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Thread: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

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    R-5, MT & A1 ('12. '13) lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    I thought I would throw this question out for some valued input. I know this was discussed in the past, but names and participants change, and I am interested in the opinions of all on the MC today.

    I am considering A5's and F5's, as well. I am struggling with the scroll and can't seem to get it out of my head. I know the tone and projection are not different, quality being the same, so I am not trying to start an A vs. F argument. I am wanting to concentrate on the F's for right now.

    I am sacrificing some of my instruments to put together about $2500 to buy myself a USA built mandolin that will upgrade my experience and with which I can practice and perform (I play out 4-6 times each month).

    Who finds the Weber in my price range enjoyable, and what others among you have played or own the Gibson F9? I must admit, I have a thing, as my friend pheffernan says, "with the name across the peghead."

    When it is all said and done, I love to play mandolins. I have a number of really nice ones. I haven't been in this ballpark yet.

    This is not a "one Vs. the other" discussion. I would like to know others' thoughts on both or either. I am sure they are each great instruments and thus I am sure I could be happy either way. Neck shape and nut width are NOT problems for me. I find that I enjoy a variety of each, on mandolins and guitars. I have played everything from a Gibson A4 traditional V, to a round full neck, and a variety of fretboards, both radiused and flat. I enjoy wide frets and the narrow Kentucky KM1000 traditional variety. I have a 1-3/16 Morris which I absolutely love (it is an A Oval), but I also enjoy a 1-1/8" nut with a flat fretboard. I have come to the conclusion that my favorite is a 1-1/8" and flat.

    I play country, folk rock, old timey, gospel and blues. Thanks for the fun discussion and I hope I may learn from your knowledge and experience. The A5's are very enjoyable for me and they are definitely still on the table. I am focusing on the F's because I have to resolve the scroll question and be sure I know if these mandolins are going to work for me for my price. (The A5's I like are Pava and Collings, with the dream of a possible Stanley).

    Please forgive me for my long introduction. Blessings!
    Last edited by lflngpicker; Aug-19-2015 at 5:41pm. Reason: Improved grammar and expression

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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    Here is a possibility. NFI.

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/89448

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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    I had an F9 from around 2003. It was a nice mandolin. Had great Bass response. Solid mids, although it definitely excelled in the bass department. I'd like to play it again to see how it is now, but alas it now lives across the country.

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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    Quote Originally Posted by George R. Lane View Post
    Here is a possibility. NFI.

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/89448
    Thanks George! Checking it out.

    - - - Updated - - -

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by JWalterWeatherman View Post
    I had an F9 from around 2003. It was a nice mandolin. Had great Bass response. Solid mids, although it definitely excelled in the bass department. I'd like to play it again to see how it is now, but alas it now lives across the country.
    Sounds like you enjoyed it. Great JWalter! Thanks.

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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    Walter, I am glad to hear about the bass response. I often play and sing alone, and it helps to have some deeper tones standing out for accompaniment. This is a good piece of information. Thanks for the input!

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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    I love my Weber Bitterroot F. When looking for my second mandolin, it was going to be an F, and I wanted something that sounded more traditional. I find it nice and balanced, and easy to play with the radius fretboard and the neck shape.

    I did have some work done on it, the bridge was replaced by Lynn Dubenbostel at the Mandolin Symposium this year, I have put Thomastik heavies on it, and I think I finally have the action where I like it. It is a well built, solid and great sounding mandolin.

    I also have a Collings MT, but I find myself pulling out the Weber more. Of course, that could be due to the fact that the Weber is hanging on the wall, and the Collings is in its case in my bedroom. Perhaps it is time to swap places?

    Gary
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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    Also comparatively to your Morris (I own 1 currently and had another 1) it has a slightly longer neck and the action plays a little better up the neck. Maybe doesn't play quite as easy in 1st position, but I never had mine professionally set up.

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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    Quote Originally Posted by JWalterWeatherman View Post
    Also comparatively to your Morris (I own 1 currently and had another 1) it has a slightly longer neck and the action plays a little better up the neck. Maybe doesn't play quite as easy in 1st position, but I never had mine professionally set up.
    Okay, Walter. I see. Well, yes, I get your comments. Is the Gibson a flat board?

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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Leonard View Post
    I love my Weber Bitterroot F. When looking for my second mandolin, it was going to be an F, and I wanted something that sounded more traditional. I find it nice and balanced, and easy to play with the radius fretboard and the neck shape.

    I did have some work done on it, the bridge was replaced by Lynn Dubenbostel at the Mandolin Symposium this year, I have put Thomastik heavies on it, and I think I finally have the action where I like it. It is a well built, solid and great sounding mandolin.

    I also have a Collings MT, but I find myself pulling out the Weber more. Of course, that could be due to the fact that the Weber is hanging on the wall, and the Collings is in its case in my bedroom. Perhaps it is time to swap places?

    Gary
    Great Mandos, both, I am sure! Nice pair. Well, thanks for letting me know about your Weber and its radiused board. That is good information. I appreciate it Gary.

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    While I have not played a Gibson F-9, I did have a chance to play a new Weber Bitterroot a few months ago at a local store. It was a VERY nice mandolin (current price over 3K). It was in my price range but sold the next day. There are at least three used Bitterroot's in the classifieds at the moment in your price range and a couple of F-9's. I personally like the looks of the Weber over the Gibson but I don't think you will be disappointed with either.

    Hope you have good hunting!
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    Hi Charles, I appreciate your response. Good insights and also thanks for pointing out the Classified listings. I always hope to find what I want available in the MC classifieds. Thank you!

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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    I'm not sure about the recent 9ers, but earlier in this decade

    the neck was slim, and the nut width was 1 1/16'', personally I love

    the older profile.

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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    That makes sense-- the traditional size and shape would be the Gibson F way. Thanks for the info!

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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    Dan,

    Speaking as an owner of both an F9 and a Flatiron Performer A, given your constraints I would be looking at either an F9 or a Flatiron Festival F or the Weber Bitteroot. The Weber's that I have played were all good mandolins with distinctive voices, but yet still a bit different from the typical Gibson/Flatiron (Nashville) voicing characteristics. Webers seem closer to me to the Bozeman Flats. Any of these should work for you. The thing about the Festival F is that from 1999-2001 they are the same mandolin as an F5G for less $$. Maybe one of these days we can do a meetup & I'll tote my F9 and Flatiron for you to check out!
    1994 Gibson F5L made by Bruce Weber's team


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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    Dan
    I'll throw some thoughts your way. My family has owned a couple Webers(daughter and wife played before me-they love Webers and still have one). I've owned a Gallatin F, Black Ice F, and currently the BitterRoot F. I've played a few more models in that makers line. I personally prefer the BitterRoots-they just have something going on-not sure if its the finish or what, but big bang for the buck.
    Capo's in Abingdon, Va(they ship and are fine folks-top shelf honesty and excellent customer service)has a real nice looker in a new BitterRoot F in the classifieds, its new so would have warranty.

    I like the way a Weber or Collings(or Northfield) can be setup with low easy action. Those 3 makers always impress me with the quality of build and ease of adjustment. I think they give long term excellent customer service as well-even if you are not the original owner-they will try to help an honest issue. Tone is different on all three. I have had little experience with Gibsons.

    Collings are wonderful. They....just....are. I've played a bunch, with any maker-some i liked-some i didn't. they are dry and woody to my ears. Again, quality of build is just the best. I see some good deals on Collings pass thru our classifieds.

    A neat place to visit for video is Gregboyds-be sure to check the sold archives as they still have video up on some. You can hear a bunch of Weber, Collings and Gibsons. While there, you might want to check out that Weber Yellowstone A thats used-i've had a forum friend play it a few times and tells me its got it. I have another friend who may drop in next week and check it out if its still there. I want you to BUY IT so i don't keep looking at it....................................or buy my BitterRoot so i can go ahead and buy it(lol).

    Check the videos at TheMandolinStore as well. They will have some of each maker and model. Dennis or Brian might be able to offer up some info you need as well, they have a ton of experience and have a way to walk you thru what might work best for you.

    You mentioned liking the flat fretboard-i would think most current mandos from Collings and Weber(and Northfield now)are going to have a radius fretboard. Every now and then one will pop up with a flat FB, but its rare.

    This i can tell you for sure. Every time i pick up my Collings MT i love it, every time i pick up the BitterRoot, I love it. I could be happy with either and not look again(but there's no fun in that and everyone out there knows by now i probably can't do that).

    I know you mentioned USA built, but i must mention this. You need to check into a NorthField if possible. They are very nice mandos and big bang for the dollar. Real sweet tone and set up from the factory really well.

    best of luck and keep us posted
    d
    Last edited by darylcrisp; Aug-19-2015 at 11:07pm.

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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    Daryl, This is lot of great ideas and resources you have provided. I admit noticing your great listing on the Classifieds. I have kept an eye on it. I didn't know about the Collings you brought up. I hope you don't mind if I do check it out. You're saying if I bought it I will relieve your MAS condition for the moment? I haven't been in your altitude yet (mandolin range), but I have turned over a few instruments myself. It is fun, though stressful.

    I am just trying to broaden my understanding of all that is available to me to consider.

