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Thread: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    The MS classifieds are now showing Don Julin's 1979 Nugget F5 up for sale, for the asking price of $18,500. The picture is here .

    Interestingly, it looks like Mike Kemnitzer may have inlayed "The Gibson" on the headstock, which is covered by some black tape in the ad. That would be considered a bad idea by today's standards, but back in 1979, it was an homage to Gibson, and done fairly widely. Would you keep the black tape on if you bought the mandolin?

    But yow, it sure looks terribly beat-up! Is this what folks really mean by "honest play wear," I wonder? (then what would dishonest play wear look like, I also wonder...)

    And look at where the worst of that wear is concentrated! If this mandolin had been equipped with a pickguard and an armrest in the first place, it would look immensely better. And probably retain more value, by thousands of dollars.

    This photo is the best argument I have seen yet for using a pickguard and armrest on your mandolin, in fact. Gee, I wonder how bad the back of it looks? Maybe it would also make a case for using a ToneGard to protect it?

    I am not sure why folks don't use these things: they can make a big difference. I suppose they can't get used to not posting their right-hand fingers on the top. Or maybe they're going for that Bill-Monroe-I-don't-care-whip-it-like-a-mule look?
    Last edited by sblock; Oct-14-2016 at 1:14pm.

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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    I think it is more a case of some guys polish their shoes daily and keep them looking like new and some guys don't -- they just wear them.....to each his own.

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    Like you, I really like both a pickguard and armrest, plus I also like a toneguard.

    I come from a banjo playing background. Banjos loose about 10% of their volume when you plant fingers on the head, which is definitely noticeable, so I use pickguards as finger-rests on all of my main-playing banjos. And all of my banjos have armrests for comfort and to keep my arm from also deadening the heads. So it was easy for me to also be open-minded to this on mandolins.

    When my 2002 F9 came to me about 4-years ago, it was pretty dug up by pick and fingernail contact around the treble F-hole. Honest damage, yes, but damage none-the-less. I cleaned it up as well as possible and then covered it up with a nice ebony pickguard which will remain on this mandolin as long as I own it. I've also added a nice ebony armrest and a toneguard for tone/volume as well as to protect the instrument. The ebony pickguard and armrest look really good with this early F9's vintage brown/natural finish, the un-dotted ebony fingerboard and relatively un-adorned headstock.

    And believe it or not, I have just ordered these same add-ons for my $199 MK -- not so much for instrument preservation on the MK, but because now I really play better with the arm and wrist geometry that these add-on parts provide. And that's not to mention the tone and volume advantage of not touching the top, sides and back of the mandolin so it can vibrate freely.

    I do have a number of friends, pro mandolin players, who sort of shun the idea of pickguards and armrests. So there may be a cultural thing going on there, or it may just be these people like their arm and wrist geometry just as it is without these add-ons. Most of these friends do accept the toneguard concept though.

    For me, there are three advantages of these three devices:

    1) tone and volume improvement from allowing the instrument to vibrate freely
    2) protection of the instrument from a lot of the wear and tear of playing
    3) elevated arm and wrist geometry which for me improves the pick attack.

    I think most people can get into #1 and #2 of these, but #3 may be the reason some people don't get these devices.

    -- Don

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    I think it is more a case of some guys polish their shoes daily and keep them looking like new and some guys don't -- they just wear them.....to each his own.
    Right on brother! It doesn't bother me one bit what something looke like as long as it has the sound. I'd say a bit pricey at 18.5

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    Chu Dat Frawg Eric C.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    I use an armrest but no pick guard. My KM-950 has simlar wear on the treble side. I personally like the appearance of it.
    Kentucky KM950 and loving it.

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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric C. View Post
    I use an armrest but no pick guard. My KM-950 has simlar wear on the treble side. I personally like the appearance of it.
    Well, as the saying goes, there's no accounting for taste (de gustibus non est disputandum)! You're entitled to like whatever you darn well choose.

    But there can be no question that the luthiers who build mandolins go to considerable lengths to make their instruments look really good, choosing tonewoods with elegant grain, installing pretty binding or purfling, adding beautiful pearl or abalone inlays, investing huge amounts of time and effort in the finish, picking tuners with nicely engraved plates and buttons, choosing elegant tailpieces, and so on. Let us not forget that the shape of the scroll and headstock of the F5 model were inspired by aesthetic reasons, not musical ones. And the prettier mandolins, which involve more work to produce, command higher prices, all else being equal: look at the price difference between otherwise similar A5 and F5 models. And some of you folks who say you're OK with getting down to splinters in the top will insist on playing an F5 model -- because it looks nicer! There's some kind of a disconnect there, in the reasoning.

