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Thread: Rinestone Loar

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    Registered User Mike Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Rinestone Loar

    Last weekend in Oklahoma I had the honor of being in close proximity to a Loar that recently belonged to a Mr. Frank Ray of Missouri. It was inlaid about the headstock with multiple rhinestones. Does anyone have background info on this Loar? It has a lovely tone and was certainly well played in Monroe style. The rhinestones puzzle me to no end. I was shocked to realize that they were inlaid and not merely applied. The volume was not impressive but adequate, and the owner very kind. He has performed in the Midwest for many, many years. The mandolin is in very good condition and beautiful except for the stones and a rather plain back. This inquiry is for my curiosity only. Thanks.
    Mike Snyder

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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Registered User Mike Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    Yes, the one in the archive. I had no idea that rhinestones were that prevalent. Why? Who? Surely not Gibson. Perhaps I'm stodgy about decorating instruments. Never have cared for the stones and hanging headstock feathers. But on a Loar? My prejudice is showing, I'm afraid.
    Mike Snyder

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    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    This actually almost became my first Loar mandolin in 1976. Larry Sledge lived in Nashville at the time and had it for sale. He ended up keeping it..and I bought the Griffith F5. The rhinestones were always there, so it must be assumed that the original owner H. Torro put them in it
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
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    Registered User Mike Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    Thanks, Darryl, that mostly answers my question. That long ago it was just another nice mandolin. Much less of a travesty than stoning a known masterpiece. Mike plays it well and it has a nice tone but nothing like Reischmans.
    Mike Snyder

  7. #6

    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    speculation and conjecture only....
    I can imagine that the owner saw a Gibson Florentine banjo, 4 or 5 string, of the era, and liked the looks.

    Simply described, the Florentines had ornate carving, gold hardware, solid pearl fingerboards with hand painted scenes ,and
    the edge and Gibson were made using multi colored rhinestones-

    I saw one years ago first hand at a party, and they are jaw dropping in their ornateness, gaudy, perhaps, but unique and a reflection, so to speak, of the times

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    Quote Originally Posted by stevedenver View Post
    ...Simply described, the Florentines had ornate carving, gold hardware, solid pearl fingerboards with hand painted scenes ,and the edge and Gibson were made using multi colored rhinestones...
    Actually, Pearloid, a celluloid plastic that looked like mother-of-pearl, and is now "dissed" as "mother-of-toilet-seat."

    One of the flashiest instruments ever made, IMHO. There was a "one-of" Gibson F-5 that came close, though; made in the '80's, and once owned by Butch Baldassari. Here's Gruhn's archive entry of it.
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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    As seen here (although this photo makes it appear white - same mandolin?)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Actually, Pearloid, a celluloid plastic that looked like mother-of-pearl, and is now "dissed" as "mother-of-toilet-seat."

    One of the flashiest instruments ever made, IMHO. There was a "one-of" Gibson F-5 that came close, though; made in the '80's, and once owned by Butch Baldassari. Here's Gruhn's archive entry of it.
    yes indeed pearloid Allen, shouldn't have used my broad brush language
    a century of progress.....

    great link, I have seen that one, but, it didn't do it for me, (bad top checking in that photo too)
    and, fwiw, the headstock treatment is not really like the banjos and the colorful rhinestone script
    but that is so Jim Triggs.......more is more.....

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    RedKnucklesUnclesCousin GKWilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    I think the simple answer is Nashville, the 50's-60's, everything and everybody had rhinestones on them.
    vincit qui se vincit

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    The "Bella Voce" was over the top too! Carved everywhere, dripping in pearl and pearloid as was the "All American" with the eagle on the resonator. What a fascinating time, back then. Ahh banjos...
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    As seen here (although this photo makes it appear white - same mandolin?)
    Must be the same one.White can yellow down after time.I've seen a previously white, yellowed Gibson guitar that was passed on by a famous country act as it didn't match their wardrobe anymore.


