Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 31

Thread: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

  1. #1
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    873

    Default Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    Hi all,
    I've gone to a couple of old time music camps and to Clifftop twice, as well as occasional jams in various cities besides where I live, and I have never seen a mandolin player with a hybrid instrument--that is, an oval hole with a neck joined at the 13th or 14th fret. In other words, I've never seen a Collings MTO, a Weber or Northfields oval, an Ellis, etc. Okay, I did once see a Morris at Clifftop.

    So my question is, anyone out there play one or hear one at old time jams? And what's your experience in terms of the sound in a jam situation? Or if you have any thoughts about it.

    Thanks.
    Cary Fagan

  2. #2
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
    Posts
    7,260

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    I sold the one I bought. I prefer my A3. Heck, I prefer any A5 over the hybrid I bought.

    f-d
    ¡papá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Ashland KY USA
    Posts
    190

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    I play a mostly old time mandolin and have taught old time mandolin at a music camp (Allegheny Echoes, Marlinton WV, every year in June [shameless plug]) the last 5 summers. I have seen many types of mandolins used in old time music. I don't get too hung up on what mandolins people play in old time music and don't like it when others do. Without going deep into the weeds, I don't get why anyone would say that only one type of mandolin is acceptable. The Gibson A style, probably regarded as the most "authentic" in old time and a fine mandolin design, is itself barely older than recorded music. I use every mandolin in my signature box to play old time don't care if others don't like it. I generally play the f hole models in jams if being heard in a crowd may be an issue. I also play D size guitars in jams for the same reason. I love to play the oval hole mandolins and small bodied guitars I have in more intimate settings or when I'm going for a certain sound (like when recording). My advice is to play what you like and enjoy it. I personally believe that if I were only going to have one mandolin (perish the thought!), it would have f holes.
    Scott Rucker
    SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/scott-rucker-202243268
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_R...e_polymer=true
    Silverangel F5
    Silverangel A5
    Breedlove Olympic
    Eastman 504 CS

  4. #4
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    873

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    Yes, Scott, I also believe that old time can be played on any mandolin. I myself mostly use a Gibson A style but sometimes I use my F5 and the flat top I built. But I'm surprised not to see more hybrid mandolins out there and that's why I'm asking.
    Cary Fagan

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Ashland KY USA
    Posts
    190

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    My bad, I thought it was going to be one of those “only this type of mandolin is acceptable” deals. My apologies.

    I’m usually Clifftop all week but stay over the hill in the overflow field. Come down sometime and we can mando jam!

  6. #6
    music with whales Jim Nollman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Friday Harbor WA
    Posts
    1,581

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    I've never heard of that term "hybrid" mandolin. The comments suggest that you simply mean any mandolin that's not a Gibson A. is that correct?

    Mandolin players are not so prevalent at the old time camps I've attended. However, this year at Centralia I saw more mandolins than usual. Or maybe I was just paying more attention because both the quality of the instruments and the playing itself was so outstanding. Instruments included a Nugget A, a Red Diamond F, an old Gibson F4, the usual old Gibson A's, an Ellis F, a Gilchrist F and a magnificent Gibson mandocello from the teens. I had my trusty Altman two-point.

    One thing that caught me by surprise were the four people I interacted with playing newly made National reso mandolins. Those are very fine sounding instruments. Extremely LOUD! if you must, but oh so sweet sounding in the hands of a player who prefer to coax nuanced tone rather than bang out volume.

    The quality of the mandolin playing at the camp-outs run the gamut. Probably half the folks seen lugging mandolins around don't consider it to be their primary instrument, because they hardly know any picking technique besides strumming open chords. It's easy to tell because anything more physical on our chosen instrument takes well-practiced muscle memory wed to fingers with thick callouses. I sense that this is the same group most often seen carrying a Gibson A.

