Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 45

Thread: Oval Hole F

  1. #1

    Default Oval Hole F

    I know that most oval hole mandolins are As and are usually not used for bluegrass but Irish and Celtic. The Fs on the other hand are usually f-holes and used for bluegrass. There are always exceptions to these so would an oval hole F be the best of both worlds if you were looking to cover all genres? Just a thought.

  2. #2
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    15,185

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    The distinction is oval-hole vs. f-hole, not F-model vs A-model. An A-model with f-holes will sound perfectly acceptable for bluegrass; it'll have the sharp attack, quick decay that works so well for rhythm "chopping." It just won't look like the F-models that all the bluegrass stars seem to play (I know there are exceptions, but the F-model is the template for bluegrass mandolins).

    There aren't many oval-hole F-models made any more. Eastman makes the MD514, for one, and I guess higher grade "14" models -- I've seen an MD814, though I don't know if they're currently made. The small builder Howard Morris gets Cafe support for his oval-hole F-models. And, of course, there are always vintage Gibson F-2's and F-4's.

    Were I in your place, I'd decide on the sound I wanted first, and pursue that regardless of whether the mandolin has a scroll or not. "Covering all genres" is possible with any one of the types of instrument you mention; its' the individual make and model that you find is closest to your looked-for sound.

    F-model vs A-model is mostly a matter of appearance, rather than sound. Oval-hole vs f-hole is the real question you need to settle.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  3. #3
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Manchester - Lancashire - NW England
    Posts
    13,481

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    Zip along to 30.32 mins in this YouTube clip & listen to the Northfield Oval hole NF-2S model that Adam Steffey's playing. To my ears,it sounds terrific & personally,i wouldn't hesitate to use it in a Bluegrass context,
    Ivan

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	NF-F2S.jpg 
Views:	21 
Size:	43.0 KB 
ID:	163294
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

  4. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Ivan Kelsall For This Useful Post:


  5. #4
    Registered User Michael Neverisky's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    New England, USA
    Posts
    168

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    Oval hole mandolins, to me, have a more intimate sound... which I like. And, yeah, the scroll and points and bling neither detract nor add to the sound of the instrument. I have a wonderful sounding Collings A style oval hole, but I'm sure my life would be more fulfilling if my mandolin had a scroll and points like this Collings MF-O.

  6. The following members say thank you to Michael Neverisky for this post:


  7. #5
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    22,612
    Blog Entries
    51

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    The F body with an oval hole is IMO a very beautiful combination aesthetically. I saw one or two in the classifieds.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  8. #6
    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Kent, Washington
    Posts
    561

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    An oval F might be my next big purchase.... now that I'm thinking about it I can already feel a case of MAS setting in.

  9. #7
    Registered User Michael Neverisky's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    New England, USA
    Posts
    168

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    The F body with an oval hole is IMO a very beautiful combination aesthetically.
    I agree! The only *problem* with the one at TME (aside from it costing about $8k more than I have) is the toasted top. I've not heard an instrument with a torrified top - guitar or mandolin - that is to my liking. So maybe if it had an englemann top and sounded exactly like my MTO I would be more tempted. Which shows how silly the cosmetics are.

  10. #8

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    I can tell you, having owned an MF5 oval (engelman), an MTO and several MT2O's (including an engelman and birdseye model), the torrified top one has something different. A looseness that you don't get with engelman, and with an added push in volume. Don't make a judgement on the Collings torrified-topped mandolins until you play one. I pooh-poohed them and then played several.
    Good Advice: Play before you pay, and know your product and your market.

  11. The following members say thank you to Mandobar for this post:


  12. #9
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
    Posts
    7,039

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    Don't lose sight over the neck joint and bracing. Stereotypes about oval v. F-hole. Get muddled today as hybrid ovals use 15-fret neck joints and other-than-transverse bracing.

    f-d
    ¡papá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '84 1N, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  13. #10
    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Kent, Washington
    Posts
    561

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/118969#118969

    Looky there. Nfi, of course. Seems like a good deal too.

  14. #11
    Registered User Michael Neverisky's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    New England, USA
    Posts
    168

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    A looseness that you don't get with engelman, and with an added push in volume. Don't make a judgement on the Collings torrified-topped mandolins until you play one.
    Fair comment. I hope I can get to test drive the one at TME before it gets scooped. In the several torrified guitars I have played, it is what others hear as "responsiveness" and "power" that I hear as strident and shrill. Having played them side by side, I can definitively say that to my ears, a non-cured Martin Authentic series guitar has an inspiring tone. The same model in VTS has a tone, particularly in the trebles, which I fine annoying.