    It strikes me as downright hypocritical to praise all these design features, but then proceed to rip up the instrument, to the point of destroying the protection provided by the finish and actually splintering -- or even wearing a hole clean through! -- the tonewood top. Especially when this abuse is totally unnecessary, because the wear can be prevented with simple remedies that in no way detract from the sound (pickguards and armrests). Plus, at some point, the excessive wear does begin to affect the sound and playability of the instrument. That's my opinion, anyway, and you're certainly entitled to yours.

    Another point to add is that for instruments so desirable that they becomes collectors' items (like 1922-24 Lloyd Loar Gibson F5s), condition counts for a great deal.
    Last edited by sblock; Oct-14-2016 at 1:19pm.

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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    Agree with sblock, never could understand " distressed" instrument. Buy a new instrument that looks beat up and well used? Speed necks another abuse of a good instrument in my opinion. The mandolin I'm playing now and have for 16 years is showing some wear on the neck so I guess it's " distressed" but it's no longer new and I've protected the finish where I could. Had Ward Elliot make and install a pick guard years ago that is now distressed but it's a $100 piece on a &2000+ instrument that can be replaced or refinished easily. I'm not fanatical about the mandolin, if it I'd used it will show wear but I take as much care as I can and still enjoy playing it. I knew a guitar player that had a D-18 he had played for 25 years that had the finish wore off where his arm laid across the lower bout. He bought a new D-35 which he was determined to not let that happen to, so he got in the habit of playing with his arm heald away from the guitar. We used to kid him about playing guitar and not touch it nowhere. He owned that guitar about 20 years before he died and the finish was intack on the lower bout. Just saying one can be too particular

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    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    I love my armrest and my pick guard. I even feel they help me play better.

    Then again, I also love my speed neck and for the same reason.

    We're all a little different and that's OK.

    I've learned to live with other's being wrong.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    I love my armrest and my pick guard. I even feel they help me play better.

    Then again, I also love my speed neck and for the same reason.

    We're all a little different and that's OK.

    I've learned to live with other's being wrong.
    Man all that time and effort spent on the finish of the neck...
    Kentucky KM950 and loving it.

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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    People who don't like speed necks have never played one....

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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    Might be worth mentioning, there are other ways to protect the instrument from some of the arm wear besides an arm-rest.

    Many of the folks in my playing circles wear half a sock over the lower arm where it would contact the instrument that is being played at the time.

    In my circle, that started with me actually, early in my banjo playing years. Like many people, I get a contact dermatitis from nickel plating -- and most banjo armrests have nickel plating (even under gold plating). One thing I had a lot of were nice black socks that had holes in the foot-area, so I cut the foot area off and tossed it, and the remaining ankle area fits nicely over the lower arm where contact with the instrument occurs. (And yes, the socks were washed first, ok? )

    My wife likes the same thing for playing guitar, so she doesn't sweat over the instrument where her arm rests on it. I've mentioned getting an armrest for her guitars, but she prefers the sock.

    Even though I use an armrest on my mandolins, unless I have long sleeves on, I still wear the sock on my arm. It just feels more comfortable.

    -- Don

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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    Well, as the saying goes, there's no accounting for taste (de gustibus non est disputandum)! You're entitled to like whatever you darn well choose.

    But there can be no question that the luthiers who build mandolins go to considerable lengths to make their instruments look really good, choosing tonewoods with elegant grain, installing pretty binding or purfling, adding beautiful pearl or abalone inlays, investing huge amounts of time and effort in the finish, picking tuners with nicely engraved plates and buttons, choosing elegant tailpieces, and so on. Let us not forget that the shape of the scroll and headstock of the F5 model were inspired by aesthetic reasons, not musical ones. And the prettier mandolins, which involve more work to produce, command higher prices, all else being equal: look at the price difference between otherwise similar A5 and F5 models. And some of you folks who say you're OK with getting down to splinters in the top will insist on playing an F5 model -- because it looks nicer! There's some kind of a disconnect there, in the reasoning.