    Other mandolin luggers express varying degrees of genuine mastery. Every day, I'll hear at least one skillful mandolin player blowing the lid off what one usually expects from old time mandolin playing. These folks don't sit still within the usual Southern Appalachian box with its counter-rhythmic wailing and arpeggiated fiddle backing. They can be heard leading entire groups of fiddlers and banjos, improvising wild licks over crooked tunes, playing the most tuneful but largely unknown rags for hours on end, and Django and Bill Monroe stuff. I have found that very few of the folks in this last group play Gibson "non-hybrid mandolins of any vintage.
    Last edited by Jim Nollman; Oct-22-2019 at 6:20pm.
    Explore some of my published music here

    —Jim

    BRW 3-point #65 (2009)
    Altman 2-point (2007)
    Portuguese fado cittern (1965)

  7. #7
    Registered User DoubleE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Nollman View Post
    I've never heard of that term "hybrid" mandolin. The comments suggest that you simply mean any mandolin that's not a Gibson A. is that correct?
    Glad I’m not the only one unfamiliar with this term. Does it just mean a flat top? Big Muddy/Mid-Missouri’s have flat tops with round holes not oval, not sure where the neck meets the body, but are they considered hybrids? If someone could define the term it would be greatly appreciated. I might own a hybrid and not even know it!

  8. #8
    Registered User DoubleE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    Hybrid

    Mandolins that don't fit a particular model style or that combine elements not normally found in construction and/or visual interpretation of a mandolin are often referred to as a "hybrid".

    Builders are often attracted to the artistic need to break out of traditional models for mandolin design and there have been many efforts to make mandolins more broadly accessible by attracting other instrumentalists. Mandolins have been hybridized with all manner of other instruments and the results which range from interesting to unusual, and successful to questionable, are all part of what can give a hybrid appeal.

    Some of these could be categorized as guitar-like (flat tops with strings fixed to an immovable bridge like Ovations or Crafters), Selmer guitar styled mandolins, solid-bodied or semi-hollow electric mandolins (those that need amplification for practical use like little electric guitars), banjo-mandolins, National-/Dobro-like resonators as examples.

  9. #9
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    26,357

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    Quote Originally Posted by Cary Fagan View Post
    hybrid instrument--that is, an oval hole with a neck joined at the 13th or 14th fret. In other words, I've never seen a Collings MTO, a Weber or Northfields oval, an Ellis, etc. Okay, I did once see a Morris at Clifftop.
    Cary defines it above and I use that for the same type of mandolin: a modern oval hole with a neck set like a Loar F-5. These often also have x bracing or tonebar bracing like an F-5 vs. transverse bracing on classic oval hole Gibsons.

    I have seen Eastmans at OT festivals and gatherings and even some F-5s. I usually play only fiddle at these gatherings in order to be heard and to hear myself. However years ago I bought my Flatiron A-52 which is really a bluegrassy sounding mandolin with x-bracing. It worked better for me in a five-piece stringband.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  10. #10
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    873

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    Jim N, sounds like those mandolin players were having a good time but if they were wailing and improvising, they'd bust a traditional old time jam. Old time jams are about blending into the sound, not standing out, whether you are playing melody with the fiddles or rhythm or some combination. In fact, I think mandolin players have to play tastefully and listen hard if they are to sound good in a traditional jam. Improvising I save for the bluegrass jams I attend.

    I think hybrid is a pretty well known term by now. I did define it in my first post so anyone confused might want to read it again and then compare pics of a Collings or Northfield oval hole with that of an old Gibson. (Eastman ovals have a Gibson style neck joint.)

    I guess I was wrong in thinking more old time players would have an opinion on them.


    Jim G, always good to hear from you. I use my oval hole mostly for old time and I can hear myself in medium-sized jams well enough.

    Cheers all.
    Cary Fagan

  11. The following members say thank you to Cary Fagan for this post:


  12. #11
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    26,357

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    The only time i ever played in a moderate-size OT jam was with my RM-1 (see mention above of that instrument). Fiddle is better for me and I learned both fiddle and mandolin at the same time back in the Mesozoic Era.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  13. #12
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    873

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    In old time, Jim, the fiddle is king and I happily bow down. I'm a late starter. I was 45 when I took up mandolin. I'm just glad I can play one instrument.
    Cary Fagan

  14. #13
    Registered User DoubleE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    Quote Originally Posted by Cary Fagan View Post

    I think hybrid is a pretty well known term by now. I did define it in my first post so anyone confused might want to read it again and then compare pics of a Collings or Northfield oval hole with that of an old Gibson. (Eastman ovals have a Gibson style neck joint.)
    Sorry Cary, I’m relatively new to the mandolin world and really wasn’t sure what the term “hybrid” meant. I found a generic definition that was really vague and left me with deep philosophical questions.

