Flatiron Performer

  1. mando.keith
    Hello Matt. It looks like it is you and I for right now but others are out there looking for this Social Group. They need to hurry and find it!

    I have a '96 Performer that says it was made in Belgrade Montana. It's a nice sounding instrument. I wish I could play it well enough to do it justice. I started playing late in life and will never attain a high playing ability but love the mandolin!

    I look forward to reading about others with like interest in the Flatiron.
  2. mandopete

    I have a 1995 F5-SB, signed by Mr. Weber. I am the original owner of the mandolin and purchased it from Mandolin Brothers in New York. While I've and sold a few instruments over the past 10 years, for some reason I can't bring myself to part with this one. I believe it was one of the last mandolins built in Belgrade Montana before the move to Nashville.
  3. Matt Hutchinson
    Matt Hutchinson

    I have a 1988 Artist A signed by Denis Balian and it's wonderful. X-braced rather than tone bars which may or may not be what gives it the nice 'pop' I love. Best mandolin I've played so far for me - I haven't played loads but have played quite a few (including Dan B's Weins) and I prefer my flatty.
    Looking forward to seeing who else plays a Flatiron out there.

  4. Matt Hutchinson
    Matt Hutchinson
    p.s. - mine was built in Bozeman according to the label
  5. Rick Albertson
    Rick Albertson
    Own a 95 F5-CB signed by B.W. Fantastic bluegrass instrument. Excellent chop, good balance across strings, incredible range from sweet, quiet tones to as much volume as you'd ever need. Impresses all who hear it. Indeed a keeper!

  6. Greenmando
    A 96 Montana Festival here, she is a sweetheart.
  7. mandolirius
    I have an '89 Artist with Dennis Balian's signature on it. X braced, good volume and the notes do have a "poppy" kind of sound. It's not a really dry sound, like a good Gibson. Anyway, I really love it. It's a great bluegrass ax but it's pretty good as an all-round instrument. Aside from my oval hole, it's all I've got. I get MAS all the time from looking around this site but really, I've got all the mandolin I need.
  8. Matt Hutchinson
    Matt Hutchinson
    Here's a link to a forum post which has a swing tune I recorded with the Flatiron I own. It's a rough & ready quick demo but it'll give you an idea what mine sounds like! Anyone else got anything they've recorded with their flatty??


  9. jessboo
    ok so i have a 99 nashville performer. all i can really say about it is they got it right. it's a real tone monster.
  10. NickAlberty
    I have a 2001 Gibson Flatiron Festival. It sounds great and I'll never get rid of it. I may acquire a few more mandolins, but I'll always have to keep it. I have had too many offers for it, so that tells me to hang on to it.
  11. mandopete
    Hey Matt - I have a soundclip of my 1995 F5-SB, but I'm running into problems getting it posted. Looks like there is no way to attach a file here in the Social Groups.
  12. David Anderson
    David Anderson
    I bought a 2001 Festival yesterday. Wow! Great sound and so much better to play than my old Kentucky.
  13. mandopete
    Okay, here's a clip of my Flatty...it's a song I wrote several years ago called The New Mando Waltz.
  14. Mike Bullard
    Mike Bullard
    I was wondering if a Flatiron group would ever popup. Anyway, I have a 92 F-5 Artist signed by Bruce Weber. This mandolin was purchased new at Fretted Instruments in Birmingham. At the time I was looking at one of Bill Monroe's Gibson's that he had and took this Flatiron to him and after he played it he told me that it would only get better with time and that I should purchase the Flatiron instead. He played my Mandolin on several occassions and those memories are forever etched in my mind. If I had known then what I know now I would have bought The Gibson along with the Flatiron. Hinesight is 20/20.
  15. mandopete
    Not trying to start a flame war or anything, but why buy the Gibson if you like the Flatiron better?

