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Thread: The First Loar F-5 I Ever Played

  1. #26
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    Default Re: The First Loar F-5 I Ever Played

    The first one I played was Bobby Clark’s, probably about 1978. Yeah, I’m old. We were playing on the same show. I was playing an F4 at the time and broke a string a few minutes before I was supposed to go on. Bobby generously offered to let me play his Loar on stage. I was petrified, too scared to take him up on it. A really good guy.

    I’ve told this story on the forum before. I played Bill Monroe’s in probably 1988. The band I was in opened for Bill at the Old Town School in Chicago. The school gave Bill a plaque in the middle of a set. He handed his mando to the banjo picker while he accepted the award and got his picture taken. When he went to get his mando back, the banjo picker’s ring got caught and broke both E strings. So I gave Bill my Nugget, took his to the green room and changed his broken strings. While I was at at it, I kicked off Muleskinner Blues a couple of times. I had to.

    When I gave him his mando back and got mine, he said something like ‘That’s a good mandolin boy’.

    Tim Wilson

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  3. #27
    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: The First Loar F-5 I Ever Played

    Nice story Tim.

    I have heard that over the years Bill was not adverse to swapping mandolins with people and letting them play play his Loar.

    Very cool.

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  5. #28
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    Default Re: The First Loar F-5 I Ever Played

    Quote Originally Posted by twilson View Post
    The first one I played was Bobby Clark’s, probably about 1978
    I thought Bobby had a '29 fern back then (eventually sold to Vince Gill). Maybe he had a Loar, too.

    A really good guy.
    Yes, he is.


    When I gave him his mando back and got mine, he said something like ‘That’s a good mandolin boy’.
    And then, did he say 'Would you work for me for $10 a week, boy?"

    cool story.

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  7. #29
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    Default Re: The First Loar F-5 I Ever Played

    AlanN, you may be right about Bobby’s mando. That was 40 years ago..........

    How did you know Bill asked me to work for him? I told him ‘yeah, I’l work for $10 a week, and I’ll give you $5 back.’

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    Default Re: The First Loar F-5 I Ever Played

    How did you know Bill asked me to work for him? I told him ‘yeah, I’l work for $10 a week, and I’ll give you $5 back.’
    ha!

    Here's the fern. I also played it once. Terrific mandolin. And One-Legged Gypsy is a terrific record.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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  10. #31
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    Default Re: The First Loar F-5 I Ever Played

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeZito View Post
    This was back in my very early days as a mandolin player - I knew OF Loar mandolins, but didn't really know anything ABOUT them.

    I may be crazy, and there is no way that I can go back in time, but I SWEAR that the mandolin that I played was an oval; (I remember being disappointed when I saw the mandolin, because I was not an oval hole guy at the time, and I was looking for an f-hole mandolin) and I also distinctly remember the owner of the store specifically showing me the the label inside, to point out that I was indeed signed by Loar.

    Perhaps it was an F-5 that foolishly got badly re-topped in the 1930's (which could explain why it was such a beast)? Who knows.

    Poo-poo it all you want, but that's my story I'm sticking to it . . .
    I'm not going to "pop-poo" anyone but my guess is that someone (not at Kalamazoo) put a fake label in that F-4 for some reason. There were of course F-2s and F-4s built during the years that Loar worked for Gibson but I have never heard of him signing any of them. They were not his "babies".

    He signed only the Master Model series instruments. F-5, H-5, K-5 and L-5.

    Loar is credited with the Mastertone banjos too and afaik he never signed those either? Or did he?
    Bernie
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    Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.

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    rcc56 

  12. #32
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    Default Re: The First Loar F-5 I Ever Played

    The Mastertone line was not catalogued until 1925. Loar had been released from his job by then.

    The new Mastertone line featured a multi-hole tone hoop that sat on spring-loaded ball bearings, in conjunction with a tube and plate flange, removeable resonator secured with thumbscrews, 11" rim, and fiddle shaped peghead. The design was subsequently changed several times before banjos were discontinued during WWII.

    The style 5 banjo was indeed developed during Loar's tenure, but as far as I know, while these early style 5's had a multi-hole tone hoop that sat on stationary ball bearings, this system was simpler than the early spring-loaded ball bearing tone ring system on an 11" rim that was the first to be dubbed "Mastertone."

    The "pre-Mastertone" banjos also lacked the tube and plate flange and removeable resonator. Most of the rims on these early banjos were 10 1/2". Some were also made with 12" or 14" rims, but they are not very common.

    Although Joe Spann states that Loar was involved in the design of the Mastertone line, I have not heard of a pre-1925 banjo with a Mastertone features or label. I suppose there could be a couple of prototypes or sales samples floating around.

    Mr. Spann is welcome to correct me if I am wrong about this.

    The subject of Gibson banjo design makes the mandolins look simple by comparison.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The only instruments with a Master Model label were the F-5, H-5, K-5, L-5, and the Style TL tenor lute. I have not heard of a style 5 banjo with a Master Model label, nor have I heard of a Style 5 banjo or a TL with a Loar signature label.

    If a banjo or any other instrument besides an F-5, H-5, K-5, L-5, or the "Griffith" A-5 were to appear with a Loar signature label, it would be subject to much controversy. To authenticate such an instrument beyond doubt would require close scrutiny and agreement by several of the most respected experts in the field.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    John Bernunzio told me that he once owned an F-2 which had a truss rod cover engraved with the initials "L.L.", but he sold the instrument many years ago. It had neither a signature label nor a Master Model label. He said that the truss rod cover was installed with the plain side out, and he did not realized that the initials were there until after he had sold it. The new owner discovered the initials when he had the rod adjusted.
    Last edited by rcc56; Sep-14-2018 at 11:55pm.

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