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Thread: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

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    Default Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    NFI, saw this and thought some folks here would find it interesting.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzAKn_PRusI


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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    That's the one I had to buy after I had them do a demo! I love it!

    For me it stood out from other Virzi Loars I've heard if that makes sense? Its not an in your face Loar like most gravitate to, to buy. But its got a more refined, delicate sound if that makes sense? It still has power and the virzi seems to really crisp everything, the lows and highs? And I know that this Loar wasn't played too much in all its years so I seen some potential in it. The more its played the better, I'm getting used to a flat board again and how to pull great tone out of this thing! Once I fit a new full contact bridge that'll make it even better-Just can't find the time yet and the intonation is dead on but just can't adjust the action any lower on treble side, down as far as it can go and saddle is dipping in so I just need to take the time and fit a new bridge, while I'm at it I bought an aluminum saddle that the guy that makes "Case Notes" made and sold, so I want to experiment with that also.
    I have a thread on here where I've played a few of my vintage Gibson's, I'll get more eventually?
    Last edited by William Smith; Jan-29-2019 at 9:02am. Reason: more info.

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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    I've had a few virzi Loars and have to say they are so different it is easy to see why Loar liked them better. In most of them (not all) they make it more even up the neck and more balanced across the strings. Creates a smoother cut too. Many Virzis underwent the dreaded virzectomy and shouldn't have.

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    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    Virzectomy! Do any modern mandolin builders use Virzis? I don't believe I have heard of any
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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by EvanElk View Post
    Virzectomy! Do any modern mandolin builders use Virzis? I don't believe I have heard of any
    Mike Black
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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    Gary Vessel and Randy Wood will put a Virzi in a mandolin for ya!

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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    I have to agree with ya Tom, that for sure sounds like how my Virzi Loar is. Lloyd was an advocate and he heard things he must've liked as all his personal instruments I believe had the Virzi added and how many Loars, A's and 2's and 4's got Virzi's after the fact they were built? This blew my mind when I got mine, I'm like why was the back off? I'm really looking at it and well you can see the back binding is not as wide and the dovetails on the points were cut! Makes no sense to me, I was like did I get duped? Did I get a fake Loar? "That thought did cross my mind for a few seconds" I've spent countless hours looking at all the little different things that are Loar and this detail with the cut backs went above me! I admit I never noticed it before but if you look as well at the pix there usually isn't a good view of the back binding at the points! Kinda like the photographer wants to hide the fact the back was sawn off? But after I talked with a few experts like Larry Wexer, David Harvey, about this such as it made perfect sense, Gibson got an order for a Virzi or Lloyd felt that that certain mandolin needed one? So they took the back off and there ya go? Retro fit Virzi? I've been asked quite a few times now if I'm going to rip it out? Well I figure its in there for a reason and sounds great to me and adds something maybe mystic, mythical but there is for sure something going on with the Virzi Loar and you know what I LOVE it! So mine stays! Look in the archives and there are loads of refinished Loars, partial refinish jobs, original Virzi's long ago ripped out etc.. All original clean examples are harder to find than one that has been on the chopping block! Not saying those are "BAD LOARS" but I think if you want one try and get a clean one if possible, And go by your ears!

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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    This is so impressive for me.
    Being up in that rarefied buying arena
    though alas is beyond me.
    Doc Ivory
    -Play loud, live long..

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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by EvanElk View Post
    Virzectomy! Do any modern mandolin builders use Virzis? I don't believe I have heard of any
    Paul Duff:


    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    Those Duff's have it going on! I'd pry take one of those! They are up there with Gil quality IMHO.

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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by EvanElk View Post
    Virzectomy! Do any modern mandolin builders use Virzis? I don't believe I have heard of any
    Both Lynn Dudenbostel and Jamie Wiens offer a Virzi in their builds. Check out Wiens #45 http://wiensmandolins.com/wiens-f5-45/

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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    Yes there were a few that got their backs sawed off to both put them in and take them out. You see in 1922 and 1923 you had to add $15 to get a virzi put in. If you ordered one and then found out about the virzi with all that promotional hype, you wanted one so they added it along in the near finished stage. Then in 1924 the virzi was standard in the MM with no extra charge, so you got it without asking. That is unless you were in the know and requested it be removed before it went in there.

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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    So the "sentiment" of opinion in this thread is that the Virzi is a good thing? The spruce flying saucer, after all these years of ill-repute (I guess mostly by the bluegrass crowd?), arises like the Phoenix?

    Are we coming to the conclusion that Lloyd Loar was correct after all??

    Shouldn't every builder offer a Virzi?

