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Thread: F-Style Mandola progress

  1. #1
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default F-Style Mandola progress

    A few years ago I snagged an F style mandola from the guy in Houston that sold on eBay as Houston Brass and on Reverb (still does) as GL-Music Store. Gary is an interesting seller in that he gets some really weird stuff. He had fiberglass mandolin cases for F, A, and bowlback mandolins for a white that were pretty funky. he had some $100.00 mandocellos if I recall for a while. He gets different quality mandolins in from time to time. He sells a lot of crap as well. He has a lot of strange guitars.

    I was looking for the cheapest carved top mandola I could find when I bumped into these. Others here already knew about them. I bought this one because of the flame and it looked good. It's surprisingly well made. Gary says it was made by his cousin in Korea. I have no idea if the maker was his cousin.

    Bernie Daniels bought one of the others. The finish on both is different. I suspect that these were made as some sort of a sample for a manufacturer or importer. No labels but well made. All carved, all appears to be solid. The tuners were not a known maker although All Parts seems to sell them now and the tailpiece was a simple well made nickle plated tailpiece.

    I suspect they may have made these from something like Siminoff's kit but I don't know. I made sure to get it with the case. It cost me around $600.00. I had it set up and I've enjoyed messing with it but I wanted to change the tuners (they were worm over). I went through a few years of looking at and accumulating every brand of worm over tuner I could until I finally found a set Waverly worm over (Stewmac made them years ago and doesn't admit to it).

    Last weekend I switched out the tuners and the tailpiece to a James. For a while I considered putting Not Gibson in script on the headstock but I've decided not to. I may just inlay something that looks like blue tape on the headstock.
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  3. #2
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: F-Style Mandola progress

    Cool! You could also inlay: "the best" or "excellent" or bluegrass cannon" or any of a number of funny descriptions
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
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    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: F-Style Mandola progress

    That's cool Mike! Have you ever played an Eastman 815 'dola and if so how does it compare?
    Drew
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  7. #4
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: F-Style Mandola progress

    Nice, Mike, especially with the upgrades you have done. How does it sound? What is the scale length?
    Purr more, hiss less.

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  9. #5
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: F-Style Mandola progress

    I have never played the Eastman but I think Bernie sold his Eastman after he bought the sister mandola of this one. I'll check the scale length tonight when I get home. I should note that truss rod cover was an add on as well.

    It's the only mandola I've ever played so I really can't comment on the others. It's been a bit of a learning experience playing it. More sustain than I'm used to and forget four finger chords at least for me.

    I do wish the Waverly's had about an eight to a quarter inch longer stems on the top tuners buttons but they do clear.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  10. #6
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    Default Re: F-Style Mandola progress

    You could inlay "Gibsen" on the head. So far as I know, that spelling is not trademarked. Then, see if you can get a photo posted in one of the trade magazines. It'll drive the leather jackets and t-shirt execs at Gibson nuts.

    Never mind. The Gibson execs probably don't read the trade magazines.

    If they did, they would know that the instrument market has changed; and they would be tooling up for ukes, modestly expanding their mandolin department, and bulldozing a lot of other things along with the mis-begotten Firebird X.

    I kind of like the blue tape idea, though.
    Last edited by rcc56; Aug-01-2019 at 4:16pm.

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  12. #7
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: F-Style Mandola progress

    I have a friend that plays the banjo and his last name is Gilsen. I jammed with that guy three years before I realized the headstock of that banjo said Gilsen and not Gibson. Great concept.

    I'm thinking the tape inlay would be fun.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  13. #8
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: F-Style Mandola progress

    Scale length appears to be 15.5 inches. Does anyone know what the H5's were?
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: F-Style Mandola progress

    WoW Mike, that's a nice one man and an even big time nice price for the quality it shows! I like her. I'd buy one of them and I think the scale is the same as the Loar H-5's! GREAT score!

    Are there anymore of these to be bought? I'd buy one for sure even if I had to take the back off and re graduate!

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  17. #10
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: F-Style Mandola progress

    I think there were three of them. I know where two went, the other I have no clue.

    I just bumped into this. I know that guy.


    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  18. #11
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    Default Re: F-Style Mandola progress

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Scale length appears to be 15.5 inches. Does anyone know what the H5's were?
    As far as I know, all prewar Gibson mandolas had a 15 3/4" scale. There may have been a few made during the Henry J. era with a longer scale.

  19. #12
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: F-Style Mandola progress

    I saw a post where it was 15.78 or the like. 15 3/4 is easier to handle

    This one is definitely 15 1/2.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  20. #13
    Henry Lawton hank's Avatar
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    Default Re: F-Style Mandola progress

    Mike do you like this scale length. Is the C set tight enough for good string action?
    "A sudden clash of thunder, the mind doors burst open, and lo, there sits old man Buddha-nature in all his homeliness."
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  21. #14
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: F-Style Mandola progress

    Hank, to be honest, it's the only one I've ever played. I like it but I have nothing to compare it to. It seems fine.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  22. #15
    Henry Lawton hank's Avatar
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    Default Re: F-Style Mandola progress

    Thanks Mike. I had an H4/H5=back plate made with two F4 back plates from some flaming rock maple I sent to Dave at Smith Creek Mandolins. I want to build a Loar Era H4 with the smaller neck and board but wasn’t sure if 15.5” , 15.75” or a 16” scale length would be the most fun to play. My plate is pretty full in Road Trip travel and F4/F5 builds for now but scale length is the missing part for my Dola build if I ever get to it.
    "A sudden clash of thunder, the mind doors burst open, and lo, there sits old man Buddha-nature in all his homeliness."
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  23. #16
    MandolaViola bratsche's Avatar
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    Default Re: F-Style Mandola progress

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    I have a friend that plays the banjo and his last name is Gilsen. I jammed with that guy three years before I realized the headstock of that banjo said Gilsen and not Gibson. Great concept.

    I'm thinking the tape inlay would be fun.
    How about "Gibsnot"?

    bratsche
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