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Thread: Was Lloyd Loar involved in building A model mandolins?

  1. #26
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Lloyd Loar involved in building A model mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Lloyd Loar involved in building A model mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by HonketyHank View Post
    I wonder if Bill Collings was ever tempted to make bbq's ...
    I doubt it, but the Violent Femmes proved you can use one as a musical instrument.

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  5. #28
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    Default Re: Was Lloyd Loar involved in building A model mandolins?

    Thanks for a very informative and fun thread. I didn't quite know what I would trigger when I posted my question, but it's cool tapping into the wit and wisdom of this community
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  7. #29
    Registered User Reinhardt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Lloyd Loar involved in building A model mandolins?

    Hi this might be a totally stupid question. Did LLoyd Loar sign every single F5 during the period he was Gibson's acoustic engineer or were there some unsigned because they did not meet the tonal qualities required?? Did he play each one and sign the ones he approved of and discarded the rest?? And finally, are there any really poor Loars out there, sound and tone wise??

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    Registered User Henry Eagle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Lloyd Loar involved in building A model mandolins?

    That question has been discussed here before. If I'm not mistaken, the consensus is:
    Yes, he signed every Style 5 instrument during his time at Gibson (June '22 - December '24). Not one Style 5 instrument without his signature has been accounted for. (A few had their labels removed later, though.)
    Loar was responsible for quality control and may have breathed down the workers' necks. He may have checked out a lot of F5s, especially in the earlier phase of production, most certainly not each and every one. Check this out:Click image for larger version. 

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    What we see is Loar's handwriting under the top of #72211. (Picture by T. Williamsson; mandolin archive.)

    Loar-F5s tend to sound really good. Sound is a matter of taste. There are a few F5s that keep popping up for sale or keep sitting on the shelf probably due to a sound not many players are fond of. I have checked out 18 Loars, but have never found one that I didn't like. But that's just me.

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  10. #31
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Lloyd Loar involved in building A model mandolins?

    Thats really odd that someone has to be told to shape the brace a certain way... And not even very specific either.

    Also notice it was called a brace and not a "tone bar". No need for marketing to your builders?

  11. #32
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Lloyd Loar involved in building A model mandolins?

    From bluegrasser78 - " I highly doubt Loar played every instrument that bore his name ....". As far as i understand it,it's not proven that LLoyd Loar played any of them,although as the overseer of their production,it's likely that he did more than didn't.

    From Reinhardt - " Did he play each one and sign the ones he approved of and discarded the rest ?? " That's what i always thought until i joined the Cafe & educated myself. I think that the actual signing was as much to authenticate the mandolins as 'Gibson' instruments as much as anything. LL might have played an instrument from each batch to ensure that they were still sounding as he wished,but other than that,it was left to the luthiers to build them to 'a specification'. Now whether the spec.was strictly adhered to,or whether some leeway was given to the luthiers to 'adjust the specs.' according to the woods used, we don't know for certain. Common sense would seem to dictate that if 'tap tuning' or other methods were being used to determine the correct graduations,then the luthiers would most likely have been given permission to adjust 'whatever was required' in order to arrive at a specific 'tone'. It's hard to imagine a skilled luthier blindly carving away in order to produce a mandolin top with all the tonal capacity of a plank !.

    As for the question are all Lloyd Loars good mandolins - it's a matter of personal preference,but it would seem that many of them are very fine mandolins. Whether you personally would like the tone of them is up to your ears & preferences,
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    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Lloyd Loar involved in building A model mandolins?

    The builders today carefully shape the braces, keeping weight and stiffness in mind as they work. But on a real Loar, Lloyd just says, hey shape the brace like this... Would Lloyd not consider the implications of shaving the edges off a brace? Stiffness would be altered, even slightly.

    I guess its a question we won't be able to answer. On the surface it seems careless.

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    Default Re: Was Lloyd Loar involved in building A model mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Eagle View Post
    Absolutely! And those Loar-signed F5s are only popular, because Monroe used one, and they generally don't sound any better than the 1980s Kentuckys.

