1. pheffernan
    This thread is intended for players and admirers to introduce themselves, their instruments, and perhaps their stories of how they became drawn to the builds of Gary Vessel.

    In my own case, I have a deep appreciation for modern luthiers who pay tribute to the old instruments (and their builders) who have inspired them and their work. It really started with a Griffith Loar styled A5 that I picked up from Gail Hester and has continued with a Gibson oval reproduction from Mike Black and an homage to the Gibson Alrite by Andy Poe that I custom ordered in subsequent years. Around the same time, I became aware of Gary’s H5 clone and impressed by his approach to building with traditional techniques. In particular, I was dazzled two years ago when I saw his tenor mandola, a brilliant idea of what Gibson should have building back in the 1920’s — a snakehead A-style mandola with f-holes — instead of the tenor lutes that they did produce. Finally, after a nearly two year courtship, I convinced Gary to ship it to me this past week. It looks beautiful, plays comfortably, and sounds wonderful as a new tenor voice in my collection.
  2. oliverkollar
    Hey guys....I own Nathan's old mandolin. Gary is local to me. I met Gary through a couple of good friends that play in his band Red Dog Ash.

    My F5 is currently strung with Mangan medium monels, which bring out a very warm, woody, vintage character. It is VERY Loar like and a great compliment to my A5 Duff. The finish is incredible and the setup perfect. I always wanted to own one of Gary's instruments, as he is local to me and crafts beautiful and great sounding mandolins, so when the opportunity presented itself I jumped on it, and I'm glad I did!!
  3. Daniel Nestlerode
    Daniel Nestlerode
    Howdy from France.

    I think my custom F is the only Vessel mandolin in Europe. Though I believe he's built couple of violoncellos that are in use here.

    I lived for a time in Modesto CA, where Gary has his shop. Back in 2005 while he was working out of his house in Turlock, I spec'd and ordered my mandolin.

    It has a 'one piece' Engleman spruce top. (There is a seam, but it runs just along the treble F hole.) English maple back & sides. Maple neck. I spec'd a cross between a F2 and an F5. I wanted the F holes and raised neck at the body join but the body dimensions and visuals of an F2. I don't think I was really sure what I was asking for.

    Gary delivered it at LoarFest West in 2006, and when I started playing it, I realised we had a winner. It's upper range is clear as a bell, it has a very clear tone, and it has good chop too.

    I recorded with it on both CDs. (Well, all three, but number 3 isn't out yet.) And I gigged with it when the gigs were in small rooms lacking PA equipment.

    It did need a setup after the first summer I spent in the UK, but since then it has been brilliant as usual. I've always used D'Addrio 11's on it.

    It has been beaten up a little. The finish damage on the front is from a SM57 at a gig. And one time after a long jam at Strawberry music festival that ran until 2 or 3 in the morning, I closed the lid on the case while the mando was being pushed up by the edge of the leather strap. That one caused a crack in the top that Gary scolded me about and fixed.

    It's got bumps and bruises and by now it is worth much more than I could ever sell it for --unless I somehow become as wealthy and famous as Jimmy Page.

    I love it, and I'll never need another one.

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