  15. #12
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Marietta, GA
    Posts
    837

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    Quote Originally Posted by Zach Wilson View Post
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/118969#118969

    Looky there. Nfi, of course. Seems like a good deal too.
    SSSSHHHHH.... I want that one and don’t have the $$ together yet!!!
    aka: Spencer
    Eastman MD-305

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.”
    -anonymous

  16. #13
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    2,368

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    The F body with an oval hole is IMO a very beautiful combination aesthetically. I saw one or two in the classifieds.
    Chris Baird does nice work: https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/118183#118183
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2011 Passernig F5

  17. #14

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    I played both a Collings and a Northfield oval today at Gryphon. Both were very good mandolins and way more versatile than the Gibson A4 they have. Oh, that vintage Gibson oval tone is to die for, but either the modern mandolins can play bluegrass.
    Silverangel Econo
    Michael Kelly LSFTB

  18. #15
    en kunnskapssøker James Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Payette, Idaho
    Posts
    298

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    From what I gathered from the locals is the F holed mandolins cut through the fiddle noise when playing in bands. Oval mandolins don't have the punch needed to stand out when fiddles (and similar instruments) are played.
    • Seagull S8 • Weber Y2K6 • David Hudson Bloodwood Didgeridoo (C#) •

  19. #16
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Manchester - Lancashire - NW England
    Posts
    13,481

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    From above - "Oval mandolins don't have the punch needed to stand out when fiddles (and similar instruments) are played."
    That's not always true !. I used to own a Weber 'Beartooth' oval hole "A" style,the volume of which was VERY loud & punchy. The only reason that i don't have it is because it developed a warped neck & i part ex'd it with my dealer.

    It depends to an extent on how hard you pick 'em as well. Another UK Cafe member brough his 2 Paul Shippey mandolins down to my home a couple of years back. Both ''oval holes'', & not ''built for Bluegrass'' - but they were superb mandolins & i wouldn't hesitate to use one in a Bluegrass context as they were quite capable of being played loudly without any 'distortion' = it depends on the individual mandolin. Having said that,i've played several F5 'style' ,mandolins over the years,which because of poor set ups were incapable of 'cutting through' the other instruments in a Bluegrass band context. As i say,it does depend on the instrument & the player.

    Jimmy Martin owned (so i believe), a Gibson F4 oval hole mandolin that was used on all his recordings. None of his mandolin players had any trouble getting it to sound ok :- ''Big Country'' - Bill Yates on Mandolin.


    I can't remember which 2 they are,but 2 of Bill Monroe's best know instrumentals were recorded with BM playing an F4 mandolin,
    Ivan


    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

  20. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Ivan Kelsall For This Useful Post:


  21. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Central Illinois
    Posts
    2,487

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    I prefer an A oval over a F oval . Why ? I don't know ! I suppose deep down I feel that a F style should be for Bluegrass but I know this is silly ! I did have an Old Wave oval and it was very good and why I sold it I don't know ! The sound I really like best however is the hybrid oval long neck Girouard mandolin which I have heard and played with.
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain

  22. #18
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Pottstown, Pennsylvania, United States
    Posts
    13,624
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    I think it is a real challenge to have one mandolin excel in all situations. They are built surprisingly differently (neck to body join, elevated fretboard or not, bracing (tone bar vs a parallel brace. The F hole mandolin was built by Loar to help the instrument cut through for classical music (at the time). Your Old Time and Celtic players aren't going to care too much what instrument you bring to the mix while Bluegrassers have more expectations on an f-holed mandolin.

    The hybrid oval hole builds (more frets free of the body 12 vs 10) and the elevated finger board bring an oval's tone closer to an F hole mandolin but there are still differences. There aren't tons of lower priced Oval Hole F shaped mandolins Eastman covers it well. But Collings, Weber (and whatever Bruce is calling his new venture), Breedlove (K shape), Northfield, and plenty of small shop builders do build them. The F shape vs the A shape body don't really affect the sound. If I played 10 f holed A and F shaped mandolins and 10 oval holed A or F shaped mandolins you would just be guessing which was which body style.

