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Thread: Givens A

  1. #1

    Default Givens A

    I want to talk a bit about the givens I played at Carter’s. This mandolin looked like it was made from wood from the free wood pile at Home Depot. Really. But it sounded as good or better that many many mandolins costing thousands more around it. I guess it just goes to show you, mr givens knew what the heck he was doing. I played another years ago. It also was amazing. Also at Carter’s the collings A was also amazing.

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  3. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Givens A

    Take a look through all of this thread and the attached documents. There is mention of the fact that Bob Givens wasn't concerned all that much in how the wood looked, he was concerned with how the finished instrument sounded.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  4. #3

    Default Re: Givens A

    How wood looks has a lot to do with how much people are willing to pay, how they sound, not so much. Just play a bunch of Northfield F5S mandolins. Many are very plain, but they all sound good. I postulate the wood that went to my Arches kit was cosmetically wanting as far as building a $6K instrument was concerned, what with the streaks of mineral deposits in the maple and red lines in the Adi top. The bearclaw in my old Guild D 35's top would qualify too, as a piece of wood thrown into the cheaper guitar pile.

    As to tone, I'd defer to someone like Givens any day.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  5. #4

    Default Re: Givens A

    This reminds of the time I took the two hour Taylor guitar tour with my Son. At the beginning of the tour Taylor had a guitar that was completely made of an old nasty wood pallet. And they had photos of the pallet next to the guitar. The guitar sounded amazing. Just goes to show you that triple grade A maple is really pretty but not Necessary.

  6. #5
    Registered User slimt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Givens A

    Quote Originally Posted by ntriesch View Post
    This reminds of the time I took the two hour Taylor guitar tour with my Son. At the beginning of the tour Taylor had a guitar that was completely made of an old nasty wood pallet. And they had photos of the pallet next to the guitar. The guitar sounded amazing. Just goes to show you that triple grade A maple is really pretty but not Necessary.
    Sometimes its not all about the high grade of wood. But the feel and tone. . Givens build a fine Mandolin and Acoustic guitar

  7. #6

    Default Re: Givens A

    Mandolins don't come much plainer or cheap looking than my Gibson F9, but it sounds superb.

    Dave H
    Eastman 615 mandolin
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    2011 Weber Bitteroot A5
    2012 Weber Bitteroot F5
    Eastman MD 915V
    Gibson F9
    2016 Capek ' Bob ' standard scale tenor banjo
    Ibanez Artist 5 string
    2001 Paul Shippey oval hole

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  9. #7

    Default Re: Givens A

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hanson View Post
    Mandolins don't come much plainer or cheap looking than my Gibson F9, but it sounds superb.

    Dave H
    I’ve played two F 9s. Both were something I’d want. I’m building a Stew MAC kit right now that will get that aesthetic. Top binding only.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  10. #8
    Mando Mando Sperry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Givens A

    Here's a quick take-away from the R. L. Givens article

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/c...Guitars-Friend

    The Guitars Friend - Do people use A models for a certain type of music, or is it just that they can't afford an F model?

    Bob Givens - The two mandolins just sound completely different.

    Recently I played a 2019 [Collings A-style] MT with torrified top. Amazing old woody F-sounding mandolin. But I also had a 2003 MT2 on loan for a couple of years with more of a treble tone. Despite a deluge of published material telling me the A & F will / should sound the same, I've always thought the F had more chance to develop a deeper, throatier woody bark. And here is Bob, in 1978, saying they have different tone.

    Yes, I've heard an F which sounds like a hammer dulcimer (more than once). But usually even an immature F has the hint of pedigree, a future budding of its potential, if you look about the fingerboard.

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  12. #9
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    Default Re: Givens A

    Years ago, 2002 or 2003 I was in Gruhn's in Nashville. They had all of the master model mandolins but the one I liked best was an F9. It was woody and cut all at once.

  13. #10
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Givens A

    People say lots of things that they believe. Some of those things are true.
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” “Accidentals”

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  15. #11

    Default Re: Givens A

    I’d like it if there was some kind of test you could take that could tell you how much you were influenced by fancy wood, well regarded logo, peer envy, etc. I feel it is far greater than anyone would want to admit. It could help you separate the object from the instrument.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  16. #12

    Default Re: Givens A

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    I’d like it if there was some kind of test you could take that could tell you how much you were influenced by fancy wood, well regarded logo, peer envy, etc. I feel it is far greater than anyone would want to admit. It could help you separate the object from the instrument.
    Test drive them blindfolded, with someone handing you the unknown instruments. All you'd know is A from F. I think a lot of facts would suddenly be swept away by the cold stream of the reality you just heard. I suspect I'd be in that boat too.

    It'll be interesting in the Grisman 'what Mando is this contest' how many folks will probably misidentify the same mandolin played on different tunes, just because of the nature of the tune differences. But I don't think that's a task the folks running the contest would want to do.
    Play it like you mean it.

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    Gunnar 

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