Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 38

Thread: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

  1. #1
    Registered User Mike Romkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Bettendorf, Iowa
    Posts
    504
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Loar+Shipp+ensemble.jpeg 
Views:	61 
Size:	17.4 KB 
ID:	185169

    I was just looking at an ad (a favorite pastime) for a “Loar copy” mandolin. It got me wondering: What exactly constitutes a “Loar copy”?

    What does that really mean? What diffentiates an “authentic” Loar copy from a “this is for marketing purposes” Loar copy? Aren’t all F5s essentially Loar copies — ranging from good to horrible copies?

    Further, if you follow the blueprints and so-and-so’s measurements and tolerances, does the physical creation of said mandolin constitute a Loar copy? Or does it take something extra — the maker’s skill and that added secret something that a Gilchrist or Dudenbostel brings to the project (not that I’ve known them to say they are building “Loar copies”)? In other words, is building a Loar copy a matter of following the recipe and using the proper materials, or does it take more than that?

    Is it to some degree a matter of luck and the grace of God? Master Builder Bob makes two Loar copies. One is fantastic. The other one is a pretty good instrument but not really that special.

    Are some Loar copies more Loar-like than other? There there semi-Loar copies? Attempted Loar copies? Inspired by Loar copies? In homage to Loar copies?

    Finally, is it possible for somebody who really knows the general sound of Loars to play one of these Loar copies and have a reasonable sense whether it is or isn’t Loar-like? Assuming it is possible (that would be my guess), how often do these folks play a “Loar copy” and say, “Wow! This is a good Loar copy!” Does that *ever* happen? Or maybe it happens … all the time. I’m just asking the question. I don’t know.

    In short, does calling an F5 mandolin a Loar copy have any meaning whatsoever?

    I’m not trying to nitpick or be sarcastic. I have a Red Diamond “July 9,” which is supposed to be a Loar copy. It’s an amazing mandolin. I don’t have words to tell you how good it is. A couple of good players have told me it’s the best-sounding mandolin they’ve ever heard. As I understand it, it is a Loar copy from a maker reputed to be especially good at copying Loars. Is it really Loar like? I dunno. I played a Loar once, a long time ago, when I wouldn’t have known the difference between a Loar and a new F9.

    I’m envisioning several possibilities:

    1. It is indeed possible, by making measurements and testing wood flexibility, etc., to reliably build a new mandolin — indeed, to build a run of multiple new mandolins — that fall into the broad category, mostly sonically, of being legit Loar copies.

    2. It is possible to try to build a mandolin to Loar specs, as above, and that fact is a meaningful claim. However, the mandolin’s ultimate quality of being Loar-like is up to the (knowledgeable) player to determine. In other words, attempting to build a Loar copy does not necessarily result in what is one can meaningfully termed a Loar copy, except in a mechanical/engineering/construction sense.

    3. There are all kinds of great mandolins, intentional Loar copies and otherwise, and some, by purpose or happenstance, can be called modern analogs to Loars.

    4. None of this has any practical meaning. A Loar is a historical artifact. All F5s are to a greater or lesser degree descendants of those mandolins. Each stands on its own merits. Labeling can tell you a something about intention and marketing, but said information is of relatively low resolution.
    '09 Gilchrist Model 1, “July 9” Red Diamond F-5, '12 Duff F-5, '19 Collings MT2, ’24 A2-Z, ’24 F-2, '13 Collings mandola, '82 D-35, Gibson Keb Mo.

  2. #2
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine Beach FL
    Posts
    4,716

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    This thread from a while back should answer a lot of your questions.....

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...lsey+loar+copy
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  3. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Charles E. For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Registered User Mike Romkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Bettendorf, Iowa
    Posts
    504
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Thanks, Charles. That IS an interesting thread. I'm not wondering so much about mandolins that are intentional replicas, with careful distressing, that with bad intentions might even constitute a counterfeit. My question is whether it is meaningful to call a new or newish mandolin a "Loar copy," and if so, in what sense.
    '09 Gilchrist Model 1, “July 9” Red Diamond F-5, '12 Duff F-5, '19 Collings MT2, ’24 A2-Z, ’24 F-2, '13 Collings mandola, '82 D-35, Gibson Keb Mo.

  5. The following members say thank you to Mike Romkey for this post:


  6. #4
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Posts
    2,809
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    All F-5 mandolins are built in respect to Loar F-5's as Loar F-5's were the first made, most all are built on that platform but only a few could be considered exact replicas or tributes! I've heard of a few built by independent makers but the closest I've ever seen are the 5's built by Gary Vessel-the one I currently own is the closest I've seen and was discussed here a few years ago. Its his Loar Tribute with a Virzi installed, he pretty much nailed it as far as looks-finish-build-even the say imperfections of what an original Loar F-5 has. Loars were far from say perfect like some of the builds today!

