View Full Version : The First Loar F5 recording

Jim Garber
Mar-29-2006, 1:28pm
Just received an email notice from Buth Baldassari about a new Mando Museum (http://www.soundartrecordings.com/mandoseum.shtml) page on his site where he will post some old photos and old recordings.

At the moment he has a recording of William Place Jr. playing "Serenata." Place did play a Loar F5 at one time but we were trying to figure out if this is one on this recording. According to the matrix number (as far as I can determine) it was recorded in 1913 so this would not be a Loar.

The question I have is who recorded a Loar first and is there any way to actually know for sure?


Mar-29-2006, 2:01pm
Dave Apollon??

Jim Garber
Mar-29-2006, 2:54pm
According to Apollon's bio (http://www.acousticdisc.com/acd_html/artists/apollon.html) on the Acoustic Disc site:

On June 8, 1932 Dave made his first recordings for the "Brunswick" label in New York City.

Surely there were earlier recordings of F5s. Does anyone know if Loar himself recorded? I can't seem to find any mentions at all.


Mar-30-2006, 1:09am
That would be "Rocky Road Blues" on Feb. 13, 1945 by Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys. I've not found an earlier Loar recording. I have found many F5 recordings before that but not a Loar.

Jim Garber
Mar-30-2006, 8:16am
There has got to be earlier players than WSM.

How would anyone know whether an F5 was a Loar or not from the recording. I figure that there must have been some of the top players in the twenties who did play an F5 of the time. I would say we would just have to extrapolate from catalog photos of the players pictured with those instruments.


Mar-31-2006, 12:48am
It would help to start with the first known recorded music, which must be documented...

Django Fret
Mar-31-2006, 1:30pm
According to this site, "in 1929 Dave Apollon made his first recordings, "Mandolin Blues" and "Russian Rag", two originals accompanied by the Phillipinos, for the Brunswick label."


It goes on to state: "It is interesting to note that throughout his career, Dave used the Gibson F-5 mandolin exclusively, owning several."

Darryl Wolfe
Mar-31-2006, 1:54pm
Well, he did have a Loar for a while, but quickly moved on to several other Ferns and such. It would be hard to say which one he had at a specific date.

On the other hand, Wm. Place played his Loar for quite a while. There is a good chance that he recorded with it at some point.

Darryl Wolfe
Mar-31-2006, 2:15pm
June 1935. Dave with his Loar

Jim Garber
Mar-31-2006, 2:27pm
I got the sense that Apollon bought the newest and shiniest F5 and played that one. A Loar was the old stuff. How about a shiny new 1942 one with a pickup?


Apr-01-2006, 1:17am
It was known he kept the Loar around for many years as his back up mandolin after he got into the Ferns. You would see another F5 on top of the piano on stage. I suspect with the power he played on his right hand he did break quite a few strings during the show. He used the '37 F5 in many of the movie clips from the 40's. I agree it would be impossible to figure which one he used for a particular recording. Never saw a photo of him with a 40's F5 but starting in mid50's he used one.
His last F5 was a 1962 custom made red finish with his name in pearl at the head.

Apr-01-2006, 8:09am
It goes on to state: "It is interesting to note that throughout his career, Dave used the Gibson F-5 mandolin exclusively, owning several."
Interesting to note, but simply erroneous. #There is a rather famous photograph of a young (but still professional) Apollon with a Lyon & Healy (L&H) style B. #That L&H photo was even autographed to no less than Woody Herman in 1927 (no need for an amateur to wear a costume like Dave's in that image or to sign autographs). #One promo photo of Dave with his "Phillipino Boys" shows him with an asymmetric L&H style A; I wouldn't be surprised if he'd made his early recordings with it. #There is an earlier (but still professional-looking, promo-type) photo of Dave with some bowlback that looks to be of Neapolitan design, perhaps a 1910s or 20s Calace. #Even earlier, there's a picture of Dave in a Russian orchestra with a Russian domra. #You can find all this stuff in the same liner notes from which the F-5 quote was extracted (Grisman 1997). #It would be a bit closer to the mark if he had said something like "...from that point forward." #In any event, I'm guessing Dave was not the first to record with a Loar-era F-5.

I know Place had also made some promo photos with an oval-holed F-style mandolin. #I'd guess it's an F-4 but can't make out enough detail. #My answer to the question at hand is "I have no idea." #Have you asked Neil directly? #He might know or have some evidence.

Apr-01-2006, 8:10am
It would help to start with the first known recorded music, which must be documented...
But it way predates the existence of Loar-era F-5 mandolins.