    I would emphatically disagree that they're "only popular because Monrore used one"....As far as their sound, well I would argue that a statement such as the above is certainly proof positive that sound quality is completely subjective.
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    Default Re: Was Lloyd Loar involved in building A model mandolins?

    I think Henry might have had his tongue planted firmly in his cheek when he said that.
    "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: Was Lloyd Loar involved in building A model mandolins?

    I saw that cheek poking out all the way over here in Kalamazoo!
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    Registered User Henry Eagle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Lloyd Loar involved in building A model mandolins?

    I confess, tongue in cheek. Sorry for any confusion.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Lloyd Loar involved in building A model mandolins?

    Gibson made 200 "Bill Monroe model" F-5's in the early 1990's. Monroe signed every label (as did Steve Carlson, I believe). Did they play every one of them? Tend to doubt it.

    I have a Carlson-signed Gibson "A/N Custom," a fancied-up "pancake" model (nice mandolin, too). Did Carlson ever play it? Who knows?
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  21. #39
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Was Lloyd Loar involved in building A model mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Eagle View Post
    Check this out:Click image for larger version. 

Name:	72211_brace.jpg 
Views:	106 
Size:	191.5 KB 
ID:	162525
    What we see is Loar's handwriting under the top of #72211. (Picture by T. Williamsson; mandolin archive.)
    How sure can we be it is really Loars handwriting? It's kind of shaky on grained wood like spruce. Could be someone else supervising production...
    Earlier Loars had slightly different tonebar position and shape so this may be one of the first transitional Loars with instruction written right there for the worker to follow...
    Adrian

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  23. #40
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Lloyd Loar involved in building A model mandolins?

    I wonder that too Adrian, even considering writing on wood surfaces, I just wonder if it was my wife’s great uncle(who was actually gone from the company by then but...) who might have been the “guy on the line” who made that little notation?
    Last edited by Timbofood; Nov-29-2017 at 8:28pm.
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    Default Re: Was Lloyd Loar involved in building A model mandolins?

    You guys breathing fairy dust and worshiping unicorns need to get a job in a factory and you'll be in for a very rude awakening.....

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  26. #42
    Registered User Henry Eagle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Lloyd Loar involved in building A model mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by grandcanyonminstrel View Post
    You guys breathing fairy dust and worshiping unicorns need to get a job in a factory and you'll be in for a very rude awakening.....
    Exactly! And it would be just as romantic to think that Gibson hired violin makers with artist affectations striving to realize their own ideas about mandolin construction. What Gibson needed was on the one hand skilled wood workers and, on the other hand, a type A personality with academic background, a musician with specific talent and interest for design, math and construction. Indeed, Loar was - according to Roger Siminoff's research (Carter: Gibson Guitars...) - "credit manager, factory production manager, purchasing agent, and repair manager" at the same time an executive "authorized to sign checks (...) But his most important position was design consultant..." As far as I can see, none of us here claimed that Loar built instruments or that he tested each and every single Master model. But I firmly believe somebody at Gibson made sure that quality was up to the expectation of the company officials, why not Loar?
    Walter K. Bauer described Loar as "a very opinionated man." "He was the same way about everything, his playing and his (sic) instruments" (Carter: Gibson Guitars...). Towards the end of 1924, when Gibson wasn't financially very healthy, Loar was probably too much of an artist for Gibson after all, talking oil varnish... After Loar's departure the F5 was to become a different instrument.

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  28. #43
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Lloyd Loar involved in building A model mandolins?

    Also, this part of Michigan was known for furniture production, and in some styles still is.
    The carving machines used to rough tops and backe were adapted from chair seat carving machines, the line workers came from furniture background not so much the violin world. They understood how to read spec sheets and how to make the line run on time. Really, they were the reason any of us are talking about these instruments now.
    Let’s face it, it was a factory which simply made some big changes in the design world. That still happens in modern production today.
    Timothy F. Lewis
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