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Thread: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

  1. #1
    Picker and Grinner John Gass's Avatar
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    Default The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    Here are some images of my Dec. 08 LM700. It was recently completely distressed by Big Joe's Guitarworks. It also has a Cumberland Acoustic's bridge, James tailpiece and custom ToneGard. I'll post a few "before" photos and then I'll bombard you with the new ones.






    Loar LM-700-VS Varnished/Distressed
    Recording King RK-R20 Banjo
    Recording King RD-316 Guitar

  2. #2
    Picker and Grinner John Gass's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe





    Loar LM-700-VS Varnished/Distressed
    Recording King RK-R20 Banjo
    Recording King RD-316 Guitar

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    Picker and Grinner John Gass's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe





    Loar LM-700-VS Varnished/Distressed
    Recording King RK-R20 Banjo
    Recording King RD-316 Guitar

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    Picker and Grinner John Gass's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    And one last one just for fun:
    Loar LM-700-VS Varnished/Distressed
    Recording King RK-R20 Banjo
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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    Looks good! Bet that neck feels nice to play with the finish taken off it as well!

    Cheers,
    Jill
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  6. #6
    Picker and Grinner John Gass's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    I had never played on a "speed neck" before so I was very surprised by how much the feel of the neck is improved.
    Loar LM-700-VS Varnished/Distressed
    Recording King RK-R20 Banjo
    Recording King RD-316 Guitar

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    Registered User mcH's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    How's the sound? And was distressing the only thing done, or was it also setup?
    Sheryl --- Me

  8. #8
    Picker and Grinner John Gass's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    Of course I am a bit bias but the tone is one of the best I've heard. The new varnish sounds so much fuller than the lacquer. It was good before but it's great now.

    Joe and Josh set it up but it needs just a hair more tweaking as I have a slight buzz on the G string from 1st to 6th frets. No big deal.
    Loar LM-700-VS Varnished/Distressed
    Recording King RK-R20 Banjo
    Recording King RD-316 Guitar

  9. #9

    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    complimenti john - the stressed thing is neither here nor there for me but that's a beautiful looking instrument. i'll hazard a guess and say it's going be one extremely well looked after mandolin - long life to you both.

    incidentally, may i ask who made your strap? i have a thin, 1/2 "levy's" on mine that looks ok but i'm afraid it won't take the weight in the long run - yours looks beefier and more resilient.

  10. #10

    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    The hardware looks too clean you need to spill some coffee on it.
    mandolinosoarus rex

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    Joe's done a really fine job there. I especially love the look of the headstock front,it looks very naturally old,very nice indeed.
    BillK - If you want a really good strong Mandolin strap,then i'd certainly recommend the 'Latigo' Mandolin straps available from Janet Davis Music. They're just plain,good quality leather & as strong as you'll ever need. The Gibson straps,also available from JD are decent as well,Click image for larger version. 

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    Ivan
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  12. #12
    Picker and Grinner John Gass's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    Quote Originally Posted by frankenstein View Post
    The hardware looks too clean you need to spill some coffee on it.
    I would agree but Joe and Josh both said that the hardware is so well made that none of their techniques would really do the job. Obviously though I'm sure they have accelerated the wear on them so hopefully with some more good beatings they'll start to fall in line.
    Loar LM-700-VS Varnished/Distressed
    Recording King RK-R20 Banjo
    Recording King RD-316 Guitar

  13. #13
    Picker and Grinner John Gass's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    Quote Originally Posted by billkilpatrick View Post
    incidentally, may i ask who made your strap? i have a thin, 1/2 "levy's" on mine that looks ok but i'm afraid it won't take the weight in the long run - yours looks beefier and more resilient.
    Ironically it IS a 1/2" Levis leather strap. I'm considering switching from it to a piece of rawhide shoelace though. Mainly because the scroll on this mandolin is so tight it's quite an event to just get that strap on. Good this is that now it's distressed I don't have to worry about the finish . :P
    Loar LM-700-VS Varnished/Distressed
    Recording King RK-R20 Banjo
    Recording King RD-316 Guitar

  14. #14

    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    John, not a criticism just an observation. Looks a little outta place is all. Not gonna tell you what to do but i'm think;n i might get me one to distress myself to see how wrong i am. If you are happy that's the main thing.
    mandolinosoarus rex

  15. #15
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    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    The mandolin actually looks better in person than in the photos. Not all mandolin finishes can be properly distressed, In the case of the Loar mandolins and numerous others, the factory finish does not take well to the distressing process and will never look right if distressed. The undercoat is a fairly thick finish and when you work it there is a white that comes through and leaves a whitish haze. It is not really cooperative.

    On John's mandolin we had to strip the original finish, which was not that easy since it would not come off with just chemical treatment. It had to be sanded and scraped to the white. Once that was complete we redid the color to a much more original color for a real Loar, and then applied the varnish top coats. It was a new varnish so it was a bit of trial and error for us. It turned out very nice and I loved the look pre distress. The next step was to let the finish cure sufficiently to allow us to go farther with the work. Once it was ready we began the distressing process and worked on the whole thing.

