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Thread: Old vs New Oval

  1. #51
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Hi all. The Pomeroy arrived yesterday (thanks to The Mandolin Store). It's beautiful. And it has the clarity that I was hoping for and that will make it better for old time jams. The neck (not the nut width) is smaller than an old gibson and the radiused fretboard and big frets make it easy to play. This is just a quick and dirty video to show it. I recommend Pomeroys highly.
    Cary Fagan

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  3. #52
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    And a much mentioned Mike Black A mandolin just landed....

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/158256#158256

    That won't last long.

    NFI
    Yes, that looked great and was priced to fly off the shelf. I have a really early Mike Black A2-z (currently on his bench for some TLC) that I adore. I like it over a dozen or so teens and early '20s Gibsons that I owned at different times. The Black has modern refinements that help both playability and sound. I found with the old Gibsons that there were usually a few notes that had an inconsistent response—hollow yet piercing at the same time—that just drilled an auditory hole into my brain. The Black has the classic teens Gibson sound, but the response is consistent throughout its entire range.

  4. #53
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    I, too, am a big fan of the modernized Gibson oval sound. I found my favorite example in my Brentrup A4C. It was exactly what I was looking for. Similar in feel but refined tone and volume. I do like the Pomeroy above and heard great things about Mike Black’s work, too.
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  5. #54
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    I actually had 3 different Gibsons sent to me when I was visiting in Florida, one at a time. The first from a very well known store had action that was way too high and with a fixed bridge I couldn't tell if it was a neck problem or what. Sent it back. The second, from a very well known dealer who also claimed it was in terrific playing condition, turned out to have a bowed neck (buzzing up the fretboard). The third, from an individual, seemed to have a sinking top requiring me to keep raising the adjustable brige (which wasn't apparent at first so not his fault). All sent back. Then I tried a builder's hybrid oval, even though I haven't personally been fond of the modern hybrids I've tried. It turned out to have a bowed neck too so needed to go back and though I would have kept it otherwise I didn't love the sound. That's when I started to think seriously about the modern Gibson style builders. I almost bought that Mike Black used A1 that was in the classifieds but the owner decided it needed some tlc from a luthier before selling and took it down. (Keep your eye out for it.) And then the Pomeroy came up. It is x-braced rather than transverse (Gibson), has an engelman top, and since it has a (two way, I think) truss rod the neck is much less chunky and easier to play. Plus of course the radiused board and big frets. And no intonation issues. I still think old Gibsons are great if you can get one you love but I'm pretty sure that I'll stick with this one. It's definitely the sound I want.
    Cary Fagan

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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    We have two Weber Oval holes from 2003 and 2009 in our house. They are great with a full, loud sound. That Pomeroy is a a winner too!

  7. #56
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    And you sound awfully fine on them, Bob.
    Cary Fagan

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  9. #57

    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Sounds strong, Cary. Enjoy!
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    Registered User Mike Romkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    I have a '24 A2Z and a Gil from the first batch. Both rock. I'm south of you in Iowa. If ya want to meet up for a sampling, get in touch.
    '20 Ellis A5 Tradition, '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. http://www.bucktownrevue.com

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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Love my Girouard A and F ovals !

  12. #60
    Registered User usqebach's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    I was revisiting this thread, and in a mad rush of blood, am considering a traditional oval A from a modern maker as a foil to my '24 (ish?) snakehead, a '17 A4 with some top issues, and a '17 Pumpkintop A that was my first love but is now with an artist on a long-term loan.

    Does anyone know if Gail Hester is still making?? A web search doesn't turn up any easy way to find her.
    Jim Sims

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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Quote Originally Posted by usqebach View Post
    I was revisiting this thread, and in a mad rush of blood, am considering a traditional oval A from a modern maker as a foil to my '24 (ish?) snakehead, a '17 A4 with some top issues, and a '17 Pumpkintop A that was my first love but is now with an artist on a long-term loan.

    Does anyone know if Gail Hester is still making?? A web search doesn't turn up any easy way to find her.
    I don't know the answer but you should check out ovals from Max Girouard !

  14. #62
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Quote Originally Posted by usqebach View Post
    Does anyone know if Gail Hester is still making?? A web search doesn't turn up any easy way to find her.
    The Cafe turns up an easy way to find her: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/m...71-Gail-Hester

    Gail builds incredible mandolins, but few of them and at her own pace. I was lucky to stumble into one of her used A5's secondhand.

    For a traditional oval A from a modern maker as a foil to my '24 snakehead, I commissioned a build from Mike Black: http://blackmandolins.com/index.html
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  15. #63
    Registered User usqebach's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Thanks for passing that along!
    Jim Sims

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  17. #64
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Quote Originally Posted by usqebach View Post
    I was revisiting this thread, and in a mad rush of blood, am considering a traditional oval A from a modern maker as a foil to my '24 (ish?) snakehead, a '17 A4 with some top issues, and a '17 Pumpkintop A that was my first love but is now with an artist on a long-term loan.

    Does anyone know if Gail Hester is still making?? A web search doesn't turn up any easy way to find her.
    It depends on what you consider a traditional oval A. I was in your boat a few years ago—what I wanted was a modernized version of a Gibson A which, to me, meant transverse bracing and shorter neck to get similar tone but with that modernized feel. I found that in my Brentrup but Gail Hester, I believe, makes ones like that as well and Mike Black, Peter Sawchyn and maybe a few others. Girouard says on their website that their ovals are x-braced which to me gives you a much tighter sound eliminating some of the overtones that you get with your old Gibsons. Also the necks are longer joined at the 12th fret. I believe Collings does similarly and do most makers of ovals these days. See below from the Girouard site. In any case, I hear they are wonderful mandolins but may or may not be what you are looking for.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Jim

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  18. #65
    Registered User usqebach's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Jim,
    Thanks for the info. We go way back with some mutual shared interest of Old Time music and these classic mandolins.

