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View Full Version : The Loar LM-700-VS #001



Rob Powell
Feb-21-2009, 3:05pm
Well, I took the plunge for a second mandolin because I'm due to be traveling a lot this year and I didn't want to worry about taking the Yellowstone.

Big Joe was pretty excited about The Loar's new LM-700-VS and he had serial number xxxxx001 and it was reasonably priced so....when Big Joe talks, I listen :grin:

Here's some pics and then I'll talk about it a little more ;)

Rob Powell
Feb-21-2009, 3:07pm
Here's a few more...sorry the pics are so bad...I also didn't realize when I was doing it that I had left so many fingerprints on it :redface:

Rob Powell
Feb-21-2009, 3:17pm
Overall, I'm very pleased...it sounds really good and you can hear even more potential in it. It's really a pretty amazing mandolin for the money. Working with Big Joe was a pleasure. He goes the extra mile and so do the other guys in the shop. When Big Joe said this one had something, he meant it!

I'll post some more about it later and maybe I can get some video/audio done.

Jason Renzi
Feb-21-2009, 4:06pm
beautiful instrument rob...and #1!!...wow...
if i were a more patient man i would've waited until i could get my hands on one of those instead of buying the one i got recently...
but i couldn't wait...if i ever find myself with any money EVER AGAIN i'll definitely be interested in hunting one down...
congratulations!....

Steevarino
Feb-21-2009, 4:43pm
Maybe I am seeing thing sideways, but it looks like that bridge top might be backwards. You don't usually see the intonation on the G string pushed all the way back, but it is common to see the E compensation pushed all the way forward, which is how it would be if you flipped the saddle around.

Of course, I can't see that one getting by Big Joe and the Boys, so if it intonates well, well, there you go. Might want to check it tho' . . .

Dfyngravity
Feb-21-2009, 5:41pm
Very nice look mando there.

I am pretty sure that the bridge top is done correctly....

Rob Powell
Feb-21-2009, 6:31pm
Very nice look mando there.

I am pretty sure that the bridge top is done correctly....

Steve knows a couple things about bridges so there may be something there.

I'll take a couple more pics top down on the bridge Steve but I also have a hard time thinking that Big Joe would let it out of the shop with it's pants on inside out ;)

It intonates perfectly and the action is pretty sweet.

I love the bigger neck, it just fits my hand better.

A few more comments....

It sounds best at the moment using a Red Bear. Everything else is too bright.

It's a flat fretboard which I'm not having any issues with although, I do prefer a radius.

The hardware is gold, with Gotoh tuners and I like them better than the Schallers on my Yellowstone. I have never been fond of the Gibson style tailpiece but the workmanship on it is nice.

The workmanship overall is very nice. The purfling is well done, the Fern and logo inlay on the headstock is well done and there are only a few tiny cosmetic blips. The nitro finish is hand buffed and I'm sure that's where the little blips came in.

It's easy to overlook because they're tiny and the sound is not...this baby is powerful. I can't wait until it finds it's voice. It's gonna be a banjo annihilator :grin:

It's got a pretty nice tone now and it's wickedly loud but I believe powerful is a better word for it. Quite surprising. Pleasantly surprising I might add. Nice ringing in the highs...quite balanced across the mids and decent bass response.

The tone is not as complex as my Yellowstone but it cost about 75% less.

I can hear that it has unrealized potential which seems strange to me but it's the oniy way I know to describe it.

So the more I play it, the more pleased I am....

Dfyngravity
Feb-21-2009, 6:49pm
From the pictures, the top of the bridge looks pretty similar to this one:

http://reddiamondmandolins.com/index.php?page_id=21&level=picture&id=67 (Don MacRostie, Red Diamond F5 Replica Series)

Rob Powell
Feb-22-2009, 6:48am
So I played it a lot more yesterday and it continues to amaze. It really is a whole lot of mando for the money. At first my wife didn't like it, she said it didn't sound warm like my Yellowstone. After I played it for a couple of hours, she said it still didn't sound as warm but that it sure did sound good.

