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Thread: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

  1. #1

    Default Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    Which would you select between Gibson F9 or Collings MF? Or would you buy something different in <$4500 price range. The mandolin would be used primarily, but not exclusively for bluegrass.

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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    For up to $4500 there are many serious mandolins in that price range. And maybe better choices. If I had to choose between the f9 and the Collings I think I would go with the Collings

  3. #3

    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    For $4500 you could get a used F9 and a used MT. I actually got both of those instruments for about $3300. They totally have different sounds, so you would probably need to play both of them or hear some good recordings to see which you preferred. But if you want straight bluegrass, Gibson is typically credited (rightfully so?) with having that trademark sound.

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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    For that price range you can get a F5G if you like the Gibson sound or a very nice MF....I have both and they are two different sounds as well as the feel of the neck. You can't go wrong with both as they both can serve even pro players at a price less than their big brothers.
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    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    Quote Originally Posted by JWalterWeatherman View Post
    For $4500 you could get a used F9 and a used MT. I actually got both of those instruments for about $3300. They totally have different sounds, so you would probably need to play both of them or hear some good recordings to see which you preferred. But if you want straight bluegrass, Gibson is typically credited (rightfully so?) with having that trademark sound.
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    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    Quote Originally Posted by gcj View Post
    Which would you select between Gibson F9 or Collings MF? Or would you buy something different in <$4500 price range. The mandolin would be used primarily, but not exclusively for bluegrass.
    Lots of options in that price range. I would seriously be considering a Northfield F5S.

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    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    Myself, I would probably go for an F5G. Nothing wrong with the F9, but if $4500 is what you have to spend, then why not? The MF is also very good. You will have to play them and decide.

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    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    If you've got $4,500 to spend, that's only a few hundred away from Gibson Fern territory.

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    Registered User Earl Gamage's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    Yeah, they are not the same range/quality of mandolin. I have both. The Collings is way better in my opinion. Clearer, louder (by a lot), better tone.

    Compare a higher end Gibson to the Collings and it won't be so easy to decide.

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    Registered User Wolfmanbob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    Keep watching the classifieds and wait for a used Flatiron from the 80's - 90's for 3 - 4 K. That will beat both the Gibson and the Collings new. They come up periofically. Mine beats anything anyone else has. Really!
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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    The Collings MF was one of the best purchases I have made in my life. I eventually sold it to a pro, who pressured me for months to sell it to him. He uses it for studio recordings. The last MF I played was a new one in a shop a few weeks ago, and the sound was amazing.

    So that's my experience, here's my advice: don't buy by brand name (unless the brand is sponsoring you). Try out several instruments in the price range and buy what sounds and plays best for you! Don't buy an instrument without playing it.
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    Registered User Markelberry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    My first F9 I sent back ,sadly I let fit and finish sway me not sure how it really sounded. Ive never played an MF,but I owned an MT really great mandolin perfect fit and finish,but at the time Engelmann wasnt the sound I liked best. I wish I would have kept it! My Northfield MM is a dead keeper. My 2004 Gibson A9 one of the best I ever have played and owned,and only because of that I had to have a new F9 because Ive heard? they are the best mandolins they have built in a long while? I really like a good Gibson. But I like so many ,I choose what I can afford that gives me a top notch sound for my money. Ive only in the last few years after playin on and off for 25 odd years the beauty and voice in the cheapest to the most expensive.
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    Registered User Bill Baldridge's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    I take this to be a rhetorical question, because I don't want to believe that someone would spend $4,500 on a mandolin based on a survey of others. That being said, I like to talk mandolins so here is my response. There are a lot of fine new and used mandolins in that price range, none of which I would spend $4,500 on without playing it first. In that price range I would be less interested in the name on the headstock than I would be in how comfortable it was in my hands, how easy I found it to play, and then the tone. Tone comes third on my list, simply because a beautiful sounding mandolin that is difficult to play can be passed up for one that has both good tone and good playability. There is no reason not to have both for $4,500.

    For that money a person can have a custom mandolin built. When I order my Daley, I specified the wood, the hardware, the neck length and width, the fret size and material, the profile of the neck. I had the tone voiced to the sound I was seeking, and on top of all that, I got to decide what it looks like. I spent more than $4,500, but without spending more, a person could order a custom built mandolin with all the options that I had, with the exceptions of the hardware and trim options. I am not recommending nor discouraging the OP from have a mandolin made. I am suggesting that there are many things more important to many of us than the name on the headstock.

    I always give the same response to people asking what mandolin to buy: Go play as many mandolins as possible. If it is simply a choice between two different builders, go play them both and buy whichever one you like the most. If, after playing a Gibson F9 and a Collings MF, you find no meaningful difference, go for the best bargain.