    Builders today have their builds just about perfect as there is way more knowledge in building, the use of CNC machines to do most all the hard work while everything original Loar was hand made and cut-inlays etc...a load of mandolins are very consistent due to the use of CNC machines like the shops of Collings, Ellis etc..the newer Gibson MM's under DAVID HARVEY are probably the best Gibson mandolins made since the 1920's-30's and even the 30's Gibson's vary in terms of being constructed to the Loar level! They are built heavier, thicker lacquer compared to the varnish of the 22-early 25 Loars and say the unsigned Loars. Even the mid 20's F-5's vary due to the different lacquer used as they changed it a few times till circa 1929 when the thicker spray lacquer was used. Some late 20's thru the 30's have the tone bars in the correct Loar position but many don't as the old build guard was fading out as new blood came to work!

    Really mandolins built today are built with way more perfection but what I've learned while most sound awesome there is still nothing like wrapping your paws around the real deal! I'm a firm believer in the old aged wood and the more age and the more played the better-just my opinion that many of the old timers agree immensely about that, instruments will go to sleep and will open up! Case in point is my 24 Loar F-5. Mine came from a pawnshop in the 1990's and barely played-original everything even frets and sat with the owner for over 20 years and when I got her it was very tight but now after solid playing it is a beast-has opened up greatly and is a splendid Loar! I've had new mandolins and after awhile of break in they were a ton better.

    This is just my thoughts on this subject, we are living in a mando world of greatness with some of the best builders ever! We have great builders like Oliver Apitius, Lynn Dudenbostel, Steve Gilchrist, Don MacRostie, Gary Vessel, David Harvey, Randy Wood, Paul Duff and the list can go on and on-way too many to list as these builders have it going on in the traditional way and their own way!

  7. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to William Smith For This Useful Post:


  8. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    27,126

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Loar :: Loar Copy = Stradivari Violin :: Stradivari violin copy. In other words a copy is a copy. You can have a $50 Strad copy or a $14,000 Strad copy. I have a good friend who is one of the very top makers of violins and his is well-known for his Strad copies. I think he is getting close to $100,000 for his these days.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  9. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Jim Garber For This Useful Post:


  10. #6
    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Dickson, TN
    Posts
    3,225

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    I have played 4 Loars. Two were mind blowing. Both had tone and feel. The body just seem to reverberate in my hands. Both of those were played on a regular basis. The other two were great disappointments. Both were owned by luthiers and for the most part were not played. Both were not as good as the luthiers mandolins. There are some F5s that attempt to recreate the Loar sound. Red Diamond and Stanley come to my mind. There are others like Ellis and Collings that seem to have carved out a different sound that is distinct from the Loar, but strong in its own. I have owned a Stanley and a Gibson Ricky Skaggs distressed Master Model. Both were outstanding replicas of the Loar sound, but just to me the Ellis speaks to me and my playing more. I have a very knowledgeable friend that feels that the Ricky Skaggs was the best mandolin I have owned. I sold my first Ellis to get the Ricky Skaggs, then sold the Ricky Skaggs to get Tom to make me another Ellis. So it goes.
    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

  11. The following members say thank you to red7flag for this post:


  12. #7

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Romkey View Post
    Aren’t all F5s essentially Loar copies —
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Romkey View Post
    ...ranging from good to horrible copies?
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Romkey View Post
    None of this has any practical meaning. A Loar is a historical artifact. All F5s are to a greater or lesser degree descendants of those mandolins. Each stands on its own merits. Labeling can tell you a something about intention and marketing, but said information is of relatively low resolution.
    Exactly!
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

  13. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to FLATROCK HILL For This Useful Post:


  14. #8
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Kalamazoo, MI.
    Posts
    7,169

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    P[QUOTE=FLATROCK HILL;1768074]Yes.



    Yes.



    Exactly

    Three words summed up a lot!
    Flatrock!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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


  16. #9
    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Grass Valley
    Posts
    555

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Hey Mike!! Are you a school teacher? College prof? You sound like you are handing out an assignment!!!

    Billy
    Billy Packard
    Gilchrist A3, 1993
    Weber Fern, 2007
    Gibson F4 Hybrid #1, D. Harvey 2009
    Gibson 1923 A2
    Numerous wonderful guitars

  17. #10
    Registered User JAK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    California
    Posts
    799

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    A few years ago I was at Grass Valley, CA, at the CBA's Father's Day Festival. There was a Vessel exact Loar copy for sale in the luthiers' hut, and if I remember right a copy of the label signed by Lloyd Loar. Patrick Sauber (Tim O'Brien Band, Laurie Lewis Band, etc.) was playing in a band on the main stage for a couple of days. I played the Vessel copy one day, went back the next day just to look at it, but it was sold; Patrick Sauber took it home with him (if I remember correctly). You may have seen and played that one too Billy?
    John A. Karsemeyer

  18. #11
    Registered User Mike Romkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Bettendorf, Iowa
    Posts
    504
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    I am a retired newspaper editor and novelist. For extra credit, tell which mandolin is on my lap at this very moment.
    '09 Gilchrist Model 1, “July 9” Red Diamond F-5, '12 Duff F-5, '19 Collings MT2, ’24 A2-Z, ’24 F-2, '13 Collings mandola, '82 D-35, Gibson Keb Mo.

