Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 26 to 43 of 43

Thread: How did the "curl" on the mandolin body evolve?

  1. #26
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Blue Zone, California
    Posts
    1,425
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: How did the "curl" on the mandolin body evolve?

    It's important to look at period-specific Gibson mandolin markets to understand the popularity of the scroll.

    Historically, there was a ping of intense mandolin interest from the late 1800s to the end of WW1 during which Orville Gibson's mandolin work became socially popular among the well-heeled in the parlor and for community and university mandolin orchestras, similar to S.S. Stewart's work during the "classic banjo" period that predated the mandolin's musical period in time. Orville Gibson built his instruments either with or without the scroll. The more expensive instruments had them, they added visual appeal and balance and perhaps some physical balance along with the points that had recognizable utility value. The scroll on fine violin family acoustic instruments has actually been attributed to provide tonal differences, so there may have been some mandolin related logic for that. Most mandolins were played sitting, so the concept of putting a strap through the scroll wasn't a big influence, and wouldn't be until much later in the mid-1900s.

    Once WW1 ended and the Jazz Period began in earnest, the mandolin could not compete for volume with the horns, jazz banjos and drums, and the semi-classical mandolin had begun slipping out of popularity, along with the 5-string classic-style banjo. By the time Lloyd Loar came along, Orville Gibson's influence in the company had ended and he had subsequently passed away. Gibson as a company hadn't made big commitments to jazz banjos yet and was looking for a way to keep their aging mandolin and meager banjo investments profitable. While a few notable period musicians would continue their work, the Jazz Period would eventually nail the lid on the coffin for both the semi-classical parlor mandolin period and classic banjo period in popular music.

    At this time the mandolin in Gibson's eyes was still a semi-classical instrument. Mandolin was not widely considered a full classical instrument. Bluegrass didn't exist yet and wouldn't be strikingly popular until the mid-to-late 50s and even then interest in new Gibson mandolins for bluegrass would not inspire Gibson to listen to popular demand with its model designs for another 25-30 years. So Loar's mandolin design changes were made to appeal to the dwindling pre-WW1 semi-classical parlor-mandolin period players. In contrast, Loar's guitar designs were extremely successful and popular for this pre-electric Jazz Period because their tone and volume could penetrate better.

    By the time the mid-20s came along, the Gibson company had fully invested in banjos and was successfully pressing them forward for Jazz, and the mandolin fell quietly into the background. Loar had left Gibson on less than pleasant terms and was striking out on his own endeavors, which unfortunately never reached into serious popularity or profitability. His time at Gibson was really a last-ditch stop-gap effort for the company as they switched gears in production to the jazz banjo.

    So the scroll was Orville's design, primarily for visual appeal and balance for his higher-end instruments, but it may also have added some tonal differences. Loar may have specifically changed Orville's design of the scroll in various ways, but it still was primarily on the higher-end instruments. Unlike many other specific features, the scroll wasn't described in Gibson catalogs as being specifically a source of any different sound quality, but was part of the package with the higher-end instruments.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug (plus many other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to dhergert For This Useful Post:


  3. #27
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.1646° N, 74.2083° W
    Posts
    23,991

    Default Re: How did the "curl" on the mandolin body evolve?

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Quote above continues a misunderstanding of Gibson's model designations, that "A" and "F" were initials for words like "Artist" and "Florentine." Gibson assigned letters to different model series, "L" to guitars, "H" to mandolas, "K" to mandocelli, "J" to mando-basses, "U" to harp-guitars. With regard to their banjo lines, the letters did stand for descriptions: "RB" for "regular [or 5-string] banjo," "TB" for tenor banjo, "MB" for mandolin-banjo, etc...
    I missed this, thanks for picking it up. I'm slowing down in my old age.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  4. The following members say thank you to MikeEdgerton for this post:


  5. #28
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    4,145

    Default Re: How did the "curl" on the mandolin body evolve?

    Quote Originally Posted by pit lenz View Post
    Oh, you‘re talking about the thousand-dollar-strapholder?
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Sorensen View Post
    Makes a great strap holder,
    This is the best reason I've heard for the existence of the scroll! lol

  6. #29
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.1646° N, 74.2083° W
    Posts
    23,991

    Default Re: How did the "curl" on the mandolin body evolve?