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    Registered User laura809's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    I have a Gibson F5G and a Collings MT2. I love them both, but I play the F5G a little more often than the Collings. The tone sounds more traditional. I almost bought an MF when I was shopping for an F style, but I already had the Collings MT2, and wanted something that would offer more variation in tone. The Gibson neck has a slightly narrower fretboard, but I think the neck profile might be slightly deeper than the Collings. I find both necks pretty comfortable, but you may find you have a preference. I did a sound comparison with the F5G, Collings MT2, and my old oval hole Gibson A recently.


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    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    Thats one of the best comparison demos I've seen. A few chop chords could help but really great job and very informative to me. Thanks Laura !

    Just a personal taste thing--I like both Gibsons better than the Collings. I was surprised by how much I liked the oval. Might be my fav. as far as tone. Please dont tell Sausage.

    Still overall, I think I migrate toward the Gibson F hole spectrum for the the volume/tone combo.

    I'm looking hard at a SilverAngel or GibsonA9,F9, or 5FG type thing.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    I've owned a couple F9s and an MT. I like the Gibson tone a little better. Both nice mandos.

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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfmanbob View Post
    Keep watching the classifieds and wait for a used Flatiron from the 80's - 90's for 3 - 4 K. That will beat both the Gibson and the Collings new. They come up periofically. Mine beats anything anyone else has. Really!
    Of course all mandolins are individuals...it's hard to beat the Nashville "Derrington" Flatiron Festival F models that are parallel braced vs. your Artist which I think is X-braced; and they're at least $1K less in price typically. Also the "Derrington" Flats are built to Loar specs, dovetail vs Tenon-Mortise, etc.

    No doubt the 80s-90s Montana Flatirons are great; I played a 95' F model Artist that was a really good mandolin, but didn't have that "Gibson" sound however. Depends on your taste buds I suppose...
    1994 Gibson F5L made by Bruce Weber's team


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    "If you wanna get soul Baby, you gots to get the scroll..."
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    "Perfection is not attainable; but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence" Vince Lombardi
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    Registered User Elliot Luber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    I enjoyed the comparison, your clean playing, and the Collings in particular -- which is surprising to me, because I would have predicted that the Gibson A would be best for that type of music. For BlueGrass, the results might be significantly different. Thanks for taking the time to post this.
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    Registered User Hallmark498's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    I'd put another 500 with it and get a gibson fern, gibson signature (steff,Bens,Laws,Bibey)or the MF5 instead of the MF or F9

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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    That F5G in the video talked to me.

    Markelberry- How's that new F9?

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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    Quote Originally Posted by Hallmark498 View Post
    I'd put another 500 with it and get a gibson fern, gibson signature (steff,Bens,Laws,Bibey)or the MF5 instead of the MF or F9
    Where ?

    The Gibson F9=3k new. The next step up is the 5FG for 4500. Sam Bush models are over 5K. I haven't seen any of the other signature models for sale so I don't know. The Fern MM are like over 5 k aren't they ?

    What I'd really like to know is, on sound alone, who can tell the difference between the F9 and the others costing twice as much.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

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    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    I guess it depends on if the OP wants to buy new or used. Used, you can get a Fern, Bush, or other signature model in the $4,500-5,500 range very easily. Just have a look in the classifieds here. Watch ebay. The pop up there with some regularity. Used F5Gs will be in the $2,800-3,500 range. The F9 in the $1,800-2,200 range.

    Master Models are another animal entirely. Charlie Derrington signed them from when? I believe about 1999 until 2004. After that it was Danny Roberts, maybe one or two other folks, and now Dave Harvey. These are varnished mandolins with a red spruce top. Gibson's top of the line. A used one will cost you $11-15k. They're in the same quality/tone dept as Gils, Nuggets, etc.

    Can you tell the difference between them? You can if you've played enough of them.

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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    I've only played my 03 F9 as far as Gibson F5s go. I like it a lot. It sounds pretty close to this, I'd say.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYyzG...OSdAmqWfF8-g5w

    But this Sam Bush Fern Model sounds like a totally different type of beast:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB-56...OSdAmqWfF8-g5w

    And some others to check out to compare new Gibby's:
    Regular Bush: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYyzG...OSdAmqWfF8-g5w
    F5g: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mvwy...OSdAmqWfF8-g5w
    Fern:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAYRw...OSdAmqWfF8-g5w
    Goldrush: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_c8T...OSdAmqWfF8-g5w

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    Registered User Bill Baldridge's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    What I'd really like to know is, on sound alone, who can tell the difference between the F9 and the others costing twice as much.
    Isn't the better question, "Can YOU tell the difference between the F9 and the others costing twice as much?" Why pay for something you can't hear? Seems analogous to buying a dog whistle when you don't have a dog. I suggest that you buy the F9. There is certainly nothing "wrong" with the tone of a good F9. If your ability to tell the difference in tone between an F9 and a MM grows as you go along, you can easily sell the F9. Good luck to you whichever choice you make.

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    Default Re: Gibson f9 or Collings MF

    Also when comes time to sell the mandolin I think the Gibson will have the best resale value. That is something to think about.
    ntriesch

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