    I was at this same conundrum when I went to purchase my first good F-Style mandolin and I did a lot of comparisons between Flatiron and Gibson and IMHO the Flatiron won every time. From price to tone to workmanship I just found the Flatiron was a better all around choice. I think the only area that might suffer would be the resale value since not many people seem to recognize the name. But since I'll likely keep it this is a non starter for me.
  16. Mike Bullard
    Mike Bullard
    At the time Gibson was the name brand Mandolin. I didn't know anything about X-bracing or Tone bars but I did know what I heard sounded good. The Flatiron sounded so much better than the numbered series Bill Monroe Gibsons IMHO. I will never sell my Flatiron and have willed it to my wife and children. Watch the obituary notices if anyone wants mine... ☺
  17. mandolirius
    My '89 F5 Artist is definitely a keeper. I just ordered an Arches flattop and I have three more on my list - Weber Custom Vintage, Phoenix Jazz model and a good quality A style, maybe an Ellis. I wouldn't mind picking up a good A-9 as well. I'm thinking that's a pretty good family.
  18. jessboo
    pete nice waltz. you should relearn it. its a nice one
    matt nice swing piece.
  19. cheesecutter
    85 F5 SC He's is such a Brute thus the name Brutus
  20. Cara Z.
    Cara Z.
    Hi. Just found this group. I have a '96 F5 Artist, made in Belgrade and signed by Bruce Weber. It was built in Feb., IIRC, and I read somewhere that the move to Nashville was soon after that. Everybody who hears or plays it loves it - and you can hear it from some distance. I'm trying to sell another mando. I need to remember to put the Flatiron AWAY before anybody else comes to check out the one that is for sale, and not mention it, because they always say they want to buy the Flatiron. It blows everything else out of the water, but it is not for sale.
    Seattle, practically
  21. JCLondonUK

    I got a 1983 1SH Flatiron mandola yesterday, which really sings. It looks like it's been very well cared for. I love it.
  22. Eldon Dennis
    Eldon Dennis
    I've had the pleasure of owning an F-5 Master Model since Christmas eve 1992. I ordered it through a small music store in Juneau, AK. It's X-braced and has a great tone and lots of volume. I wouldn't think of parting with it - I have other mando's but I always keep coming back to the Flatiron. I just wish I was a better player - starting in your mid 50's means all the mechanical things are harder to accomplish - but the "journey" has provided many hours of pleasure.
  23. nashvillebill
    I wasn't aware any Flatirons were made in Belgrade. All of the history I can find says they were built in Bozeman until Gibson moved the operation to Nashville.
  24. DPrager
    Belgrade is a suburb of Bozeman. The Bozeman airport is actually in Belgrade.
  25. mandopete
    So after sitting in it's case for over a year I pulled out my Flatty and couldn't put it down all last weekend. I noticed the strings were changed in 2008, but since I didn't play it much they were in pretty good shape.

    I'm glad I kept this mandolin.

  26. CTH Man
    CTH Man
    I have had my '83 A52 (Carlson signed) for 20 years now. .....when I played this A5 for the first time...it was love at first note...we've been together ever since.
  27. duddlyflatiron
    I own a a5-1 model flatiron 1983 signed by mr carlson and it is as good a sounding and fine playing instrument as I could ever want.
  28. Mandofanatic
    I have a Montana made 95 F5 Chocolate Brown signed by Weber. I also own a Phoenix Bluegrass (excellent), Rigel A+ Deluxe (for pluggin'), and an Old Wave C# (also excellent). Out of these, the Flatiron is by far the most "Bluegrass" mando, with a real depth of tone not present on the others....the others have thier strong points, but the chop and depth of the Flatiron cannot be beaten by any mandolin I have seen to date. Very thin flat neck on the Flatiron, but I imagine it's pretty close to Loar specs... Really a BG machine. Wouldn't sell it unless the farm depended on it.