  19. #12
    Registered User Mike Romkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Bettendorf, Iowa
    Posts
    504
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    I've never run into a Vessel mandolin. I would love to play one some time. William Smith, I've read about yours. It must be quite a wonderful instrument.

    You know, sometimes I wonder about things that are maybe obvious, but that's partly based on a life as a newspaper editor and quizzing reporters about what a word or phrase they used means ... what it means exactly. When somebody goes to the trouble of saying that the mandolin they are hoping to sell is a "Loar copy," it gets me wondering if that has any particular significance.

    I guess it does only in a limited sense, as when somebody like Don Macrostie sets out to deliberately build a mandolin that sounds like this or that Loar. Otherwise, it's just a meaningless general label, like "Stradivarius" or "Guarneri."

    I perhaps should have been quicker to assume the phrase "Loar copy" can be added to "deep woody chop" and the rest of the meaningless sales come-ons. I was naive to think it might possibly have some significance.
    '09 Gilchrist Model 1, “July 9” Red Diamond F-5, '12 Duff F-5, '19 Collings MT2, ’24 A2-Z, ’24 F-2, '13 Collings mandola, '82 D-35, Gibson Keb Mo.

  20. #13

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by JAK View Post
    I played the Vessel copy one day, went back the next day just to look at it, but it was sold; Patrick Sauber took it home with him (if I remember correctly). You may have seen and played that one too Billy?
    I've played Patrick's Vessel....it's REALLY good.

    I'm biased though, as I own Nathan Liver's Vessel.

  21. #14
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Pottstown, Pennsylvania, United States
    Posts
    13,913
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    I would say a faithful Loar copy would be made with similar woods and graduations on the plates and use the same type of glue. Have a similar neck profile and offset, similar hardware and finish materials. Whether it is distressed or not is not as important to me.

    Cosmetically, scrolly F5 mandolins are all related to a Loar Copy. Some are just the black sheep of the family. (exceptions for the Loar Signed A5).

    Remember, he didn't build them...

    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

    + Give Blood, Save a Life +

  22. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,081

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    I believe my Halsey to be the closest to a Loar that I have played. My old DMM prototype was a close 2nd...
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	AF7F3BEC-A60E-4196-91ED-9E159D0F2034.jpg 
Views:	103 
Size:	1.65 MB 
ID:	185260

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	C917CF82-A460-48BD-AA68-F3289DB72CBB.jpg 
Views:	86 
Size:	932.3 KB 
ID:	185261

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	80D7A55E-81E9-4224-A9A6-B0221D997AE1.jpg 
Views:	100 
Size:	952.4 KB 
ID:	185262
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	1xM2Av+TSmiEOyJ+K+hWcw.jpg 
Views:	64 
Size:	1.03 MB 
ID:	185256   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_1306.jpg 
Views:	46 
Size:	558.2 KB 
ID:	185257   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	X2CQ0gpIT7SZhTdwafQ12Q.jpg 
Views:	49 
Size:	574.7 KB 
ID:	185258  

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	AA1DFD7D-C13A-4A06-AA6A-B538C909A5D9.jpg 
Views:	49 
Size:	1.03 MB 
ID:	185259  
    Last edited by Demetrius; Apr-27-2020 at 12:15am.

  23. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to Demetrius For This Useful Post:


  24. #16
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    1,197

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Romkey View Post
    I am a retired newspaper editor and novelist. For extra credit, tell which mandolin is on my lap at this very moment.
    One of yours. Or Someone else’s. Probably has eight strings.

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


  26. #17
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    1,717

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Demetrius View Post
    I believe my Halsey to be the closest to a Loar that I have played. My old DMM prototype was a close 2nd...
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	AF7F3BEC-A60E-4196-91ED-9E159D0F2034.jpg 
Views:	103 
Size:	1.65 MB 
ID:	185260

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	C917CF82-A460-48BD-AA68-F3289DB72CBB.jpg 
Views:	86 
Size:	932.3 KB 
ID:	185261

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	80D7A55E-81E9-4224-A9A6-B0221D997AE1.jpg 
Views:	100 
Size:	952.4 KB 
ID:	185262
    Now that´s a dandy! What year was it made? When did you get it? How does it compare to the Wiens that you had (Loar tone vs. modern tone etc.)? I´d really like to know.
    Olaf

  27. #18
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Posts
    2,809
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    I forgot about bill halsey's builds! That is one ultra fine looking f-5, i'd love to play that baby! His craftsmenship is perfect. I don't believe i've ever even heard one of his builds. Wasn't he a gibson employee long ago? I can't imagine he's built too many as i don't think i've even seen one for sale-so that tells you something right there! That is very nice dem-have you done a youtube video of her by chance-myself along with others would love to hear it to get an idea.