    In person it is not nearly as shiny as it comes off in the photos. It is far more natural. The hardware was very hard to work but the tailpiece is much better in person than the photo. It does not respond like the silver plating Gibson uses. The tuners were very difficult to get much reaction but they area bit more than the photo presents.

    In the process we not only removed the finish from the neck back, but we did quite a bit of reshaping. One of the first things John commented on was how much better it felt. It is faster, but it is more comfortable as well.

    John's mandolin was pretty darn good to begin with. Now that it has a varnish finish and the distressing it is pretty incredible. There is a noticeable difference in tone and it has a very warm tone across the entire fingerboard. I think this will continue to improve tonally for some time. It is hard to imagine better, but experience tells us that is likely. I would be happy if it were just as it is from now on, but I do think there will be some continued improvement as the finish ages and loosens up a bit. Whenever you do that massive amount of work to an instrument it will tighten up just a bit, but it does not take long for it to loosen up.

    John was an ideal candidate to work with. He understood the process and what to expect before we began and was patient enough to allow us to complete it as best we could. It was quite a lot of work. The knowledge gained will be very helpful for future projects we may undertake. When John picked it up he indicated it was better than he expected, and that was good to hear.

    The one thing I must caution anyone wanting to try something like this on their own is that not all finishes will distress. Many will chip or peel or leave weird layers that will give a very poor appearance. Unless you are very certain the finish you are working with will distress properly, and have some clue as to what you are doing, I would suggest not trying it. You may be very disappointed with what you get, and it will be very expensive to undo what has been done. In the case of John's mandolin, we did have to refinish it before doing the distressing because the original finish would not distress in any way that could possibly be considered pleasing.

    When distressing an instrument you need to know the instrument you are working on very well. You need to understand the finish you are working with and what you can and cannot do to get what you want. You also have to realize what your limits are and not to push beyond them. You must also have a good handle on what will work and what will not work as you go through the process. There are things we may have done to John's mandolin, but we also knew the limits of what we were working with. There is only so far you can go without risking real damage and that is not distressing.

    One last remark at this time on John's mandolin. There are a lot of little details that are very nice that won't show up in the photos. If you get a chance to see it in person you would have a better idea of the work. Thank you John for your trust and the patience you exhibited while we completed a fun experiment.
    Have a Great Day!
    Joe Vest

  16. The following members say thank you to Big Joe for this post:

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  17. #16

    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    I think it looks great.
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    Picker and Grinner John Gass's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    Quote Originally Posted by frankenstein View Post
    John, not a criticism just an observation. Looks a little outta place is all. Not gonna tell you what to do but i'm think;n i might get me one to distress myself to see how wrong i am. If you are happy that's the main thing.
    I didn't mean to sound like you were criticizing. It's just one of those tricky things hah. Thanks for your comments!
    Loar LM-700-VS Varnished/Distressed
    Recording King RK-R20 Banjo
    Recording King RD-316 Guitar

  19. #18
    Picker and Grinner John Gass's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    Thank you for the comments Joe! Good thing I never claimed to be a photographer. :P Also, if anyone would like to see it in person it will be at the Roland White clinic on FEB 5th at Big Joe's and then will be at his booth at SPBGMA afterwards.
    Loar LM-700-VS Varnished/Distressed
    Recording King RK-R20 Banjo
    Recording King RD-316 Guitar

  20. #19
    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    Sounds like the distressing process cost more than the mando.

  21. #20
    Picker and Grinner John Gass's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    It was worth every cent to me.
    Loar LM-700-VS Varnished/Distressed
    Recording King RK-R20 Banjo
    Recording King RD-316 Guitar

  22. #21
    Mike Parks woodwizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    Looks like the real deal to me. Glad you like it. Now go pick the fire out of it
    I Pick, Therefore I Grin! ... "Good Music Any OLD-TIME"

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  23. #22

    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    I have maximum respect for Big Joe's expertise, and if he says it sounds better, I'm sure it does sound much better.

    As for the 'look', it's certainly not for me. It looks like a mandolin that has been treated like a second-class citizen, not one that has been played and loved for decades (which, if it were me, would be the intention - though I would never bother with this sort of fakery).

    So far as appearance goes, I'd spend a long time poring over the original instrument, but walk right past it in its present, final state.

    But if the owner is happy, fair play to him. Long may he love it.


    ron
    Last edited by Ron McMillan; Jan-11-2011 at 6:10am.

  24. #23

    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom C View Post
    Sounds like the distressing process cost more than the mando.
    Yep...and I have to wonder why one would choose to have this done if this is the case.

  25. #24
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    Whoa lots mo mo jo! Looks stunning actually. I do love the old vintage/distressed look but probably would not be able to bring myself to do it to a new pristine insturment. But no dobut that one looks 80 years old now -- tastefully distressed. Really great and nice shop work too.
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  26. #25
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    Default Re: The Loar LM-700-VS Distressed by Big Joe

    Sounds like the distressing process cost more than the mando.
    Oh my.

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