    “What is a mandolin?”

    “Are bowl backs not the original model?”

    “Would a Martin A with it’s canted top and flat back be considered a hybrid?

    “Is a Vega cylinder back a hybrid?”

    “What about a Weymann Mandolute? Is that not a hybrid?”

    “Octophone??????”

    “A Harmony Batwing??? That’s gotta be a hybrid!!!!!

    “Is every Gibson a hybrid?????!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thankfully, Jim threw me a rope and pulled me out of the hole. I just needed a little further clarification. I did my homework and checked out some of the models mentioned. I get it! I now have a full understanding of what is meant by “hybrid.”

    Thanks!

  15. #14
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    873

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    Hey, no problem! Truth is, I know far too much about mandolins for my own good! I'm really wondering who plays them and in what situations, since i see them rarely if ever out in the world. They interest me because their necks would make them more comfortable to play and more versatile, but I've tried a few and am not personally sold on the sound. So I'd like to hear from people who do like and play them in old time.
    Cary Fagan

  16. #15
    Registered User DoubleE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    Most old time jams I’ve been to don’t incorporate mandolin. It’s fiddle, banjo, guitar and bass. Mostly about the fiddle. I don’t have a problem with it, I think it’s a beautiful sound. They are fiddle tunes after all!

  17. #16

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Nollman View Post
    I've never heard of that term "hybrid" mandolin. The comments suggest that you simply mean any mandolin that's not a Gibson A. is that correct?
    Older traditional oval hole mandolins have a shorter neck that attaches to the body at the 12th fret (or sometimes even shorter). Also those mandolins usually have the fretboard attached directly to the top of the mandolin. Examples are the Gibson F4, Gibson A2 and the like. Some modern makers still build this style. Eastman MD-504 for example. Here's an F4
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	F483978ft.jpg 
Views:	8 
Size:	210.9 KB 
ID:	180725

    Here's an A2 from the side
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	bassside.jpg 
Views:	8 
Size:	178.4 KB 
ID:	180726

    A hybrid oval mandolin will have an elevated fretboard that attaches at the 13th, 14th or 15th fret (like an F5 or A5 mandolin).
    So they might have the body of an F4 and the neck of an F5, making them a hybrid of the 2 models.
    Examples are the Collings MTO and MF5O, Northfield F2S
    Here's an Collings MF5O from the side
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Capture.PNG 
Views:	12 
Size:	306.7 KB 
ID:	180727

    Here's a Northfield F2S
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Capture.PNG 
Views:	12 
Size:	428.6 KB 
ID:	180728
    Best, Stevo

  18. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to stevojack665 For This Useful Post:


  19. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Greer, SC
    Posts
    364

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    My wife plays a Weber Absoroka and all she plays is old time. I have Girouard oval hole that I sometimes use and an Elkhorn F hole A. All sound good playing old time to there old ears. That Absoroka really sounds good and she has played it at Clifftop. Does it matter?

  20. #18
    Registered User DoubleE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Buckingham View Post
    My wife plays a Weber Absoroka and all she plays is old time. I have Girouard oval hole that I sometimes use and an Elkhorn F hole A. All sound good playing old time to there old ears. That Absoroka really sounds good and she has played it at Clifftop. Does it matter?
    No, it doesn’t matter. Cary’s just asking opinions on how people like the feel or tone of a specific instrument. I don’t think it was an attempt to define what the old time sound is or is not.