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


  29. #19
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Posts
    2,809
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    At the recent banjothon/loar fest I got to play well many Loars and Ferns even late 30's F-5's but Don Macrostie was there with a bunch of his builds with his torrefication process and WOW, they may be the best sounding newer mandolins I've ever played or heard, myself and Scott Napier-who is a fantastic player by the way were checking them out and comparing them and I was in awe of the sound and tone these put out! Simply amazing mandolins-Don has it down and oh yes someday one will be mine-don't need it but sure wouldn't mind having one, awesome.

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


  31. #20

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Strad copies and violin copies are a bit different because makers like Amati, Maggini, and others of the Cremona school used different body sizes (and shapes), scroll shapes, scroll mass (carving), etc. Yes, it's nice that people like tradition, but you can copy a shape, but the sound is part of a whole mixture of variables. Environments affect wood, terrified or not, there is really no replacement for vintage tone. People are making some great instruments these days, Loar copy or not, but take a page out of the Strad playbook where recently a lot of experimentation has led to blind taste testing. In all of the taste tests, comparing actually Strads to contemporary builds, the overall majority preferred the contemporary makers' instruments, without evening knowing who built them. When I started buying violins I began reading about all the different makers, their styles, and I have to tell you, I think learning about violins and trying to figure out valuations is something you could spend a lifetime trying to master. Trying to figure out which Roth era is valued over any other is an experience in itself.

    Halsey (who has not made many mandolins) is a very well-known bow maker. I'm not even sure that he is making anything other than bows and the occasional violin these days.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  32. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,081

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Thanks Olaf,
    Yes! it definitely is a dandy as well as an MAS destroyer. Hands down the best mandolin I've ever owned...
    It is a 2007 and I purchased it maybe 3 months ago? I had been on the pursuit for one of Bill's mandolins for about three years now but as you may know he's only made about a dozen of them.
    It is Loar tone through and through, with that response all over the neck you only get in older mandolins. I have no plans to buy another mandolin and don't see the need to own more than just this one...


    Quote Originally Posted by grassrootphilosopher View Post
    Now that´s a dandy! What year was it made? When did you get it? How does it compare to the Wiens that you had (Loar tone vs. modern tone etc.)? I´d really like to know.

  33. #22
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Kalamazoo, MI.
    Posts
    7,169

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    I forgot about bill halsey's builds! That is one ultra fine looking f-5, i'd love to play that baby! His craftsmenship is perfect. I don't believe i've ever even heard one of his builds. Wasn't he a gibson employee long ago? I can't imagine he's built too many as i don't think i've even seen one for sale-so that tells you something right there! That is very nice dem-have you done a youtube video of her by chance-myself along with others would love to hear it to get an idea.
    Bill was involved with the initial F-5L project with Roger Siminoff and Aaron Cowels but, aside from that he was not “employed” at the factory.
    Demetrius, take a close up of the treble side point, showing the dovetail detail on the point.
    I’ve been lucky enough to have played several of Bill’s mandolins, the one Demetrius has is the prototype I enjoyed for about seven months. It was a joy to play. I’m glad it’s in the hands of someone will get some real use out of it.
    Bill was the reason I started playing mandolin in the first place, he instilled in me a real appreciation of the intricacies of mandolin construction as well as bowmaking, he is a real treasure. Everything I have seen him make has been a think of beauty. And on top of that he is just one of the most pleasant people I ever hope to meet!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  34. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Timbofood For This Useful Post:


  35. #23
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    5,379

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Halsey certainly has the aesthetics down. Got any pics of the back Dem?

  36. #24
    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Lawrence, KS
    Posts
    2,282
    Blog Entries
    10

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    For those interested in Halsey there was a substantial bit of his writing about Gibson F-5L's from 2010 in this article--scroll down a ways to find it: The F-5L Mandolin - A turning point in the history of Gibson's acoustic string instruments

  37. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to Mandolin Cafe For This Useful Post:


  38. #25
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,081

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandolin Cafe View Post
    For those interested in Halsey there was a substantial bit of his writing about Gibson F-5L's from 2010 in this article--scroll down a ways to find it: The F-5L Mandolin - A turning point in the history of Gibson's acoustic string instruments
    Thank you for posting that, it didn't even occur to me to do so.

    Best,
    Dem

Posting Permissions

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