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Thread: Life expectancy of modern vs. vintage mandolins

  1. #26
    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Life expectancy of modern vs. vintage mandolins

    Gilchrists's probably wont live as long.

    They're a little fatter AND they smoke !

    Back to the point: I'd rather own an instrument that sounds great now than one that sounds great 100 years from now (of course they'll need to hold up a reasonable number of years).

    I say whats the worry? I aint got that long. To the luthiers, do what you got to do to make them sound great now and in our lifetime. Leave it to the next generation to refurbish them.

    But then again, I'm not one to buy a bottle of wine that will taste great in 20 years either.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

  2. #27
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Life expectancy of modern vs. vintage mandolins

    Any thing Longer than my life span will not matter to me..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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  4. #28
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Life expectancy of modern vs. vintage mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by fscotte View Post
    Their target was about .154" center to .110" recurve area, for the old growth red spruce. Theres obvious variations to that, but these were factory made instruments. Some were thicker, some thinner.

    My modern gibson a5 from '99 is .145 center with sitka spruce. I see other prominent builders going .180 center for engelmann. There is also one very well known luthier who builds down to .145" center for red spruce.

    Keep in mind that the red spruce used on Loars were old growth and likely much stiffer than much of the spruce used today.
    .145" thick (3.6mm) center of top is EXTREMELY SCARY thin for mandolin. Are you sure the numbers are correct? Loars are 0.165" at average but rarely below .160" under bridge.
    Red spruce sold today is mostly old growth as well. Often trees over 300 years old. The mandolin wood is mostly offcuts from guitar tops production. Old gowth will not necessarily be stiffer than younger trees (but old enough to produce instrument wood).
    Adrian

  5. #29
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Life expectancy of modern vs. vintage mandolins

    Yes Adrian and verified by the luthier himself.

    Ive also seen backs quite thin as well. Loars seem to be overly thick in some cases. Some modern builders going quite a bit thinner all around.

    An early build of mine is .137 in the center due to some aggressive sanding on my part and supported by well placed braces. It sounds fine and the owner is aware of its thinness.

    An element we may missing here is the break angle. My thinly built top mando has a low break angle. This may allow for thinner and lighter tops.

  6. #30
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Life expectancy of modern vs. vintage mandolins

    No, not heading down that rabbit hole!
    Good is good, and will receive proper maintenance, lesser pieces may receive better treatment due to financial stress on the owner. Loars (real ones) were bought by professionals who made a living through music. The bulk, as we can thank this forum for, have been documented and condition of them noted (as well as restorations) with incredible detail.
    Strad-O-Lin’s are enjoying a similar almost cult following, Batwing Harmonys have their own followers (yes,I’d love to fall into one!).
    Affection for any design will on its own allow for endurance of that design.
    Crap today will still be crap in eighty years, a well made piece will still be appreciated.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  7. #31

    Default Re: Life expectancy of modern vs. vintage mandolins

    A different question, but what about sound and new instruments "playing in" or opening up. It seems many modern instruments come with a great voice immediately these days, are people seeing them maintain or get better with age/play... say after 5 years, 10 years, 15 years? String technology most certainly plays a role as well, as I suspect many players change their strings more frequently these days???

  8. #32
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Life expectancy of modern vs. vintage mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by fscotte View Post
    Yes Adrian and verified by the luthier himself.

    Ive also seen backs quite thin as well. Loars seem to be overly thick in some cases. Some modern builders going quite a bit thinner all around.

    An early build of mine is .137 in the center due to some aggressive sanding on my part and supported by well placed braces. It sounds fine and the owner is aware of its thinness.

    An element we may missing here is the break angle. My thinly built top mando has a low break angle. This may allow for thinner and lighter tops.
    With good arch shape the top can be quite thin in the center (the lower break angle helps a bit) and hold well but overly thin tops under tailpiece is road to hell regardless of the angle.
    I've seen some Gilchrists that had tops visually thin at the f holes but I see he is quite anal about his wood selection (I guess he chooses stiffest red spruce) so he can get around with thinner tops. Perhaps he keeps the centerline of top a bit thicker for security like some modern makers do.
    Adrian

  9. #33
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Life expectancy of modern vs. vintage mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by SAfricaMandolin View Post
    A different question, but what about sound and new instruments "playing in" or opening up. It seems many modern instruments come with a great voice immediately these days, are people seeing them maintain or get better with age/play... say after 5 years, 10 years, 15 years? String technology most certainly plays a role as well, as I suspect many players change their strings more frequently these days???
    I think that’s where the thinner top issue comes into play, the thinner top gives some of that “right out of the box” snap and chop. I’m not so sure about string technology playing a role in it but, the diversity of available gauges and material has never been broader.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  10. #34
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    Default Re: Life expectancy of modern vs. vintage mandolins

    When an alien race lands on earth in a million years they'll find cockroaches and teens Gibson mandolins... as long as their tranverse brace holds up. Seriously, the short baseball bat necks and dovetail into the heavy block makes them last. Look how many are still in great condition after 100 years.

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