    Keepa Pickin'
  29. AnneFlies
    Hi everyone, I've got a '93 A5 Artist, which is my first mandolin. The second one is a Weber flat-top oval hole, and my third one is a Sweet Pea. Now I'm looking for an octave mandolin, preferably a Flatiron or Weber. I found the best "accessory" is a good teacher.
  30. Pjones3
    Hello Flattys. Just aquired a Festival A Blackface, made in May of "87" . . It is in near mint conditions with virtually no sign of wear. I've a Stelling S-5, Serial # 117 which is the real deal, sweet sound and great volume and plays like butter with a comfy radius neck etc.....but I can't put the Flatiron down. Something simple about the woody tone, nothing complex, pleasant, earthy, and all the volume I guy could hope for.
    Thought I may change the bridge out but can't find an acoustical reason to do so.
    Anyone have an idea what the 87 Festival A is worth, not that I'd sell it at this point but I think I got a heckuva a deal.....
  31. BoCo
    New here but longtime Flatiron fan. Have acquired two A models and two Fs over the years and each has its own personality and sound. Looking forward to learning a little more about these instruments.
  32. BoCo
    Some specifics on my older couple of Flatirons....couldn't remember which dates and signatures went with which mando and had to look last night.
    '83 A5-2, Carlson sig w/ amazing 3d quilted maple back
    '90 A5 Master, Balian sig
    '90 Performer F, no sig
    '93 F5 Master, Weber sig
    both the A's are every bit as good as the Fs, just not quite as loud (to my ears)
  33. ErnieG
    I have a 1984 Flat Iron F style not sure what model name. Got a cool comment from Richie Brown at the Monroe camp last Sept. " I like that. Thats got good tone". Oh yeah!
  34. DataNick
    Hi All,
    New to the group and Flatiron. I just acquired a 99' Performer A model ,made in Nashville, excellent minus condition, hardly played, so I'm having fun playin the heck out of it to open up the instrument. So far, everything I've heard about Flatiron is true. The instrument has a nice woody tone, good bark, loud, and will only get better. I've already set my sights on getting a Bozeman era "F" model.
  35. Scottydawg
    My Festival F is finally on its way....
    stay tuned...
    (Nick...your A has a great, woody tone...!)
  36. DataNick

    LMK when you get it...I might have to make a special trip over to Oceanside for an impromptu mandolin picking session with you!
  37. Scottydawg
    My Festival finally arrived....needless to say I AM STOKED!!!!
  38. DataNick

    Nice!!! If it needs set-up work, Chris Camp is the Man! I wouldn't hestitate to let him give it the once over; see you and the Flatiron on Thursday at Pizza jam!

  39. golfcourseguy
    Just scored a 1992 Performer A in spectacular condition. It certainly wasn't played a lot (not at all in the last year or so) and even with these really old strings it sounds better than it did an hour ago. Time to change strings and see what develops.
  40. DataNick

    Keep us informed on how the sound turned out with new strings, set-up, etc.
  41. DataNick
    Just scored a GREAT deal from Buffalo Bros. here in SoCal...a 1996 Flatiron Festival A. Condition of the body is fair (varnish peeling, nicks here & there). However it plays and sounds like a champ, and the kid who had it is a guitar monster who played it onstage as an add-on. He put a pickup in it (end pin jack). All for $700 including the tax.

    This model has parallel bracing, ebony fretboard, tenon-mortise neck joint, frets are in decent condition, I did good on this one! Was thinkin of selling it, but I gonna keep her!
  42. Robert Billings
    Robert Billings
    Just wanted to say hello to the group.
    Last April I purchased a 2000 Flatiron Performer A (Gibson Nashville). I bought it about two months into my mandolin "career" and it is such a wonderful instrument.
    I bought it through the cafe based on research alone. When I played it I was instantly gratified.
    I'm sure it is the standard by which I'll judge all mandolins - "But does it sound as good as my Flatiron...?"
  43. Frank Donnoli
    Frank Donnoli
    Hello everyone,
    I too want to introduce myself to the group. I am an expat living in Hong Kong where there isn't' much call for mando players but that doesn't stop me from enjoying it very much. I have an A5 built in 1996 and is signed on the label by Helen Beausoliel and Neal Klemmer. It does not have binding around the neck or headstock so I am assuming it is a performer model. These Flatirons have such a balanced sound.....I love mine.
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