View Full Version : Bobby Osborne and his '24 Loar

Nov-18-2009, 2:04am
It's hard to find Bobby Osborne out in public with his '24 Loar but I found this nice vintage video of Bobby and his Loar shortly after he got it so it's likely still got the Virzi in it. If you listen closely to his break and his chops (when he does them) you can hear this is a great sounding Loar.

Mike Bunting
Nov-18-2009, 3:29am
Great stuff, his voice is Loar like too! What a great singer.

Mike Snyder
Nov-18-2009, 3:33am
Is that Bobby? I'd take your word as Gospel, but that shore don't look like Bobby. It's one powerful
mandolin, though.

Nov-18-2009, 5:09am
Thanks for linking that, Tom. Looks like late 70s-early 80s to me. That clip has it all - good separation, wonderful fiddle, unique banjo fills, perfect lead and harmony vocals (love Bobby's little falsetto yelps) and the mando kick. His fern beats the loar, though.

Nov-18-2009, 5:18am
That's Bobby during his "Abe Lincoln period." Circa 1984. What amazing showmanship and drive.

Mandolin Mick
Nov-18-2009, 5:22am
That mandolin sounds great, not only the intro but the chops as well. Clear as a bell!

Mike Snyder
Nov-18-2009, 5:48am
Oops, wrong video.

Nov-18-2009, 5:59am
Video embedding enhances thread pleasure.

That is a great video, great Loar, great singing by Paul Brewster, great flathead granada banjo (and picking), great Blaine Sprouse fiddling. Even the electric bass doesn´t offend me.

I allways wondered about the funky finish on the mandolin (and the funky wear mark).

Scotti Adams
Nov-18-2009, 7:45am
Great stuff..thanks

Raymond E.
Nov-18-2009, 7:51am
This is not too long after Bobby got the Loar. This Mandolin was in ill repair,real shoddy work had been done on it...and the Virzi had long been removed. Now,after this..Bobby had the mandolin repaired by folks that cared,put a Virzi back in it and it was a much better Mandolin than before.I forget the persons name that repaired it..in the northeast somewhere. This being said...his Loar,or any other mandolin that I had contact with,were a distant second to his Fern..
That's the finest mandolin ever I had in my hands...


Scotti Adams
Nov-18-2009, 8:17am
Raymond...I agree. While Ive never held Bobbys Fern.. to my ear thats the finest sounding Fern..maybe Gibson...Ive ever heard.

Brian Aldridge
Nov-18-2009, 2:52pm
I have to agree that Bobby's Fern is amazing, one of the best mandolins I have ever played. I have played two other Ferns that sounded about the same, one being Earl Taylor's. The other one I owned for a while and stupidly let get away. Bobby still pulled his great tone out of that Loar though, again showing it is mostly the player, in my humble opinion.

James S
Nov-18-2009, 3:37pm
Bobby's mandolin sure sounds good to me in that video. Not to hijack the thread, but - as per Brian's response - does anyone have any pictures or general knowledge about Earl Taylor's Fern? If I remember correctly, he used to pawn it some nights and his band would have to go back and get it the next day - or so I'm told. Either way, Earl definitely was a force to be reckon with and is one of my favorite players....

- James

Nov-18-2009, 4:11pm
oh man... that video is killin' me! notice Bobby's playing towards the end of that break... it's that particular way of picking, phrasing and melodic improv that would eventually help develop the "modern mandolin sound" that just about everybody plays today. one of the masters that Bobby... not a bad singer either... ;)

Nov-18-2009, 4:56pm
Photos of the Earl Taylor Fern serial no. 84271 can be seen here in the Gibson archives section. There is no argument that Gibson continue to put out some super F5s for many years after Mr. Loar left the building.

Scotti Adams
Nov-18-2009, 8:41pm
Rickey Wasson..guitar player/singer for Crowe owns Earls Ferns now.

Don Grieser
Nov-18-2009, 9:17pm
Thanks for posting the video. That mandolin sounds incredible even through YouTube's horrible audio. WOW!

Danny Clark
Nov-18-2009, 9:57pm
That Loar came from about 10 miles from me,to bad then i was in grade school at the time and did not know what a mandolin was,
it was the last known Loar signed for a long time .

Darryl Wolfe
Nov-19-2009, 8:54am
With all due respec to Bobby and the instrument, I remember when Bobby got the mandolin and saw it within days of him receiving it. I thought it sounded pretty unresponsive (for a Loar) at that time. So maybe it was worked on later or he simply played the sound into it. I also want to think it still had the Virzi in it when he got it and he sebsequently removed it and later had it reinstalled. I could be wrong on that. I took this photo after he had it for a while

Nov-19-2009, 11:30am
He played it long enough to get the fifty cent piece signature Osborne "hole" dug into the top. You can see it in the video and the photo above that it didn't take the Loar long to start looking like the Fern.
On the Bobby and his Mandolin LP cover photo you don't see the bare wood. Maybe Bobby should cut his fingernails or put the pickguard back on.

uncle ken
Nov-19-2009, 1:38pm
From the video, you can see his pinky finger rubbing on that bare spot.

Raymond E.
Nov-19-2009, 5:14pm
Tom..the Virzi was gone when Bobby got this mandolin. The mandolin really looked ###### because of the attempt to put it back together after the Virzi removal,I presume...
I can't remember the guys name that replaced the Virzi but a feller named Don ? had something to do with it. He would always see us at Sunset Park...and seems like Bobby gave the mandolin to him there...or picked it up there after the work had been done.
I know Bobby had a set of tuners rebuilt by a feller we would also see there every time . His name was Hal,wife named Dixie...he was a machinist...done a great job,best I remember.
That Loar was much better after the repair....


Nov-19-2009, 5:19pm
Do ya reckon Rickey Wasson got Earls Loar with help from bandmate Dwight McCall? Dwight's Dad worked for years with Earl back in the 60's, didn't he?

re simmers
Nov-19-2009, 5:27pm
Great video. Mandolin sounds "Osborne." That tenor voice is flawless.


Nov-27-2009, 11:01pm
I love how Bobby varies his chop so tastefully and sometimes just accents the rhythm on the end of the vocal lines. He plays a bit more rhythm while others are soloing, but in general he just lets the music "breathe".....the chop is a powerful and wonderful thing when used tastefully, and you can see how his use of it here contrasts to the constant beatbox playing of many players, which is not sensitive to what is happening with the music moment to moment.

Nov-28-2009, 11:17pm
I thought it was because he can't chop and sing at the same time. A lot of banjo pickers can't roll and sing at the same time.

Dec-02-2009, 3:18pm
I dunno. I might have a hundredth of Bobby's talent if I'm lucky, but one thing I can do is chop and sing at the same time.

Dec-02-2009, 3:22pm
Somebody said it above.

That is part of Bobby's game, and what I love about his style. Sparse, clever chop, only when needed, none of this thwack/thwack/thwack that they all do now.

San Rafael
Dec-02-2009, 5:18pm
Cool vid. Something about the Osborne's music just sends me.

Brian Aldridge
Dec-02-2009, 6:12pm
I have always thought the "missing" chop was on purpose, and sounded great. A case in point that what you leave out is as important as what you put in. I really like the analogy of letting the music "breathe".

San Rafael
Dec-02-2009, 7:52pm
On the chop, the Osbornes have often played with a drummer in the band (unusually for trad bluegrass). The mando chop style might evolve differently for an individual player if he's got a snare drum holding down 2 and 4 some of the time.