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Thread: F2/F4 style mandolins?

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    Default F2/F4 style mandolins?

    So, I think the F2/F4 is possibly the most beautiful instrument ever made. Other than the Eastman 514/614/814, are they any other mid range makers of this style? Especially with slightly wider necks than the Eastmans? The Collings MF-O comes to mind, but it isn't exactly mid-range. Did Kentucky ever make one?
    Thanks for the brainpower on this one.

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    Registered User seankeegan's Avatar
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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?


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    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    I've never seen that Breedlove model. I could handle the less than traditional look if it plays well and sounds good.

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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by seankeegan View Post
    This one maybe?
    Um, not quite Sean. That Breedlove does not qualify as a "most beautiful" candidate imho. Sorry! Getting back to the OP's question, there doesn't seem to be much available in F Style oval hole mandolins at a mid level price. Depending on how you define "mid level",
    Northfield makes one priced around $3K. Kentucky makes lots of oval hole A style models but nothing I could find for oval hole F styles. YMMV

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL
    Last edited by lenf12; Oct-23-2019 at 9:24am.

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    Front Porch & Sweet Tea NursingDaBlues's Avatar
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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?


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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by NursingDaBlues View Post
    Weber Vintage F
    Beautiful, yes but at $7K retail, may be out of the OP's price range.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

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    Front Porch & Sweet Tea NursingDaBlues's Avatar
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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by lenf12 View Post
    Beautiful, yes but at $7K retail, may be out of the OP's price range.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL
    That very well could be. However, Bruce Weber's original Vintage series made c.2008 - 2011 do come up on the used market. The Weber Mandolin company was known as Sound To Earth in those days. I purchased a 2008 Custom Vintage A that had the "old-wood" top that Bruce had sourced for his higher-tier mandolins. The purchase price in my opinion was very reasonable -- especially considering that it is a magnificent sounding and extremely playable instrument. If the OP is patient and diligent in the search, a bargain might be had.

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  9. #8

    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    In looking around, it looks like a Northfield N2S is the closest to an "affordable" option (at about $3K) that I can see. That also gets me into a vintage Gibson (albeit, with their inherent issues concurrent with a ~100 year old instrument).
    The Breedlove is interesting, but I'm looking for a carved top. (Not to mention that it does fail a bit in the gorgeous category.)
    The Eastmans just have necks that are too narrow for me to feel comfortable. I'm sure I could get used to it, but I am really comfortable with my Collings MT wide-nut.

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    Registered User DoubleE's Avatar
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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    I was researching F2/F4 style a few months ago. I really like the design too. Seemed like In my price range the only thing available was the Eastman. Next best option is an actual vintage Gibson. Maybe 4K? Thatís a couple thousand less than a new Weber or Collings.

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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by nultylynch View Post
    So, I think the F2/F4 is possibly the most beautiful instrument ever made. Other than the Eastman 514/614/814, are they any other mid range makers of this style? Especially with slightly wider necks than the Eastmans? The Collings MF-O comes to mind, but it isn't exactly mid-range. Did Kentucky ever make one?
    Thanks for the brainpower on this one.
    Gretsch made the G9350 Park Avenue that occupied this end of the market for several years.
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  12. #11

    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    This is more the lower end of the market, right? Pressed top? Kind of like the Epiphone MM40L.
    Last edited by nultylynch; Oct-23-2019 at 11:28am.

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    Registered User DoubleE's Avatar
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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    Yeah, probably pressed, ďarched solid spruce.Ē But this one looks like a real steal at under 2k!!! https://www.ebay.com/c/1929504768

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    Registered User CelticDude's Avatar
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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    A few threads down, the Mia mandolins are mentioned. No direct experience, but the videos sound pretty good. She does show one F2 type.

  15. #14

    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleE View Post
    Yeah, probably pressed, “arched solid spruce.” But this one looks like a real steal at under 2k!!! https://www.ebay.com/c/1929504768
    Well, it's probably that sweet case that's bumping the price up a bit.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    Inexpensively the Ashbury AM-370 is an attractive instrument, all solid woods, but pressed and not carved, so not real competition for the Eastmans.

    I think all the Kentucky oval-holes were A-model mandolins (KM-272 et. al.). but not an expert on their whole line.

    Finding even a scuffed-up F-2 for less than $4K is getting near-impossible. When I bought my 'teens one in 1972 or so, I paid $450 plus a 'teens A-1 in decent but far from mint condition for it. My current 3-point F-2 cost me $1.5K but that was probably 35 years ago.

    Howard "Sonny" Morris in OR gets mentioned often as a builder of oval-hole F-model mandolins. Don't know what his prices are.

    Mike Holmes of Shawnee Creek Mandolins makes mid-priced hand-made instruments (around $1-1.5K). He doesn't show any oval-holes currently, but might be worth contacting for a price on building one.
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    Henry Lawton hank's Avatar
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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    Forget all those budget toys and go far Gils 1924 F4 with a Pegasus case and Small Dog cover. Yes, it’s three times your stated budget but it’s the real deal. If it plays anything like my 1923 F4 you’ll forever be glad you sprang for this jewel before it’s gone. Loar F4’s have his preferred narrowed neck but you may find you like it like I do.
    "A sudden clash of thunder, the mind doors burst open, and lo, there sits old man Buddha-nature in all his homeliness."
    CHAO-PIEN

  18. #17

    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    As far as the Eastman is concerned, they have the look and a used F4 style would probably be bought for a reasonable price. Maybe $400. However, much as I've always admired their F-hole mandolins, comparatively speaking, I've played three Eastman F4 style and all sounded very poor. Don't know why they didn't get that right but they were all too heavy and possibly slightly overbuilt.

    In the Uk we have Pilgrim, Ashbury doing a solid wood 'pressed top' F4 and some of them look really good. Sound wise not a million miles away from a Gibson. I've had 7 Gibson F4s over the last 40 years and much as I've loved the whole F4 thing, none have projected like an F-hole mandolin so even if you found an F2 or F4 at perhaps $4000 it may not sound a great deal better than the Pilgrim/Ashbury at maybe $400 used. I've always also thought that the F4 is the most beautiful mandolin shape ever. Particularly 1917 with Handel tuners. They had just gradually moved into the slight sunburst as opposed to the shaded 'all one colour' top and finding a 1917 F4 is currently on my agenda.

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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    Used Weber Gallatin oval F's are out there - I had one and regret selling it to this day, think I paid $1200 for it second hand with the original case.
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  21. #19
    Registered User DoubleE's Avatar
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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...Jade-Oval-Hole

    This Jade is a beauty, but I donít think itís for sale.
    Last edited by DoubleE; Oct-23-2019 at 4:26pm. Reason: Bad link

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    Registered User QCS's Avatar
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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    How about a used Pomeroy F-4? The OP did not mention a budget so this might be a bit much. I found one a few years back, think I gave 1,800. Real quality and great tone.

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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    Sonny Morris can build you one. About half the cost of those previously mentioned.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    That's my own homemade pickguard.

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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    Beat me to it, Bart! Morris and Ken Ratcliff May be worth considering, though I believe Ken’s F styles are over 3K now (still a bargain, IMO) and he’s been into some of the less traditional stylings of late...
    Chuck

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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    Look at a Girouard ! I am having Max Girouard build me a F 4 !

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    Registered User DoubleE's Avatar
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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    https://reverb.com/item/26580210-mia...n-pickup-video

    At this price it might be worth a buy and try.

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    Default Re: F2/F4 style mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleE View Post
    https://reverb.com/item/26580210-mia...n-pickup-video

    At this price it might be worth a buy and try.
    It sounds good for the price....NFI

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