PDA

View Full Version : All Gilchrist Bluegrass Mandolin Extravaganza



MojoMando
Feb-16-2010, 11:01am
http://www.davisadbeta.com/GilFest_Mandos.jpg

When four attendees of the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival in Framingham, MA this past Saturday discovered that they had brought 5 Gilchrist Model 5's with them, an impromptu GilFest took place. We sat in a circle starting out with our own instrument and then passed it to our left after each tune enabling us to sample a 22 year span of Steve Gilchrist’s amazing work. Proud Gil owners in order of age (not the owners, the mandolins) were:

Keith Hillyard: 1987 Fern #87177, original style tailpiece, one-piece back, feature photo in Steve’s 1990 catalog

Ken Reback: 2003 Fern #03558, 10” radius, fresh off the Joe Val main stage after being played during the Back Eddy set

Rich Michaud: 2004 Flowerpot #04568, wide nut (not Rich, the mandolin), scooped extension, most mojo of the bunch

Rich Michaud: 2005 Fern #05590, check the classifieds this one is available

Paul Murphy: 2009 Flowerpot #641-09, 3-piece neck, scooped extension, 1 of only 2 model 5's made in 2009

Because Rich had 2 Gils, he brought the talented fiddler/mando player Cameron Freer with him to enable us to hear all 5 mandos during the same sitting. Surprisingly, all 5 mandolins were tone bar models and all had the standard nut width except #04568.

Needless to say, a good time was had by all. Maybe we should actually plan ahead for an even bigger GilFest next year.

And thank you Mr. Gilchrist!

MojoMando

Ken Olmstead
Feb-16-2010, 11:11am
Holy smokes!!! Amazing collection of instruments!

JEStanek
Feb-16-2010, 11:15am
Wow. It's nice to see a family reuinion. PRobably even better to have been there!

Jamie

Mike Black
Feb-16-2010, 11:18am
Those sure are beautiful. I bet that the Gilfest sounded great. Wish I could have been there. That picture sure is Mando Porn.

Glassweb
Feb-16-2010, 11:43am
Spectaculario!

Darren Bailey
Feb-16-2010, 11:46am
As you passed them round the circle I'll bet there were one or two people very carefully counting how far their mandolin had gone! Great idea.

Rob Gerety
Feb-16-2010, 11:52am
I started working with a new instructor here in Vermont a few weeks ago. He pulled out a Gilchrist. Lovely instrument. Looked just like the line up above.

Chuck Naill
Feb-16-2010, 11:56am
Rich Michaud: 2004 Flowerpot #04568, wide nut (not Rich, the mandolin), scooped extension, most mojo of the bunch

Perhaps it is just the light, but the arching in this one seems less gradual. Can your comment?

Thank you so much for posting, BTW.

MojoMando
Feb-16-2010, 12:02pm
Perhaps it is just the light, but the arching in this one seems less gradual. Can your comment?

I must admit that I was so into playing and listening that I can't recall anything about the arching. Sorry.

MojoMando

Don Grieser
Feb-16-2010, 12:25pm
Wow!!! Thank you, Mr. Gilchrist indeed!

AlanN
Feb-16-2010, 12:39pm
A bevy of beauties...Bravo!

Mark Walker
Feb-16-2010, 1:18pm
Very cool! :cool:

I'd wager any get-together of owners with their custom-made instruments would be one of the coolest ways to pass some quality time! Imagine sitting among a bevy of Dudebostels, or Brentrups or BRW's or Silver Angels or Poes or Sullivans...
(And the list could go on and on...)

Are there ever any 'user-group' meetings scheduled by anyone - even Gibson?

Thanks for sharing! :)

Jim Hilburn
Feb-16-2010, 1:31pm
Those photo's should go a long way toward answering those who ask "Why do they cost so much?"
After spending a week with Steve this summer at the Symposium watching him demonstrate how he applys those finishes I can appreciate it that much more.
It won't be long now till I attempt to apply what I learned.

