View Full Version : My style B arrived

Jun-30-2006, 8:34pm
Yesterday I recieved my latest mandolin, a style B Lyon and Healy via. Dexter Johnson at Carmel Music, great person to deal with by the way! A few years back I tried the style A with the 13 inch scale and did not like it, but this B's got the longer scale which feels comfortable to me and it sounds wonderful. Having played many Gibson A and F models of the same period its cool to check this thing out. Excellent workmanship and attention to detail especially with the bindings and the carving is very precise and flowing. The tone is very Gibson teens A style, but its got something else going on that I can't quite discribe, a kind of haunting or mysterious resonance deep in there. #There is plenty of volume and punch too so you can pick it pretty hard. Oh yeah you gotta just love the overall design and style of the thing, that headstock shape, way cool!
For those of you not familiar with the style B here a pic from Dexters web site.

Bob DeVellis
Jun-30-2006, 9:04pm
Mike -- congratulations on a great instrument. They play and sound fantastic in my limited experience. And, as you noted, they're great looking, as well. Gotta love those tailpieces.

Jun-30-2006, 9:34pm
Beautiful mandolin, Mike. Thanks for posting the pictures. Can you identify the wood on the back? Walnut?



Jun-30-2006, 9:58pm
Bob, your right the tail piece is cool, and it has a locking device under that fancy cover to hold the strings on while changeing, but what I'm not sure about is on the underside of the string holder are 2 square metal hoops that seem to serve no function??

Mick, I think its maple with a modest flame, 1 piece for sure.Could be walnut though, I'll have to check it in the spectrum analizer.

Now I have to learn what I can about the LH's. One thing for sure this thing speaks quality of craftmanship, perhaps cleaner and of higher quality than the Gibsons from its time.I believe mine (sn# 70) is a earlier model 1915-1917??

Bob DeVellis
Jun-30-2006, 10:07pm
Mike -- I know the wire loops you're referring to, and I have no idea why they're there. It almost looks like something would slide under the tailpiece and be held in place by them.

I'm pretty sure the wood is maple with a walnut stain.

Jun-30-2006, 10:35pm
Didn't they have some sort of patented string damping device under that tailpiece cover? Or is the loopy stuff the device?

Dave Hanson
Jul-01-2006, 1:29am
Norman Blake plays one of these on ' The Mandolin of Norman Blake ' it sounds wonderful.

Dave H

Bob DeVellis
Jul-01-2006, 7:40am
The string damper is a sort of clamp that flips down over the strings, pressing them against the base of the tailpiece, before the tailpiece cover goes on. The loops are something else entirely.

Jul-01-2006, 12:06pm
Personally, I feel the Lyon & Healy models were the highest state of grace achieved by archtop mandolins. Congrats and enjoy.

Jim Garber
Jul-01-2006, 6:14pm
Congratulations, Mike! According to the list I have yours is one of the earlier ones with the longer scale. They went shorter scale sometime in the 1920s.

BTW the 1920 catalog refers to "our new compensating tailpiece."

The style B is described as with "curly maple back and sides, stained walnut color."

It also has a "mahogany neck reinforced in center with strips of maple and vulcanized fiber."

BTW that use of "vulcanized fiber" -- sort of hard rubber -- is one cause of neck malfunction on these L&Hs.

I have an A with the longer scale and symmetrical points. It is a wonderful mandolin but did have serious neck problems.


Jul-01-2006, 10:33pm
Thanks for the info guys, I never knew it was vulcanized rubber for the center strip for the neck, thought it was mahogany. At this point the neck is solid, but I'll keep an eye on it.

Jul-02-2006, 7:51am
I meant to say I thought it was Ebony used in the neck.

Jul-07-2006, 8:52am
Congrats, Mike. It's beautiful and no doubt sounds as good as it looks.

I've had my eye on a couple of L&H at Bernunzio's www.bernunzio.com but have been hesitant to take it that step further. Have even thought about a possible trade for my Casimiro Lozano classical guitar that I listed with Bernunzio's this week.

Jim Garber
Jul-07-2006, 9:03am
Which of those L&Hs did you like? It looks like one B and two As: one early with the longer scale and one later with the 13" scale.


Jul-07-2006, 9:09am
I just sent you an e-mail while you were posting!http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Like(love) all of them but don't know enough about them to make an informed decision.


Bob A
Jul-07-2006, 11:50am
FWIW, Bernunzio's model B is from my collection, and has the long scale, as do all the early L&H instruments. (Mine is s/n 39). A sweet sounding mandolin. Since you're a local, Doreen, you ought to go on over and play with them.

Jul-07-2006, 1:00pm
Thanks for that info. I do plan on going over to Bernunzio's tomorrow morning. He's curious about my Mathers' mandolin and I want to let him see and play it. While I'm there, I'll check out some of the others.


