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Thread: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

  1. #1

    Default "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    Anybody out there familiar with these instruments? In particular, the LM-300?

  2. #2
    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
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    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    Probably because they are pretty darn new. Most shops are taking orders on these A style mandolins and have yet to get any in stock. There is also the LM400 A style. I saw a prototype sold on ebay a while back with a different number.
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    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    The LM300 has not yet been available to the public. It is the same as the LM600 in construction and appearance except it is the A model rather than the F. It is expected to be available pretty soon. I doubt there have been any reviews because no one has had them to review. However, if they are like the rest of the hand carved, hand fit dovetail neck joint mandolins that they have produced, they will be an incredible mandolin....especially for the money.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    Only a few dealers have had the LM-300 so far. I have sold 5 to date, and some of those are still in transit. You should see the first reviews showing up soon, but I would suspect it will be months before there are enough out there for word to get around.

    Very nice mandolins, in fact, these are a steal at the price.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    It is the same as the LM600 in construction and appearance except it is the A model rather than the F
    It is very close, but the LM-300 is X braced.
    Robert Fear
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    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    I have a 500 which I love and ordered a 700.

  7. #7

    Thumbs up Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    I recently purchased an LM400, A model on ebay for $300. Has one cosmetic flaw, a ding in the top, so I got it by best offer. Incredible for the money. No financial interest on my part, but for the Dollar these can't be beat. I was looking for a backup/beater for my Sumi F5, and this is perfect. Sounds great, plays great, the set up is decent, fit and finish are as good as most instruments selling for MUCH more. I'm not exaggerating, if you are looking for a backup mando, these are a great buy.

  8. #8

    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Joe View Post
    The LM300 has not yet been available to the public. It is the same as the LM600 in construction and appearance except it is the A model rather than the F. It is expected to be available pretty soon. I doubt there have been any reviews because no one has had them to review. However, if they are like the rest of the hand carved, hand fit dovetail neck joint mandolins that they have produced, they will be an incredible mandolin....especially for the money.
    I snagged one for $245. This will be my first mando, and I am pretty excited about the prospect of the high quality of this find.

  9. #9
    Registered User Clement Barrera-Ng's Avatar
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    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by sbro3530 View Post
    I snagged one for $245. This will be my first mando, and I am pretty excited about the prospect of the high quality of this find.
    Congrats on the purchase. I saw eyeing the same one on eBay but since I already owned a 400 and a 600 I decided that I would be too much of a fan boy to get the 300. I doubt you would be disappointed, and I look forward to your review of it once it arrives.

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    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    LM-300 A model with X-bracing
    LM-400 A model with no tone bars
    LM-500 F model with pressed top, discontinued
    LM-600 F model with standard tone bars
    LM-700 F model with no tone bars

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  11. #11

    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    I've been playing a 600 for about two years and just loving it.

    Last week my 400 arrived. I've done about six sets with it so far in a variety of situations -- jug band quartet amplified, jug band quartet unamplified, guitar/mandolin duo on a single mic and banging away into an SM57 with a loud rock band.

    I am just thrilled with it. Set up on arrival was great and the slightly smaller neck (than the 600) slides right into my hand.

    This is the first instrument I think I've ever gigged with without first changing the factory strings.

    The mandolins The Loar is bringing in are just great.

  12. #12

    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    Dunno if maybe Paul or Robert could answer a couple of questions?

    Do the LM-400, 600 and 700 have recurve at the plate edges?

    Also, is the 400 actually intended to be a spec-for-spec A-style equivalent of the LM-700 F-style?

    Very intrigued by these mandolins...

    Thanks for any info.
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    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    Rick - you'll see some early specimens of the 600 and 700s that don't have much of a gutter, it's a detail I worked with them on. Current ones have a nice one.

    The 400 and the 700 are unbraced, but after that, they're not really spec-for-spec. The various models each have different decorative motifs. The 700 I'm looking at has a more-or-less traditional flowerpot on the headstock, the 400 has a fernesque motif. Details like this may change a bit.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cadger View Post
    Do the LM-400, 600 and 700 have recurve at the plate edges?
    please, what's a recurve at the plate edge? ... what's a "gutter?"

