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Thread: Short-neck oval A models?

  1. #1
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    Default Short-neck oval A models?

    I've been looking around for contemporary mandolin builders particularly known for making short-neck oval-holes in the manner of the old Gibson A models. I'm familiar with Mike Black. Are there others? Thanks.

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    Registered User Eric F.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    Pomeroy.

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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    Bill Busmann/Old Wave Mandolins
    Steve

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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    Black and Old Wave are well known for their short neck ovals ! Not sure if Max Girouard builds these or not but he builds fantastic long neck ovals !
    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 !

  6. #5

    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    Just curious, with the abundance of old Gibsons, why are you looking for new?
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    Just curious, with the abundance of old Gibsons, why are you looking for new?
    Good question--I still may decide to go with an original A, but in my experience there are complications that come with a hundred-year-old instrument. If I lived back east, I'd love to hit the big dealers and play a bunch at Elderly or Bernunzio or someplace, but where I am such places don't exist. So buying an original could well mean ordering and returning, ordering and returning.

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  9. #7

    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    If you buy from one of the well known dealers, I don't think there is more risk than the rewards provide. I was willing to pay top dollar to Gryphon for an instrument that had been well cared for and gone over in their repair department. At 106 years old, I have no reason to think it won't last indefinitely. I know it's subjective, but I love the feeling of holding any old tool which is as useful today as it ever was.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    Gail Hester.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Registered User Eric F.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    Old Gibsons can be wonderful, and I've had a few of them, but I've never met a paddlehead whose neck I could live with long term.

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    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    Red Diamond. I don't know how many Don made, but I know of at least one for sure.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

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    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    I love my Old Wave oval A no clue if it’s long or short but it sounds great! Can’t go wrong with an Old Wave.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    Yep some of those pre Loar necks are like clubs deep V neck club! I don't like that at all, Its not the best comfort for your left part of your thumb palm bone "trapezius bone/" You CAN ALWAYS RETURN AN INSTRUMENT IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT EVEN FROM SELLERS HERE ON THE CAFE!

  17. #13
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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    . . . and to some of us, many of the modern necks with narrow boards feel like pencils. It all depends on what fits your hands . . .

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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    No financial interest, but here's one for in my neck of the woods:

    https://humboldt.craigslist.org/msg/...846039483.html

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    I was looking for such a thing and lucked into a Brentrup A4C. Unfortunately, he is no longer building but if you do find one for sale and can afford one, go for it. I already have a much-loved 23 snakehead A-2 but wanted a modernized version with volume and clarity but didn't want the hybrid with x-bracing or even tone bars and longer neck. Mine has the transverse bracing and shorter neck like an A-5 snakehead. Sad that Hans is no longer active. He made a nice batch of beautiful instruments.
    Jim

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  23. #16
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    So waht is a short neck? Mine joins at the 10th fret is that a short neck?
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bertotti View Post
    So waht is a short neck? Mine joins at the 10th fret is that a short neck?
    Someone else will probably explain it better than me, but--

    On a shortneck, the rims go into the heel at the 12th fret; this is most common on oval hole mandolins. If you look at the old Gibson A models, that's what you'll see.

    On a longneck, the rims go into the heel at about the 14th or 15th. Lots of modern makers will do the oval hole, but they use the long neck.

    The other difference is that the shorter neck means the bridge moves closer to the tailpiece, hence closer to the center of the instrument. This plays a big part in making the characteristic sound.

    Unfortunately on my screen, I can't see your avatar well enough to know which yours is.

  25. #18

    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    I use a short neck, but with a body shape so you get the same fret access as a much longer neck. I also make mine so they are much louder, with much more headroom while retaining their character, than the original Gibson style. There's lots of ways to build oval-hole mandolins, and I don't think we've maxed out the potential of them yet!

  26. #19
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fultoncreek View Post
    Someone else will probably explain it better than me, but--

    On a shortneck, the rims go into the heel at the 12th fret; this is most common on oval hole mandolins. If you look at the old Gibson A models, that's what you'll see.

    On a longneck, the rims go into the heel at about the 14th or 15th. Lots of modern makers will do the oval hole, but they use the long neck.

    The other difference is that the shorter neck means the bridge moves closer to the tailpiece, hence closer to the center of the instrument. This plays a big part in making the characteristic sound.

    Unfortunately on my screen, I can't see your avatar well enough to know which yours is.
    To me it looks like the tenth fret is where the sides meet the neck. That would be short but sure doesnt seem to be an issue at all with playing. And it sounds incredible.
    Last edited by John Bertotti; Mar-30-2019 at 9:27am.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

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    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    Based on the experience of having him do a build for me, I highly recommend Mike Black, who specializes in building Gibson-style A's. Here is the URL for his A4 page, which is a beautiful short-neck in a classic style. http://www.blackmandolins.com/a4-mandolins.html

    Mike built me an A4-style piccolo mandolin. He was wonderful to work with and delivered an instrument that exceeded my expectations. I'd have him do another build for me in a heartbeat.

    BTW, I really like the short neck instruments for playability and sound. That shorter head-to-join distance feels good to my increasingly fussy left elbow and wrist. I really like them.

    Buying a used Gibson is a good choice, as has been suggested, but there is something about working with a great Luthier to get just the instrument you want, that is deeply satisfying. Plus, we want to support these great builders. Whatever you decided to do, I wish you success.
    Purr more, hiss less.

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    Registered User MoreThanQuinn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    2018 Poe Scout #76

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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bertotti View Post
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    To me it looks like the tenth fret is where the sides meet the neck. That would be short but sure doesnt seem to be an issue at all with playing. And it sounds incredible.
    Your avatar mandolin is a traditional short neck, along the lines of the old Gibsons. And it's a beauty!

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  33. #23

    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    How about the lovely 1924 Gibson A2z at Gryphon? They seem to get a pristine one every few years. Be still my heart.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  34. #24
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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    My latest. The short neck mandolin has the 12th fret lined up with the cross piece. I have made roughly about 170 so far and counting.

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    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
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  35. #25
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Short-neck oval A models?

    Looking good as well and I bet they sound great!
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

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