Rick Turner
Jul-07-2006, 5:09pm
Vulcanized fiber is not the same as vulcanized rubber. The fiber stuff is used for pickup bobbins (as per Leo Fender), drum cases, and Gurian sells it for binding. Not very useful for neck reinforcement, though!

Aug-14-2006, 8:05pm
I've just purchased a Lyon & Healy C mandolin. #I haven't played it yet but should receive it soon. #What kind and gauge of strings do you think will get the best sound from this instrument for playing classical music.

Rick Turner
Aug-15-2006, 10:34am
By the way, the back on that would respond beautifully to French polish...

Bob A
Aug-15-2006, 10:52am
Congrats on the new toy, Ilene.

I tend to favor lighter strings than usually used on gibson-type mandolins. My L&H A is strung with Dogal Calace medio; they are rough under the fingers, however, and not everyone's cup of tea. Experimentation is probably necessary. A lot will depend on your personal preference in terms of materials and finish: Brass, bronze, steel, silk & steel; polished or plain winding, etc. Lenzner makes polished strings which I enjoy on bowlbacks, and I imagine a gauge heavier than the tyupical bowlback would be in order to drive a carved top. Dogal strings are good, but they are iron rather than brass/bronze. I use GHS PF250 on an old F4 with success; they are lighter than usually found on Gibsons, but older instruments don't seem to need heavy strings anyway.

One thing to remember is that some string sets, and here I'm thinking of Dogal and Lenzner, seem to require a week or two of playing before they settle in; before that, they don't sound so great. Several people have commented on this phenomenon. On the other hand, they last a looong time before going dead.

I'm not particularly fond of Thomastiks, finding them fairly dull-sounding, but the German school dotes on them.

The bright nature of the L&H instruments makes them pretty special; they have a nearly bowlback-quality treble, with more bass than you'll ever get from a bowl. Strings that enhance that quality would seem to me to be preferable.

A pretty long non-answer to your specific question, alas.

Aug-15-2006, 11:33am
Bob, thank you for the information. I had been thinking of using the Dogal/Calace medios as my bowlback has the Dogal dolces and I like them very much. Someone has also recommended using Argentine strings (Savarez), 1540X - are you familiar with those?

Thank you,

Aug-15-2006, 4:56pm
By the way, the back on that would respond beautifully to French polish...

Yes it would, mabey someday I'll find someone who's a french polish expert and have it done.

Bob A
Aug-16-2006, 11:22am
Hi Ilene. Never used the Argentine strings. If you like Dogals already, the medios are more of the same. They are rather more toothy than the light gauge, though.

So far as classical/bowlback strings are concerned, I've only used Dogal and Lenzners; I've rec'd a few instruments strung with GHS Classicals, and they seem OK to me, though some folks don't care for them. I don't think they're as high quality as the others, but they are cheaper, so it works out as a wash in the end.

So tell us about your bowlback. I love to find folks who enjoy those under-appreciated instruments, and the fact you already know about Dogals is indicative in itself.

(Do you check out the classical section here? There's lots of info on the whole bowl phenomenon down there).

Aug-16-2006, 12:27pm
Hi Bob,
I think I will order the Dogal/medios for the L&H - do you happen to know the gauge of the Dogal medios? The L&H came strung with GHS phosphor bronze med.light,A260 - I was surprised how easy it was to play since I'm used to playing with lighter strings and I think that I'd like to use the lightest string possible on this instrument.

My bowlback is an American Conservatory (Lyon & healy) and I know this is supposed to be the least ornate of the line but I think it's gorgeous. It has a beautiful(cracking) tortoiseshell pickguard inlaid with an abalone butterfly and a smaller butterfly on the headstock. The wood is brazilian rosewood and spruce and it plays beautifully. If I can figure out how to post a photo I will do that.


Bob A
Aug-17-2006, 11:34am
Cute bowlback.

The measurements I have for Dogal strings are as follows: Light (RW92b) 0.010, 0.014, 0.024, 0.035. For medio (RW92) 0.011, 0.014, 0.026, 0.038. Inches, of course. Take with a grain of salt; these are what I read on a micrometer, subject to eyeball error. Also subject to manufacturer's vagaries.

Lenzners are 0.009, 0.014(unwound) 0.015(wound A), 0.023, 0.035. I understand the company may have changed names recently; I haven't ordered strings for a while. The set with the wound A string was called "Consort"; they were made according to Het Consort requirements. Some folks found the wound A string to be somewhat fragile; my solution is to order two extra unwound strings (0.014) and replace the A string once it fails. The other strings are quite long-lasting, so you get two sets for the price of one-and-a-quarter.