    What started this all was the Mike Black A4 in the classifieds a couple of days ago. I called Greg Boyd's about it, but it still unpriced at the time I called. When I found out the price later on, I decided to sleep on the decision. Well, I "snoozed and loozed" because it got snapped up right away. So now I've had a chance to cool down and am approaching this more rationally.

    First, I've got to get an elbow rehabbed. Surprisingly, fiddle, mandolin, and right handed golf all aggravate the same tendon, and I've been fighting it for a year now. I could always play in pain, but i won't recover until I reduce the inflammation. Exercises and cortisone shot have proved ineffective. Anyway, my own saga. But I'm reluctant to add another instrument to the herd until I'm confident I will want to play it.

    You were right with your first sentence. I specifically want a short neck, fingerboard on the top, transverse braced A-model with a truss rod (rounded) neck. I can't find a comfortable hand position with the sharp and splayed v-neck of the earlier Gibson paddleheads. My snakehead offers all that, but the top has worn down (not by me) to foster that "serrated cardboard" feel under my right hand. It's also really punchy and bright. Good for chords in a jam session, but not so sweet for melodies on the couch at home.

    So if I go forward, I think I could get exactly what I want from Mike Black in short order, or perhaps see if Gail wants to take on a project. I'll look into Peter Sawchin - I like that F-4 at Boyd's but I sold my old Gibby F-4 because I got tired of the "business" of all those scrolls and points.

    Thanks again for the info!
    Jim Sims

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  20. #66
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Jim,

    This is more out of left field, but after your description, have you thought about looking for a late '20's Gibson? My Jr. has a very round neck. Closer to a Stradolin than most other Gibsons I've played. At least from the teens and 30's.

    Hopefully you can find what you're looking for.
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  21. #67
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Girouard says on their website that their ovals are x-braced which to me gives you a much tighter sound eliminating some of the overtones that you get with your old Gibsons.
    I disagree. That is not what X bracing will give you. I have used both the cross brace and X brace in Gibson style oval hole mandolins and have been able to do close comparisons, apples to apples, not oranges to apples. The difference is subtle, the X will give you a slightly more even and more refined sound. A long neck and/or raising the fingerboard has more affect on the sound than an X brace. An X does NOT eliminate some of the overtones. If that is what you are hearing you are most likely comparing oranges to apples. I always preferred the X braced mandolins, and there is a good reason why Girouard also uses an X, and you can be damn sure it is not because overtones are eliminated. There has been way too much exaggeration and mis-information about cross bracing vs X.
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  23. #68
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    We have to ovals at our house both X braced and both killer in the sound department and great players to boot.

  24. #69
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Just for matter of interest, my Pomeroy neck is rounded, not v-shaped at all. Pomeroys are x-braced, however. Mike Black does both.
    Cary Fagan

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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    You may be right, Peter. Perhaps it is the bridge placement on the shorter necks but my two x-braced mandolins: 83 Flatiron A5-2 and Campanella have very different tones than my Brentrup which is very close to the Gibson tone of my 23 A-2. I do however love both of them because they are so different.

    In any case, I was not casting any aspersions on Girouard and I would love to play one someday however they also have the longer neck. I do know from my personal experience that I was not particularly enamored of the oval hole Collings I have played and preferred their A-5 models. So it goes. I use by ears and hands to judge instruments that appeal to me and don't disparage anyone who loves the ones I don't.
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  26. #71
    Registered User usqebach's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Eric,
    That's a very interesting thought. My snakehead has a nice rounded neck with a truss-rod, so it fits that bill. I can't logically explain why I'm looking for a new build at this point, other than the "new" (2015) BRW that is my avatar and how pleased I am with it. If logic had anything to do with my decisions, I'd have only one mandolin and a lot more $$!
    Jim Sims

    " Amateurs practice until they get it right - professionals practice until they can't get it wrong."
    "Me?... I don't practice."

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  28. #72
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    "If logic had anything to do with my decisions, I'd have only one mandolin and a lot more $$! " Jim Sims Logic and MAS just don't go together !!

  29. #73
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Quote Originally Posted by usqebach View Post
    Eric,
    That's a very interesting thought. My snakehead has a nice rounded neck with a truss-rod, so it fits that bill. I can't logically explain why I'm looking for a new build at this point, other than the "new" (2015) BRW that is my avatar and how pleased I am with it. If logic had anything to do with my decisions, I'd have only one mandolin and a lot more $$!
    No kidding. Am in the same boat. I really don't need all that I have. But, well, there they are. I keep myself amused saying eventually I will trade them all on a "good" one some day.
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  30. #74
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Eric, You have some pretty reasonable mandolins at best. In part I think the mandolin cafe tricks people into wanting more than they have and replacing what are solid well rounded mandolins with the promise of something better. It becomes a merry-go-round.
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  32. #75
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Gellie View Post
    Eric, You have some pretty reasonable mandolins at best. In part I think the mandolin cafe tricks people into wanting more than they have and replacing what are solid well rounded mandolins with the promise of something better. It becomes a merry-go-round.
    Thanks. I think it's also the old problem of not being able to get the sound I hear in my head to translate through my hands. Although whether that is technique or instrument is a discussion for another time. Will also admit to having friends play some very nice instruments, so a bit of envy is also there. It's lastly also trying to find an instrument that is pleasing to me sitting around at home, while still being able to be heard in our full band while practicing acoustically. That's the final tough part. And then whether that sound translates from the full band, playing Finnish folk to my duo which plays other Nordic and Quebec music, or the group that plays more Upper Midwest old-time(y) (a combination of old time, Nordic and Irish). It's tough. Some can do it. I've not been able to so far.
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