View Full Version : H-4's versus H-5's

Aug-12-2006, 1:24pm
Since there seems to be an interest in vintage mandolas on the board, is there anyone with experience with vintage gibsons (Darryl?) who can enlighten the rest of us as to the differences in sound between vintage "Loar era" H-4's and H-5's? #Are there any good recordings of these instruments where the differences can be heard?

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-12-2006, 2:35pm
Tim the difference is essentially the same as an F4 and an F5

Aug-13-2006, 1:26am
I guess where this question is coming from is what was written about H-5's in the tone poems II CD booklet.

http://www.mandozine.com/index.p....la_1923 (http://www.mandozine.com/index.php/instruments/instrumentinfo/gibson_lloyd_loar_h_5_mandola_1923/)

This was I assume written by Dawg or maybe Dexter Johnson and makes the H-5 sound as though it is inferior to the H-4. I'm wondering if this is the general consensus. I personally feel that the F-5 is superior to the F-4 for most styles of music. However, this article suggests that the opposite is true in vintage gibson mandolas. I quote: "the H-5 never took off, even among committed mandola players, who probably preferred the deep-toned, oval-holed H-4 which had been in production for a decade. Compared to most H-4s, the tone of the H-5 is thin..." Conversely, I would say that an F-5 has a thicker sound than an F-4.

Aug-13-2006, 3:54am
Well I've only ever played one H5, and it is a superior sounding instrument. Compared to H1s & H2s I have played, it was the same difference between a fine Loar F5 and a teens A model. Resonant, throaty, and responsive the same way a good F5 is.

I think that if you look at vintage mandolas, you'll find that many more of the old makers' ones are fine quality. Often to my ear there is a pretty big gap between Gibsons & everything else for the low-end and mid-range As & Fs, but on mandolas there are many makers whose instruments sound amazing.

Aug-14-2006, 12:08am
When history suggests that the classical players of the time did not like the tone of the F5 it would only make sense they would not like the H5 either and sales figures of the H5 support that theory. As an owner of a really fine '24 H5 I'll say it's got all the punch you need. In fact maybe too much punch for classical. The F holes are smaller on the H5 than the F5 in an attempt to soften up the volume so it does not drown out the lead mandolin. While a few of the pros did like the F5 sound most did not care for it over the F4/H4 sound their ears had become accustomed to by this the time the F5 made it's debut.