I agree ;)


In fact, she asked me to bring it on vacation with us in May or June when we go. That was always the hold up in getting a second mandolin for travel. I couldn't find one where I could justify the price without sacrificing the tone. The Loar have done a fabulous job with this. As Big Joe pointed out, it's not a MM but it sure sounds good.

Big Joe
Feb-22-2009, 3:42pm
We put the bridge back on correctly. I really don't like the bridges all that much, but I did not want to alter the originality. When it needs a set up after it is played a bit I would suggest putting a Cumberland Acousitic bridge on it. Properly fit I've found they do improve the mandolins. The original is not bad, just not as good as one of Steve's.

I'm glad, but not surprised, that Rob is happy with his mandolin. It certainly does surprise everyone when they play them and then we tell them what they sell for.

It has been a real pleasure dealing with Rob.

man dough nollij
Feb-22-2009, 3:46pm
Has anyone looked inside of one of these? I'm curious about the 'braceless' top.

Rob Powell
Feb-22-2009, 5:21pm
We put the bridge back on correctly. I really don't like the bridges all that much, but I did not want to alter the originality. When it needs a set up after it is played a bit I would suggest putting a Cumberland Acousitic bridge on it. Properly fit I've found they do improve the mandolins. The original is not bad, just not as good as one of Steve's.

Well, you can do just that when I come to Nashville in July since I was already going to have you guys setup the Yellowstone.


I'm glad, but not surprised, that Rob is happy with his mandolin. It certainly does surprise everyone when they play them and then we tell them what they sell for.

Yup...it gets better and better the more I play it.


It has been a real pleasure dealing with Rob.

You better be careful Joe, you don't want your veracity to come into question with statements like that ;)

Big Joe is truly a gentleman and there ain't many of us left Joe :grin:

Rob Powell
Feb-22-2009, 5:50pm
Has anyone looked inside of one of these? I'm curious about the 'braceless' top.

I'd be happy to peek inside if you can tell me what you're looking for ;)

Joe has commented before that tone bars are well, for tone, not so much bracing and that structurally, these are sound (npi.)

Are you wondering if there is extra mass in the top around where tone bars would be if it had them?

It has a lifetime warranty and I bought it from Big Joe so I'm not worried about anything going wrong with it.:cool:

Michael Eck
Feb-22-2009, 6:32pm
Rob,

Welcome to The Loar family. And, wow, congrats on getting #1.

I think you will find that over time your Loar will continue to open up. That's been my experience with my LM 600 VS, the 700's predecessor. I've been playing mine regularly since September and get nothing but compliments from soundmen, fans and other musicians (most of whom play better than me!).

I recently had it set up and it's playing better than ever and the sound continues to mature. I can't wait to hear this thing five years down the road. I also hear they're working on an A5 style, which I think is very exciting.

Hopefully, Paul Hostetter or Big Joe will check in with news on that front as it develops.

Rob Powell
Feb-22-2009, 8:00pm
Rob,

Welcome to The Loar family. And, wow, congrats on getting #1.

I think you will find that over time your Loar will continue to open up. That's been my experience with my LM 600 VS, the 700's predecessor. I've been playing mine regularly since September and get nothing but compliments from soundmen, fans and other musicians (most of whom play better than me!).

I recently had it set up and it's playing better than ever and the sound continues to mature. I can't wait to hear this thing five years down the road. I also hear they're working on an A5 style, which I think is very exciting.

Hopefully, Paul Hostetter or Big Joe will check in with news on that front as it develops.

Thanks Michael! I've been playing it hard all weekend and it continues to get better. It's truly hard to believe how good this mandolin is and is becoming.

Big Joe mentioned to me that he thinks they're also coming out with a varnished finished model.

Hey Joe, I call dibs on number 001 for that one too :grin:

They're definitely on to something here.

Rob Powell
Feb-22-2009, 8:04pm
PS - I have to say again how much I'm digging the chunkier neck profile. I think I may have the fingerboard radiused though. The buttons on the Gotohs are much smaller than on the Schallers on the Yellowstone which I also like.

Michael Eck
Feb-22-2009, 11:47pm
Rob,

I'm with you on the chunky neck as well. I found it very comfortable automatically.

