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Thread: Weber, the best years.

  1. #1

    Default Weber, the best years.

    good morning every one. some were down the line I am thinking of getting a used Weber A style mahogany mandolin. what would be the best years to look for.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    Webers are good mandolins. Beautiful and well built. They were a bit more adventurous and tried a lot of different combinations of woods, bridges, etc. I'm not sure if you can nail it down to years. I really like Weber mandolins but they inspire a bit more debate than Collings or Northfield. Mahogany is not a traditional wood for back and sides. Any reason you want it?

    Weber moved to Bozeman in 2004. They built there until 2014 I think, when they moved to Bend Oregon where they are still located. INMHO pre 2004 is a little more risky. 2004-2014 might be considered the best by some. I actually think they have maintained the same high standard in Bend. If I was set on a Weber any year from 2005-present would be fine with me.
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    Front Porch & Sweet Tea NursingDaBlues's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    I like Weber mandolins – their voice, workmanship, and playability. Just about all years.

    In the category of A-styles:

    I especially like the 2008 and 2009 Weber Custom Vintage A. Magnificent instruments. These were built with an aged spruce top. Maple back and sides. Oval hole.

    Eva Holbrook plays (or played – don’t know if she’s changed) an early 2000s Beartooth. It’s a very nice sounding instrument.

    I'm familiar with the 2002 Weber Beartooth Traditional. A step above the regular Beartooth. Spruce top; maple back and sides. F-hole. Florida extension. Tone bars instead of x-braced. Very nice.

    Haven’t played (or seen) a mahogany Weber. So can’t comment there.
    Last edited by NursingDaBlues; Apr-16-2018 at 9:58am. Reason: Too much information; took out some.

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    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Leyda View Post
    Mahogany is not a traditional wood for back and sides. Any reason you want it?
    I fully realize that Eastman and Weber are two completely different animals . . . but I had one of the mahogany Eastman mandolins, and HATED the tone! To me, it sounded no better than the $79 beginner mandolin that I bought back in 1999.

    Just saying . . . .

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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    I have a Weber Bitterroot F-model from 2006 (built in Montana) with spruce top and mahogany back and sides. The original Brekke bridge has been replaced with the so-called 'traditional' Brekke bridge, which has thumbscrews, and I added a pickguard and armrest from Doug Edwards. Otherwise, it is stock. This mandolin plays extremely easily (I keep the action fairly low, and the neck is perfectly straight), and it has a fabulous, ringing tone. It is also quite loud. The Weber sound is just a bit different from a Gibson: a bit 'sweeter,' with more mid-range and slightly less thumpy bass. So, despite MikeZito's experience with a mandolin from a different maker (which may not be comparable), I would say that mahogany works perfectly well as a tonewood for mandolin back and sides. It also works on guitars, too, as exemplified by the Martin D-18 series. You'll just have to listen to some of these mandolins and see if you like them, too.

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  11. #6
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    My Weber is 2007 and is awesome. My friends worked there during that time, and the production team was turning out some great pieces. I've mainly played F's from that era, and I'm admittedly biased for the scrolls.
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
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    Registered User doc holiday's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    I had a mahogany- backed Weber Gallatin A, which Greg Boyd loaned me while I was waiting on another build. It was a sweet sounding, easy-playing mandolin that I liked a lot. Here's a sound clip i found online which sounds like the one i had. Nothing at all like an Eastman BTW. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRbj6vT1eZ8

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    Registered User spufman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    I suspect there are only good years. Mine’s an ‘01 Gallatin F and it is a wonderful mandolin. Original owner had it built with flame maple back and sides versus the then-standard mahogany. I do however have a mahogany & spruce flattop and it has a lovely tone. So for a mahogany archtop from Weber, you’re probably looking for an early to mid naughts Gallatin or Bitteroot, when that was the standard wood.

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    ForestF5 Gene Summers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    I have a 2008 Weber Yellowstone A HT that I bought used. It has an aged Sitlka spruce top and beautiful tiger maple back & sides. As mentioned before, the Webers' have their own sound, different from many others. I LOVE my Weber! It has a beautiful bell-like tone, nice mid-range, not as bassy as a Gibson. I can say that by listening to the Weber mahogany F5 on the link, it reminds me of the Gibson A models from the 1920's. It sounds very nice. Take your time, play them in person, if at all possible. Or buy from a dealer that supports the Mandolin Cafe and is reputable. Good luck on your search!
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    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    I’ve only played a couple (older) Webers and was very impressed with them. With Bruce up and running again, I bet the best years are the ones to come.
    “Don't suck the fun out of your hobby by making it results-based." -Ryan Holiday via The Art of Manliness podcast.

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    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    our family owned a 2003 spruce top/ mahogany backed F Weber Gallatin custom(tortoise binding on top and a nice peghead inlay) and it was a very easy to play, very nice sweet toned instrument. Anyone who played it loved it.

    I've only played 2 Bend Webers, but both were stellar in all areas(tone, ease of playability, build quality)-in fact, I own one of the two.

    d
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    Registered User Buck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    Pretty clearly 1999. I've owned other since, but always decide to stick with this one. It just fits me.

    Seriously though, I don't think Weber had a bad period, or not that I'm aware. It's more about finding one that suits you.

    Todd Yates

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  24. #13

    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    I bought my Bitteroot A5 from TAMCO in 2011 I don't know if I just got lucky but this is an absolute cannon of a mandolin, it can play slow airs beautifully, or sound just as good playing fast aggresive bluegrass style music. It is very easy to play. It is a slightly better instrument than my Bitteroot F5

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    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    I own a Weber Bitterroot A (2015), it is wonderful. I agree, it doesn't seem that there is a bad year.