Bernie Daniel
Feb-16-2010, 2:02pm
Very cool pics indeed. I like the different "color schemes". I guess I never noticed it before but the Gilchrist has a shorter finger board extension than the Gibson?

He seems to have changed his numbering system at least twice?

I was thinking that 04568 would equal Model 5; June 8, 2004 -- but it would not work if two were finished the same day would it?

I suppose could mean # 568 of 2004 -- but I'm sure he does not build over 500 mandolins a year! :)

Could you detect big differences in the sound? (of course the strings probably varied in brand, gauge and age).

Don Grieser
Feb-16-2010, 2:21pm
Bernie,

The first 2 numbers are the last 2 digits of the year, 04 is 2004, 87 is 1987. The next series of numbers is the sequential serial number of instruments he has built. Looking at the serial numbers, between 1987 and 2003, he built 380 some instruments. Now that's someone who knows how to roll up his sleeves and work. The 641-09 must be a new numbering scheme, with the year at the end. With all the AJr's he finished this year, he should be well over 650 instruments built.

MojoMando
Feb-16-2010, 2:23pm
Could you detect big differences in the sound? (of course the strings probably varied in brand, gauge and age).

As expected, they all sounded different, but it would be very difficult for me to try to put that into words. I can say that I absolutely loved the '87, what a monster!

MojoMando

Perry
Feb-16-2010, 2:26pm
04 is the year...#568 is the instrument serial number. For example I own 04-573; five mandolins later. Mine is cremona, flower pot, x-braced, one piece back.

The numbering scheme seems to be reversed lately as in 637-09

For some reason I've found the difference between brand new strings and month old strings to make the least difference on my Model 5. Brand new strings sound great from the moment I put them on so do the month old ones.

Ah I see I'm too slow on the draw

Glassweb
Feb-16-2010, 2:30pm
With all the AJr's he finished this year, he should be well over 650 instruments built.

Just think about that... over 650 instruments... amazing! Try counting to 650 out loud and then think about building that many artisan-quality instruments... and that's all BY HAND... no CNC. Unbelievable! And perhaps his best is yet to come... hats off to ya Steve...

goose 2
Feb-16-2010, 2:37pm
I was the original owner of #05590. Its fun to see it again on this thread. I would love to see how she sounds now. Any sound clips?

AlanN
Feb-16-2010, 2:41pm
And those necks, particularly from the backside, look oh-so-perfect...

MojoMando
Feb-16-2010, 2:49pm
I was the original owner of #05590. Its fun to see it again on this thread. I would love to see how she sounds now. Any sound clips?

It was such an impromptu thing that we didn't even think about recording, but we really did get a Bluegrass Mandolin Extravaganza sound going. I wish David and Ronnie would record BME part two with a bunch of different players.

MojoMando

Rich Michaud
Feb-16-2010, 4:20pm
Hey Goose-Since you were the original owner of my 2005 Gil fern, please shoot me an email to rbmlaw@aol.com. I would like to get the background to your purchase. I got it from Dwight McCall who got it from Danny Roberts who I was told got it from a "guy in Texas". It is a great bluegrass instrument and has a drier tone that my other 2004 Gil. I used to own the 1987 Gil that now belongs to my good friend Keith. It came from Mike Orlando in N.C. and was the poster child on Steve's catalog some time back which Keith learned from Steve Gilchist. Anyway, it was fun to pass the Gils around like musical chairs...Rich Michaud

mtucker
Feb-16-2010, 4:51pm
wowzer! does it get any better than that? i think not. thanks for sharing!

Joe Parker
Feb-16-2010, 7:55pm
Could the new numbering system be for all the instruments being produced in his new shop location? I noticed the labels have changed as well. I'm curious as to why only 2 F-5s were built in 2009.Was it because Steve was concentrating on only the A-1s?

