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Thread: Sullivan F

  1. #26

    Default Re: Sullivan F

    Evan, that A5 looks just amazing. Love the elegance of that headstock, and that top has some crazy cross grain/silking. Just gorgeous, and that light burst shows it off very nicely.

    Love the tone Caleb and Greg get from those Sullivans.
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  3. #27
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sullivan F

    From Grassrootsphilosopher - " Well... I don´t think that that special Sullivan sounds like a Lloyd Loar F-5." it certainly doesn't. To my ears it sounds a lot better than 'some' Loars i've heard,& not everybody is searching for the Loar sound anyway. Caleb Klauder's Sullivan mandolin sounds far more like my Ellis than any other mandolin that i can think of - NOT the same tone,but full & open,with great projection & clarity. A really wonderful sounding instrument,in the same manner as the Randy Wood mandolin owned by Chris Henry,
    Ivan
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  5. #28

    Default Re: Sullivan F

    Haven’t heard any real Gibson “Loar’s” up close and personal, but Caleb was kind enough to let me have a go on his Sullivan whilst chatting after a show. It’s got a great tone, and it’s REALLY loud!

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  7. #29
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sullivan F

    From Johnny above - " Haven’t heard any real Gibson “Loar’s” up close and personal,....". I've only heard one 'live',the one belonging to John Reischman,which is supposedly the 'best' of them - however,'best' is a very personal preference. Caleb Klauder's ''Sullivan'' sounds nothing like it (IMHO). Quote - " ....and it’s REALLY loud ! " = great focus & projection !.

    I get the impression of a lightly built mandolin (in a similar manner to my Ellis).Give it a whack & it'll rattle the fillings in your teeth !. It also was a beautiful tone with it. All said, it's a very lovely mandolin indeed & it's a shame that we don't see & hear more of them.
    How many did John Sullivan build,& who has them ?,
    Ivan
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  9. #30
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    Default Re: Sullivan F

    All I know is I don’t have one... :-/

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    From Johnny above - " Haven’t heard any real Gibson “Loar’s” up close and personal,....". I've only heard one 'live',the one belonging to John Reischman,which is supposedly the 'best' of them - however,'best' is a very personal preference. Caleb Klauder's ''Sullivan'' sounds nothing like it (IMHO). Quote - " ....and it’s REALLY loud ! " = great focus & projection !.

    I get the impression of a lightly built mandolin (in a similar manner to my Ellis).Give it a whack & it'll rattle the fillings in your teeth !. It also was a beautiful tone with it. All said, it's a very lovely mandolin indeed & it's a shame that we don't see & hear more of them.
    How many did John Sullivan build,& who has them ?,
    Ivan

  10. #31

    Default Re: Sullivan F

    If I remember rightly, John Teer from Chatham County Line plays one now.

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  12. #32
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    Default Re: Sullivan F

    https://youtu.be/r9jwGansp1E

    Andrew Marlin has a couple....

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  14. #33
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    Default Re: Sullivan F

    I believe he plays Marlins old killer Duff. I’ve played it and it’s great. Unless he got lucky and found a Sullivan pretty recently.

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny60 View Post
    If I remember rightly, John Teer from Chatham County Line plays one now.
    Last edited by Demetrius; Nov-21-2018 at 2:11pm.

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  16. #34

    Default Re: Sullivan F

    Ah yes, you’re right Demetrius. Knew there was some kind of connection between John Teer, Andrew Marlin and Sullivan mandolins!

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  18. #35
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sullivan F

    Quote Originally Posted by Demetrius View Post
    Hi Olaf,

    I think you misunderstood what I was saying and perhaps I wasn't clear. I don't think the Sullivan sounds like a Loar. I don't think I actually said that but what I meant was I feel that Sullivan is every bit as good as any of the 15 Loars I've played over the years. I Love Loars so don't misunderstand by thinking I'm criticizing them, It only conveys how highly I feel about Sullivans. I've played Marlins before when he was last on the Cape and I thought It was amazing. I thought it was stronger than the Dudenbostel F I had at the time. I loved that Dudenbostel but really just connected to the Sullivan more.
    Well, I surely misunderstood obviously.

