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Thread: Lyon & Healy Style A, B, C fretboard - all radiused?

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    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
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    Default Lyon & Healy Style A, B, C fretboard - all radiused?

    My Style A has a radiused fretboard. However I have seen reference, by prominent luthiers, to original Style A's having radiused as well as flat fretboards. Can anyone shed light on these differing opinions? Also, when did radiused fretboards become a "thing"?

    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” ― Albert Schweitzer

    1925 Lyon & Healy Model A, #1674
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    Default Re: Lyon & Healy Style A, B, C fretboard - all radiused?

    The Lyon & Healy carved mandolins varied in specifications over the years. I have seen quite a few, but I don't recall if any had flat boards. I think it would be more likely to see a flat board on one of the later instruments, when they were looking for ways to cut manufacturing costs.

    Widespread interest in radiused fretboards on mandolins is a recent trend.

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    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lyon & Healy Style A, B, C fretboard - all radiused?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Logan View Post
    My Style A has a radiused fretboard. However I have seen reference, by prominent luthiers, to original Style A's having radiused as well as flat fretboards. Can anyone shed light on these differing opinions? Also, when did radiused fretboards become a "thing"?
    I believe radiuses boards became "a thing" after Grisman started playing and touting the virtues of John Monteleone mandolins. Monteleone made David a mandolin that had a radiused board to combat the tendonitis that was plaguing him at the time.

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    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lyon & Healy Style A, B, C fretboard - all radiused?

    From the first two responses (thank you!!!) it sounds as if Lyon & Healy was ahead of its time, yes? I know nothing about Gibsons - but am wondering if they also offered radiused fretboards in the 1920's as well? Thanks again.

    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” ― Albert Schweitzer

    1925 Lyon & Healy Model A, #1674
    2015 Collings A (MT2-V)
    2018 Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia
    2020 Burgin Shanghai Octave Mandolin - in progress

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lyon & Healy Style A, B, C fretboard - all radiused?

    Yes Gibson had radius boards on some Loar F-5's! If I remember correctly Ronnie McCourys Loar has a factory radius board. And on their Loar L-5's they were radius, not positive on their other teens and 20's guitars?

    Oh some Gibson mandolins from the 30's had radius boards that I've had!
    Last edited by William Smith; Oct-05-2020 at 6:40am.

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    Default Re: Lyon & Healy Style A, B, C fretboard - all radiused?

    The Italians may have got there first! Roman mandolins from about 1890, often had radiused fingerboards. They were a feature which helped make Embergher mandolins successful amongst professional players. Later makers in the Embergher style, such as Raffaele Valente and Pasquale Pecoraro continued the tradition into modern times. Lyon and Healy may have based their fingerboards on the Roman design.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lyon & Healy Style A, B, C fretboard - all radiused?

    Yes, radiused boards were a feature of the Roman style of mandolins. This went along with the idea of making them closer (sort of) to violins which, of course, always have radiused fingerboards.

    Getting back to Lyon & Healy though. I just checked on my two. On both my earlier one (pre-1921 with the longer scale) and the later (short scale, Washburn labeled) I can see no radius on either fretboard. I wonder if that was an occasional custom request by some players. I even checked out Stan Jay's description for a rare extended fretboard De Pace model and he didn't mention any radius to the fretboard.

    I looked through my catalogs as well as Hubert's Washburn book and there are no mentions of radiused fretboards. I don't doubt that they existed but I guess the main question is whether they were offered as an option or that they were modified later. I would think that the radius would also be incorporated into the bridge as well as the fretboard.

    Very hard to show radiuses in photos but here are mine (earlier on left):

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Lyon & Healy Style A, B, C fretboard - all radiused?

    Washburn/L&H Style A #2349 flat board.

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    Default Re: Lyon & Healy Style A, B, C fretboard - all radiused?

    L & H style C, #420. Very gently radiused board, original frets.
    L & H style B, #837. Radiused board. I can not comment on the degree of radius, the instrument was sold many years ago.

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    Pataphysician Joe Bartl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lyon & Healy Style A, B, C fretboard - all radiused?

    L & H style A, #2356 (1925). Flat board.

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