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Thread: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

  1. #1
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    Default Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    I was in a music store today and played a flatiron a-5artist that blew me away.it had what I call that old sound deep clear bass and mids ringing highs. I didn't get serial no. but lable said it was made in Montana and was signed by Denis Balian ( I think, it was hard to read). My question any idea when it was made is it cross braced how much should it sell for ( they are asking $2400 for it, I thought maybe a little high) I should have looked more carefully but thought I couldn't buy it and keep the same wife but she said to get it if I really liked it. I'll probley go back tomorrow and talk with them. It sure was a great sounding mandolin (as good as my Dearstone but different).

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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    My main axe is one of the first F-5s that Flatiron made (back in 1984). It blew everything in the shop (including a couple of Loars) away when I bought it at Mandolin Brothers. I have a nice Flatiron A-5 as well (can't recall which model). There's a reason why Gibson bought Flatiron, to learn to make good acoustic instruments again.

    $2400 seems a bit pricey to me, but I haven't kept up with what they go for in a couple of years.
    EdSherry

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    Registered User loess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    A serial number would be the most definitive way to date it, but from your description it would likely be somewhere between 1987 and 1989, just after Gibson took ownership of Flatiron. Based on the prices I've seen in the last couple of years, $2400 is probably more toward the top of the market but not unreasonable if it is in good condition.
    *¯`•.☽☆☾¸.•´¯*

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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    A Nashville era Flatiron A5 Artist just hit the classifieds at $1650: http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/76678.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2014 Smart F-Style Mandola
    2018 Vessel TM5
    2019 Hogan F5

  5. #5
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    It's worth it. I mean it may be a couple of hundred bucks high, but why risk it? If it sounds great in hand, it's a winner!

    I'm sure it's x-braced.

    f-d
    ¡papá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    A Weber signed 1994 A5 Artist just surfaced in the classifieds asking for the same $2400: http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/76688.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2014 Smart F-Style Mandola
    2018 Vessel TM5
    2019 Hogan F5

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    Registered User Pjones3's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    A Weber signed 1994 A5 Artist just surfaced in the classifieds asking for the same $2400: http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/76688.
    I agree with Fatt-Dad. I pulled the trigger on my 84 A-52 for about the same a couple years back and have chuckled to myself every time I get it out and start to play.
    They are simply amazing mandolins.

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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    My 1993 A5 is great....do it, you'll love it.
    You can't get there from here.

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    aka aldimandola Michael Wolf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    I once owned a A5 signed by Denis Balian. It was a 1988 and as far as I remember this was the first year Gibson owned Flatiron and Mr.Balian signed the mandolins for about one year, while Mr.Carlson was away from the shop for some time. Since the pre Gibson Flatirons are going for higher prices than the later ones, 2400 seems to be a little high.
    I still have my other Flatiron A5 Artist from 1995. They were surprisingly different in tone. They also had very different arches on top and back. In this case the 1995 was the better instrument for me.
    YouTube Channel -- Soundcloud
    My arsenal: Piguet Swiss Bandolim -- Epiphone Recording A Banjo -- 1923 Gibson Snakehead A -- Duff A5 -- Flatiron A5 Artist -- Chanticleer Reso Tenor Guitar -- Beeton Reso Tenor Guitar -- Kai Tönjes Bouzouki -- 1926 Gibson TB3 -- Manzanita Guitars (Manfred Pietrzok) Style F -- Manzanita Guitars Parlor Guitar -- Ibanez AS60 Artist 1984

  10. #10
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    '85 Carlson A5-1 at Elderly - $2,900

    f-d
    ¡papá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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    Registered User BBarton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    I had an 1988 Flatiron A-5 Artist signed by Dennis Balian, made in Bozeman, MT. It was a fabulous mandolin in mint condition and -- like an idiot -- I sold it. The one that got away... The Bozeman made ones don't show up as often anymore.
    Too many instruments...too little time

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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    I just wanted to pop in and say how much I enjoy hearing the chorus of praise for those old Flatirons. I can't say enough good things about the A5 I owned for a while. I was foolishly talked out of it by a student of mine. The A actually came very close to topping my F5 Artist. In fact, the A string probably did. Since there is a roomful of Flatiron folks here you might enjoy this collection of old Flatiron Ads I put together here: http://www.bradleylaird.com/blog-art...-flatiron.html
    Last edited by bradlaird; Jun-10-2014 at 8:40pm. Reason: forgot a word