Adam Buchwald
Feb-16-2010, 8:06pm
You would have had another one in that pic at the festival
if I was there. I have 05580, Cremona, x-braced, fern inlay.
Next year, let's get them all together! I knew of another one there
as well!

MojoMando
Feb-16-2010, 8:08pm
I'm curious as to why only 2 F-5s were built in 2009.Was it because Steve was concentrating on only the A-1s?

Yes, that is it exactly. Steve will be delivering another load of mandos to Gruhn's in March. There will be 15 Model 1's and once again only 2 Model 5's, all of which are spoken for except for one Model 1 (as of last week).

MojoMando

grassrootphilosopher
Feb-17-2010, 4:54am
As expected, they all sounded different, but it would be very difficult for me to try to put that into words. I can say that I absolutely loved the '87, what a monster!

MojoMando

You had the fun, now weŽd like to see you sweat. ;)

I am really interested in the description of sound, playability, differences, similarities.

I have provoked raised eyebrows with the owner of a mandolin when I commented on the different sound character of his mandolin as opposed to a mandolin 2 serial numbers off. Both were Gils both were 2000 models (if I am right), both were tone bar models ... yet they sounded different. This was very interesting. Both were very good mandolins...

KenR
Feb-17-2010, 9:05am
I believe a a year or two ago Steve mentioned that he was changing the voicing on his Model 5s. That and the fact that the 2009 was brand new and hadn't come close to opening up yet explains the obvious difference between that mandolin and the others. I leave comments on the qualities of the other Gils to the other owners who were present. - KenR

MojoMando
Feb-17-2010, 10:22am
I believe a a year or two ago Steve mentioned that he was changing the voicing on his Model 5s.

I was told that also, but I am not aware of what Steve is shooting for. Considering that mine has a flowerpot and is side-bound, "maybe" (and I stress maybe because I don' know) Steve is going for a Loar sound.

I can say that even though each mandolin sounded different, they all sounded like a Gilchrist to me. That meaning they all had many unique similarities as well.

Patience is not one of my virtues, I sure hope I don't have to wait 23 years for mine to sound like Keith's. I should mention that I thought they all sounded great. It was a BLAST!

MojoMando

mtucker
Feb-17-2010, 10:41am
Yes, that is it exactly. Steve will be delivering another load of mandos to Gruhn's in March. There will be 15 Model 1's and once again only 2 Model 5's, all of which are spoken for except for one Model 1 (as of last week).

MojoMando
Plus my 5jr. and a its little brother, 3jr. That's a load of work for 6-7 months. All 'stamp' dated, now.

Mark Seale
Feb-17-2010, 10:41am
In reading the Compton interview and talking to Gilchrist at the past two Symposiums, I would offer that the sound he is still working on is his idea of what a Loar sounded like when new. The idea of bell like clarity and huge projection and tons of mid-range power. It speaks to his wood choices and fitting (tuner, nut, saddle, etc) choices.

Big Joe
Feb-17-2010, 10:55am
I have a nice group of Gil photos from the mid 90's that I will try to scan and get on the cafe as soon as I get a bit of time. I have never played a Gil that I did not like. Great mandolins by a great builder.

MojoMando
Feb-17-2010, 10:58am
Plus my 5jr. and a its little brother, 3jr.

Cool in progress photo! What exactly is a 5jr. anyway?

MojoMando

mtucker
Feb-18-2010, 10:29am
Cool in progress photo! What exactly is a 5jr. anyway?

MojoMando

Thank you, MojoMando - like my model 1 - #659 is pretty straightforward with a few surprises but no frills except nickel plated waverly's (low-shine) with ebony buttons and abbreviated ebony guard. Photo courtesy of Don Grieser. Thanks, Don. BTW, love the new CD!

Tripp Johnson
Feb-18-2010, 10:45am
Great picture!!!

I like the 3 and 5 Jrs...a lot!

