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Thread: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

  1. #1

    Default Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    I have a Teens Gibson A2. It needs a refret. The intonation is far from perfect. The neck profile is large and I don’t have large hands!
    I was wondering about options other than investing in this instrument. I would like a nice oval to play Celtic and classical. I already have nice f hole instruments.
    Any opinions, recommendations and/or thoughts would be welcome. I’m open to recommendations of used oval hole modern builds including Cafe classified!
    Thanks! Barry
    Last edited by Barry Canada; Nov-04-2018 at 6:38pm.

  2. #2
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    I have owned a number of old Gibson A models in years past but had to give them up because my hand could no longer tolerate the necks. I play a Girouard F-5 but Max and Laurie also make outstanding oval holes as well.

    Do you have a price range in mind?
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    If you want the trad oval sound, there's lots of good makers that can deliver that without the vintage hassles: Old Wave, Pomeroy, Mike Black, all come to mind. I think the tone is updated also on those--not overly tubby. If you want the hybrid sound, you can't go wrong with Girouard.
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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    There is this in the classifieds.....

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/130285#130285
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    There is this in the classifieds.....

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/130285#130285
    I do like Dr. Dave's work and have played a few of his mandolins over the years. However, i would not say that they have the vintage Gibson sound and that one especially would not. I would check with the seller, though. For some reason he did not list the scale length but I would guess that it is 13" for the preferred classical scale. Also, it is voiced for Thomastik strings whichis a very different tone than vintage Gibson A. Still I am sure it is a lovely instrument.
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    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- Gibson TB-Junior -- National RM-1

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  10. #6

    Default Re: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    Thanks for all the responses and suggestions.

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    Default Re: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    I have played numerous ovals including ownership of a teens Gibson A and an Old Wave but to my ears the Girouard oval is on top ! Also, workmanship/beauty is second to none !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

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    Default Re: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    What year is your A2?
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  14. #9

    Default Re: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    I think it is from 1919
    The serial Number is 52683
    If I keep it what fret wire is recommended?
    I enjoy the Evo frets on my Collings MT2!

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    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    Barry, for the same cost as a most of the teens Gibsons you can custom order a Silverangel Econo A from Ken Ratcliff. They are usually ff hole instruments but he will do them with oval holes as well.
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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    Here is a video of Matt Witler playing a Girouard oval that was at the Music Emporium......

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=S7NmwZyxjfI

    I think it gives a pretty good idea of the tone.

    Good luck in your search.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    Here is a video of Matt Witler playing a Girouard oval that was at the Music Emporium......

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=S7NmwZyxjfI

    I think it gives a pretty good idea of the tone.

    Good luck in your search.
    Even though I can't play as good as Matt the Girouard even sounds better in person !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Grieser View Post
    If you want the trad oval sound, there's lots of good makers that can deliver that without the vintage hassles: Old Wave, Pomeroy, Mike Black, all come to mind. I think the tone is updated also on those--not overly tubby. If you want the hybrid sound, you can't go wrong with Girouard.
    Of course, Tone is Tone. However I prefer a modernized Gibson sound vs the hybrid as Don notes above. This would mean a longer neck and different bracing than the Gibsons. I looked for that and found it in my Brentrup but the makers that Don mentions would be a good bet, too. I might like the Girouard sound but have not played one yet. However I have played some Collings ovals, which I believe are also hybrids and did not find one I personally liked. But that is me and maybe not you.
    Jim

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    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- Gibson TB-Junior -- National RM-1

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  23. #14

    Default Re: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    Iíve played the Collings ovals and the sound was not distinct from their f holes at least not enough for my preferences.
    Due to the small market in Canada we really donít have any stores to try out different models, especially Oval hole mandolins.
    Generally I have to go across the border to access a larger selection. The low Canadian dollar, import duties and CITES rules add to the restrictions and make it increasingly difficult.
    Thanks for all your input.

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    Default Re: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Canada View Post
    Due to the small market in Canada we really don’t have any stores to try out different models, especially Oval hole mandolins. Generally I have to go across the border to access a larger selection. The low Canadian dollar, import duties and CITES rules add to the restrictions and make it increasingly difficult.
    Support your local builder. Buy a Sawchyn!

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  26. #16
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    Those Sawchyn mandolins look pretty sweet!

    Here is his website.....

    https://www.sawchyn.com/index.php/ma...onal-mandolins
    Last edited by Charles E.; Nov-05-2018 at 6:32pm.
    Charley

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    Default Re: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    Hey Barry, here is link to one in the Classifieds -

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/131204#131204

    I have one of Gavin's A4s from 1998 and just love it..!

    Not sure where you are in Canada - maybe you can drive over and check it out..!

    Larry

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  30. #18

    Default Re: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    I've got small hands and have never had a problem with my vintage Gibson, but would not want one for my only mandolin.

    I agree a Silverangel covers a lot of sonic bases. F hole SAs are warm and resonant.

    I would not go huge frets on an old Gibson. Find a happy medium.
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  32. #19
    Registered User Eric F.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    I've had three Gibson paddlehead A's, one of which had the voice of the angels. Ultimately I realized I could not stand the necks and I decided I am done with them. Sweet as they can be, I would not put a dime into one.

    I once owned a Pomeroy oval, and it rang like a bell. If you want a modern take on a Gibson A, I think it would be hard to go wrong with one of those. They are reasonably priced, too, with a no-frills A going for $1,850 according to their website.

    Don't overlook Weber if you are interested in the hybrid ovals. Some of the most memorable mandolins I've played have been Weber ovals, from a simple Hyalite (no longer made) to a Fern.

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    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modern Oval Hole vs. Investing in my Teens Gibson A2

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Canada View Post
    I would like a nice oval to play Celtic and classical. I already have nice f hole instruments.
    Looks to me like all the discussion here has focused so far on carved-top or arch-top instruments. But don't most Celtic and classical players play on flat-tops? Have you ruled these out? If not, I'd give them a try. There are some great flat-top mandolins around, and some great Canadian flat-top builders.

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