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Thread: 2 Oval=Holes With Different Feels and Voices

  1. #1
    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Default 2 Oval=Holes With Different Feels and Voices

    I am really fortunate to have two oval hole mandolins that meet different roles. First, is the Hester F4, maple back and sides, addi top, and short scale with the fret board attached to the top. The second, is a Collings MT2-O, A style, birdseye maple, Italian spruce top and with a raised fret board. Playability: Both are easy to play and note accurately. Voicing: The Collings like every Collings I have played sounds tight. This is not a negative but descriptive term. It sounds very precise and somewhat stark. The Collings seems to respond best to a light touch as over driving does not sound nearly as clean. The Collings has not trouble cutting in a bluegrass situation, although the chop does not really bark. The Hester is softer and smoother in tone. This being said, the Hester generates plenty of volume, just might now cut in a bluegrass situation as well. Maybe the word warm fits the situation. There seems to be more overtones in the tone.
    Which is better maybe the wrong question as much as which fits the music being played more effectively. So while both are oval holes, they just sound and feel different. I am just glad to have both. Now trying to explain this to my wife is problematic. She just sees them as the same.
    Tony Huber
    1930 Martin Style C #14783
    2011 Mowry GOM
    2013 Hester F4 #31
    2014 Ellis F5 #322
    2017 Collings MT2-O #3666
    2017 Nyberg Mandola #172

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: 2 Oval=Holes With Different Feels and Voices

    You now need a Girouard oval in the mix !!
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

  4. #3
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Smile 2 Oval Holes, same but different

    Have 2 22 Gibbys Oval hole paddle head A is birch Back / with aluminum Bridge top No TR
    A4 Maple Ebony bridge, But I had a fossil Walrus tusk one made, on top.. It has a TR & recently a Refret..


    writing about music
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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 Oval Holes, same but different

    You should totally keep the Collings, Tony.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
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  6. #5
    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 Oval=Holes With Different Feels and Voices

    Mandroid, how does the fossil bridge compare to the aluminum bridge as far as tone?

  7. #6
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 Oval=Holes With Different Feels and Voices

    Do you have pics of the Hester you could post?

  8. #7
    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 Oval=Holes With Different Feels and Voices

    Here are some pictures from Gail when the F4 was finished
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    Tony Huber
    1930 Martin Style C #14783
    2011 Mowry GOM
    2013 Hester F4 #31
    2014 Ellis F5 #322
    2017 Collings MT2-O #3666
    2017 Nyberg Mandola #172

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  10. #8
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 Oval=Holes With Different Feels and Voices

    Beautiful!!

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Smile Re: 2 Oval=Holes With Different Feels and Voices

    As separate instruments the 2 As do sound different .. Aluminum , Birch ..
    (no 'tone gard' ) is brighter..

    the AK Walrus one wont fit on the full contact bridge,
    original ebony one had a crack on one end I shaved a bit off to go below the flaw ,
    and tried it on the brown A, It's sound colored by 90 years with the aluminum one
    no instant change noted, so I Put it back as it was..


    the back resonance dampening against my body , realistically must contribute..



    I have a 'tone gard' on the A4.. so there is that added resonance..

    the material on the A4 bridge looks right, with the trim ring around the soundhole.

    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  12. #10

    Default Re: 2 Oval=Holes With Different Feels and Voices

    I had a Summit A oval which was beautiful, especially the absolutely gorgeous spruce top. While this mandolin had an acceptable overall tone, it was really quite unremarkable, especially in the higher registers. I kept it about 3 years and then sold it. At the same time I owned (and still own) a 1921 Gibson A. The overall tone of this mando is absolutely magical. I've decided that my Gibson fills my oval holes. I think my #2 mandolin will be an MD-305 which has a great F hole tone and a simple appearance much like my Gibby.

  13. #11
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 Oval=Holes With Different Feels and Voices

    That Hester is beautiful, a work of art! I have an '12 F-4 and a '23 snakehead, they sound very different from each other. I like both and would favor the snakehead for chopping and driving bluegrass. The F-4 is sweet and good for melodies and double stops. I have 2 Ferns that are more than 20 years apart and they sound very different from each other. Both are pleasing to me but different.
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

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    Default Re: 2 Oval=Holes With Different Feels and Voices

    My 3 main mandolins all have different sounds, I use them for different situations. I COULD use one for all types of music, but I prefer to use the one best suited for the music I want to play, and what I want it to sound like. Fortunately, my life partner and I agree that as long as all the bills are paid, each of our discretionary incomes are to our discretion.

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  16. #13

    Default Re: 2 Oval=Holes With Different Feels and Voices

    I got these pics yesterday from Max Girouard. I have a two point oval from them, along with a Campanella A440, several Collings in different "flavors", but this is starting to look exciting. We are still a few weeks out, but it will be interesting to see how this turns out sonically. Visually, it's looking like WOW!Click image for larger version. 

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    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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  18. #14
    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 Oval=Holes With Different Feels and Voices

    Mandobar, What it the top wood? Looks wonderful.
    Tony Huber
    1930 Martin Style C #14783
    2011 Mowry GOM
    2013 Hester F4 #31
    2014 Ellis F5 #322
    2017 Collings MT2-O #3666
    2017 Nyberg Mandola #172

  19. #15

    Default Re: 2 Oval=Holes With Different Feels and Voices

    I believe it is cedar from Bruce Harvey's stash.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  20. #16
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 Oval=Holes With Different Feels and Voices

    They are making some beautiful mandolins!

  21. #17
    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 Oval=Holes With Different Feels and Voices

    I would love to hear that beauty after you get it. Cedar Girouard is an intriguing thought, oval none the less.
    Tony Huber
    1930 Martin Style C #14783
    2011 Mowry GOM
    2013 Hester F4 #31
    2014 Ellis F5 #322
    2017 Collings MT2-O #3666
    2017 Nyberg Mandola #172

  22. #18

    Default Re: 2 Oval=Holes With Different Feels and Voices

    Quote Originally Posted by red7flag View Post
    I would love to hear that beauty after you get it. Cedar Girouard is an intriguing thought, oval none the less.
    Be a few weeks yet, although it is something to look forward to.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  23. #19

    Default Re: 2 Oval=Holes With Different Feels and Voices

    I have an MT2-O and a ‘24 A-Jr. I notice the sound difference between the two but they’re closer in sound than any of the 14/15 fret hybrids I’ve played. I’m assuming the Hester is similar in sound to the A-Jr. and if so I agree with you on some items you mentioned. I just don’t quite understand the “tight” and “stark” comments. I ordered my Collings with an Englemann top but I doubt that makes a big difference. I wouldn’t describe my Collings as tight by any means nor would I describe it as loose or (as) tubby as the A-Jr. I’m also not sure what you mean by stark, but that would not be a word I’d use to describe the Collings. The Collings has tone (and overtones) for days, as does the old Gibson. The Collings doesn’t handle being played lightly as well as the Gibson but it handles being wailed on better.

    In the end I love them both and it took me years to realize that and in the case of the Gibson years to find the one that rang all the bells. Always interesting hearing others takes on these things, ears, playing styles, wants, likes are all so different.
    Gunga......Gunga.....Gu-Lunga

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