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Thread: To Do or Not To Do, that is the question

  1. #51
    Registered User bluegrasser78's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Do or Not To Do, that is the question

    Right on Mike, nothin like a hot rod. I have modified quite a few 30's Gibsons A-1's, A-50's and the top dog of 30's rodding to me the elusive F-7! Adding a maple 5 scale neck to those 7's gives ya cheaper alternative to the old F-5 voice, some are better than others upon completion, you can leave bodies alone or pop the back off and regraduate,shave tone bars down etc... some say it makes the 7 not worth as much with work done some more. its all on what you think and what you would spend! To me they are worth more, better sound.playability,and voice! Just save that original neck so you could make it original again for the "purests" but once you play an original and then a conversion why would you want to put the original neck back on!
    People changed the necks on all the old violins for the newer style of music years back and people have been doing the same with tenor to 5 string on all them great mastertones! Just my thaughts

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  3. #52

    Default Re: To Do or Not To Do, that is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Packard View Post
    ... what a wonderful sound it has. The strings are ancient so I'll be changing them today which will improve the sound. ...
    Uh-oh... new strings are gonna sound different, maybe not better...

    Is there any way of finding out precisely what brand and type the old strings are? Might be important to maintaining the sound you like.

  4. #53
    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Do or Not To Do, that is the question

    Modify it or not, it's your call. I have found that removing even small amounts of wood while shaping a mandolin neck usually produces noticeable changes in tone and volume. Sometimes that's desirable, sometimes it isn't. I've found that removing wood from different places on the neck makes a difference. I don't buy the idea that it is completely a function of mass, so I don't agree that additional mass on the fret board will counter the loss on the neck. To me, this all dictates swapping the neck. But realistically, I wouldn't mess with it because it sounds great as is. If you play it regularly enough, you will likely reach a place where you don't notice the difference in how it feels. I have my students play different mandolins at their lessons in order to reduce being so focused on how the neck feels (I don't tell them that), and it works pretty quickly. Just pick it up for a minute or two every day and enjoy the sound.

  5. #54

    Default Re: To Do or Not To Do, that is the question

    Without antagonizing anyone, may I say that this thread has left the rails somewhere?

    It would be extremely unusual to 'swap the neck' on a paddle head gibson of this era. Done by a good luthier, let alone one of the top luthiers in the world, that would cost as much or more than the total value of the instrument.

    On the other hand, replacing the fretboard, or radiusing the current board, are extremely common procedures that have no major affect on the value or salability of the instrument - that is the procedure increases the value for some buyers and decreases it for others - playability vs originality.

    And finally, reshaping the neck, along with the refret that normally entails, is somewhere in the middle. Doable, expensive, not crazy.
    BradKlein
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  7. #55
    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Do or Not To Do, that is the question

    Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments. I have truly enjoyed the various perspectives.

    After much reflection and a few more conversations outside of this forum I have decided to leave things as they are.
    1. The A2 sounds wonderful the way it is, old strings and all.
    2. The action, though not my preference, is just fine.
    3. I believe there is a certainty that alterations of this kind will alter the sound.
    4. I have several magnificent mandolins that fit my personal needs just fine.

    Sooo, at this point in the A2's existence span it's provenance will go undisturbed. Except for countless polkas, waltz's, tango's, choros.....

    Billy

    billypackardmandolin.com
    Billy Packard
    Gilchrist A3, 1993
    Weber Fern, 2007
    Gibson F4 Hybrid #1, D. Harvey 2009
    Gibson 1923 A2
    Numerous wonderful guitars

  8. #56

    Default Re: To Do or Not To Do, that is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by Austin Bob View Post
    Well, it's not like you are removing a virzi from a Loar with a hammer and screwdriver...
    http://www.mandolincafe.com/news/pub...s_001170.shtml
    That would work, though, wouldnt it? Well, use a pocketknife too for finesse.

    Billy I think you should change the fingerboard, relic it, and add a Loar signature to the fbd....so collectors that didnt read this thread could see it and wet themselves.

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  10. #57
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    Default Re: To Do or Not To Do, that is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    I agree. I am not a preservationist by any means and fully defend your right to do what ever you want with your instrument. But I agree in this case. Someone will love it for how it is right now. Love it a lot. (I love mine, and in part for the neck feel and flat fingerboard.) Let that person purchase it and enjoy it and play the potatoes out of it, while you get something you can love a lot.
    +1. Yes, and I agree with you and MikeEdgerton - it's the OP's instrument and he is free to modify it as he pleases. That said, it might be more efficient if he were to simply sell it and buy something different, more modern, and better suited to his personal ergonomics.

    MikeEdgerton is almost entirely right about Stradivarius violins all being modified. Technically, there is a single Strad ("The Messiah") in original condition on display at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, UK, with its shorter neck and fingerboard. But under the terms of the bequest to the museum, no one is ever allowed to play it! So we may never know what an original Strad sounds like. And this bequest is pretty silly, IMO. As many have also pointed out, musical instruments are made for playing, not just staring at and admiring. Even Strads.