    I suspect that the Gibson Lyre Mandolins most likely had a letter designation in Orville's records. I'm guessing it would have been B, C, D, or E but that is strictly conjecture on my part. This would have been a great strap hanger as well as having a place to hang your wet socks to dry them out as well.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	00_lyre_front1.jpg 
Views:	13 
Size:	73.3 KB 
ID:	187517  
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  7. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to MikeEdgerton For This Useful Post:


  8. #30
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine Beach FL
    Posts
    4,878

    Default Re: How did the "curl" on the mandolin body evolve?

    If the OP thinks the scroll on the standard F-5 is ugly, he ain't seen nothing yet.....

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...light=oddities
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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


  10. #31
    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Charleston SC
    Posts
    2,475

    Default Re: How did the "curl" on the mandolin body evolve?

    Some argue its a vestigial appendage left over from when mandolins lived in the sea. Possibly a flipper. From the Mandozoic Period.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

  11. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to Astro For This Useful Post:


  12. #32

    Default Re: How did the "curl" on the mandolin body evolve?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Lewis View Post
    I thought wishing to inflame a situation further, do we think the curl adds or the sound? I’ve seen somewhere that it may add a bit of what might be termed compression, with that extra 10cm of air.

    While I have both F and A styles, they’re all different, so I can’t do an a b test.
    I believe that most modern instruments have a solid block inside the scroll, which doesn't add any space to the inside. My 1906 three-point is actually hollow inside the scroll, which might slightly change the tone.

  13. #33
    Registered User Russ Donahue's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    808

    Default Re: How did the "curl" on the mandolin body evolve?

    I can't believe how long this has gone on without one of the cognescenti revealing the true source of "THE CURL." As the illuminated know, it was the Shermgel Family in Bavaria during the 14th century that originated the idea of adding a symbol of power to the stringed instruments coming from their workshops. Passed through the brotherhood, their instruments were used by traveling instrumentalists/proselytizers for the cause. As with any good symbol, it was mistaken, adopted and perverted. Now it is seen as nothing more than fancy (useless) decoration on what once was held to be an icon of authority. For a more complete history, see the Wikipedia entry on Shmergel Destroyer or Shmergel Devestator (that is, if you have the correct code to open THAT version of Wikipedia.)
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Jul-25-2020 at 11:24am. Reason: There is no c in Shmergel per Allen Hopkins
    One watch by night, one watch by day...if you get confused, just listen to the music play.

    1916 Gibson A1, 2013 Collings MF, 2018 Pomeroy Oval V style, 2019 Northfield Big Mon F
    1968 Martin D12-20, 2008 Martin HD28, 2016 Waterloo WLS Deluxe
    1978 Ibanez Artist Masterclone Banjo

  14. The following members say thank you to Russ Donahue for this post:


  15. #34
    Registered User Russ Donahue's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    808

    Default Re: How did the "curl" on the mandolin body evolve?

    Or ask Allen Hopkins....
    One watch by night, one watch by day...if you get confused, just listen to the music play.

    1916 Gibson A1, 2013 Collings MF, 2018 Pomeroy Oval V style, 2019 Northfield Big Mon F
    1968 Martin D12-20, 2008 Martin HD28, 2016 Waterloo WLS Deluxe
    1978 Ibanez Artist Masterclone Banjo

  16. The following members say thank you to Russ Donahue for this post:


  17. #35
    Pittsburgh Bill
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    720
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: How did the "curl" on the mandolin body evolve?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L View Post
    I believe that most modern instruments have a solid block inside the scroll, which doesn't add any space to the inside. My 1906 three-point is actually hollow inside the scroll, which might slightly change the tone.
    I, too, believe this to be accurate for most builders. Of course, builders that are on this site may endorse or debunk this notion. I base my thoughts upon a well known builder recently telling me that he uses his CNC to cut out the tops and bottoms the same for both A and F styles. I do not recall if he included two points in his remarks. He also brought up the fact that at one time A styles were not built with an elevated fret board which did not permit the top to vibrate as an F style did resulting in superior sound from the F Style. He went on to say that he believed the modern A Style with an elevated fret board offers no tonal differences from an F Style when built the same way excluding the fact that no two mandolins sound exactly the same.
    Stiver A style (MAS has stopped here)
    Kentucky KM-950
    Keith Edward Coleman A style, oval hole Mandola
    Weber Gallatin A Mandola "D hole"
    Rogue 100A (current campfire tool)
    Harley Benton A style (grandchildren's learner)

  18. #36
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.1646° N, 74.2083° W
    Posts
    23,991

    Default Re: How did the "curl" on the mandolin body evolve?