  21. #19
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    873

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    Right, DoubleE, I'm curious about people's experience, not in defining for anyone else what works in old time. There's no doubt all mandolins can be played. I personally prefer the oval sound in old time, which is why I don't usually take my Passernig F5 which is as fine an F5 as I need ever to own. I take my Gibson A style oval hole (made by someone in Quebec 30 years ago and visible in my avatar).

    Bob, we met a few years ago at Swannanoa in a class with Paul Brown and talked quite a bit about mandolins. And now I remember the Weber, which I believe you were playing. Your experience with it and the Girouard is the kind of thing I'm looking for. I don't see you claiming any preference for them or your Elkhorn F hole, which is interesting.

    Thanks.
    Cary Fagan

  22. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    204

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    I suppose I play one in oldtime jams, but I really never thought about it much.

    I have a Jade oval hole, which was described as a "4.5" at some point, with an oval hole but the neck joined at the 15th fret (I think, whatever is normal for f-hole mandolins). However, I had this one before I had played any other oval hole mandolins, so coming from an f-style it just felt normal. It took me years to even notice that it had a long neck compared to, say the F-4 which it looked similar to.
    It is this one:
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...Jade-Oval-Hole


    When I first played a Gibson or a Flatiron oval, those seemed small to me, but easy to adjust to. The Jade has a wide fingerboard, which was harder to adjust to.
    Last edited by A 4; Oct-23-2019 at 10:31am.

  23. #21
    music with whales Jim Nollman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Friday Harbor WA
    Posts
    1,581

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    I have never experienced an old time session where somebody "busted" somebody else. I have once or twice participated in jams where an inexperienced player gets asked nicely to tone it down for straying too far from the beat or playing too many notes outside the scale. But never for playing something a purist might refer to as incorrect. Old time music is a big umbrella of too many distinct genres of music to get bogged down in anybody's idea of policing what's right and what's not right. One minute you're playing Grub Springs very fast. Then its a waltz. Then Valley Forge with its heavy metal syncopation, and possibly on to San Antonio Rose, if someone chooses to start it. Not getting busted for old time seems an important point by comparison with Irish music, where unison is often the only choice.
    Explore some of my published music here

    —Jim

    BRW 3-point #65 (2009)
    Altman 2-point (2007)
    Portuguese fado cittern (1965)

  24. #22
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    873

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    Hey Jim N, just to clarify. By "busted" I didn't mean a person would be 'arrested' or told off. I just meant that the tune might get off track and have the wheels fall off. In my experience, improvising doesn't really work in old time. Harmonizing perhaps, or various rhythm techniques. But your jam is different from any of the jams I've played in. It's all good fun.
    Cary Fagan

  25. #23
    Registered User DoubleE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    Hmmmm. I’ve seen some jams get busted. The fiddlers are the cops! And although I don’t always respect authority figures, in this case I do. If there’s a group jam of players sitting in a tight circle it can be a distraction if someone walks up and tries to lean in and start playing their hot licks without any respect for the tune that’s being played. So what’s the fiddler do? Raises his/her foot and ends the tune. Busted!

  26. #24
    Registered User DoubleE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Nollman View Post
    Not getting busted for old time seems an important point by comparison with Irish music, where unison is often the only choice.
    I gotta disagree. I think Irish and old time are very much akin. In some ways, at least as far as instrumentation, Irish is more open. Both traditions are about playing fiddle tunes. And to play fiddle tunes, you gotta play in unison.

  27. #25
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Posts
    2,620
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Question about 'hybrid' mandolins in old time

    I had a 1913 Gibson F-2 that had a bad heel crack and I was going to put an elevated board F-5 scale neck on it "I mentioned doing that on another thread" and thought that would be a pretty good "Hybrid" but after thinking bout it, it went to Mr. Harvey as I owed him some $ for a repair bill on my 1934 Joe Wilson odd ball F-5ish copy "may be the first real good Gibson type copy ever" so David will restore the F-2 to original, but anyway something like that would be pretty neat if you can get one cheap for the vintage type vibe? There are many makers however that already make mandolins like that so why redo a 100+ year old mandolin unless its really bad? That is my thoughts anyway! So its great that one will be restored I think than a conversion job.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •