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Thread: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

  1. #26
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    Honest question:

    If you guys did not know or see that Martin's mandolinists used an oval hole Gibson mandolin rather than an F hole model, could you really tell by just listening?

    It sounds like any normal mandolin to me. I don't get the big deal about which mandolin type is used.

    BTW, I liked the use of ELECTRIC bass in his band on that video!
    I know that I probably wouldn't notice it in a stetting with all the other instruments like that but maybe some can?

    If you liked that bass - -what about this one !

    This is not the F-4 but Vernon Derrick puts up one of my all time favorite bluegrass breaks. Be great to see with the F-4 would have sounded like on this break.



    This video has almost 32,000 views and at least 100 or those are mine!
    Last edited by Bernie Daniel; Jan-30-2016 at 3:34pm.
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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    Paul Williams on the F-4....and of course JDC on the banjo!

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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    Interesting that it didn't take more than 25 posts to have Chris Thile brought into a Jimmy Martin thread. And I wonder what Jimmy would say about Mr. Thile.....hmmm.
    I love that "Sophronie" show! I'm not a huge JM fan but there are times when he "Gets Right To It!" And that one of them, thanks for sharing.
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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    yes that first video is of Ronnie Prevette on the the F4. The video with Vernon Derrick above he is using Jimmy's F12. And yes you can tell a huge difference in the sound of the F4 vs. the F5. I'm sure there are several threads on this discussion. If you want to tell the difference from the Master, listen to Monroe's original "Big Mon" recording. It's recorded on a borrowed F4. Then listen to the original "Panhandle Country" recorded with his F5 in the same year. If you can't hear the difference in those 2 recordings you need to get the wax removed from your ears, as it's pretty thick and deep in there.

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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Daniel View Post
    If you liked that bass - -what about this one !
    I like the bass player - but the balance and tone of the electric bass was surprisingly natural and good, proving that it can be used well in BG music.

    Quote Originally Posted by f5loar View Post
    If you want to tell the difference from the Master, listen to Monroe's original "Big Mon" recording. It's recorded on a borrowed F4. Then listen to the original "Panhandle Country" recorded with his F5 in the same year. If you can't hear the difference in those 2 recordings you need to get the wax removed from your ears, as it's pretty thick and deep in there.
    I just had my ears cleaned, thank you!

    But I will do what you suggest.

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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    OK, I just listened to the 1958/1965 "Big Mon" 's mandolin break. Then to "Panhandle Country".

    Assuming other factors like the recording and such are not the reason, yes, I heard a difference. The F4 has a bit more brightness and the F5 has that lower resonance.

    But - did you know which mandolins were used just by blind listening or did you already know that?

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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Daniel View Post
    Is this mandolin player Ronnie Prevette? I think this is the fella that was with Martin's band when I saw them in the summer of 1973. And he was playing the F-4.

    Now THAT'S &^($i^*! BLUEGRASS! That's the genuine article right there... I'll take that over any "newgrass" or "ACT" (adult contemporary bluegrass) any day of the week. F4 or F5 it doesn't matter when you've got that kind of soul in your music. Long live the originators of all great American musics...

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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    OK, I just listened to the 1958/1965 "Big Mon" 's mandolin break. Then to "Panhandle Country".

    Assuming other factors like the recording and such are not the reason, yes, I heard a difference. The F4 has a bit more brightness and the F5 has that lower resonance.

    But - did you know which mandolins were used just by blind listening or did you already know that?
    When I first heard it when it came out I knew something was not the same on the mandolin. It was years later it was discovered to be an F4. He recorded 4 songs that day with the borrowed F4, likely due to his F5 in for repairs and he had that date already booked to record. Also easy to compare his F7 recordings before 1945. Then after 1945 pretty every recording was on the F5 except the 4 F4 songs.

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  14. #34
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    I'd imagine that Jimmy Martin's treatment re: the Opry came from the same source that tried to prevent Flatt and Scruggs membership: Bill Monroe. There are probably other factors, but Monroe was deeply protective of his spot on the Opry, and didn't want imitators. But I don't know.

    EDIT. Just readings smiths biography of Monroe, and he reports Martin feeling that Martins membership was actively opposed by Monroe. No evidence is produced, but certainly Jimmy felt this.
    Last edited by David Lewis; Jan-31-2016 at 3:12am.
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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    Quote Originally Posted by f5loar View Post
    Also easy to compare his F7 recordings before 1945.
    Next topic: Why did Bill Monroe prefer the sound of the F5 over the F7? And does anyone prefer the tone of the F7?
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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    Next topic: Why did Bill Monroe prefer the sound of the F5 over the F7? And does anyone prefer the tone of the F7?
    Might it have been the 15 fret neck on the F-5 vs. the 12 fret neck on the F-7? Don't know that I prefer the sound of the F-7 but I sure do like the looks. From the MC classifieds (yummie!!)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    Quote Originally Posted by lenf12 View Post
    Might it have been the 15 fret neck on the F-5 vs. the 12 fret neck on the F-7? Don't know that I prefer the sound of the F-7 but I sure do like the looks. From the MC classifieds (yummie!!)
    I have no doubt that the 15th fret body join allowed easier access to the upper part of the fingerboard. I'm just wondering if the corresponding shift in bridge placement was suboptimal, in terms of volume and tone, or just different.
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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    I have seen two F-7`s before and after being converted to the "long neck" and placing the bridge more toward the center of the top did in my opinion make them sound better...I can see where the top would vibrate more evenly with the bridge placed there...

    And i can surely tell the difference in a F-4 and a F-5 even without seeing or knowing which one is being used, oval hole mandolins have a sound like no others IMHO...

    willie

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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    It's a learned thing, practice and time teach the differences.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    Bill's original recording of Tennessee Blues was done on his F7. Nothing wrong with the tone on that one!

  21. #41

    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    OK, I just listened to the 1958/1965 "Big Mon" 's mandolin break. Then to "Panhandle Country".

    Assuming other factors like the recording and such are not the reason, yes, I heard a difference. The F4 has a bit more brightness and the F5 has that lower resonance.

    But - did you know which mandolins were used just by blind listening or did you already know that?
    It really doesn't matter if someone can tell the difference it just matters that it is different. The tonal qualities of that F4 were something that Jimmy Martin preferred and that's all there is too it--he could hear it and he liked a certain one. Jimmy Martin was a real stickler about the "Jimmy Martin Sound" and he was pretty insistent on the musicians playing in his band to play the way he wanted them to play and if they had other ideas to leave them at the door!
    I can tell the difference I think-- usually-- between an oval holed mandolin and a f holed mandolin. I couldn't tell you if a pianist was playing a Steinway or a Bogendorfer but I'd bet there are people that can!

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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    Because Jimmy Martin was the GREATEST, and if you didn't believe it just listen to him a while and he'd tell you.
    Somehow someone declaring themselves "The Greatest" doesn't really bother me when they actually are-Jimmy Martin, Mohammed Ali--people like that can get away with it!
    We all agree Jimmy was great. It was a humorous comment, because anyone who was around him knows he was not bashful and his favorite topic was Jimmy Martin. He also said often that he was the reason for the Bluegrass sound; that when he was with Bill Monroe he got Bill to sing in higher keys, etc. It may be true that he influenced Monroe. But his statements may also have kept them from being best buddies.

    Looking at those Jimmy Martin videos reminds me again that his band really knew how to use a microphone. Take a lesson boys.

    Steve

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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    Next topic: Why did Bill Monroe prefer the sound of the F5 over the F7? And does anyone prefer the tone of the F7?
    It was that first strike of the B chord. Monroe could get the tone out of most anything but that B chop don't sound the same on the short neckers. The big mystery is why didn't he find the F5 before 1945? Lester Flatt was playing a new F5 before joining up with Bill when he played mandolin and sang tenor in Charlie Monroe's band.

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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    He didn't get to the barber before then?
    Sorry, bad joke.
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    Quote Originally Posted by f5loar View Post
    It was that first strike of the B chord. Monroe could get the tone out of most anything but that B chop don't sound the same on the short neckers. The big mystery is why didn't he find the F5 before 1945? Lester Flatt was playing a new F5 before joining up with Bill when he played mandolin and sang tenor in Charlie Monroe's band.
    Knowing they exist and being able to get one are two different things. Also not playing one and being comfortable with the instrument you have is another. The best part is that he found it.

    And maybe he wasn't ready for one before 1945 ...
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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    Maybe the price was right! A new F5 in 1945 (if you could find such a rare thing) would set you back $275 with the case. Bill says he paid $150 with the case for the '23 Loar. While that may not seem like much difference, back then it was a lot especially during those war times.
    Back to the Jimmy Martin F4 fascination, I've seen several more photos of the mandolin guys using either their own F5 or Jimmy's F12 so it really does not hold weight that Jimmy insisted on they use an F4 for "his" sound. In fact I found an early photo of Paul Williams with the F12 (back when Penny Jay played bass). Now I'm wondering about the banjo guys. Did they all have to use the flathead like JD Crowe? Because the early recordings had JD with an archtop Mastertone. Sonny Osborne also used an archtop when with Jimmy.
    Last edited by f5loar; Feb-03-2016 at 12:31pm.

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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    Thread bump...

    A great look and listen to Jimmy Martin's F-4...


    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    Honest question:

    If you guys did not know or see that Martin's mandolinists used an oval hole Gibson mandolin rather than an F hole model, could you really tell by just listening?

    It sounds like any normal mandolin to me. I don't get the big deal about which mandolin type is used.

    BTW, I liked the use of ELECTRIC bass in his band on that video!
    Not in this particular case. But a few years back someone posted a live show with Monroe and my immediate reaction (on listening, before reading the post) was, "that's got to be an F4" (also the mandolin was out of tune), probably the same F4 that he use on four studio recordings. I would describe the difference between oval-hole and F-hole Gibsons thus: F4's have a deeper more reverberant sound, coming as it were from within the sound chamber, whereas the sound of an F5 is more direct, projecting from the top.

  31. #49

    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    I was going to be a smart aleck and say it was because he was a guitar player...................

  32. #50
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    Default Re: Why did Jimmy Martin prefer the sound of the F4 over the F5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    I was going to be a smart aleck and say it was because he was a guitar player........
    Could it have been his conservative, understated taste in stage costuming?
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