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Thread: Ellis F5 vs. Gibson F5 vs. Collings MF5

  1. #26
    Registered User CollingsFever101's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ellis F5 vs. Gibson F5 vs. Collings MF5

    Thank you all for your thoughts and comments!

    Tobin, JeffD, JFDilmando, & AMM: The ToneGard did not make a noticeable difference whatsoever in our experiment as far as the mandolin's tonal qualities were concerned. We didn't worry about the ToneGard staying on because, as Flatrock pointed out, it only prevents the lessening of volume/body to the tone and does NOT amplify the volume/body in any way. For my part, when I played the three mandolins I made certain to keep them away from my body so as to hear their truest qualities as much as possible and to stay in keeping with what the TGard was doing for the Collings.

    KTB and Jeff D: The thinner frets did not produce a "weak" tone in the slightest; the Gibson had a power and a voice that was all its own. However, the thin frets did cause the notes to sound more "lean" in strength rather than "beefy" or "robust" in strength like the other two. In my opinion, those were the differences my ears were noticing. I know a recording would have helped explain this better than mere words, but we did not have access to recording equipment at the time.

    Tobin: Regarding the range response of the Ellis, there was NO doubt in any of our minds that the Ellis had absolutely killer bass; it unmistakably "boomed" beyond the other two. Don't forget that the Ellis had not been played up to that point as much or as long as the Gibson or Collings. The Ellis may yet produce comparable mid-range and treble because Hallmark and I put it through its paces to wake it up which it definitely began doing during our experiment. Perhaps you are not familiar with a bass-heavy Ellis because you have not had anything to compare it to. Thank you for your Ellis-owner thoughts and personal experience. It is very helpful regarding our topic here.

  2. #27
    Registered User Atlanta Mando Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ellis F5 vs. Gibson F5 vs. Collings MF5

    All I'm saying is that by leaving on the tonegard you added an element that can change the mandolin's tonal output compared to mandolins that don't have one on. It doesn't mean it did but it can and that creates questions when we are looking to differentiate what are often very minute tonal and volume differences.

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  4. #28
    Registered User Hallmark498's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ellis F5 vs. Gibson F5 vs. Collings MF5

    I believe the ellis was the loudest even without the toneguard. I would like very much to take and play it for a month and then do another test.

    The (my) gibson had the lowest action of the mandolins, I think most everyone was in awe of how low.

  5. #29
    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ellis F5 vs. Gibson F5 vs. Collings MF5

    Quote Originally Posted by CollingsFever101 View Post
    Tobin: Regarding the range response of the Ellis, there was NO doubt in any of our minds that the Ellis had absolutely killer bass; it unmistakably "boomed" beyond the other two. Don't forget that the Ellis had not been played up to that point as much or as long as the Gibson or Collings. The Ellis may yet produce comparable mid-range and treble because Hallmark and I put it through its paces to wake it up which it definitely began doing during our experiment. Perhaps you are not familiar with a bass-heavy Ellis because you have not had anything to compare it to. Thank you for your Ellis-owner thoughts and personal experience. It is very helpful regarding our topic here.
    In case I hadn't said it before: I wasn't doubting what you experienced. It just surprised me a bit, as I hadn't ever really thought of Ellis mandolins as being so bassy. If nothing else, you've piqued my interest on that count, and I'll be paying attention to it more. You may be right about my exposure, since I don't play with anyone who plays a Collings or Gibson. Nor do I ever get to hear my Ellis from anywhere but right on top of it. Anyway, I appreciate your comparisons. It's good food for thought, especially with regards to different responses as the instruments get played in over time and mature in their sound, or just 'wake up' after playing for a while.

  6. #30
    Registered User Hallmark498's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ellis F5 vs. Gibson F5 vs. Collings MF5

    I have played several Ellis mandolins and every time I would walk away thinking, my mandolin lacked in the bass department.

  7. #31
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    Default Re: Ellis F5 vs. Gibson F5 vs. Collings MF5

    Quote Originally Posted by FLATROCK HILL View Post
    I think calling what I had done to my Florida a 'mutilation' is a little bit extreme. I just had a few millimeters of 'Florskin' removed.
    - hilarious.

    I can't stress enough that my feelings about going for the black tongue are strictly a matter of taste and I do not think anyone desiring one should be denied that privilege. To each his (or her) own!
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  9. #32
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    Default Re: Ellis F5 vs. Gibson F5 vs. Collings MF5

    I never have considered the size of frets affecting sound in any way. I don't like big frets because it feels like I'm between the rails of railroad tracks when I move up the fingerboard.

  10. #33
    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ellis F5 vs. Gibson F5 vs. Collings MF5

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    I never have considered the size of frets affecting sound in any way. I don't like big frets because it feels like I'm between the rails of railroad tracks when I move up the fingerboard.
    Fret size and composition do affect tonal quality in varying degrees...
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  12. #34
    Registered User Mike Scaggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ellis F5 vs. Gibson F5 vs. Collings MF5

    Looks like i will be refreshing this thread.
    I just came from Carter Vintage Guitars in Nashville where I played several Mandolins for quite some time. The ones I played were:

    Gilchrist 5 (2005)
    Gibson Fern (1999)
    Ellis Traditional (new)
    Collings MF5 (new)

    To my ears the Ellis was the clear winner for me. They were all beautiful and fit and finish was superb on all I played. I was surprised however how I was not blown away by the big money Gilchrist given their high reputation. Don't get me wrong, it was really great but I couldn't hear $10,000 bucks more tone. I wanted to but it didn't happen for me.

    The Ellis on the other hand spoke to me like an old friend. The overtones were amazing and the tone was what I imagined it could be. Very even throughout the neck and a joy to play.

    Just one guys experience and thought I would share...

    Cheers!

  13. #35
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    Default Re: Ellis F5 vs. Gibson F5 vs. Collings MF5

    You have good ears !! Hard to beat an Ellis at any price ! You should try a Girouard ! Another great one at a lower price !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

  14. #36
    Registered User Mark Seale's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ellis F5 vs. Gibson F5 vs. Collings MF5

    I'd really like to try one of the new Ellis Traditional models. I've always admired Tom's instruments from a build quality standpoint, but his sound and what I wanted didn't always overlap. The Traditional being based on Crusher makes me think this would be more in line with what I'm after.

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    Default Re: Ellis F5 vs. Gibson F5 vs. Collings MF5

    Quote Originally Posted by mikescaggs View Post
    Looks like i will be refreshing this thread.
    I just came from Carter Vintage Guitars in Nashville where I played several Mandolins for quite some time.

    The Ellis on the other hand spoke to me like an old friend. The overtones were amazing and the tone was what I imagined it could be. Very even throughout the neck and a joy to play.

    Just one guys experience and thought I would share...

    Cheers!
    So did you buy the Ellis? If a mandolin speaks to me like an old friend, generally it comes home with me.

  17. #38

    Default Re: Ellis F5 vs. Gibson F5 vs. Collings MF5

    If an old friend speaks to me, it is generally because they have forgotten our last encounter.
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  19. #39
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    Default Re: Ellis F5 vs. Gibson F5 vs. Collings MF5

    Quote Originally Posted by DataNick View Post
    Fret size and composition do affect tonal quality in varying degrees...
    Hey Nick, Where are you, my friend? Been missing hearing from you. I hope to catch you this spring at the Temecula BG Fest.
    2017 Collings MT (Gloss Top, Ivory Top Binding, Wide Nut)
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