    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

    + Give Blood, Save a Life +

  23. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to JEStanek For This Useful Post:


  24. #19

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    That's Vernon Derrick playing on the Jimmy Martin recording of "Big Country," a tune that Derrick wrote, and from the sound of it, and the other mandolin solos on that record, I would be surprised if he was playing Jimmy's F4 (although that F4 was a great bluegrass mandolin, especially in the hands of Paul Williams).

  25. The following members say thank you to Andy B for this post:


  26. #20
    Emando lover David Lewis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    858

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    I have the Epiphone masterbilt mm40 L which is great for jazz and looks trrrific too. You can get a surprisingly decent chop out of an oval hole but you lose a bit of presence and volume. I do recommend the Epiphone though.

  27. #21

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    OP wrote:
    "There are always exceptions to these so would an oval hole F be the best of both worlds if you were looking to cover all genres?"

    I'd get one of the newer "hybrid" style oval-hole mandolins with a full-length fingerboard such as the Northfield F2s (satin) series or perhaps a Collings MF-O.

    The Northfields sell for around $3,000 new, $2,000 range used.
    Collings, of course, will cost more.

    For less money, perhaps an Eastman oval...

  28. #22
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    2,368

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    Quote Originally Posted by Torpedotom View Post
    There are always exceptions to these so would an oval hole F be the best of both worlds if you were looking to cover all genres?
    The most versatile compromise would most likely be a modern A5, but it's more fun to have a different specialized mandolin for each genre!
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2011 Passernig F5

  29. #23
    Registered User Al Trujillo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Southern Colorado
    Posts
    495

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    I'd probably die if a Weber Vintage F dropped out of the sky into my arms.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	mandolin-weber-vintage-f-15501601-001.png 
Views:	14 
Size:	123.9 KB 
ID:	163367

  30. The following members say thank you to Al Trujillo for this post:


  31. #24
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Kalamazoo, MI.
    Posts
    6,222

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    From above - "Oval mandolins don't have the punch needed to stand out when fiddles (and similar instruments) are played."
    That's not always true !. I used to own a Weber 'Beartooth' oval hole "A" style,the volume of which was VERY loud & punchy. The only reason that i don't have it is because it developed a warped neck & i part ex'd it with my dealer.

    It depends to an extent on how hard you pick 'em as well. Another UK Cafe member brough his 2 Paul Shippey mandolins down to my home a couple of years back. Both ''oval holes'', & not ''built for Bluegrass'' - but they were superb mandolins & i wouldn't hesitate to use one in a Bluegrass context as they were quite capable of being played loudly without any 'distortion' = it depends on the individual mandolin. Having said that,i've played several F5 'style' ,mandolins over the years,which because of poor set ups were incapable of 'cutting through' the other instruments in a Bluegrass band context. As i say,it does depend on the instrument & the player.

    Jimmy Martin owned (so i believe), a Gibson F4 oval hole mandolin that was used on all his recordings. None of his mandolin players had any trouble getting it to sound ok :- ''Big Country'' - Bill Yates on Mandolin.


    I can't remember which 2 they are,but 2 of Bill Monroe's best know instrumentals were recorded with BM playing an F4 mandolin,
    Ivan


    Ivan
    Wheel Hoss and, I think, Monroe’s Hornpipe. Two serious power tunes! Thanks Ivan.
    I’d like to own an F-2 or F-4 so, when I hit the powerball this week I know what I will have for Epiphany! If that happens I’ll need to get in touch with Willie about that double case after all! I’m crossing my fingers.
    BTW, excellent example of the power available in an F-4 with the right hands! Smokin’ hot tune too!
    Last edited by Timbofood; Dec-22-2017 at 8:53pm.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  32. #25
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Kernersville, NC
    Posts
    2,317
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Oval Hole F

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    Zip along to 30.32 mins in this YouTube clip & listen to the Northfield Oval hole NF-2S model that Adam Steffey's playing. To my ears,it sounds terrific & personally,i wouldn't hesitate to use it in a Bluegrass context,
    Ivan

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	NF-F2S.jpg 
Views:	21 
Size:	43.0 KB 
ID:	163294
    I have listened to this before but not thru good headphones. Some great sounding mandolins in his hands. The A5 Engelmann vs Red Spruce top comparison was pretty

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •