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Thread: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

  1. #1

    Default A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    Hi all,
    Iím not familiar with this maker and hoping the forum can educate me. What are some comparable brands you would compare against. Notable characteristics? Lastly, this price seems right?

    http://A.L. Smart F5 1990 Sunburst h...ntent=22276847

  2. #2

    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    Can't get that link to work.

    Dave H
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  3. #3
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    The link isnít working for me either, but there is a more recent Smart F5 thatís been languishing for some time at Morgan Music with an asking price of $4995.99:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/148375#148375

    http://www.morganmusic.com/usedmando...tegory=4256012

    I canít speak for everyone, but I think of Lawrenceís work as part of an Idaho tradition, preceded by Bob Givens and now followed by Austin Clark, of building beautiful, handmade mandolins. He tends to work with locally sourced woods, including Engelmann spruce, and his mandolas in particular are owned by some of the best players in the world (Marshall, Reischman, Thile, etc.).
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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    Let’s see if this link works better:

    https://reverb.com/item/22276847-a-l...ntent=22276847

    I didn’t realize that it was a lefthanded F5, which is a relative rarity. The price has already dropped considerably, but it has also been listed for nine months. So I might consider an offer, but be wary as the seller has had issues with two sold instruments in the feedback section.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
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  5. #5

    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    The earlier Smart mandolins have stunning voices, most have engelmann tops. The Music Emporium sold a used two point Smart for just under $6k a few months back, so I’d say the price on the A5 in the classifieds is quite reasonable.

    I’ve played some of the newer ones with Adirondack tops and have to say, I prefer the earlier ones with engelmann tops.

    That said, I’m thinking the F5 at Morgan is the one with the re-voiced top that’s been at a few shops over the last few years. Not sure why that was done, but if I remember correctly, it was not done by Smart. Which may be why it’s been around for sale for a while. Lots of pros play Smart instruments, including Chris Thile (mandola), Mike Marshall, Joe K Walsh, and Courtney Hartman is playing one of his archtops.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    I own a Smart F5 and it is a very well made mandolin. Beautifully constructed with an exquisite voice. Mine is a bit newer, 2014 so I can’t really speak to older Smart mandolins. Here’s a clip of mine. Mine has an engleman top and soundwise compares well to my engleman topped Givens, with the Smart having a sweeter tone with more of a bell like ring and Givens more woody and punchy. The Smart is the strongest mandolin I own. It is very even from string to string and doesn’t lose any tone as you move up the neck.

    Last edited by Victor Daniel; Jan-25-2020 at 11:00am. Reason: Added more info
    2014 AL Smart F5
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  7. #7
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    The above does not play.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  8. #8

    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    The above does not play.
    Clear your cache and try it again
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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  10. #9

    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    Thanks or the reply's.

    Fixed the link here:

    https://reverb.com/item/22276847-a-l...-1990-sunburst

  11. #10

    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    Let’s see if this link works better:

    https://reverb.com/item/22276847-a-l...ntent=22276847

    I didn’t realize that it was a lefthanded F5, which is a relative rarity. The price has already dropped considerably, but it has also been listed for nine months. So I might consider an offer, but be wary as the seller has had issues with two sold instruments in the feedback section.
    Thanks, and you are correct, this is for a lefty F5. Based on the comps, and the age, it seems like its on the high end of the range.

  12. #11

    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    Victor Daniel, Beautiful sounding instrument. Very sweet and even toned. Might be worth visiting this AL Smart I'm considering.

  13. #12
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Algreen View Post
    Thanks, and you are correct, this is for a lefty F5. Based on the comps, and the age, it seems like its on the high end of the range.
    What are the comps for a luthier-built lefthanded F5?
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  14. #13

    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    I can’t speak for everyone, but I think of Lawrence’s work as part of an Idaho tradition, preceded by Bob Givens and now followed by Austin Clark, of building beautiful, handmade mandolins. He tends to work with locally sourced woods, including Engelmann spruce, and his mandolas in particular are owned by some of the best players in the world (Marshall, Reischman, Thile, etc.).
    Might be some other players with Smart mandolas.

    The Smart mandolins I've played have been excellent. Lawrence sent me one of his 10 strings with fan frets to try out quite a few years ago when I was thinking about ordering one. That one was exceptional.
    Last edited by Don Grieser; Jan-25-2020 at 5:04pm.
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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Grieser View Post
    Might be some other players with Smart mandolas. .
    None that belong in that company.
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  17. #15

    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    What are the comps for a luthier-built lefthanded F5?
    The same or less. It seems high since you can get a lot of mando for that money, but I hadnít heard of the maker before and thought it might be worth it, but hadnít been scooped up because itís a lefty.

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  19. #16
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Algreen View Post
    The same or less. It seems high since you can get a lot of mando for that money
    Do you have any examples? I see precious few luthier-built F5’s in the wild. I don’t know what Lawrence is charging for an F5 mandolin these days, but I was quoted $12K by him for a new F5 mandola, so I’m going to guess that the figure is north of $9K, making a used one for less that 2/3 the price a relative bargain . . . most likely because it’s a lefty.
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  20. #17

    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    Itís also 30 years old, if it truly is from 1990. Generally a used Smart F5 would be around $7k.

  21. #18

    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    It’s also 30 years old, if it truly is from 1990. Generally a used Smart F5 would be around $7k.
    Thanks, I think that ballpark is helpful and agree it could be a good value, depending on condition.

  22. #19
    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    Also an "A" style at Reverb.
    https://reverb.com/item/17220902-a-l...custom-a-style

    This has been listed for a year.
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  23. #20

    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    I have a fan fret 5 course Mandola and an F hole Mandocello of his. You can't find much better fit and finish, and his voicing is top quality. You simply can't go wrong getting one of his instruments. Marshall, Rosum, you name top grade musicians that own his creations and you get the idea
    John D

  24. #21
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    This option might be a lower priced alternative for the OP:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/150628#150628
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  25. #22

    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kammerzell View Post
    Also an "A" style at Reverb.
    https://reverb.com/item/17220902-a-l...custom-a-style

    This has been listed for a year.
    He had it listed for over $6k at first. The seller has a lot to do with how long it’s been for sale, believe me.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  26. #23
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    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    He had it listed for over $6k at first. The seller has a lot to do with how long it’s been for sale, believe me.
    Yes. I wonder how long they had it at 6? Still, 22 people are watching it at this price.
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  27. #24
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    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kammerzell View Post
    Yes. I wonder how long they had it at 6? Still, 22 people are watching it at this price.
    There was recently a black Smart A5 that moved quickly in the classifieds with an asking price of $3700:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/150539#150539
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
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  28. #25
    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: A. Lawrence Smart Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    There was recently a black Smart A5 that moved quickly in the classifieds with an asking price of $3700:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/150539#150539
    IIRC the one at Reverb has been listed at the lower price for a number of months. I had to think about it some, but I've never seen it at the higher price and I've been watching it for some time.
    Gibson Custom Shop F5G Wide Nut (2010) Dave Harvey
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