    It strikes me as downright hypocritical to praise all these design features, but then proceed to rip up the instrument, to the point of destroying the protection provided by the finish and actually splintering -- or even wearing a hole clean through! -- the tonewood top. Especially when this abuse is totally unnecessary, because the wear can be prevented with simple remedies that in no way detract from the sound (pickguards and armrests). Plus, at some point, the excessive wear does begin to affect the sound and playability of the instrument. That's my opinion, anyway, and you're certainly entitled to yours.

    Another point to add is that for instruments so desirable that they becomes collectors' items (like 1922-24 Lloyd Loar Gibson F5s), condition counts for a great deal.
    I've never been called a hypocrite before, thanks! For what it's worth (in my defense, since I feel this crazy urge to defend my opinion, due to being called hypocritical) I've never once given any thought to "elegant grain, pretty binding/purflin, inlays, etc.

    As far as "abuse", no I don't spend much time thinking about how clean or pristine the condition of my mandolin is in, but I do get it serviced a couple times year so it can keep putting a few extra bucks in my pocket a week.

    I think the Nugget in question is beautiful.
    Kentucky KM950 and loving it.

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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    My mandolin has a fair amount of playing wear, not as much as the Nugget, but then it is a varnish finish which is much easier damaged than a lacquer finish. I have showed my mandolin, it is a gigging instrument, to the builder and he said that he doesn't think most people play the instruments he builds, they look so new. I can tell you play this and I build them to play. He was happy looking at my mandolin distressed from playing.

    I use an arm rest, pick guard and tone guard by the way, still gets distressed.
    Last edited by pops1; Oct-14-2016 at 3:34pm.
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    Registered User Rich Benson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    I just played a great sounding used Ellis F in Austin that has terrible pickwear, very rough to the touch. An absolute crime! I wouldn't buy it like that. And, I actually just had Tom Ellis install a pickguard on my Pava Pro. Looks awesome.
    Rich
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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric C. View Post
    Man all that time and effort spent on the finish of the neck...
    Yeah and it was a beautiful custom burst finish. It took me 3 years to get the nerve to do it. Boy am I glad I did.

    The fancy neck finish didn't help me play better. In fact, the opposite. No One can see the finish there unless its not being played and you turn it over and get close. The speed neck still looks good as the burst is still there.

    And now it plays better. I guess you could say someone spends a lot of time building the florida and yet mine is scooped out. Because it helps me play better. I have no regrets for the extra step of the speed neck now at all although I did have lots of back and forth trepidation prior. If I ever have a mando custom built for me I will pass on the distressed look BUT it will come with a speed neck, scooped florida, and abbreviated floating pick guard. Also an armrest.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

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    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    This thread is ridiculous. It is what it is. Don't tell people how they should play or take care of their instruments. The guy bought it to play for probably $1000 and play it he did for almost 40 years.

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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    Sounds pretty good to me in the YT video. I have watched all his instructional and Billy Strings videos and never noticed him playing it

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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    Yeah and it was a beautiful custom burst finish. It took me 3 years to get the nerve to do it. Boy am I glad I did.

    The fancy neck finish didn't help me play better. In fact, the opposite. No One can see the finish there unless its not being played and you turn it over and get close. The speed neck still looks good as the burst is still there.

    And now it plays better. I guess you could say someone spends a lot of time building the florida and yet mine is scooped out. Because it helps me play better. I have no regrets for the extra step of the speed neck now at all although I did have lots of back and forth trepidation prior. If I ever have a mando custom built for me I will pass on the distressed look BUT it will come with a speed neck, scooped florida, and abbreviated floating pick guard. Also an armrest.
    Oh I agree 100%! I prefer to do my own distressing (I speednecked (sp?) my mandolin.)
    Kentucky KM950 and loving it.

