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Thread: Article: Rarities and Lutherie Tango at Gryphon Stringed Instruments

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    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
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    Default Article: Rarities and Lutherie Tango at Gryphon Stringed Instrume


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    Registered User avaldes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Article: Rarities and Lutherie Tango at Gryphon Stringed Inst

    I so miss Gryphon. I lived in that area (San Carlos) until I moved to Illinois in 2011. I took up mandolin in 2012 after playing flamenco guitar for years. We visited family Christmas 2013, and I rented a Kentucky mandolin from Gryphon to keep up my practice routine. They let me play a 1920s Gibson F4. When I returned the Kentucky, they let me play the Gibson again, and said I could apply my rental fee towards purchase. Nice try, guys.
    But seriously, I really miss the store, the people, the atmosphere. It is exactly as Graham describes it. Long may you run.

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    How lucky I am to have Gryphon be my local neighborhood shop. Only a half mile from my house, I can't count the times I've detoured there on my way home from work. 45 minutes there spent playing all the new and consignment instruments in such a relaxed atmosphere makes the troubles of the day melt away. Sitting back in the banjo and mandolin section of the store and hitting an open "G" chord on a mandolin and hearing the sympathetic ringing from all the other instruments is really something. And finally, to have Frank and his staff as my local go-to guys when I'm in need of a setup, repair, or advice is something that I never take for granted.

    Bill

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    I get to stop during frequent trips from NC. What a great place to sit down and try quality instruments. The staff are happy to jam with you! Who'd think this kind of place would be in Silicon Valley!
    Mark

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    Default Re: Article: Rarities and Lutherie Tango at Gryphon Stringed Inst

    Great article. Richard and Frank are some of the gems among this amazing music community, and the whole Gryphon team are experts. Not to mention the music classes and teachers there have over the years kick-started many musicians. And there is always something there I want. . . Here's to local music stores!
    Michigan Triple A's: Northfield, Nugget/Collings, Newson

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    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    I live about an hour away, a safe distance to avoid impulsive purchases! On several occasions Frank has turned me loose in a quiet back room to spend some serious time on an important mandolin I was considering. No pressure, just the time I needed to get to know the instrument. Frank Ford is a fine man and his knowledge of history as well as luthier skills is legendary. I consider Gryphon the best shop in the S.F. Bay area.

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    Registered User JAK's Avatar
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    "Bucket list," no doubt about it.

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    Default Re: Article: Rarities and Lutherie Tango at Gryphon Stringed Inst

    Not completely relevant, but important nevertheless is Frank's amazing, amazing website, frets.com. Even the name is amazing. He had the foresight to grab an important, everyday noun that represents his enterprise perfectly back before all these had been bought up. If you have the privilege of spending a few minutes chatting with him, you'll get a sample of Frank's smart, dry, slightly irony-tinged wit. And his web site is him.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    I don't find myself in California as much as I used to but Gryphon is on my list of places I want to visit. Frank's generous sharing of his knowledge has made a whole lot of us better at what we do.

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    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Article: Rarities and Lutherie Tango at Gryphon Stringed Inst

    Quote Originally Posted by pointpergame View Post
    Not completely relevant, but important nevertheless is Frank's amazing, amazing website, frets.com. Even the name is amazing. He had the foresight to grab an important, everyday noun that represents his enterprise perfectly back before all these had been bought up. If you have the privilege of spending a few minutes chatting with him, you'll get a sample of Frank's smart, dry, slightly irony-tinged wit. And his web site is him.
    Yes and Yes! Frank is a delight to chit and chat with, he keeps you chuckling. And the web site is a must see for all of us...daily even!
    Billy Packard
    Gilchrist A3, 1993
    Weber Fern, 2007
    Gibson F4 Hybrid #1, D. Harvey 2009
    Gibson 1923 A2
    Numerous wonderful guitars

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    While the article as a whole was interesting, I definitely have a bone to pick with some of the points made. I'm 22 and have a hell of a lot of respect for the old musicians and the old instruments. Whether it's a beautiful old Martin or a F-4 or a snakehead, it's common knowledge that these are the instruments that were used and that they have "the sound". I definitely know the value of Loar F5, both in price and in musicality, and was blown away when I got my hands on one for the first time a few years ago at Mandolin Bros. I currently work at a small acoustic music shop and we get plenty of people my age that understand that our '72 D-28 is a "bluegrass cannon" and that our 1880s Baystate is not to be played with unless they really really know what they're doing. It's not like gear heads aren't still gear heads. But when I want to get an F5 style mandolin I'm gonna gravitate to a Weber or a Collings, or any of the other amazing builders out now that cost a fraction of what an old gibson would cost. Like the F-10 at Retrofret in Brooklyn; costs an arm and a leg but it sounds lacking to my ear. There are a lot more electric players now than there were back in the day. But when someone's a gear head and play acoustic music, you bet your ass they know about Lloyd Loar, and you bet your ass they know the difference between an F-2 and an F5. And they still get a kick out of the old harmony and regal guitars we get in. Old guys love to make it seem like us young players don't know what we're talking about. But guess what, plenty of old guys are pretty clueless themselves.

    P.S. I didn't come from a musical family and have been playing seriously since I was 14.

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    Good article. I am a Gryphon fan. Richard knows of what he speaks. But remember the article wasn't written by him, so thus edited to a degree or more. I have personally stood in awe at the mandolin rack there and have played a few oldies along side the new ones. I ended up with a Collings MT. "I can't afford the amazing old ones. New ones are fantastic too, cheaper, and the necks are so nice", said the 25 year old mando player who wasn't me.

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    Noting the anniversary of this fine Bill Graham article published two years ago today.

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