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    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is an archery bow, of course, but the ends are recurved. If you sawed a nicely carved violin or mandolin edge to edge, you'd see this kind of profile.

    Here's an extreme one on a bass:

    .
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  16. #16

    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    I saw a 400 the other day. Overall a very nice mandolin, although the quite visible finishing under the fretboard extension was rough. Considering the price, however, it was an incredible instrument and I would have bought it had the dealer not already committed it to someone.

    I wonder about the long term viablility of an unbraced mandolin. Any thoughts on this?

  17. #17
    Registered User Clement Barrera-Ng's Avatar
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    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by gkraushaar View Post
    I wonder about the long term viablility of an unbraced mandolin. Any thoughts on this?
    I wondered about the same after I bought my 400, and posted a thread about it here. Personally I think that the top on the mandolin is likely to be thicker than a traditionally braced model to provide the extra needed strength. I also suspect that the lack of tone bars may allow the mandolin to 'open up' quicker, or at least the top to vibrate more freely to give the impression of opening up. At a minimum, I expect the 'maturing' of the 400 to be quite different from one with tone bars installed.

    I've been playing my 400 for a couple of months, and I absolutely love the tone. It has that sharp, metallic and percussive tone that is akin to a banjo (god forbid!). The instrument also picked up a lot of volume from the time I got it. On the other hand, the 600 I got about a month ago sounds not unlike a lot of the other standard F5 mandolins I've played - good sustain, rich and ringing tone but less percussive and more quiet.

    I'm curious to hear a side by side comparison between the 600 and the 700 to see if there is a similar difference between the two.

  18. #18
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    I own the very first unbraced one, the prototype the main guy in the Shanghai shop made as an experiment. It's basically a 600 with the top graduated differently and the bars left out. He's a good violinmaker and was following plans on the early f-style mandolins and kept wondering to himself why the extra production steps that go with tone bars and so on. So he applied his own sensibilities about arching and made an experimental one with no bars. After he'd had it for seven months, he sent it home to California and the Music Link guys showed it to me. I played it and was immediately struck by how good it sounded, much more open and fat than you usually see. I snagged it and I still have it, it's over three years old now, almost four, and it's doing fine. This guy knows what he's doing. The learning curve took awhile, partly because of lag time and sheer distance.

    Anyway, based on my response to that first unbraced one, they proceeded to make a model of it, and I think it's been quite successful. Interesting that they're now working with the x-bracing. I need to see a few more of them before the results are in for me. I generally really like x-bracing in mandolins and archtop guitars.
    .
    ph

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  19. #19

    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    thank you paul - tutto spiegato. (your avatar is driving me nuts - i remember seeing the comic strip ... but which one was it?)

  20. #20

    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    Are not tone bars used mainly for tonal reasons as opposed to structural support?

  21. #21

    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    Thanks very much for the extra info, Paul.
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  22. #22
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by billkilpatrick View Post
    thank you paul - tutto spiegato. (your avatar is driving me nuts - i remember seeing the comic strip ... but which one was it?)
    It's Flip, from Little Nemo in Slumberland. Jiggs, of Maggie and Jiggs, came later and was obviously modeled on Flip. Winsor McCay drew Little Nemo starting around 1902. He's one of the all-time greats in my book.





    .
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  23. #23
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Bunting View Post
    Are not tone bars used mainly for tonal reasons as opposed to structural support?
    Yes...but. Violinmakers know this, which is why the gent in Shanghai did what he did. But he did graduate it differently—he didn't just leave the bars out. Mandolins usually rely on tone bars (in whatever form they manifest) for a bit of structural resistance to down pressure from the strings and bridge. Even that dinky cross brace Gibson put inside A mandolins really did some work, which you know when you see what happens to a top when they detach.
    .
    ph

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  24. #24

    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    Good to know, thanks.

  25. #25
    Registered User mandopaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: "The Loar" - Why can't I find any reviews on these mandolins?

    Mr. Paul H:
    If these are based on the early Gibson F models, how come the neck is so much thicker & the re-curve was almost non - existent (on the earlier ones) ? Did they not have a Gibson to look at when drawing the plans?

    Is there any tone difference when there is a re-curve as apposed to little or none?

    Are the tone bar braced tops carved thinner than ones without tone bars?

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