I had another F model, but I traded for a ukulele not long after getting my Loar. Just didn't feel like I needed it anymore.

Might need one of their As if they make 'em, though!

Rob Powell
Feb-23-2009, 2:34pm
On kind of a side note...this is the first time in my life I have ever owned 2 of the same instrument. I've owned an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar at the same time but never 2 acoustics or 2 electrics.

I figured that if I bought this and didn't like the way it sounded or if my wife went ballistic ;) I could sell it and pretty much get my money out of it since it was #001 and there won't be any more of these available for some time.

Since I was able to truthfully say I needed a travel mandolin and since she's just really understanding about me and my instruments, the latter part of that didn't happen.

Since the daggone thing sounds so good, the former didn't happen ;) and as the old saying goes if anyone wants to get it away from me, "They'll have to pry it out of cold, dead hands."

K3NTUCKI8oy
Feb-24-2009, 3:07am
Play us a tune on her!!!!

Rob Powell
Feb-24-2009, 5:39am
Play us a tune on her!!!!

:)) I'm trying to get there...just when I get ready to do it, something jumps in the way...

mandozilla
Feb-24-2009, 6:14am
Lookin' good Rob!

A couple of years ago I was looking for a beater, inexpensive but serviceable.
I took a chance and bought a new "The Loar" LM500 w/case and shipping off of ebay for $400.00. :)

The workmanship on their mandos is really good, very clean. And they are very playable. But the LM500 has a pressed, though solid, top. It has a thin sound with very little volume so I haven't played it much. :crying:

Right now I've got one of those Tonerite de-damping gizmos on it. That thing really improved the tone and volume on an already loud F-5 with very good tone. It's great. I'm leaving it on for a couple of weeks straight per Michael Lewis' suggestion to see if it helps...I hope so or this mando is gone! :))

Anyway, the reason I'm telling you all this is I would be curious to see how it affected the tone on your LM-700. Man I wish I wouold have waited for an LM-700 but at the time, Who Knew? :grin:

:mandosmiley:

Rob Powell
Feb-24-2009, 6:25am
Oh, another aside...when I first got her last Friday, I found that a Red Bear worked best for getting the right tone. The Blue Chip was just too bright. Now that the EXP's have toned down, the Blue Chip is just right.

I know I'm raving about the sound of this mandolin and no one really knows how good it sounds except Big Joe and few others that have played it. It might seem like I'm just trying to justify it or that I'm on a new mandolin honeymoon so I really do need to get some audio/video done. The thing is, I'm just not good enough to justify owning the picks I own much less 2 mandolins :redface:

So far, I haven't jammed much with other people, I haven't really learned any tunes all the way through and I usually just play along with my iPod to some tunes. Even then, I don't necessarily play what's written so I'm not sure how much anyone would get from any video/audio that I make.

Now that I've set the stage to reduce my embarassment as much as possible, perhaps I'll actually do some.

mandozilla
Feb-24-2009, 7:18am
Hey Rob don't sweat it. :) Keep playing and you'll get there (wherever you decide there is) someday. ;) The important thing is, are you having fun with the mandolin? Obviously you are or you wouldn't show so much enthusiasm. :grin:

:mandosmiley:

Rob Powell
Feb-24-2009, 7:45pm
Oh yeah, I'm havin' fun fer sure ;) I wish I had taken it up "back in the day" as my oldest would say. I'll get some video and enhanced audio up soon. I took some test video tonight and if I stay with my general playing methodology, it's not too embarassing.

I just want to make sure that I capture the actual sound which my camcorder doesn't. So I need to have at least a minimum recording set-up. It's kinda why there's no video or audio of my Yellowstone to date. I should be able to drop the camcorder audio out and sub the better audio.

The video portion is just so you can the mando cuz it's good looking.

Rob Powell
Nov-07-2009, 5:35pm
8 Months later I'm resurrecting this thread because this mandolin has become my favorite and that's saying something because the Weber is pretty outstanding too.

I'm back to the Red Bear pick (C-Heavy) on this one but I use the Blue Chip (TAD-60) on the Weber.

