View Full Version : Bill Davis F5

Aug-14-2004, 7:59pm
Here's my latest, a Bill Davis F5. It has an Engelmann Spruce top. My thanks to a fellow Cafe member for letting this beauty go. Original owner was Steve Mullins from the Mandolin Magazine. That's right, he ordered it without the fret dots!

Aug-14-2004, 8:03pm
A shot of the back. I'm not sure if you will be able to see the volute on the back of the headstock where it meets the neck. A nice touch. 3 piece neck to boot.

Aug-14-2004, 8:05pm
A closer shot of the back

Aug-14-2004, 8:07pm
Close up top

Aug-14-2004, 8:08pm
Side view

Aug-14-2004, 8:30pm
Last one.

Bill Davis makes a beautiful Mandolin - flawless construction. A very responsive and balanced instrument. This one was made in 2002 so it still has a couple more years to fully come into it's own.

Bill's Mandolins are top drawer all the way. He deserves more recognition for his work. Keep a watch on him.

Karen Kay
Aug-15-2004, 8:50am
Welcome to the family!!!!!

Scotti Adams
Aug-15-2004, 9:07am
..very nice...Ive heard some great things about these...a builder with a bullet....hes somebody to keep your eyes on fer sure...

Scott Tichenor
Aug-15-2004, 9:17am
Count me a big Bill Davis fan. His workmanship and the sound he's getting is simply first rate. His attention to detail is outrageous. Quite a few Davis mandolins in this area owned by folks I know. If any of you are at Winfield you should try to hook up with him. Great guy.

Skip Kelley
Aug-15-2004, 10:44am
Good looking mandolin! Cool pictures! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Aug-15-2004, 10:49am
WOW! Gotta love that thing.

What is the general price range for these?

Karen Kay
Aug-15-2004, 11:44am
Two ways to find out current prices
or look for BW Davis on the ads on the main list of threads.

Karen Kay
Aug-15-2004, 1:54pm
Here's a pic of Billy and his daughter and a couple of other guys in the background playing his mandos

Karen Kay
Aug-15-2004, 1:58pm
or here

Scott Tichenor
Aug-15-2004, 2:03pm
Sure, he makes top-tier Fs, but that flat-top (http://www.massstreetmusic.com/show_indv.php?item=02082&img=1) model he makes for the more reasonably priced is--my opinion--simply the best choice of quality mandolin on *the* market in the under $1K range. Sure, others look pretty, but you should hear these things. No questionable workmanship there. Hitting on all cylinders.

Off soap box.

Jim Roberts
Aug-15-2004, 4:12pm
I have a Bill Davis Artist A model and it's a true sweetheart. #It's my favorite mandolin for O'Carolan tunes. #His work seems to be getting better and better all the time.

Aug-15-2004, 9:10pm
That is a beautiful mandolin. I almost jumped on it myself. If it would have had the fingerboard dots, it might be sitting in my living room now. I have yet to play a Davis, but all the ones I have seen pics of have been amazingly good looking. I hope to get to see some more at Winfield this year.

Aug-15-2004, 10:01pm
When I talked to Bill the other day, I asked him about installing some dots. He said he has never had that request before http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif Down the road, I may be looking to take a drive south to his shop for the installation. An inexpensive addition. If I decide to go this route, it would be more for cosmetic purposes. I use the position markers on the side of the neck - not the board.

Shaun - it's a good thing (for me) that you like the dots better than I do #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

Bill Davis appears to be a builder with a pretty short learning curve. He perhaps found the right mix of craftsmanship and tone with his first effort. Like Jim says, they keep getting better. The satin Artist at Mass Street is incredible.

Aug-16-2004, 12:09am
It was probably a silly reason for not buying it. But it just looked naked to me. I'm glad you're happy with your purchase. I just might have to snag the next one that comes along. Like I need another mandolin! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

JD Cowles
Aug-19-2004, 1:02pm
i have one of bill's 2002 f5's and it is a cannon. i've been drooling over that one at mass st for some time now. pickn, i had a chance to play the one you have while it was in colorado and it too is a beaut. enjoy it.