Don Grieser
Feb-18-2010, 10:57am
Glad you enjoyed the music, mtucker. Here's 4 Gilchrists from when Mike Compton and David Long visited New Mexico several years ago. Sorry I don't have dates and numbers for all. L to R: my 99452, David Long's 5 (Monroeized headstock), Mike Compton's 4 & 5. I think Mike was playing #500 then.

turpintony
Feb-18-2010, 11:46am
My 99451 x braced, flowerpot and awesome sound.

sgarrity
Feb-18-2010, 12:43pm
This is starting Gil MAS all over again! Great photos!

delsbrother
Feb-18-2010, 4:27pm
All 'stamp' dated, now.

Well, that's disappointing, I thought they were 100% handmade. :))

Seriously, wonderful photos. These threads are always great for wallpapers! :)

mandopete
Feb-18-2010, 5:17pm
Sound, we need sound!

Totally droolworthy pics to be sure!

Tripp Johnson
Feb-18-2010, 5:27pm
Droolworthy is right! Thanks for the pics everyone...

Don - Mike C and David L played a house concert that we hosted several years ago and Mike was playing #500 then. Unbelievably great sounding mandolin. Of course the player may have had a little to do with that as well!!! ;)

mtucker
Feb-19-2010, 11:03am
Great picture!!!

I like the 3 and 5 Jrs...a lot!
Thanks, won't be long, now. Believe the 3 will domicile in Nashville.

AlanN
Feb-19-2010, 12:31pm
20-fretters, I love it!

mtucker
Feb-20-2010, 12:28pm
20-fretters, I love it!

yup, 20 .. and a teens bound F2 curl. :cool:

AlanN
Feb-20-2010, 1:20pm
#419, 20-fretter, just like I pictured (and asked for) it

newbreedbrian
Feb-20-2010, 3:06pm
#419, 20-fretter, just like I pictured (and asked for) it

I see a fret job in your not too distant future :) I bet all them miles have been a pleasure :mandosmiley:

mtucker
Feb-20-2010, 5:56pm
#419, 20-fretter, just like I pictured (and asked for) it
fancy fholes, you got there! Love it.

Don Grieser
Feb-20-2010, 7:11pm
Nice distressing job, too. Bet it sounds just right.

AlanN
Feb-21-2010, 10:44am
419

mtucker
Feb-22-2010, 6:26pm
love the "thee", looks like a monsta!

chattachef
Feb-23-2010, 9:57pm
Mtucker are these pictures of this batch coming over in mid march, or are they from last year. I have a model 1 hopefully arriving the 15th... Do you or Don have any more work in progress?

buckles
Feb-23-2010, 10:06pm
I think they're from this year since the photo includes junior versions of the model 3 and model 5. No?

Don Grieser
Feb-23-2010, 11:06pm
Yep, it's the latest group. I was just in touch with Steve and he sent along that picture in his reply. Nuttin' for me in there.

If you're looking for sound samples of Gilchrists, see the link in my signature.

mtucker
Feb-24-2010, 9:58am
I have a model 1 hopefully arriving the 15th... Do you or Don have any more work in progress?

The instruments are almost done, just receiving polishing and fit-out then ready for their journey. Don has the only group shot I've seen.

AlanN
Mar-08-2011, 6:16am
#419, 20-fretter, just like I pictured (and asked for) it

And here, after the full fret replacement by Snuffy Smith. Went with fatter frets. He did nice work, dinnit he?

mtucker
Mar-09-2011, 10:50pm
Looks good, Alan .. the Gil gods are smiling! How do you like it?

AlanN
Mar-10-2011, 6:56am
Absolutely love it! The larger frets make for easier bending of notes, and just seem to get a fatter tone all around, with better feel. And sliding is a breeze, now that the pits are gone. Should have done it long ago.

mandomurph
Mar-10-2011, 11:56am
Don't know how anyone can look at these photos of mandolins and say that they are "just a tool".