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Thread: Who here owns, AND plays, a Gibson A-5L?

  1. #1
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    Default Who here owns, AND plays, a Gibson A-5L?

    The thread discussions on these don't last long enough to satisfy me. I know that the A-5L is sort of an odd duck, in that there was never a Loar example, save one. The carvings and graduations are not historically accurate. I get all that. The thing is, though, that I like 'em. I wanted one 22 years ago, and allowed the dealer to talk me out of it and into a good F5 copy. I finally got my present mandolin almost 2 years ago, having gone through 2 different Gibson F-5s and various other mandolins. I just love the elegant lines on it. Given the two distinct variations of shape, I own and prefer Carlson's take on it. Just trying to get a discussion started here. Thanks for reading!
    1/2/89 Gibson A5-L

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who here owns, AND plays, a Gibson A-5L?

    Actually the A-5L started out a bit more like the Ms. Griffith Loar but was changed when Charlie Derrington redesigned it. I'm pretty sure the changes were to accommodate the manufacturing process.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Who here owns, AND plays, a Gibson A-5L?

    I have an A5 Dearstone Ray told me he used the same patterns for his A's as the F's he just by passed the scroll and points. I suspect that was also what was behind Gibson's change.

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  7. #4
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
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    Default Re: Who here owns, AND plays, a Gibson A-5L?

    Yup. Bought one used several years ago. I played it and an F5 both Carlson signed. The A5L is a '90 and the F5 an 88'. I played it at a jam this past week. It is a lovely mandolin with possibly the easiest playing neck I have ever encountered. It also stays in tune remarkably well as hard as I play. R/ Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by UsuallyPickin; Aug-10-2018 at 5:11pm. Reason: spelling ... arrrrgh
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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  9. #5
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    Default Re: Who here owns, AND plays, a Gibson A-5L?

    Being the closest Gibson to the original Griffith A5, i've always liked te A5L, wanted one, but have yet to play one. Somewhere along the way i developed a taste for wood bindings, straight tailpieces, narrower necks, and small pearl dots on the side of the fretboard only...which led to Chris Stanley building me one. The Hamlett tailpiece cured the tailpiece issue and "Bryce" will put the finishing touch on it by reshaping the neck to the Monroe batch profile.

    Still, there's a simple elegance about that original A5 and Montana body shape. i would not want to have to resist a true Gibson Griffin A5 replica. Good on all the A5L owners.

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  11. #6
    Joe B mandopops's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who here owns, AND plays, a Gibson A-5L?

    I recently got a '94. I had wanted on for decades. I'm happy with it. The body style is very comfortable to play. (I do have "A" ovals, & "F"s oval & F, as comparisons). I like the sound & the neck. I have played it at a couple Bluegrass jams & it worked fine. I have jammed Jazz tunes with a Guitar, again it was fine.
    I agree w dan in va, it's simple & elegant without being pretentious.
    Joe B
    A Splendid Time is Guaranteed for All

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    Registered User T.D.Nydn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who here owns, AND plays, a Gibson A-5L?

    I've got a '92 Carlson signed A5L...beautiful mandolin,awesome woods and construction, plays and sounds just great...

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