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Thread: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

  1. #1
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    Question need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    i've got it bad all of a sudden, no A in the house, recently sold my beloved NorthField F(still have a BitterRoot F thank goodness).

    I've been all over the map with this MAS lately, Heffernan is of no use in talking me off the ledge-in fact, he keeps enabling. I have arrived at the Collings MT2V. I have a very good prospect at a reasonable price. Knowing the price range i would be entering, and i've always had a big eye for the Ellis A mandolins, i started wondering "why not".

    Over the past year, with all my buying/selling/trading, i could have simply purchased an Ellis A and been done with it-course, its taken me a few to figure out things i like, i haven't lost "that much", especially considering the fun of having the different mandos around and enjoying that time with them-before shipping them to someone else.

    One of the big things that i consider is neck profile. I have via email, spoken with Ellis mandolins months ago and know that Tom can shape a neck to a preference(we were talking of doing a Pava with a wider nut width and more V shape).

    The Pava i owned had a less defined V shape, more what i would call a U, became quite deep around the 12th fret going into the heel. Compared that to my Collings MT at the time and it had a definite defined V shape and went up the neck not gaining so much depth-which i know i now prefer.

    1)My question to Ellis A owners is, tell me about the neck profile of your A. Is it a standard shape or did you special order it?

    2)if you own a Pava, or have had good access to one and compared, did the necks feel the same or different.

    3)i would be ordering a 1 3/16" nut width-anyone out there have an Ellis with that spec?

    4)is there anything you would change on your Ellis A at this point after having owned it?

    i plan to email Ellis Mandolins tonight with the profile shape question, would love to hear from owners here also.

    thank you much
    d

  2. #2
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    I object, your Honor. If I were enabling, I would have pointed out the used Heiden A5 at Carter Vintage: http://www.cartervintage.com/mandopa...e.html#heidena
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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    Don't buy the Heiden. It's a MAS killer. You won't have anything to post about on the cafe any more except how much you like your Heiden.
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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    I object, your Honor. If I were enabling, I would have pointed out the used Heiden A5 at Carter Vintage: http://www.cartervintage.com/mandopa...e.html#heidena
    wife said i lose a finger if i give you a "thanks" on this one...............

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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    Quote Originally Posted by darylcrisp View Post
    wife said i lose a finger if i give you a "thanks" on this one...............
    Picking hand or fretting hand?
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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    Picking hand or fretting hand?
    I literally laughed out loud when I read that (I'm too old to justifiably write 'lol').
    Dear sir, I am terribly sorry, but I fear I must inform you that what you are playing is most certainly not any part of anything.

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    I've never been able to really understand the way that some folks react to the neck profile of a mandolin. Why does it matter ?. I could imagine that if a neck was really huge or incredibly skinny,that there would be some concern - but i've never seen a a mandolin with either of those descriptions. If you found a mandolin that sounded as perfect as you'd ever want - your ''dream mandolin'',would you complain that the neck was too wide / too thick / too thin ??. Personally,i'd grab it with both hands & play the daylights out of it. Folk on here do that all the time. Find a mandolin that you like,buy it & play it.
    My own Ellis "A" style has a neck similar in profile to my Weber "Fern". If the neck profile was any different,i coudn't care less,as long as it was playable.It's simply not something that bothers me.
    Re.Heiden / Ellis - a friend has a Heiden "A" style & we've played them back to back. It would take a very good ear to distinguish one from the other. They're both top flight instruments & it's a question of personal choice which 'you' prefer.I'd settle for either,but, i have a long standing admiration for Tom Ellis' instruments,so,........................ !,
    Ivan
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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    "I've never been able to really understand the way that some folks react to the neck profile of a mandolin. Why does it matter ?. I could imagine that if a neck was really huge or incredibly skinny,that there would be some concern."

    Well said Ivan. I find that people often limit their choices, unnecessarily in my view. I did have a Givens F once with a 1" neck width, I only noticed when I was playing it alongside my Old Wave melon (1 3/8") and saw them next to each other though I could understand why people would struggle with a 1" neck.

    I think a lot of people get used to playing one width or profile and then think they can't play anything else. In my view a few hours playing with an open mind would solve the issue. Some people ask for neck widths before they play and I try to explain that the width is only one issue in 'playability' and variation in string spacing can be greater than those in nut width.

    There are of course exceptions for those with health issues.

    A few professional musicians I know don't even consider these issues, they just play.
    Trevor
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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    Ivan/Trevor

    ughhhhh.................not again.

    in this previous thread:
    http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...r-Collings-MT2
    your very similar posts #14 and #15. my response #35.

    sorry guys, but to some folks a neck profile or width does indeed matter. to some folks it does not(the lucky ones). it happens with mandolins, with guitars, with Ukes, with banjos.............

    now, back to the original question. if either of you have an Ellis and Pava handy, let me know if the neck profile is similar or different.