    I have a A- 5 build on the table now and it's gonna get a Virzi!
    Bernie
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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Daniel View Post
    The spruce flying saucer, after all these years of ill-repute (I guess mostly by the bluegrass crowd?), arises like the Phoenix?
    That's a beaut there Bernie! I may have to add that one to my signature line.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    It could be either a good thing or bad thing Bernie? Loar loved what the virzi did, I really like it in mine? I can see why people ripped them out to get a louder mandolin but loud doesn't always mean great tone also? Those who put them down I don't think they have played a Virzi Loar. It may just change your life? If we all wanted thunderous Loars wouldn't we perhaps want an F-5 like Big Mons. I didn't I wanted something very different and I think mine qualifies. I love what the Virzi does to my 5, it has something I heard in it I really liked in the demo I had Charles make because I just couldn't travel around the country and try out Loars everywhere? So video is a close thing to do to give you an idea of voice, tone etc.. I knew mine wasn't played too much and its such a better mandolin now from when I first played it, Its came back to life from sitting so long and will be better yet with a new full contact bridge/saddle! Some think the Virzi makes them tinny to much treble, not enough cut, less volume, no balance, weak spots, etc.. I don't believe mine has any of those issues! If I wanted a bass type mandolin I'd just play bass or a Herringbone! Or one of the thousands of newer mandolins that are out there. You want a heavy bass sounding mando with fat woody tone go for an X braced Gil! Those fit that bill to a T, The 82 Gil X braced 5 I had was a total different creature than the old tone bar Gibson's! Sound is all in the ear of the beholder anyway! Keep on a Pickin!

    Oh Bobby Osborne's Loar F-5 is the one # behind mine his is # 80190 and years ago he had his Virzi removed but recently, don't know when but had one/it reinstalled? So he must like it or experimenting? I heard that he now loves what the Virzi does.

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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    Wow, thanks for posting. I think this mandolin sounds FANTASTIC. Congratulations for being its next caretaker !!!!
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by FLATROCK HILL View Post
    That's a beaut there Bernie! I may have to add that one to my signature line.
    Please feel free -- and don't worry about any royalties it's all on me!
    Bernie
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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    It could be either a good thing or bad thing Bernie? Loar loved what the virzi did, I really like it in mine? I can see why people ripped them out to get a louder mandolin but loud doesn't always mean great tone also? Those who put them down I don't think they have played a Virzi Loar. It may just change your life? If we all wanted thunderous Loars wouldn't we perhaps want an F-5 like Big Mons. I didn't I wanted something very different and I think mine qualifies. I love what the Virzi does to my 5, it has something I heard in it I really liked in the demo I had Charles make because I just couldn't travel around the country and try out Loars everywhere? So video is a close thing to do to give you an idea of voice, tone etc.. I knew mine wasn't played too much and its such a better mandolin now from when I first played it, Its came back to life from sitting so long and will be better yet with a new full contact bridge/saddle! Some think the Virzi makes them tinny to much treble, not enough cut, less volume, no balance, weak spots, etc.. I don't believe mine has any of those issues! If I wanted a bass type mandolin I'd just play bass or a Herringbone! Or one of the thousands of newer mandolins that are out there. You want a heavy bass sounding mando with fat woody tone go for an X braced Gil! Those fit that bill to a T, The 82 Gil X braced 5 I had was a total different creature than the old tone bar Gibson's! Sound is all in the ear of the beholder anyway! Keep on a Pickin!

    Oh Bobby Osborne's Loar F-5 is the one # behind mine his is # 80190 and years ago he had his Virzi removed but recently, don't know when but had one/it reinstalled? So he must like it or experimenting? I heard that he now loves what the Virzi does.


    Cool and then you have mandolins with two sound boards. Variations on a theme?

    It would take some skill and patience but I bet a Virzi can be both removed AND installed via the f-holes. Would require assembly inside the sound chamber though so it would not be a task for the faint of heart?
    Bernie
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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    Wonderful mando, Billy, no doubt about that and congrats again.
    You leave the Virzi in and enjoy the tone of the mando, nothing wrong with that. Too bad that A/B comparison is hardly possible.
    The Virzi sure has an effect; and there seems to be a certain buzz added to the sound. Beyond that?
    I would never call the device a tone "producer". I rather assume the Virzi just absorbs certain higher frequencies, not much unlike a forearm, dirt, goop, a soft shirt on the belly (the opposite of a tone guard) or what have you. If that makes it sound nicer, I don't mind; can't argue.
    Is Bobby Osborne's Loar ("Can't hear that damn thing," S. Osborne) now louder than before the Virzectomy? I doubt it.

    Cheers, and back to practicing,
    Hendrik

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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    Beautiful mandolin and congratulations!

    I have a virzi in my Dudenbostel and love it.