Django Fret
Apr-01-2006, 5:28pm
Interesting to note, but simply erroneous. #There is a rather famous photograph of a young (but still professional) Apollon with a Lyon & Healy (L&H) style B. #
Yes, and if you read that article, it even contains a picture of Apollon with what looks like a Lyon & Healy A along with the members of the Phillipino orchestra.

I guess you would need to check with Mr. Grisman about that statement, since it sure looks like Apollon played other non-Gibson mandolins during his career.

It's possible that he used an F-5 in those 1929 recordings, but I guess we will never know for sure.

Apr-05-2006, 10:10pm
This video of Apollon could be one the earliest Loar recording..it looks like a Loar. What do ya think?

http://www.djangobooks.com/archive....#000210 (http://www.djangobooks.com/archives/2005/02/02/dave_apollon_when_a_gypsy_makes_his_violin_cry.htm l#000210)

Jim Garber
Apr-05-2006, 10:30pm
I am not so sure... it looks like it just says "Gibson" on the headstock which would make it 1930s.


Apr-05-2006, 11:55pm
Clearly that is Dave with his late 20's Fern F5. "The Gibson" and the fern pattern are very clear. It has a sharp pointed pickguard. He had several Ferns but this one is a dot at 3rd. Notice he picks without a strap. Seems this video is from the 40's.
Still looking like Big Mon gets the award for first Loar recording.

Jim Garber
Apr-06-2006, 8:24am
You are right Darryl. I viewed it on other computer whihc has a better screen and it is much clearer. I checked the other videos but the closeups were much shorter in one and he played a Lyon and Healy in "Sweet Sue."


Darryl Wolfe
Apr-06-2006, 8:29am
Well actually that was F5loar/tommy Jim

Jim Garber
Apr-06-2006, 8:54am
Boy, I am batting a thousand lately. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif


Apr-06-2006, 10:54pm
close Darryl, it was f5loar , not F5loar. Got to watch those caps when doing these things. I recall some videos of Dave and you could see the Loar on the piano ready to go but I just don't remember seeing any of him playing it.
Recordings of him would be pretty hard to tell if it was the Loar or a Fern. I'm sticking with Big Mon.

Ken Waltham
Apr-08-2006, 9:49am
That would be wild if it was, in fact, Big Mon. And all those classical players for years with their F5's, and it turns out to be Bill... Seems like a long shot.
I once bought a recording of Wm Place Jr, om ebay, thinking of course it would be him playing his Loar. I thought I would put it with the rest of my Loar memoriabilia. When I sent it to a well known classical guy, who wanted a copy, he said to me..."what makes you think this is his Loar?"
In my ignorance, I didn't think he probably played played other mandolins, and even perhaps more frequently!

Darryl Wolfe
Apr-11-2006, 3:18pm
Well here is a start. No date

Apr-11-2006, 3:59pm
Victor Records with that record number(17XXX) seem to date from February of 1914.

Apr-11-2006, 4:00pm
This site (http://settlet.fateback.com/vic17000.html) places that recording at 4/24/1913... search for recording 17416. So I guess that ain't it, assuming their information is accurate. The "Victor Talking Machine Co." name was used from 1906 to 1929, so there could be some Loar F-5 recordings on Victor.

Paul Doubek

EDIT: Looks like John was typing pretty much the same thing at the same time... nice to have corroboration!

Django Fret
Apr-11-2006, 4:27pm
Does anyone know how long it typically took the Loars to get to market after their signing date?

That would probably give a good point in time to start checking the dates for mandolin recordings that could have been done with a Loar.

Darryl Wolfe
Apr-12-2006, 7:37am
Thanks John and Paul. #I figured someone would take the number and run with it. #So, that one isn't a Loar for sure. #But, it increases the chances Place did record with one though since it is so early.

Django, some Loars were shipped within 30 days of being signed, However, a great deal of them were shipped about 5-6 month later. #This info is from J. Bellson records.

FWIW, Cat "N" which depicts the Loar for the first time has only one other depiction of an F-5 in it. #It is the standard photo of Place holding his F-5 (which was signed in June 23). #It has been my assumption that this catalog was first issued in late 23. I am reasonably certain that the May 23 pricelist which has the F-5 included is the first price list.

Apr-12-2006, 11:37am
Darryl, that must have been William's big hit of the day.
I've got that same 78 in my collection and it's the only one by him I have. Anybody got later ones by Place?
You know Place I think was the first to get a June 23 Gold Plated F5.