth much more esp with the original ammunition.


Mar-25-2006, 1:12pm
celebrety owned is different in this case, where this was his sole instrument throughout his career - much like mon's f-5. if it makes no difference, then no one would have paid over $50K for mons busted, refined, rebuilt and well worn f-5, or some nut who paid $250K for hendrix's monterey strat that was smashed to bits - this is not a situation like "grisman owned" or "clapton owned" - where they may have 100's of instruments that they have played over the years. i know of a guy with one of grismans old mandos that i know he paid 25% more for the fact it came from grismans stash - BUT - its not one he ever played or recorded with, it just came from his large collection of stuff, so in this case, i think the guy paid extra for nothing.

it just depends on your view - if you are looking for a nice original a-jr, then yes, you need to look elsewhere and find one for $2500 - but you will never find another with this pedigree again.

how much do you think some collector is gonna pay for Lloyds personal F5 one day? a whole lot more than any others - except mon's, more than likely - maybe MORE.

Mar-25-2006, 6:20pm
I'm with kudzugypsey.....previously owned by someone famous only counts if it was actually used on stage a lot, or recorded with.
Look at Jethro.....now that Fancy Gibson red Florentine 2 point, now that is a valuable historic instrument. But a 70's imported
mando, that Jethro had from an endorsement deal & played a bit, just wouldn't have the same mojo. And if the artist is still alive,
and is successful in their career....and they sold it...well that means it was good enough for them to check out, or they got it in a
trade, or bought it because it was a great deal....but if it was "all that" why did they let the instrument go.....wasn't because they
needed the money, more likely they had other instruments they liked better. So IMO "previously owned by" has a sliding scale of added value.

Jim Garber
Mar-25-2006, 6:24pm
I studied with Roy Smeck for quite a few years in the mid 1980s. A few years after his death, there was an auction of his instruments. I ended up getting the steel that he mainly used (Gibson, late 1930s) for relatively little money whereas some ukes that I never saw him play went for stupid money. Go figure.


Mar-26-2006, 12:54pm
What is so appealing is that this mandolin has been played and enjoyed, or as someone once said, loved to death. Even the bridge is shiney. Hopefully it will get purchase by someone who will continue to use it.

I have never understood the celebrity purchase since most of the time the celebrity just treated it as the instrument that it is. The genius was them

Mar-26-2006, 1:49pm
There is an interesting aspect to the A-Jr. that has made it the object of some customizations; Jack Tottle of "Bluegrass Mandolin" book fame had that A-Jr. (or A-0) in that book that had a dragon inlaid into the previously blank peghead. Fry's had marquetry top binding installed...it's not something that most sane people would do to any other vintage Gibson, although there is that infamous Loar with the rhinestones inlaid in the peghead...