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Thread: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

  1. #26
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Demetrius View Post
    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...
    Play it in good health!

    From a brief contact with billbows I have learned that he tries to emulate the sound of Bill Monroe´s July 9th Loar from the early 60ies (if I remember right; it definetly was the sound of the "classic" period). Has he succeded, I wonder. Other threads about his mandolins allways made me want to try out one of his.
    Olaf

  2. #27

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Hi Mike—You make a persuasive case that ANY F-5 mandolin is in some sense a “Loar copy” because the F-5 itself originated in the Loar era. So that it is perhaps one end of a spectrum, and toward the other end is Red Diamond’s effort to recreate a specific Loar instrument, or at least the batch of instruments that Loar signed on a particular date. So since you’d asked does the term “Loar copy” really mean anything, I think the answer is Yes, it can mean a lot of things though not all of them are consistent. Worth noting at the far end of the spectrum of possible meanings is the so-called “bench copy”, a term borrowed from the world of violin making. In that case, the luthier builds a reproduction with the original instrument there on the bench throughout the entire process. Mike Kemnitzer has done this recently with a Loar F-5, also using a “Curtin” device which strikes the string with a pick and can measure volume and harmonic make-up in a quantifiable way that allows for objective comparison between instruments. I have no doubt the results are fantastic. The usual route of measuring the graduations of the top and back of a particular instrument is helpful but is only going to take a builder so far. The original density and stiffness of a particular piece of wood are going to be difficult to account for in a 90-odd year old instrument. And of course there is the overarching question whether the builder is seeking to build a copy that is faithful to what the Loar sounded like when it was new, or is building a new instrument to sound like it’s an exceptional 90-year old one. For what it’s worth, I have read that Mike Kemnitzer, and I’m guessing Don Macrostie probably also, are aiming for the latter. That seems about as close to the ideal of a “Loar copy” as anyone is likely to get! —Richard

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  4. #28
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Bill has been on the “right” wood lookout for a while and had gotten some from my cabinetmaker/banjo player friend of years! He referred to some of it as “slabby” again with a nod to the casual perfection which was the nature of a factory at the time. “Use what we have boys, it’s paid for.” What we see in many F-5’s today is a lot “hotter” than what the company was getting from northern Michigan at the time, at least that is MY take on it.
    I’d suppose that any builder doing really fine work like that is constantly on the lookout for the right wood, and will always look at wood for “that one” project!
    And I agree with you Mr. Mott, bench copies are exactly that, a one to one reproduction, makes perfect sense, what Bill did is amass as much first hand measurements from as many instruments as possible and see what he wanted to glean from the data.
    Before his retirement from a “day job” he was an illustrator draftsman for Parker-Hannifan drawing filters for gasoline pumps among other things
    “Stops, Traps, Screen and Cleans, That’s what the Final Filter does for American’s Gasoline,”
    Back when it was “American Standard” gas stations.
    I guess I am just showing my age now!
    Last edited by Timbofood; Apr-27-2020 at 6:36pm.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  5. #29

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Timothy, Bill would not be the first builder who began life as a draftsman! —R.

  6. #30
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Mott View Post
    Timothy, Bill would not be the first builder who began life as a draftsman! —R.
    Absolutely! Would never even think that he was, many fine craftsmen come from the draftsman/illustrator school.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  7. #31
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Great article on the reamergance of the f5-l in the late 70's! I wonder if ken still has the 1980 f5-l that was wayne benson's-i no longer have his email address but that was my f5-l for awhile and it was a really good one but in the article ken doesn't say it but it had a full internal re-graduation as the original owner who i believe was dewey farmer wasn't impressed with it so he had it re-graduated as it was very heavy-the story i was told, i don't remember who did the work but the luthiers name is written on the inside top.

    I'm also thrilled that gibson got rid of the mortise type neck joint as the traditional dovetail is far superior! I had an 88 f5-l that was great but i let it go because of the neck joint it had. Did gibson start the dovetail neck joints in the late 90's under charlie derrington?

  8. #32

    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Bill is as nice a man as you can meet, speak with. It's the one instrument I still think about

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  10. #33
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    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Growth View Post
    Bill is as nice a man as you can meet, speak with. It's the one instrument I still think about
    He really is such a nice person. I always look forward to our talks. His wife is a lovely person as well...

    Yes it’s not only my favorite mandolin that I have owned but my favorite instrument I’ve owned in general.

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  12. #34
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    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    John Paganoni was one of the earliest builders to copy a Loar. However, he always insisted on placing his own name on the headstock.

    This is his #2, built over 50 years ago.

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  14. #35
    Registered User testore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    Coming from the violin world, a copyist is only a copyist if they are able to make instruments look like the real article. That’s not to say we all don’t make Stradivari patterns or models. That is entirely different than a copy.
    I apply the same to my Loar copies, like this mandola I made a few years ago. This is a copy.
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...ghlight=Vessel
    vesselmandolins.blogspot.com

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  16. #36
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    OH how I LOVE PAGANONI'S-I SURE MISS MINE! John has such a great eye for detail. That #2 is awesome Barry.

  17. #37
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    I can understand the Loar copies, but it's those Loar fakes that get me upset. Early builders (names withheld to protect IDs) would use the Gibson logo, fake Gibson labels, with fake Loar signature and even a fake Loar serial number. Some were obvious fakes, others you had to look closely for details. To me the bottom line is that desire to have a mandolin that sounds like Bill's. Kinda like those banjo pickers wanting a banjo that sounds like Earl's. Bill had a signed Loar and that's the reason for Loar copies and fakes. There simply is no other reason than that.

  18. #38
    Registered User Stephen Cagle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Concerning Loar copy mandolins

    This mandolin looks GREAT! If it sounds anything like it looks boy you got a wonderful mandolin!

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