Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 67

Thread: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest options.

  1. #1

    Default Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest options.

    Was considering either a Gibson Master Model or possibly an Ellis F5 with all of his highest options. Both are comparable prices but am just really torn between the two.

    Any thoughts from anyone that has either owned or played both of these types?

    Thanks Folks

  2. The following members say thank you to drewbarries for this post:

    GTison 

  3. #2

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    Ellis!


    I'm more inclined to think that the right mandolin chooses you....
    Spruce dork

  4. The following members say thank you to grandcanyonminstrel for this post:


  5. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    390

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    I think only you will know the answer to that. Play and listen and hold them a few more times. One will jump out at some point.

    Others (like me) would say they'd choose something else in that price range, but that's beside the point. I will say that to get the Ellis to the Master Model price point some of those options are aesthetic I suspect, which is subjective and doesn't necessarily contribute to the sound or playability.

    Have fun.

  6. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Luna Pick For This Useful Post:


  7. #4

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    “I think only you will know the answer to that. Play and listen and hold them a few more times. One will jump out at some point.

    Others (like me) would say they'd choose something else in that price range, but that's beside the point. I will say that to get the Ellis to the Master Model price point some of those options are aesthetic I suspect, which is subjective and doesn't necessarily contribute to the sound or playability.

    Have fun.”



    Curious about your pick of the something else, please do tell.
    Last edited by drewbarries; Oct-28-2019 at 10:29pm. Reason: Added quote

  8. #5

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    At that price point may as well fly to Nashville and play mandolins til you find the one you can't put down. Price wise that is not that much compared to how much you are investing in the instrument. Both of those can be totally great instruments but they are different tonally, fit and finish, and feel. Plus each instrument is different.

  9. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Josh Levine For This Useful Post:


  10. #6
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    5,247

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    Played both. Owned a MM. both exceptional mandolins. Would like to try a new Ellis with the terrified top. I like slim necks and flat boards so I lean toward MM but you really can’t go wrong with those two.

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


  12. #7
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    State College, PA
    Posts
    2,392
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    Yes, I agree with what everyone is saying on here about check it out yourself, etc. If you're willing to pay $15k or whatever the price is for a MM, you can shell out a few hundred bucks for a plane ticket somewhere. It's an assumption, but seems safe to say.

    That aside, and because it's fun to give opinions, my first opinion is when you consider a the cost of new MM ($22k) vs. a new Ellis F5 Tradition ($13k) the Ellis is darn near half the price. It may not matter to you, but it would matter to me. With that being said, cost aside, my second opinion is they are both potentially dynamite, legacy instruments, like potentially a considerable part of your estate when you die if you take good care of them because they are awesome, and they may increase in value over time, although in the shorter term they both seem to depreciate in value.

    My third and likely most important point is based on having recently played these two models side by side at The Mandolin Store. They were both great, but the Ellis had that something or other that may not be quantifiable. It felt solid, extremely playable, light to the touch, but not a featherlight mandolin like my Collings. Extremely responsive. It wasn't a banjo-killer, but it didn't lack volume. The tone was entirely balanced, similar but perhaps rounder in tone to my MT2, although with less of a throaty chop than my MT2. It was all class, sophistication, presence, playability, and tone. A very cool, aesthetically pristine mandolin. I can't rave the same way about the MM, but will say it was very nice. If that Ellis wasn't there it would rank with the best mandolins in the room, although The Mandolin Store custom model was better, and half the price.

    I won't say anything disparaging about the MM other than the price seems silly when it's next to an Ellis that dwarfs it in just about every way. Gibson has people on the hook with tradition, Lloyd Loar, Bill Monroe, Dave Appolon, Grisman, Bush, Thile, Marshall, and a bunch of other famous players, which is why the price point for the MM is so high.

    No disrespect to Gibson owners. I'd love one myself.

  13. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Kevin Briggs For This Useful Post:


  14. #8
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    1,240

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    There's a lot to choose from in that price range, and, if you include some of the makers who are very good but not yet well known, less expensive.

    In Nashville now, if you go to both Gruhn's and Carter's, you will find Duff, Dudenbostel, Ellis, Newsom, Gilchrist, used Gibson [it's a shame you can't view a new F-5 in Nashville!!], and a host of others.

    Right now, it seems that Gruhn seems to be selling master grade mandolins faster than he can re-stock them.
    If you take a liking to Newsom [though not well known, they are fine mandolins], you'll have enough of your budget left over to take an F-4 home with you also.

    Hint-- if you come to Nashville, you can drive 20 minutes outside of the city and find a motel for a much more reasonable price.

  15. The following members say thank you to rcc56 for this post:


  16. #9
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    State College, PA
    Posts
    2,392
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    Dang... Iím feeling judgy and cynical. I love the idea of Gibson, and they still make excellent mandolins, but to not sell new F5s in Nashville is simple ignorance. Itís a marketing blunder and brand protection maneuver gone wrong. Itís like a football team that wonít simply lineup to try to make a play. Andy Reid comes to mind. Over-thinker extraordinaire.

    My message to Gibson... make Ďem how you know, sell Ďem where you want. If you build it, they will come. Also... lower the price by $10k and youíll sell more of them.

  17. The following members say thank you to Kevin Briggs for this post:


  18. #10
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Beautiful Salem County, NJ
    Posts
    1,571

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    I won't offer my opinion because I have not played these two instruments. I just wanted to point out what a great problem this is to have! I'd take the trip suggested by others just for the fun of it, nevermind the great instrument you would potentially come home with. Enjoy the search; it's a once in a lifetime opportunity.
    Purr more, hiss less.

  19. The following members say thank you to Bob Clark for this post:


  20. #11
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Posts
    2,667
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    Both would be great, myself the Gibson MM, just because I know the stuff David Harvey is putting out is maybe the best since the 20's! They are built in small #'s, I only ever played one Ellis and it was an A-5 style and it didn't do IT for me anyway, too thick sounding/modern I guess not like the bright mids and such as a MM? Like mentioned it would be nice to go and check some out in hand for comparison? But then you have, Duffs, Gils, Apitius, many other fine mandolins in that price range?

  21. The following members say thank you to William Smith for this post:


  22. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    3,673

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    The two best mandolins I’ve played to date (to my hands/ears) were a Giacomel at Gruhn’s and Josh Pinkham’s Red Diamond, both valued at 12,500 or so at the time (5-6) years ago now. That includes 2 Loars (one of which was awesome, one of which was “meh”) and my own Skip Kelley A5, which, at a shade under 3 grand, gives me 99% of the tone, all the playability, and all the fit and finish of the others. There are some builders less well known making awesome mandolins out there. A trip to Nashvegas, Elderly, or TMS would be a good thing to consider...

    Of your two, I would personally go with Ellis, because Tom seems like a good guy who’s really into mandolins, whereas Gibson is, well, corporate Gibson. Of course, Dave Harvey also seems to be good guy who’s really into mandolins, but I’d be more likely to buy one he built on the side than a Gibson right now. Reverse discrimination, like hating the Patriots or Alabama just cuz? Maybe...
    Chuck

  23. The following members say thank you to CES for this post:


  24. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Panama Cit
    Posts
    1,547

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    I was asking myself the exact same question a while back. I did play an Ellis tradition. What a beautiful mandolin to me. Flawless, beautiful wood. Excellent tone. It just didn't knock me off my billfold, yet. I may go play it again though, it sticks in my mind.

    Over all. It depends on the sound you are looking for, how well you can play to get that sound, is it worth the money to you for that sound difference.

    ( I have other opinions on the sound quality of Make model, year, but I will not share them on the open forum. PM me for more opinions)

  25. The following members say thank you to GTison for this post:


  26. #14
    Registered User tbown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Crystal Beach, FL
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    I have owned both and still own my MM. If either one of them were my only mandolin, I would be happy and content (barring any MAS affects). In the end, I wasn't playing the Ellis as much as I thought it should and deserved to be played. So it went up for sale, landed in the hands of someone from the Cafe. I also just noticed that it is in the classifieds again at Morgan Music -- Ellis #450 Tradition with a torredfied top (https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/146087#146087). I can personally testify that Tom Ellis and Dave Harvey are both great guys to work with. And, despite the anti-corporate Gibson sentiment that sometimes rears its head (not without cause), the people that you deal with at Gibson are also easy to work with.

    I will repeat what others have said, get yourself to a store and play all you can until you find one that sings to you. Just checking the Carter inventory, there are used MMs in the same price range as a new Ellis as well as plenty of other builders' work that are worth checking out.

    When you spend that kind of money, it's definitely worth the investment of traveling to play what you are going to buy -- and to a destination that has a variety of instruments to play and compare.
    ========================
    2012 Gibson F5 Master Model
    2019 Northfield F5 Artist 5 Bar
    2019 4.0 Northfield F5 (being built)
    2019 Northfield Arched Octave Maple

  27. The following members say thank you to tbown for this post:


  28. #15

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    Is the reason some of these high dollar instruments languish in their cases due to their value? Too good to play? I imagine the little bumps an bruises an instrument collects over time would matter more to a prospective buyer spending this kind of cash. Still, a nice problem to have. I’m enamored by a particular instrument right now for just this reason. Would hate to damage it in any way, which translates to don’t play it much.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  29. The following members say thank you to Br1ck for this post:


  30. #16
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    State College, PA
    Posts
    2,392
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    Is the reason some of these high dollar instruments languish in their cases due to their value? Too good to play? I imagine the little bumps an bruises an instrument collects over time would matter more to a prospective buyer spending this kind of cash. Still, a nice problem to have. I’m enamored by a particular instrument right now for just this reason. Would hate to damage it in any way, which translates to don’t play it much.
    I hear you, Br1ck.... It's always a big deal for me to spend money on a mandolin, which why I'm often in the used A style realm, happily so. So, when I get something new or lightly used I'm a bit obsessed with taking care of it. Even my new MT2 has a few shirt button swipes on it that are barely noticeable, but definitely there.

    That aside, my take on the really nice instrument thing is they were meant to be played. Thile alluded to it in an older interview he gave, Drew Emmitt speaks about it and his struggle to play his Nugget. But, they play them, and the reason why we love Loars is because they were played and sound awesome. Just play them!

  31. The following members say thank you to Kevin Briggs for this post:


  32. #17

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    My Derrington MM is almost 16 years old now. It looks rough because of the type of varnish they used then. One time I had it at the Gibson place in Nashville and one of the men working there looked at it and said,"Oh,a distressed MM." I told him it was just a stressed MM. All done by me.

    I ordered it exactly the way I wanted it,side bound,abbreviated,radiused fb,picked out the wood for the back/sides,neck dimensions etc.

    Not too long ago there was an ad looking for a MM in trade for an Ellis F5. I was tempted to at least get to try out the Ellis but could not even talk myself into shipping my mando. The Ellis owner said he was looking for a more traditonal sounding mando which my MM has in spades having been well played in.

    I am very interested in playing some of the more "modern" mandolins like Ellis,Pava,Collings,Sorenson,Giacomel,and however Girouard is spelled.

    Trying to stick by my resolution to play before I buy but happy that this is only a recently-set rule. I would have missed out on some very nice mandos if I had always done that in the past. The only way to really know is to have the instrument in hand for a time. Even then it's not all cut&dry.

  33. The following members say thank you to V70416 for this post:


  34. #18

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    Quote Originally Posted by sgarrity View Post
    Played both. Owned a MM. both exceptional mandolins. Would like to try a new Ellis with the terrified top. I like slim necks and flat boards so I lean toward MM but you really can’t go wrong with those two.
    Man, those terrified tops on the Ellis mandolins really scream.

  35. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Mike Martin For This Useful Post:


  36. #19
    Registered User archerscreek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    Is the reason some of these high dollar instruments languish in their cases due to their value? Too good to play? I imagine the little bumps an bruises an instrument collects over time would matter more to a prospective buyer spending this kind of cash. Still, a nice problem to have. I’m enamored by a particular instrument right now for just this reason. Would hate to damage it in any way, which translates to don’t play it much.
    There was a great interview with George Gruhn that came out in an article this past summer. Gruhn identified three classes of guitar buyers; players, collectors, and speculators. He placed the value of players' level guitars as those up to around $4500-$5000, I believe. If one takes the common theme of double the price of a guitar for the equivalent in a mandolin, then mandolins in that $10,000-$30,000 range are primarily owned by collectors. Sure they may play them a bit, and some may even play their collector grade mandolins hard, but I bet Gruhn's instrument alalysis holds true for most mandolin owners as well as most guitar owners.

    And just in case this is needed to avoid anyone getting offended, I'm not, and don't think anyone else is either, saying that doing any one thing or another is any better or worse than doing anything else.

  37. The following members say thank you to archerscreek for this post:


  38. #20

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    OP:

    BEFORE you buy, have you had the opportunity to TRY both models?

    Have you played many (any?) Gibson F models previously?

    Will you be comfortable with the narrow neck (1 1/16" at the nut), flat board, and small frets of the Gibson?

    Or... do you want a wider board (I believe the Ellis is 1 1/8"), a radius, and larger frets?

    Although both are high-end models, I believe they're VERY "different" in the way they'll feel. You want to be sure that you're gonna be happy "feelin'" whatever you buy for some time to come...

  39. The following members say thank you to J.Albert for this post:


  40. #21
    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Charleston SC
    Posts
    2,418

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    At that price you really deserve to play them both. And enjoy the process.

    And the individual mandolin you play from either brand may be more important than the brand itself.

    They will both be exceptional. The only question is which fits you best.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

  41. The following members say thank you to Astro for this post:


  42. #22
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    atlanta ga
    Posts
    463

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    BMW vs. Lexus

    Very different feel. Whichever one you prefer.

  43. The following members say thank you to barry for this post:


  44. #23

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    I vote for one of each

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  45. The following members say thank you to lenf12 for this post:


  46. #24

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Albert View Post
    OP:

    BEFORE you buy, have you had the opportunity to TRY both models?

    Have you played many (any?) Gibson F models previously?

    Will you be comfortable with the narrow neck (1 1/16" at the nut), flat board, and small frets of the Gibson?

    Or... do you want a wider board (I believe the Ellis is 1 1/8"), a radius, and larger frets?

    Although both are high-end models, I believe they're VERY "different" in the way they'll feel. You want to be sure that you're gonna be happy "feelin'" whatever you buy for some time to come...
    All good points, I am somewhat impulsive and must resist the temptation to buy without first having played. My preference is for a more traditional tone I think but my Collings sure did sound great and if Ellis’s are everything great about a Collings and even then some then I would probably love the Ellis.

  47. #25
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine Beach FL
    Posts
    4,427

    Default Re: Gibson Master Model vs. Ellis F5 with all of his highest opti

    You mentioned an Ellis with the highest options, this would be hard to beat........

    https://themusicemporium.com/new-arr...tailpiece-8171

    Yummy!

    NFI
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  48. The following members say thank you to Charles E. for this post:


Posting Permissions

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