    A few professional musicians who do consider these issues and have instruments made accordingly( Sam Bush/Adam Steffey/Sierra Hull come to mind). And there's plenty in the banjo and guitar world.

    I've spent time with Dwight Diller in clawhammer banjo. Dwight has went against many "common" standards of banjo specs and for the last couple years has had a much wider nut width and shorter scale(23") for all his banjos. He uses all tunings on that short scale and does not limit it to A or D scale. And he has the 5th string tuning peg placed further up the neck(at the 6th fret) to be out of the way for his left hand. Why all this, because it makes it more fun, healthy and comfortable to play.

    d
    Last edited by darylcrisp; Aug-07-2015 at 3:49am.

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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    Yes - again ! . Our own insistence that it's not important to us (& many others),is as fundamental as your insistence that it's important to you. Just how much difference matters ?. It could be that one Ellis / Pava is marginally different than another. The best way to find out is to play them if at all possible. My own Ellis is a 'standard' shape,or is it ?. It was a 'used' instrument & i've no idea whether it was a special order or not,but i somehow doubt it. The neck on my larger than standard Lebeda is wider (1/32") at the nut & somewhat thicker in depth along it's entire length that my Weber or Ellis. The fact that it's developed into an astonishingly good mandolin is all that matters to me.
    Don't misinterpret mine & Trevor's comments as being 'anti' - they're not. Our hands are incredibly adaptable in all sorts of ways,not least in being able to actually waggle our fingers around in complex patterns in order to be able to play a stringed instrument. After that,tiny variations in mandolin necks are very secondary - to us ,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    If you ever have a left hand injury, you'll discover neck profiles make a huge difference in playing without pain and maintaining a healthy left hand.
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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    I've never been able to really understand the way that some folks react to the neck profile of a mandolin. Why does it matter ?.
    Electric guitar guys are MUCH worse! "I only play a '59 Les Paul, '58 is too clubby, '57 has the dinky frets, '60 profile is too thin..."

    Just another way to "talk the hobby" -- same with golf clubs, sports cars, comic books or baseball cards, IMHO. That's what we do here.

    I personally wouldn't turn down ANY '57-60 Les Paul! Although, I play a '56 myself.................

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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    Nic Gellie can probably give some informed insight as he's had both (Pava and Ellis A styles) recently.

    As for Heiden vs. Ellis... well, both top of the tree and I'd have a hard time choosing. Very much down to personal taste and the individual instrument. Can only say that THE best three mandolins I've ever played were an Ellis, a Heiden and a Gilchrist (and the order listed infers nothing). They were all awesome and positively drool-worthy. I now own one of them and have no more MAS, but that would be so no matter which of the three.
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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    I think people get stuck in tradition sometimes, and it can hurt.
    Not downplaying tradition-I love it, things that have existed and continue to do so and bring real joy to ones life. But life is short. If you find something you really enjoy and can enhance that joy to make that something more fun, less tension, do it. No matter who tells you to "cope" or "just learn to put up with it".

    I ride bicycles for hobby, in the past I did some racing. If you want to mess your body up really quick, do not pay attention to ergonomics while doing 100 mile rides/races. Find the best fit possible, the one that feels just right with no tension. That takes into account top tube length, bike frame size, handlebar width/depth/bar diameter, Q factor spacing for the crankarms/pedals, crank arm length, seat height/placement/width, stem height/length, on and on. Bikes are no different than our neat little friends(mandos).

    The whole package comes into play with any instrument: scale length/fret size/nut width/neck profile/string spacing at the nut-AND at the saddle/ fretboard width all the way up/ body length/body depth, on and on. Its not just nut width and neck profile-but those two things get you in the ballpark quickly and allow more advantage to make small changes that effect your playing in huge ways.

    Coming from a recent guitar background(jeez, I haven't touched my guitar in 8 months............guess why), I learned quickly what worked and what didn't to enhance my playing. Once I figured out the right nut width and neck profile for me, I then went into small changes of string spacing and string composition. Same thing in banjos, Ukes, etc

    The last mandolin I did work on belonged to a small lady who had her fathers Gibson(yes I checked names).
    Watched her play(very small hands)and saw immediate struggle. I handed her my daughters Weber which has been worked over and she loved it. She wanted a speedneck, I suggested a slight profile adjustment along with that.

    First thing I did was some xray on the neck to see exactly where the truss rod laid-then i did some images on a CT scanner to show me exact truss rod depth cross sectionally along the entire neck, and how much wood was below. Her neck ended up definitely more rounded, frets leveled, relief removed, cut a new nut with better spaced courses ,for her hand. Now she plays it with a smile on her face rather than a grimace. It sounds really nice(she plays really well) and works.

    there's a video of Bryan Kimsey where he changed out the larger fretwire on his Elkhorn to smaller wire-not that the original wire was wrong, its just that he knew thru trial and error that the smaller wire worked better for him-and gave him more space.

    I can't try out different Pava's and Ellis A mandolins. There are none that I know of for hours away-and few at that, and yes, necks can be different. I kinda figure anything coming out of the Ellis shop these days has a very consistent spec. Having owned a Pava I have a very distinct knowledge of that neck and I know exactly what I need to do to have it fit me better. Before I dropped $ on buying/shipping an Ellis, I want to know a few things.

    I have owned 6 mandolins of varying brands with different nut widths, scale lengths, and neck profiles/played maybe 30 more-pretty much got things figured out on what does not work well for me.

    Its all about being able to play with the least amount of tension, in a healthy way for your body, and having fun.

    thanks for the replies
    d
    Last edited by darylcrisp; Aug-07-2015 at 2:03pm.

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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    Check with the Ellis shop to see if they are planning to be in Raleigh for the Oct IBMA.

    Last year Tom was there with a collection of new (and for sale) Ellis A's, F5's, and Pava's.

    *ok I see thats a hike for you but.. could be a rewarding hike.

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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Wilson View Post
    Check with the Ellis shop to see if they are planning to be in Raleigh for the Oct IBMA.

    Last year Tom was there with a collection of new (and for sale) Ellis A's, F5's, and Pava's.

    *ok I see thats a hike for you but.. could be a rewarding hike.
    Mark, thanks so much!

    That's a great idea I had not thought of. I had mentioned I wanted to go there this year for IBMA, my wife has family in Raleigh and we thought it would all work out for everyone.

    d

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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    to get a re profile done,

    a communication using a Picture taken of a piece of insulated solid copper wire

    bent over the back of the neck was a reasonable way to talk

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  32. #18

    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    I object, your Honor. If I were enabling, I would have pointed out the used Heiden A5 at Carter Vintage: http://www.cartervintage.com/mandopa...e.html#heidena
    Surprised you aren't going after that one, Pat

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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    Daryl -
    Are you truly on the hunt again, or are you just trying to spark some interesting discussion about a variety of instruments?
    Either way I'm up for it....
    One watch by night, one watch by day...if you get confused, just listen to the music play.

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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ Donahue View Post
    Daryl -
    Are you truly on the hunt again, or are you just trying to spark some interesting discussion about a variety of instruments?
    Either way I'm up for it....
    on the hunt, but i found out what i needed to know with this OP.
    this all started with buying a used Bart Reiter Galax open back banjo at Gregboyds about a month ago-its a long short story.

    missed having an A around and having sold the Northfield i'm down to one mando. was looking at the base Collings MT which i tend to really like the tone off-evolved into a nice offer on a MT2V-but thats a whole lot more $ than i was looking to spend-and a much different type mandolin.

    that got me thinking deep on the Ellis A as the $ amount kept rising and was putting me in the atmosphere of an Ellis.
    thought rather than keep doing the buy/sale/trade game, i might get into something for a good long haul.

    i would enjoy and welcome your thoughts, either posted here or in a PM.

    thanks Russ
    d

  35. #21
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    Quote Originally Posted by JWalterWeatherman View Post
    Surprised you aren't going after that one, Pat
    I'm thinking about it, Josh. It would certainly help if you were to buy two or three instruments in my signature.
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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    I'm thinking about it, Josh. It would certainly help if you were to buy two or three instruments in my signature.
    That is quite a tempting collection, Pheffernan. I couldn't help but notice a few of those fine mandos you have listed.
    Dan Brooks
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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    I'm thinking about it, Josh. It would certainly help if you were to buy two or three instruments in my signature.
    double dog dare you to buy it!

    now you have too.

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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    Maybe I missed the answer, but are the Ellis and Pava neck profiles the same? I am going to guess the answer is yes

    Thanks
    Scott

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    Default Re: need help, neck profile compare of Ellis A and Pava

    Hi Daryl,

    I wiil take up your challenge about neck shapes between a Pava and an Ellis A5. I have had the former and I now have the latter. The Pava was a 2014 Pava Player model with a 1 1/18" nut. My Ellis is a 2011 with a 1 5/32" nut. Both seemed quite similar in profile - what I would call a soft V shape. If you really like a v-shaped profile I would go for the Collings. If you want an A5 with a more rounded tone but with a really loud resonant E, I would go for the Ellis. My Ellis projects well across all strings but the E stands out whereas the Pava was slightly less loud on the E strings. The Pava had a darker tone at the bottom end.
    I really the softer V profile of both mandolins - very comfortable to play. The slightly wider nut of the Ellis
    does slightly improve playability though.
    Nic Gellie

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