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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    I went back Sat. and bought it, I did get it a couple hundred cheaper than it was priced.I played it at a gig Sat. night and it's a hoss. I have a Nashville A-5 Flatiron that Gibson sent to replace one that the top caved in on, but it is NOT the mandolin that this Montana one is. The Nashville one is one of the ones I will sell. The Montana one is a keeper. I know someone will want pictures and sound but this lo-tech redneck is still trying to figure put how.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    I have an '83 Carlson-signed A5-2 (precursor to the A5 Artist -- less the gold hardware). I just restrung it with Sam Bush strings and it will compare well with many bluegrassy sounding mandolins.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    Quote Originally Posted by bradlaird View Post
    I just wanted to pop in and say how much I enjoy hearing the chorus of praise for those old Flatirons. I can't say enough good things about the A5 I owned for a while. I was foolishly talked out of it by a student of mine. The A actually came very close to topping my F5 Artist. In fact, the A string probably did. Since there is a roomful of Flatiron folks here you might enjoy this collection of old Flatiron Ads I put together here: http://www.bradleylaird.com/blog-art...-flatiron.html
    Nice ad montage there. I remember the Tim O <chomp> <chomp> ad very well. And I owned 85100106, just 3 away from

    Here is Flatiron F-5 Artist #85100109

    that I bought new in 1985. Dandy mandy.

  17. #16
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    Notice the a5 ad says, Tone Bar Bracing. We all know that they were x-braced tone bars. In today's vernacular, tone bars have morphed into an implication of parallel. In reality though, there are parallel and x-braced tone bars, which are different than the transverse brace of the paddle/snake head a-models.

    f-d
    ¡papá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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    Registered User bradlaird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    it is my understanding that the "Artist" models were X braced (mine is) and the A5/F5 had tone bars. I have peeked inside a couple examples of each over the years and have found this to be true in the ones I looked at. I still have a Flatiron catalog I grabbed at the NAMM show around about that time and it indicates the same. Oh, one other thing... they also made a "Master" model (not sure if those were F's only) and it was tone bars. So, X5 = tone bars, X5 Artist = x bracing, X5 Master = tone bars. I should dig around and see if I can find that old catalog.

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    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    the a5-1 and a5-2 (in reference to the ad) are both x-braced tone bars. It's just us folk that claim tone bars are parallel. Fact is whether x- or parallel, they are both tone bars. The A5-jr is parallel tone bars. As far as I know all Flatiron arched top mandolins (other than the Jr's) are x-braced until the move to Nashville. Not saying I'm right, but I'd be interested in the knowledge of others.

    f-d
    ¡papá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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  22. #19
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    Here is my 1983 A5-2. I think it is pretty early, prob the first batch that Mandolin Brothers got in. They also had an A5-1 but this one was glitzier and IIRC maybe $100 more.
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    Jim

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    Registered User BBarton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    'Good on ya, Mandoplumb! I don't think you'll regret that purchase! I miss mine...
    Too many instruments...too little time

  24. #21
    Registered User Eldon Dennis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    My 1992 F5 Flatiron Master is x braced. It is signed by Bruce Weber and was made in Montana.
    1992 Flatiron F5 Master model
    2009 Weber A model Fern
    2011 Collings MT mandola
    1985 Flatiron 2M

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    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    My '93 Artist A5 is also X-braced. I don't really like to use the word but it's a 'hoss' of a mandolin. Very powerful, very punchy. If I understand correctly, all the Artist models (A or F) are X braced, while the Performer and Festival series are paralell braced.

  26. #23

    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    Hello all! I am new to the forum but have read for years. I am not a pro nor a extremely talented player but I enjoy it. Still learning at age 65. Years ago I bought new A Flatiron A5 Artist from Mandolin Brothers. It is a 1987 july manufacture signed by Dennis Balain. At any rate it has been a great mandolin and never saw a need to replace it.

  27. #24

    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    jbrown said "At any rate it has been a great mandolin and never saw a need to replace it."

    True, no replacements needed. Just need to add more to the collection. Welcome to the Cafe!!

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  28. #25

    Default Re: Questions Flatiron A-5 artist

    Yes have thought of adding to the collection almost did. I will try one out but it most llikely will not be on eBay. I wouldn't mind a pan cake made in the USA. I play a lot of old time as well.

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