    When it comes to assess the "quality" of an instrument, I think we´re in deep waters. I would think that a classical instrumentalist would possibly not even think about an F-5 style instrument. It would be "no good".

    So we´re talking about a niche here. And even in this niche the style of music (jazz, folk, blues, new acoustic, americana etc.) may call for different "good" instruments.

    I think that there are many instruments out there that are "almost" as good as a prewar F-5. When it comes to subjective terms of "strong", "woody" etc. there may be instruments as good as a Lloyd Loar F-5.

    If it comes to clarity of tone and carrying-power I think that a Lloyd Loar F-5 is hard to beat.

    I have not yet played a Sullivan mandolin. I liked the youtube video that shows the process of him building a mandolin.
    Olaf

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  20. #36
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sullivan F

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    From Grassrootsphilosopher - " Well... I don´t think that that special Sullivan sounds like a Lloyd Loar F-5." it certainly doesn't. To my ears it sounds a lot better than 'some' Loars i've heard,& not everybody is searching for the Loar sound anyway. Caleb Klauder's Sullivan mandolin sounds far more like my Ellis than any other mandolin that i can think of - NOT the same tone,but full & open,with great projection & clarity. A really wonderful sounding instrument,in the same manner as the Randy Wood mandolin owned by Chris Henry,
    Ivan
    True enough, not everybody searches the prewar Gibson tone. CK´s Sullivan sounds good and carries well though I would not specifically attribute clarity to that mandolin or to CH´s Randy Wood mandolin. It´s the same as with a Gibson DMM that I tried out once. It sounded good. But there was a little something that lacked to attribute clarity of tone to the instrument.
    Olaf

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  22. #37
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    Default Re: Sullivan F

    Quote Originally Posted by grassrootphilosopher View Post
    I think that there are many instruments out there that are "almost" as good as a prewar F-5.
    Do you have any mind, whether particular builders who "get close" or individual instruments that are "almost" as good?
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  24. #38
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sullivan F

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    Do you have any mind, whether particular builders who "get close" or individual instruments that are "almost" as good?
    Yes I do. Though we must be aware of the subjectivity of our opinionated assessments.

    In my previous post #35 when speaking of "good" or "almost as good" I was thinking in general terms.

    I have played two Lloyd Loar F-5 mandolins (flowerpot one I know was a ´23 the other I presume was a ´23 F-5). I have also played a 20ies (early?) post Loar Fern. The three instruments sounded noticably different. I did not play them at the same time (yet the Fern and the Loar were in one place and I heard them being played - though not back to back - within hours from each other). So when I say they sounded different I can only go by my memory.

    What struck me the most in these instruments was the clarity of tone. There was nothing subdued, veiled or restricted about the tone. If you are familiar with how your singing voice works you will know that though anyone may sing but in order to produce a "big" (and clear) voice your throat muscles need to be relaxed, the body has to be relaxed and the air that you´ll sing with must come from your belly (description as best and untechnicall as I can give). This it is with the 20ies F-5s.

    These instruments do not appear "loud". I have heard other instruments (some Vanden F-5s) that appear to be "loud" yet lack the ease of tone and therefore refinement.

    I have a 06 Duff F-5 that has aged very well and that has been with me when I made the Loar encounters. While the Feb. 23 Loar wiped my Duff out (it was very new then) my mandolin still sounded extremely good. In later encounters the Loar owner complemented me on my mandolin´s sound. Whenever I meet the other Loar owner and we play a tune together he does not fail to tell me, that you have to have deep pockets to purchase just a minor fraction of sound superiorness. I indeed do think that my mandolin sounds traditional. I do think that it comes close to the vintage sound. I do think that my mandolin tends to sound more like a post Loar Fern. The differences are (quite) minor.