    I appreciate the specifics and I will follow up on these suggestions! Thanks! Dan

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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    Hi Nick, Thanks for the heads up on the similarities and differences. I didn't know much about the Flatiron except that it has a relationship with Gibson after being acquired. I will look at these mandolins with a more informed vantagepoint. And I think it would be great to be able to meet up and jam one day. Take care Nick, Dan

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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    Dan
    most definitely (if possible, unlike me), take your time, and if you could find a shop or maybe a group that plays where you could experience the difference hands on between the makers you want.

    another idea is check out video of Sierra Hull, she used to play Webers and now a Gibson MM-I cannot remember when she changed, but take a good listen to her music over the last fews years to recent and that might help you in knowing more of what you like.

    a good album that you can hear a Weber on is linked here-check out the song list:
    http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/markbeale (great album, its not BG, but more of a southern, Brazilian type blend)

    maybe some folks can recommend albums for Collings and Gibson where its real clear mandolin coming thru for you to hear.
    definitely see if any folks are picking around in a group where you live and you might be surprised what all you find.

    here's you a good video of a Collings(MT and I'm not sure if its englemann or adi so that will be different tone for sure)
    they have an album out as well and its superb, real nice mandolin all over it




    check this thread for sierra and her Gibson, lots of good sound in there.
    http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...ting-Bluechips


    have fun with this, all of them are excellent mandos
    d

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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    I have both of these mandolin models, the Bitteroot is flawless in design, build and finnish, and it sounds superb, the F9 looks like a mandolin built down to the lowest price but it sounds fantastic, this was the second F9 I tried, the first [ and coincidently the more expensive of the 2 ] sounded very poor. You need to find a good one.

    Dave H
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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    and check into videos of sarah Jarosz, she has played a Collings MF(5 I think) for many years.
    here is Sierra Hull and Sarah together, so this should be Weber and Collings



    Sarah and the Collings



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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    A good friend of mine & fellow UK Cafe member recently visited the US & had the opportunity to visit several music stores. He told me that the Northfield mandolins were amongst the very best mandolins he played. They consistently get very good comments on here & several top players use them while touring - Adam Steffey & Emory Lester,to name but two of them. Having the reputation that they do have,if i were you,i'd try to lay my hands on a few & try them out - keep your eye on the Classified ads. as well as a Northfield arrives on there from time to time.
    I know that they're made China,but they're finished & set up in the USA. There's a beauty in the Classified ads.right now going for $3,000. I'm not trying to divert the Gibson / Weber thread,but the Northfields do seem to offer more for the money than many other brands. Emory Lester said that in his opinion,that they were the finest mandolin available for under $10,000,
    Ivan
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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    Daryl, I sure have enjoyed these videos. Unbelievable playing and the Collings and Weber mandolins are incredible. Such woody richness (my adjectives are a bit weak. You can't go wrong, I suppose! I would love to play and sample the various instruments. I am hoping to find a shop somewhere with an hour or two. LA has a store or two, I believe (McCabes?). In the Inland Empire of So Cal they are few and far between. There is a folk instruments store in Clairemont that I am hoping to take a trip to-- it's a bit over an hour. If some of these artists come through I am definitely going to make an effort to see! I love these examples. More than anything, it is the tone and playability that matter most. The look is a big thing, too. I will admit that. Both shapes look amazing.

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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    A good friend of mine & fellow UK Cafe member recently visited the US & had the opportunity to visit several music stores. He told me that the Northfield mandolins were amongst the very best mandolins he played. They consistently get very good comments on here & several top players use them while touring - Adam Steffey & Emory Lester,to name but two of them. Having the reputation that they do have,if i were you,i'd try to lay my hands on a few & try them out - keep your eye on the Classified ads. as well as a Northfield arrives on there from time to time.
    I know that they're made China,but they're finished & set up in the USA. There's a beauty in the Classified ads.right now going for $3,000. I'm not trying to divert the Gibson / Weber thread,but the Northfields do seem to offer more for the money than many other brands. Emory Lester said that in his opinion,that they were the finest mandolin available for under $10,000,
    Ivan
    Ivan, I do appreciate any information I can gain. Your comments are valued, greatly. I have heard this from friends in the Cafe. You are giving me motivation to learn more about the Northfield mandolins. Thanks!

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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    Thanks Dave. It helps to hear from someone who has played both and can attest to their qualities. I appreciate the input, particularly regarding the Webers. I have little knowledge first hand of either.

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    Default Re: Gibson F9 and Weber Bitterroot F-5

    I have a Bitterroot and it is easy to play and has tons of sustain and that Weber sound. It has a strong and deeper voice than a Gibson. It isn't a perfect bluegrass mandolin it does chop well but doesn't have that Gibson sound. But it is great all around mandolin you literally play anything on it and it sounds good Gypsy Jazz, Jazz, Blues, Rock, Celtic and of course bluegrass. If I only played bluegrass then I am not sure it would be my first choice but since I don't it is perfect for me.
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