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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    I agree - Paul Duff makes an incredible mandolin
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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    Some folks have called it, disparagingly, the "Virzi tone reducer." It was originally developed for the violin, and it's fair to say that it never caught on in the violin world. Most violinists today have never heard of the thing. It is also accurate to point out that the added mass and damping associated with adding (in effect) a second soundboard internal to the main air chamber -- namely, the Virzi itself -- results in a reduced volume for the instrument, regardless of whatever you think it does -- or does not do -- to the instrument's tone. And the mandolin is not exactly a loud instrument, so why would you seek to make it systematically quieter, I wonder? Count me among the crowd that thinks that whatever trade-off might occur between volume and tonal balance is not worth it. There are plenty of non-Virzi mandolins with fabulous tone, and decent volume, after all!

    In the mandolin world, the Virzi continues to be somewhat controversial, and it has its proponents and its detractors. Yes, a few custom luthiers will still agree to make and install these, upon special request. And why not, if there is a small, niche market for them? But the majority of modern luthiers do not want to deal with them. And no commercial manufacturer of mandolins, either small factory (e.g. Weber, Collings, Northfield) or large (e.g. Kentucky, Eastman) currently offers any Virzi option. I suspect that's telling you something, certainly about the current market and possibly also about the effectiveness of the Virzi.

    Some ideas die hard, especially in the musical world.

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  33. #23

    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    Jamie Wiens has I believe at least one that I know of...

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    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    Some folks have called it, disparagingly, the "Virzi tone reducer." It was originally developed for the violin, and it's fair to say that it never caught on in the violin world. Most violinists today have never heard of the thing. It is also accurate to point out that the added mass and damping associated with adding (in effect) a second soundboard internal to the main air chamber -- namely, the Virzi itself -- results in a reduced volume for the instrument, regardless of whatever you think it does -- or does not do -- to the instrument's tone. And the mandolin is not exactly a loud instrument, so why would you seek to make it systematically quieter, I wonder? Count me among the crowd that thinks that whatever trade-off might occur between volume and tonal balance is not worth it. There are plenty of non-Virzi mandolins with fabulous tone, and decent volume, after all!

    In the mandolin world, the Virzi continues to be somewhat controversial, and it has its proponents and its detractors. Yes, a few custom luthiers will still agree to make and install these, upon special request. And why not, if there is a small, niche market for them? But the majority of modern luthiers do not want to deal with them. And no commercial manufacturer of mandolins, either small factory (e.g. Weber, Collings, Northfield) or large (e.g. Kentucky, Eastman) currently offers any Virzi option. I suspect that's telling you something, certainly about the current market and possibly also about the effectiveness of the Virzi.

    Some ideas die hard, especially in the musical world.
    Certainly I can agree that ideas die hard in the music world. Virzi, yes or no, is one example. The thought that someone can really tell the difference in a Loar F-5 versus another quality built F-5 in a blind test is probably another? LOL!

    As well, we can all agree that today the "Virzi tone producer" is not a popular or much requested option.

    That said it is still available if you go to the right builder. My guess is some of the "small factories" mentioned above would indeed do a custom build with a Virzi if you asked them to? I'd be willing to bet money that Gibson aka David Harvey (certainly a small factory for mandolins) would do such for you?

    I agree that the paucity of mandolins with a Virzi tells you something about the current market -- obviously it does. But it probably tells you very little about the "effectiveness" of the Virzi because effectiveness is a subjective thing in this context?

    Also, I will suggest that to say the Virzi "didn't make it" in the mandolin world is not entirely true. It definitely "make it" at one time when Gibson decided to put one in every 1924 F-5 they built. Post 1924, I think it is a case of, like they used to say on maps of the world, -- "after that there be dragons". Because L. Loar split the scene -- and the F-5 mandolin went into a free float of sorts.

    The fact that bluegrass mandolin players decided that they wanted "volume over tone" (I know we could discuss that idea foever) and decided (perhaps in a less then real rational way) to tear them all out says more about bluegrass mandolin pickers than it does about Virzis? My conjecture.

    Years ago Tony Williamson compared a 1923 Loar without a Virzi to a 1924 with a V-word (Sound of th American Mandolin on VHS) and his consensus was that it added complexity and overtones. Of course that it just two mandolins and the comparison probably only applies to those two.

    And finally yes the Virzi takes up space in the sound box but it also adds more square inches of vibrating spruce to the top. Can we really say whether the Virzi is a sound producer or a sound reducer in the end?
    Bernie
    ____
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  35. #25

    Default Re: Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar Signed December 1, 1924 Mandolin

    May I add my $.02? I am not a professional musician or builder, but I have played a Feb 18, 1924 Loar for the last 17 years. It does not have a Virzi, and never had one, contrary to some of what I have been reading. Having played other Loars, with and without, I have noticed a peculiarity of the Virzi Loars not mentioned by the discussants above. Standing in a group of players blasting away on their Loars, I could feel very striking sympathetic vibrations in the body of the Virzi Loar I was holding, but not playing; this was much more pronounced than the normal vibrations one would feel holding an acoustic wood instrument, and occurred with more than one Virzi Loar.
    Has anyone else noticed this?

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