    I have played my mandolin back to back with Gilchrists, Red Diamonds, DMMs, HoGos, Vanas, Gibson Sam Bush models, Stivers, Andersons, Vandens, Ratliffs and many others. I have tried these instruments out also. Of the many that I tried out and listened to I was impressed by a small group of builders. Steve Gilchrist´s mandolins are great. I don´t think they sound like a pre war F-5. The ones up to 2000 sound (great yet) less good than the later ones. I was also favorably impressed by a Red Diamond mandolin that I played recently. It played very well and sounded good. It had a certain flair going on. I can´t put my finger on it but it definetly went in the vintage direction. HoGo´s (Adrian Minarovic) mandolins are great, have a very nice vintage vibe and tone (and are not pricey). Vanas are nice and vintage sounding (the HoGos and Vanas sound more vintage than the Red Diamond to me). The DMMs that I played were very nice but lacked just a little bit to be great (to my ear).

    Of all these instruments I would say that the HoGos, Vanas and my mandolin sound the most vintage. The 2000 or later Gilchrists are very great yet not as vintage sounding (to me).

    I would like to be able to play all the mentioned instruments back to back in order to not having to rely on my memory. (I had that experience with vintage Gibson flat top guitars; pre war J-200s, mahogany and rosewood Southerner Jumbos, J-45s, J-35s, L-00s and the lot. This was ear opening and awe inspiring. I had a similar experience with a 1937 D-28 back to back with a Blazer & Henkes D-28 recreation and a 40ies Southerner Jumbo; that was equally entertaining).

    There´s one thing to ad probably. The way an instrument sounds to the player is an entirely different sound than the one the listener has. While I find it easy to listen to and hear my guitars in a band/jam context I find it difficult to listen to and hear my F-5 in the same context. I must restrain myself and force myself not to overplay and crush other musicians. (I find that this is a general problem in jamsessions. The joy of making music makes the musicians unshackle and play at the top of their volume level thus minimizing the possibility to vary dynamics and therefore restricting the tonal capacities of their instrument and their playing ability).
    Olaf

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  26. #39
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    Default Re: Sullivan F

    Here's an old news segment that had a really nice happy ending. Man reunited with his Sullivan and Monteleone mandolin. You can tell this guy considers that Sullivan a child of his. I think I would've been out of my mind if I was him and someone stole it.
    Enjoy if you haven't seen this.

    Dem

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  28. #40
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    Default Re: Sullivan F

    Good archival research Dem. I hadn't heard that story
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  30. #41
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    Default Re: Sullivan F

    David Pugh, mandolin player with Portland band Jackstraw, also plays a Sullivan. I remember when Caleb Klauder’s Foghorn String Band was starting out (they were called Foghorn Leghorn back then) they would occasionally open for Jackstraw....
    Hearing two fine players playing Sullivan mandolins was a treat!

    Kirk

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  32. #42
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sullivan F

    David's Sullivan sounds really good and he's a great picker. The guitarist in Jackstraw, John Neufeld, plays a Sullivan archtop guitar which also sounds pretty damn good. They have been playing every Tuesday night at the Laurelthirst Pub here in Portland since the beginning of time!
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  33. #43
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sullivan F

    Never had the opportunity to play a Sullivan. Sure sound good in Caleb and Andrew’s hands!

  34. #44
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    Default Re: Sullivan F

    “They have been playing every Tuesday night at the Laurelthirst Pub here in Portland since the beginning of time!“

    Yeah, I remember when that place was so smoky I had to disrobe and shower in the basement to get the stench off! Glad that isn’t allowed anymore!

    Kirk

  35. #45
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    Default Re: Sullivan F

    John Sullivan still has a tribute Facebook page. I think this is the link:
    https://www.facebook.com/John-Sulliv...5C18Yp2KDN0cLo

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