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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom C View Post
    This thread is ridiculous. It is what it is. Don't tell people how they should play or take care of their instruments. The guy bought it to play for probably $1000 and play it he did for almost 40 years.
    Yow, lighten up! You're not reading this thread very carefully, I'm afraid. No one ever told anyone how they are required to play or care for their instruments, and certainly not me! It's YOUR mandolin, and you can go ahead and smash it on the stage Pete Townshend-style, for all I care. I have also pointed out that this comes down to a matter of personal taste, and there is no arguing with that. I just wondered why some people seem willing to destroy the tops of their beautiful instruments, when there are such easy ways to prevent it. And I wonder why some folks go out of their way to buy a fancy instrument (like an F5) with beautiful appointments, but then proceed to hack away at it, often removing a perfectly good pickguard to do it! That doesn't make a lot of sense to me, and there seems to be a disconnect in the reasoning. But hey, it might make sense to you. NO ONE is telling you that you have to protect your nice instrument. Bill Monroe never showed a whole lot of respect for his Loar, did he? But, unlike his fabulous music and playing, that is hardly one of his most admirable characteristics, now, is it? Just 'cuz Big Mon was willing to take a pen-knife to his headstock out of anger and spite is hardly a reason to emulate him. We should seek to discover the best in the man, not the worst, I believe.

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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    Some people might not be happy with me for having added a pickguard to my otherwise original F9.

    Some people might complain that my armrest may leave marks on the finish of the top where it is mounted.

    Some people might complain that my toneguard may leave marks on the finish of the sides where it is mounted.

    These are objectionable to some people, just as to some people normal playing wear-and-tear are objectionable.

    To me, these add-on parts are worth having installed, I enjoy the sound and playing advantages they provide, and I prefer having them on the instrument to protect from to wear-and-tear.

    Different strokes...

    -- Don

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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    I have player a speed neck, it's just that I'm not capable of playing so fast I soften the finish and make it gummy therefore I see no difference. To me a finish neck looks better so I'll leave it finished even if I'm the only one that can see it. After all I'm the one that paid for it.

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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    I play in humid hot environments in the summer. I also have a varnish finish that gets sticky, most of the finish on my neck is worn off from playing, but a speed neck would help a lot in those times. With a lacquer finish it's not as sticky in those conditions, so if you have lacquer on your neck you most likely won't need the speed neck.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    Unless you folks have knowledge that I don't you may be assuming that Don bought this Nugget brand new. Perhaps he did buy it decades ago but no assumption that he did all or even any of the damage. Then again, someone did at some point. Just saying...

    I myself am in the middle of this "raging debate." The few instrument of which i am the original owner are in fairly good shape with little wear on them but I am not the most careful of bangs and bops of these. They generally get played. The worse of them are the flattop guitars because I have a heavy right hand and tend to wear out the edges of the soundholes. Perhaps i can change my technique but it is (pardon the pun) deeply ingrained at this point besides it does the job for rhythm section in old time and other genres I play.

    Actually, come to think of it, I don't own any new flattops anyway.
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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    Actually, I like it with the extreme evidence of joyful playing. Doesn't bother me a bit. To me it just shows how much it was played, which is a plus for me. I use a tonegard and an armrest, but I can't stand having a pick guard on a mandolin it makes me claustrophobic and limits how you can attack the e string. Personally I would buy a mandolin like this in a second if it had the sound I wanted. For me the great thing about getting an instrument that is not in perfect mint condition is that you don't have to stress about keeping in that condition. You can just get on it and play as hard as you wish.
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    Default Re: Don Julin's beat-up Nugget for sale

    There's an enormous difference, in my mind anyway, between deliberately removing the varnish on the back of the neck -- to create a speed neck -- and haphazardly tearing up the top wood near the fingerboard through pickstrokes or finger-posting -- to create a worn, bald spot (or even a hole all the way through). The first is done purposefully, in a carefully controlled way, and looks fine (besides, violins also have the varnish removed in this area). The second is done by accident, and it's neither tidy nor well controlled. To my mind, it also looks terrible. Holes worn clean through the top may even require repair when things go too far (like on Jody Stecher's mandolin), and large areas of exposed, rough wood generally detract from the resale price of the more valuable instruments.

    Willie Nelson's beat-up guitar would be pretty much worthless if it had belonged to some obscure player, instead of Willie. WSM's beat-up Loar would have been at the low end of the spectrum of Gibson F5s had it, too, belonged to an obscure player -- but then again, maybe no one would be clamoring for Loars!

    Many of us don't like to lend our instruments to certain folks who don't play them very respectfully, and manage to leave serious dents and scratches, or buckle rashes, after only a short time playing. There are stories about folks (I seem to recall that Charlie Derrington was one, but the experts will correct me) who lent their Loar to WSM, in fact, only to regret it after the mandolin was returned with some serious abuse showing.
    Last edited by sblock; Oct-14-2016 at 6:52pm.

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