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    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    I’ve played a Weber Gallatin from I think 2015 or 2016 that was a very good mandolin and own a mandocello built in late 2016 that’s an absolute beast. Extremely well built, fit and finish are perfect, and it’s an excellent balance of low end growl/thump and high end clarity. I absolutely love the thing, just wish I had Mike Marshall sized hands so I could really do it justice, lol.

    With Bruce being very hands on until the last couple of years (and now he’s back!) I don’t think there’s been a down period like the early ‘70s was for Gibson. And, based on my admittedly limited experience (and Trevor Moyle of TAMCO’s opinion stated here on the Cafe), there doesn’t appear to be a drop off in quality since the move to Bend.
    Chuck

  28. #16

    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    I have a 1999 Beartooth Octave, 22 inch scale. It is amazing. I also have a 2010 mandola with spruce top that is sweeter than anything. I have a 2016 Octar made in Oregon (for sale here- shameless plug) - that has an adi top - sounds great - but is more of a bluegrass sound. Personally I am not a fan of adi tops.

  29. #17
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    I recently stepped up from my first mandolin (an MD315 that I really liked) to a mint 2000 Weber Bitterroot F. Spruce top, mahogany sides and back. It's wonderful...

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  30. #18

    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    I guess there nothing like Gibson with good years & bad ones, that says a lot about a company. when did Brace sell Weber ? & why would anyone sell his last name. is that his real last name ?.

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    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    I agree that there really isn’t anything comparable to Gibson in terms of bad years and good years with Weber. They are all good, just different. A good case in point is that they had mahogany back and sides on earlier Gallatin and Bitterroot and eventually changed to maple. How you feel about the different body woods in terms of looks and sounds is matter of person taste, not that one is better or worse.

    Bruce sold his company to Two Old Hippies in 2014 I believe, then operations moved to Oregon from Montana. Bruce stayed in Montana but was still head of the company and kept his shop to handle all warranty repairs. His son moved to Oregon to oversee operations on site. Why would someone sell his own last name? I suppose it must have made financial sense at the time. Bruce then retired. Before he left he signed a non compete clause with Two Old Hippies that lasted for 3 years. That agreement has just recently expired and Bruce has started building again, but ironically he can’t call them Weber’s!

    My Bitterroot A was made in Montana and my Bitterroot Custom F was one of the early ones from Oregon. There is no difference in fit, finish, and quality. Both are fine instruments. Bruce signed both labels. If you get one with Bruce’s signature, well, you’ve got a good one. At some point he stopped signing the labels, and at some point his son left the company. I can’t speak to the quality of the instruments once the Weber family ceased their involvement, I gave no experience with those. I do know that after Bruce left they started really paring down on the varieties of their models and now the lines are very stripped down. But fit, finish, and overall quality of the present product I will let others do the commentary. But I wouldn’t hesitate to buy anything with a “Bruce D. Weber” signature on the label.
    Don

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    Registered User GeoMandoAlex's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    I have a 2001 (I believe this is the year) Gallatin I bought off the cafe about 2 years ago. I think it is a spruce top and has mahogany back and sides. I thought maple backs were too bright (IMHO) so the mahogany works for my ears. The tone seems a little darker and more mellow. I tried phosphor bronze strings and they were too bright, but I have D'Addario flatwounds on it and I enjoy the tone it gets using these strings.

    I would love to be able to find an oval hole gallatin to try out and see if I like that tone as well.

    Have I sworn off maple? Nope, just this was the tone I was looking for in a mandolin.
    I can only play half as much as I want, because I only play half as much as I would like.

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    Registered User jefflester's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    My Bitterroot is a 2001. It's a "Custom Gold" upgraded model meaning it has maple back and sides (compared to standard mahogany at the time) and gold hardware. Wonderful instrument, I have no need for any thing else as far as a standard mandolin goes (as opposed to electric, octave, etc). So, 2001 is the best year!

  35. #22
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoMandoAlex View Post
    I have a 2001 (I believe this is the year) Gallatin I bought off the cafe about 2 years ago. I think it is a spruce top and has mahogany back and sides. I thought maple backs were too bright (IMHO) so the mahogany works for my ears. The tone seems a little darker and more mellow. I tried phosphor bronze strings and they were too bright, but I have D'Addario flatwounds on it and I enjoy the tone it gets using these strings.

    I would love to be able to find an oval hole gallatin to try out and see if I like that tone as well.

    Have I sworn off maple? Nope, just this was the tone I was looking for in a mandolin.
    I had a Custom Gallatin F with oval hole for several years and absolutely loved it - I sold it to get a Weber Vintage A and ended up regretting it as I preferred the Gallatin.
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  36. #23

    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    so Bruce is up & running again, thank God. I wonder what name he is going to use on his mandolins. I like the Bruce. just thinking out loud here. I am wondering if he sign's the labels in his new line of mandolins can he sign them Bruce Weber.

  37. #24
    Registered User Andrew Faltesek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    I've a 2006 STE F of Logan Montana production which is only a prototype, and it has beautiful voice and build quality for what I considered at the time a princely sum of $1500. In hindsight being at the value end of their offerings it speaks to the kind of quality and voicing you can expect from Weber.

    I think Bruce has always maintained a shop with high commitment and expectations for his staff, so there are no lesser years in my opinion if the instrument is signed by him.

  38. #25
    Registered User trevor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber, the best years.

    I've just had my latest delivery of three Webers. They are still fantastic.
    Trevor
    The Acoustic Music Co (TAMCO) Brighton England
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