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    Last edited by Kieran; Feb-18-2015 at 9:05pm. Reason: spelling

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    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar



    I think I was better off not knowing that this happened to a real Loar era Gibson...
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    Someone needs to pull a Monroe and brake out a pocket knife!
    "They say the ocean, she is a woman, who waits for her man to come home." M.Houser

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    Sorta similar story to the "parrot Loar" with "art" work added to its back; I think these modifications over the years are part of these instruments' histories, and it would be a shame, IMHO, to "restore" them back to "original condition" -- especially if the modifications don't harm them acoustically.

    I have some old instruments that have been "personalized" to a greater or lesser extent -- not by me! -- and I think it adds to their "provenance" in a positive way. And when I had a mandolin/mandola built for me, I had Bernie Lehmann add my initials to it. Any subsequent owner is free to remove them, of course.
    Allen Hopkins
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  22. #17
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    As far as "personalization" this is not that bad, they rhinestones could be removed and have the peghead restored. Sure as shootin' I would not "break out the pocket knife", that would be pretty extreme. To be honest, if it was mine, I'd just live with them. Certainly an identifier if stolen!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  23. #18
    Registered User Mike Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    The owner has no intention of any alteration to the headstock. He was delighted to own the instrument and stated that it was the fulfillment of a career-long dream. He led a mandolin workshop and is fairly good at it. It was heavily Monroe-style, befitting a bluegrass festival, and he has done the workshop for years. I did not offer an old-time tune as I have in the past. The Loar was unmistakable in appearance and tone, a thrill for me and several others. Some fellas played it. I don't know the owner that well.
    Mike Snyder

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    Thanks Mike, nice to know that the owner is happy and will not fuss with his Loar! Like I say, everyone will know who owns it!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    I was around this mandolin a lot as a teenager. Rich Orchard and Frank Ray owned the mandolin through their vintage instrument collection and trading. I played mandolin with Rich and it was the mandolin I carried for two years.

    From what I was told, the mandolin was ordered from the factory with rhinestones in the peghead. Inspired by the high end Gibson banjos. Larry Sledge played it for well over 30 years before the mandolin was bought by Rich and Frank. I actually put the waverly tuners on the mandolin. It always had the pickguard on it when I had it. Unique redlined original case as well. Virzi no 10050 I believe. Larry had the back rim cut and pryed the back apart to pluck the virzi out.
    For many years if was known as the H.S. Torro mandolin, but Larry corrected me one day saying it was H.F. The reason he knew was when he bought the mandolin, a signed paper label was over the Loar signed label with H.F. Torro’s signature. Story was Torro didn’t like another man’s name in his mandolin. Larry told me he still had the label and virzi, but that was ten years ago or so.

    Another interesting fact, this mandolin can be heard on Bill Monroe’s “Master Of Bluegrass” Album. Larry played a lot of the triple mandolin harmony parts on those recordings. I played it every other set for over two years without Ozark Bluegrass Boys and every Monday night during that time at The Hardee’s Monday night jam sessions in House Springs, MO.

    I was always a fan of its evenness. It was never super powerful, but it was pleasant and even. A lot of warmth.

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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    Just think of the history of that mandolin if Monroe had of owned it, WOW...I think Big Mon was more into more normal less fancy things though....

    Great thread and as usual I can just about learn something new every day here on the Café...

    Thanks for all of the info...

    Willie

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    It should be noted that lesser mandolins (guitars, etc.) with rhinestones inlaid on them pop up now and again in the vintage market. Apparently it was a thing at one time. I know that many accordions were emblazoned with them as well over the years.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Wolfe View Post
    This actually almost became my first Loar mandolin in 1976. Larry Sledge lived in Nashville at the time and had it for sale. He ended up keeping it..and I bought the Griffith F5. The rhinestones were always there, so it must be assumed that the original owner H. Torro put them in it
    I never knew you had the Griffith F5. That's pretty cool as well.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    I had a dealer friend, now passed, who walked into the jewelry store I was working at carrying an old “Bella Voce” tenor banjo which had lost a few rhinestones. I spent about half an hour digging through an old box of goods and found the five or six it was missing. I think the owner and I chalked that little repair job up to good karma. It was a really really quiet afternoon that day! I miss Roger!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rinestone Loar

    I would think since Gibson was doing the rhinestones on the upper end banjos and the F5 was a custom ordered model, those rhinestones were put in at the factory by special order. On the $250 F5, I bet it only cost another $15 to put them in there.

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