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  12. #58
    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Do or Not To Do, that is the question

    Just when I've settled down with accepting the mandolin for what it is this shows up in yesterdays classified adds.

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/106542#106542

    I sent an email to the poster asking what size the nut is and haven't heard back yet. Can you see what I'm thinking?? If the neck is the narrower type I could swap it out and have a period correct 'hybrid' with a neck I could live with. This is ignoring whatever total costs would be.

    Billy
    Billy Packard
    Gilchrist A3, 1993
    Weber Fern, 2007
    Gibson F4 Hybrid #1, D. Harvey 2009
    Gibson 1923 A2
    Numerous wonderful guitars

  13. #59
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Do or Not To Do, that is the question

    That's a steal for the right person.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  15. #60

    Default Re: To Do or Not To Do, that is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Packard View Post
    If the neck is the narrower type I could swap it out and have a period correct 'hybrid' with a neck I could live with.
    quick reply: bad idea - ain't gonna happen

    PS the neck is (almost) certainly narrower

    PPS Mr. Edgerton is right - that instrument is very likely to be a fine deal for the right person
    BradKlein
    Senior Producer, Twangbox
    Twangbox Videos

  16. #61
    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Do or Not To Do, that is the question

    Mike E., I forwarded your opinion above to the seller. He wasn't sure what to charge.

    Also, after further conversations I am resigned to leaving the little cutie just the way she is.
    Considering the money to be spent, (that I can't comfortably afford and would amount to much more than the market value), as well as the non-necessity to my personal needs I will leave well enough alone.

    Thanks again

    Billy
    Billy Packard
    Gilchrist A3, 1993
    Weber Fern, 2007
    Gibson F4 Hybrid #1, D. Harvey 2009
    Gibson 1923 A2
    Numerous wonderful guitars

  17. #62
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Do or Not To Do, that is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Packard View Post
    Just when I've settled down with accepting the mandolin for what it is this shows up in yesterdays classified adds.

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/106542#106542
    Wow, that could make someone happy.

    Curious, I have not figured out the relationship, if any between serial numbers and FON numbers. My 1923 A2 snakehead has a later FON of 11865.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  18. #63
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Do or Not To Do, that is the question

    Hi Billy - In a way,i'm pleased that you're leaving your mandolin 'as is' - however !. You can always look for ways to 'tweak it'. A new nut with closer string spacing could do the trick. From what you say,that's the only real issue. The mandolin itself is a beauty, something i'd be very loathe to alter myself. Having once regarded those 'paddle head' mandolins not worth a second glance,in recent months,i've become far more edificated,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
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  19. #64
    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Do or Not To Do, that is the question

    Hey Ivan!

    This is such a nice mandolin, the finish isn't even checked! The only difference between a paddlehead and snakehead is the size of the wooden strips added to the sides of the peghead for width. Otherwise there were no changes, except perhaps the neck/nut width that varied from 1-1/8" or 1-1/4". Oh...AND OK...I admit it, the snakehead does LOOK cooler!

    Re. the new nut with a closer string setting, I may look at that. Thing is, the saddle setting would still be wide unless I had that re-made also. It wouldn't affect the "handful" that the neck is now. I feel like the "Pea and the Princess" if you remember that children's tale. Some people think, "how could such a tiny difference have that much effect?" Or for that matter, the difference between a flat and radius fingerboard is practically nothing so it can't matter THAT much, right? Heck, I'm so fussy that the difference between the 1-1/8" Weber Fern and the 1-3/16" on the Gibson F4 Hybrid I own is very noticeable. ESPECIALLY at the 16th note prestissimo tempo!!

    The bottom line---it's for to me to adjust to the mandolin. I'll enjoy it for what it is--a spectacular sounding A2 from the same shop that Lloyd Loar was walking around in supervising and making sure everything was cool!

    Billy
    Billy Packard
    Gilchrist A3, 1993
    Weber Fern, 2007
    Gibson F4 Hybrid #1, D. Harvey 2009
    Gibson 1923 A2
    Numerous wonderful guitars

  20. #65
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Do or Not To Do, that is the question

    Billy - Yes,you'd need to re-cut the saddle slots in the bridge to match the closer nut slots. The tiny differences at the nut & bridge would be almost invisible,but again,yes,the neck width would still be the same. However,folk move from mandolins,to banjos to guitars,all with different neck widths & contours, & they seem to manage ok - think of it as a ''small,oddly shaped guitar '' & you'll be fine !,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

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  22. #66
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Do or Not To Do, that is the question

    For changes, see post 22.
    We're starting to double down about nut saddle modifications, Great minds....
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  23. #67

    Default Re: To Do or Not To Do, that is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    ... think of it as a ''small, oddly shaped guitar'' & you'll be fine !, ...
    I think of my guitars as large oddly-shaped mandolins, and I tune them correspondingly. I gotta admit though, the guitar shape sits better on the lap, it just stays put by itself, no strap required.

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