Funny, I really only need 3 picks now and one is for my guitar ;) Not so funny, those 3 picks go for almost $100 total. Still, I've been playing all 3 for probably a year and the Blue Chips show no wear, the Red Bear shows minimal wear and I play pretty much 30 minutes or more every day.

Every day this LM-700 sounds more and more like a Gibson. Please, Gibson owners...I know you think it's impossible and I'm considering trading the Yellowstone for a Gibson myself...still, I play along with some nice Gibsons and this mando is darn close.

I thought I preferred a radius fretboard but now flat suits me better. I thought I preferred a thinner neck but a chunky one is the ticket. This mandolin has improved my playing and brought me much joy. I still can't believe how much mando it was for the price.

Yeah sure, it's a "Pac-Rim" but when a mandolin is hand carved and sounds this good, does it matter where it was carved?

IF you can get NEAR one, check it out. Make sure to bring your wallet ;)

Steve Sorensen
Nov-07-2009, 8:38pm
Note from Kevin Byrne on the LM-700 backorder wait --"We are probably looking at a delivery date of early 2010."

Keep posting your observations about 001 . . . it is making the wait even more exciting. (How's that for a positive spin?)

:cool:Steve

Rob Powell
Nov-08-2009, 4:48am
Steve,

From the beginning, this was supposed to be a "Limited Edition" model. If you piece together various things, it appears that around 100 of these have been made. Surely more than an independent luthier's output but less than some of the small production shops in the US. Of course, they are still making the 500's and 600's, the latter also hand carved.

Maybe Paul Hostetter will chime in here regarding the production output of these mandos. Big Joe and Robert Fear may have some insight there as well.

Big Joe says the 600's are pretty good mandos but have a different tonal focus.

In any case, you could think of it this way: If you were having a custom built, you would probably have to get on a waiting list and even when your number came up, you would still be somewhere around a year at a minimum before you got the mandolin. AND...you would be paying a lot more.

Doesn't help much does it ;)

I play Sam Bush strings on it and as a correction, I'm using a Red Bear C-Medium on it. I've been up to my ears in a project for work since January of this year and haven't been able to reassemble my recording studio since I moved everything just before Christmas last year.

We just wrapped up the project so maybe I'll have some time to actually record some music and show off the mando. I have a hi-def video recorder but the audio isn't stellar so I hesitate to use that as an example.

I think you will find the wait worth it.

clarksavage
Nov-15-2009, 11:24am
Hey Rob - Do you know the serial number scheme on the LM-700 ? I have one of the ones that came early in the summer, as I recall, I seemed to be one of the very few who obtained one then. (As far as I know, Lightnin' Joe still has the other one there in Arroyo Grande at his store....)

My serial ends with 0106, what does yours look like? Oh, and to honor the thread, I'll go take a picture to post a bit later!

Clark

Here's some photos -

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa215/wa3jpg/LoarMandolin/LoarFront1.jpg

http://i201/photobucket.com/albums/aa215/wa3jpg/LoarMandolin/LoarBack1.jpg

Big Joe
Nov-16-2009, 8:12pm
I don't believe they have made anywhere near 100 of the LM700 models yet. I think maybe 20 or so would be a little closer. I have been amazed at the ones that I have seen and played. They are really great mandolins, not just for the money either. They can stand on their own as a mandolin. The fact that they are so inexpensive just adds to the value, but no matter the price they are a very very nice mandolin.

clarksavage
Nov-16-2009, 10:13pm
Hi Joe - Yes, that made me wonder what sort of serial number scheme they might be using out there, I thought mine was one of the very few that came over in the first production run.

At any rate, I am enjoying my mandolin a whole lot. It is a fine instrument and has taken me on a new path with mandolin (having an old A4 as my first mandolin, then a Newell flat top, now this one - and this one has become my favorite.)

The lack of tone bars has caused come consternation to some other guys when I show it to them :) But they don't argue with the sound.

Clark

John Gass
Nov-20-2009, 1:50pm
Speaking of the LM-700, I just had Big Joe put a new Cumberland Acoustic's bridge and a setup on it yesterday while I was in Nashville on business... All I can say is WOW! It just makes an amazing instrument one step better! Thanks to Big Joe for his friendly and quick service!