Aug-19-2004, 3:43pm
JD- What number is your 2002 F5? Which model is it?

I understand Steve owned this for less than a year. The gentleman I bought it from told me the tone really changed since he had it. The other day, I raised the action a bit and noticed an increase in the volume and bass end. Beautiful and complex overtones too. I imagine it sounds quite different now from when you played it. This Davis F is bound to just get better and better. I'm groovin! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

JD Cowles
Aug-19-2004, 4:02pm
mine is #10502, pretty unandorned-unbound neck and headstock, no dots :-) its western red cedar top and walnut back/sides/neck. i'll try and get a pic up here at some point. i've had it since mar 02 and it has just gotten better and better. someday i'll get out to winfield and try and hook up with bill. i've never met the man face to face.

Aug-19-2004, 4:55pm
JD- You have #5 and I have #6. I wonder who else out there is in the fold? A couple of folks posted on this thread that said they had a Davis.

Do send some pictures of yours here! A Cedar top with Walnut sides and back. I'll bet that is a nice one.

I've not met Bill either but may take a trip his way to get some abalone dots installed http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

Karen Kay
Aug-20-2004, 5:36pm
We have #7, Billy's only "chocolate" f. #He didn't want to do it, thinking the grain would get lost in the dark but those of you who have seen it know it worked out fine! #Sweet as it can be.
Picture is in the "Family" thread of 'Post a Pic...."

Aug-20-2004, 8:38pm
Karen- OK, so now we know who has #5, #6 and #7! Yours looks great - not to mention the rest of the family. Do you have some pics that show more up close detail? Yes, these little pickers are tricky to photograph.

Mine was not built for me but #6 is exactly the way I would have ordered it. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Karen Kay
Aug-21-2004, 7:15am
Let me get the camera out and give it a whirl. #We are fortunate enough to have had Bill build ours from the ground up ex: fret board is radiused to our liking. #Ours is the model w/o headstock binding and has a one piece back.#Also the color is our choice. #Hang on for a bit while we work the camera and size the pics. #

Karen Kay
Aug-21-2004, 7:50am
try this

Karen Kay
Aug-21-2004, 7:52am
and this

Karen Kay
Aug-21-2004, 7:53am
one more

Aug-21-2004, 8:28am
Good gracious. What a beautiful mandolin.

Aug-24-2004, 3:49pm
Oh my! Verrrrrrry nice. Love the one piece back. Nice work on the fretboard extension. Do you know if the top is Sitka or Engelmann?

Hey Karen - were you at the KS State Flatpicking and Fiddling Championships on Sunday?

Karen Kay
Aug-24-2004, 4:37pm
The top is Adirondack Spruce
Back, sides and neck are Red Maple
Schaller tuners and Tailpiece are gold plated
Custom Truss Rod Cover MOP

Sorry we missed everyone at the contest but someone in this family has to earn a living. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif
Congrats to our buddy Andy and a big way to go to Mike! #Married life must be doing him right. #
Winfield is next!

Sep-06-2004, 9:37pm
I went to Kansas City this weekend with a few friends. So of course I had to go over to Mass Street Music while I was up that way. And although I didn't intend on buying anything, that satin finish Davis Artist F5 was just too good to pass up. So it will be arriving sometime this week. The attention to detail on that instrument is incredible. I can't wait to get it here and play the heck out of it for a while. I'll take some new pics of it once I get it in my hands.

Sep-06-2004, 11:05pm
Nice job Shaun! Too good to pass up indeed.

That satin Davis F5 is an awesome Mandolin. I've played it a number of times while visiting Mass Street. It overflows with tone. Bill's fit and finish will stand side by side with some of the best makers out there today. Before I bought my Davis, I had been M.A.S.ing for this one bad. Your Davis, I believe, has a Red Spruce top so it will take awhile to break in. It's just going to get better

Do send some pics to this thread!