    I think you'll find most of the F5 scrolls resemble this on the inside. That doesn't mean everybody does it that way but I'm pretty sure it's the accepted norm. This is the Stewmac F5 kit by the way. I'm pretty sure Don Macrostie probably knows how it's done.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	f5-mandolin-kit.jpg 
Views:	76 
Size:	18.0 KB 
ID:	187594  
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  19. #37
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    16,338

    Default Re: How did the "curl" on the mandolin body evolve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ Donahue View Post
    Or ask Allen Hopkins....
    The only Shmergel model with which I'm familiar is the Devastator -- I think I saw the back of one once, for about 1/4 second, before the guards hurried me away. (That's a-whole-nother story...) Don't think it had a scroll, though the coruscating brilliance of its finish made it hard to pick out details.

    However, rest assured that whatever features a Shmergel may have, they'll be so perfectly functional and esthetically appropriate, that there'll be no argument -- and no extended discussion threads -- about whether we like them or not. The entire design will be accepted by anyone with interest in mandolins.

    Those of you who've read Plato's philosophy extensively -- and I assume there are many out there in Mandolinland -- will recall the idea of the "perfect form" of which any earthly object is only an approximation. (Those a bit rusty on their Plato can catch up in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.) I would contend that Shmergel mandolins, if not the true Platonic forms of the instrument, approach that form more closely than any other mandolinic effort.

    But, of course, that's just one person's opinion.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  20. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to allenhopkins For This Useful Post:


  21. #38
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Blue Zone, California
    Posts
    1,425
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: How did the "curl" on the mandolin body evolve?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    I think you'll find most of the F5 scrolls resemble this on the inside. That doesn't mean everybody does it that way but I'm pretty sure it's the accepted norm. This is the Stewmac F5 kit by the way. I'm pretty sure Don Macrostie probably knows how it's done.
    That's how my F-9 looks inside the scroll. Not completely hollow, but there is some space there. I used to think the points had some space hollowed out too, but nope.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug (plus many other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

  22. #39
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    1,232

    Default Re: How did the "curl" on the mandolin body evolve?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L View Post
    I believe that most modern instruments have a solid block inside the scroll, which doesn't add any space to the inside. My 1906 three-point is actually hollow inside the scroll, which might slightly change the tone.
    That’s interesting. That still might make some difference, maybe. I’m now going to grab my mirror and have a look and see if they are hollow or solid.

    - - - Updated - - -
    Last edited by David Lewis; Jul-26-2020 at 8:26am. Reason: Double post

  23. #40
    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Warwick, NY
    Posts
    3,935

    Default Re: How did the "curl" on the mandolin body evolve?


  24. #41
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.1646° N, 74.2083° W
    Posts
    23,991

    Default Re: How did the "curl" on the mandolin body evolve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom C View Post
    It's featured above in Post 30.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  25. #42
    Registered User Mando a Mando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Brightwood, VA
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: How did the "curl" on the mandolin body evolve?

    I've found another practical use for the scroll besides a place to hook a strap. When tuning in a noisy room, I tune the first course of strings with a tuner then press the scroll to my cheekbone to tune the unison strings. Try that with an A model.

    Werter

  26. #43
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    0.8 mpc from NGC224, upstairs
    Posts
    9,926

    Default Re: How did the "curl" on the mandolin body evolve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mando a Mando View Post
    Try that with an A model.
    I did something like that with a two-point a couple of times: looked to the right, pressed the back of the mandolin against my right ear and moved the tuners behind my left shoulder.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

Posting Permissions

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