Karen Kay
Sep-07-2004, 9:34am
Excellent decision! #We have played that one a bunch, too. #Next, you need to go to Winfield and get in the yearly pic of Billy with his babies! #If Scott doesn't lose the pictures! LOL

JD Cowles
Sep-07-2004, 9:55am
thanks for buyin that f5. #now i can stop trying to come up with the money #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif
you will love that mando, hang on to it.

Sep-07-2004, 10:26am
That is a great mandolin. Bill Davis is doing very nice work. I had it on my list of mandolins to buy until I came across a used Collings MF5 that was priced low enough that I couldn't refuse. Enjoy #16, she's a beauty!

Sep-07-2004, 7:14pm
I'd love to go to Winfield this year, but Im working until 4pm on Saturday. So Im not sure if its worth the trip for such a short period of time. I know that I will love this mandolin. I spent 3-4 hours at Mass Street playing almost everything they had. (If you're mandolin shopping, I highly recommend them. Going to their shop was a great experience.) They even got Scott to come by and play them back at me so I could hear them. (Thanks a lot Scott!) It has a very sweet, focused sound to it right now. And I know if the top is Red Spruce, it's going to take some playing to open up. But that's fine by me. Just gives me an excuse to pick more. Like I said earlier, I really didn't intend on buying anything. But after I got my hands on the Davis and 2 of their Collings mandolins, I was hooked. I absolutely fell in love with one of their MF5's. But there just wasn't $2500 difference between the MF5 and the Davis, in my opinion. Not to mention, the satin finish on this mando was exactly what I was looking for. Im extremely pleased with my purchase and plan on playing this one a long time. I can always get a Collings next year. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif Now if the darn thing will just get here!


Jim Roberts
Sep-07-2004, 7:40pm
Shaun: #From one Davis owner to another welcome to the club! #Mass Street Music is a dangerous place to enter...I've walked out of there on four occasions not expecting to buy anything but yet somehow ended up leaving with yet another mandolin! It truly has to be one of the best shops in the country and the folks who work there are top notch and honest. #

Hope we cross paths someday and compare mandolins!

Sep-10-2004, 2:46pm
It's finally here. The wait is over. I haven't put it down except to write this. After playing it for 2 solid hours, I'm still very pleased with my decision. I've decided to come to Winfield on Friday. If any of y'all are going to be around, I'd enjoy meeting some of you folks.

Sep-10-2004, 5:22pm
OK...can you put it down long enough to take and post some pictures http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Although I can sure understand why you would be playing this for the last two hours! Like I said, it's an awesome Mandolin. I'm sure you agree.

Wish I could make Winfield this year - hopefully next year.

Sep-16-2004, 10:16pm
Here are a few pics. Not the best, but it's all I could do for now. Next time I'm taking them outside. Not to sound like too much of a proud Papa but it just keeps getting better the more I play it.

Sep-16-2004, 10:17pm
The front

Sep-18-2004, 11:39pm
Now that's what I'm talking about! Probably played this one 5-6 times while it was at Mass Street. Top notch all around.

Sep-19-2004, 6:23pm
Beautiful mandolin. Does it have a radiused fingerboard? If so, is it slight or more radical?

Sep-19-2004, 8:33pm
It has a slightly arched fingerboard. And man does it make a difference in playability. Much easier to play than a flat fingerboard, at least for me.

Sep-19-2004, 8:59pm
upon first veiwing this thread and your fisrt pic I thought to myself "He's probably grinnin and pickin a lot more now" http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Sep-19-2004, 9:56pm
Man.. this mando just really does it for me. If it sounds 1/2 as good as it looks... it's gotta be killer. I'm afraid tho that it's a bit outta my (future) price range, at least for a new one. Still... i'll have to see at that time if there's any way.....