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Thread: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

  1. #51
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    You forgot mandolins opening up/waking up
    Hah! Yes! Thank you.
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    I remember when just mentioning Ricky Skaggs could cause a small war to break out. I'll take this over that.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    About two months after I built my first mandolin, circa 1998, I was at another well known builder's shop. After about an hour, he causally mentioned, "Clear that junk out from under the bench over there and pull out that old case. You should check out what is inside before you go. You'll probably never get another chance in this lifetime."

    For the rest of the afternoon I was able to play, measure, 'hack, and completely nerd out on the one and only Lloyd Loar signed Griffith A5. It had everything I ever needed or wanted in a mandolin and was wrapped in a nice clean package that was easy to build and had a HUGE voice.

    Since that day, I've played hundreds of great mandolins including about 30 other Loars and I've built 131 mandolins: As, Fs, and beyond.

    Regardless of shape, design, or aperture, I've wished that every single mandolin I made would sound like the Griffith A5.
    Last edited by j. condino; Oct-09-2020 at 10:56pm.

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  6. #54
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    My question was does anyone else dislike Fs because they are uncomfortable to hold?
    The first time I spent a lot of time playing an F style the points bothered me more than I expected. I assumed it would be handy to have the point help rest the instrument on my leg. I was in shorts and not playing with a strap so I get what you're saying some. After weeks of playing it I never thought about it much.

    F style may be pointy and more costly but it's definitely the prettier sister. I'd still rather have two teriffic A5s over one teriffic F5 and the math still says I can.

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    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post
    About two months after I built my first mandolin, circa 1998, I was at another well known builder's shop. After about an hour, he causally mentioned, "Clear that junk out from under the bench over there and pull out that old case. You should check out what is inside before you go. You'll probably never get another chance in this lifetime."

    For the rest of the afternoon I was able to play, measure, 'hack, and completely nerd out on the one and only Lloyd Loar signed Griffith A5. It had everything I ever needed or wanted in a mandolin and was wrapped in a nice clean package that was easy to build and had a HUGE voice.

    Since that day, I've played hundreds of great mandolins including about 30 other Loars and I've built 131 mandolins: As, Fs, and beyond.

    Regardless of shape, design, or aperture, I've wished that every single mandolin I made would sound like the Griffith A5.
    So James the question is have you made one like the Holy Grail of mandolins you seek?
    Nic Gellie

    Breedlove Quartz KO Mandolin
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  10. #56
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Many years ago at Bass Mtn. festival, a guy had an F-5, built without the 2 points. It was made by one of the NC builders, Bob Shue perhaps. It was lighter than a typical F-5, with very smooth and rounded lines to the body. Took a bit getting used to, but it had its appeal.

  11. #57
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Gibson got pretty close in the 30's with one of their second line mandolins the Cromwell GM-6 but they left the front point and used the Gumby scroll.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  12. #58
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Sblock, you're probably right that more time would help, but I cannot afford that luxury, and I don't really have reason to.
    When sitting, I hold the mandolin between my legs, with the neck at about 45 which I find comfortable. I hold it parallel to the line of my shoulders, and with the body centered. With all of those parameters met, the lower point sits directly between my legs, lending absolutely no aid to anything. When I do let the instrument slip into a position where the point holds the neck up, it either is uncomfortable to play or to hold.
    The tone guard was mainly a problem because I was sitting with the instrument for 30+ minutes, and at some point I started slouching. But even when I was sitting up, I didn't like how it felt, or how it munched my shirt. I doubt one will ever grace an instrument that I own.

    All that said, I still love how Fs look, and would totally buy one if it really stood up and spoke to me. But I like the looks of As about as much, and when shopping, they're what I'll look for because you get more bang for your buck
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  13. #59

    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    I absolutely love F style mandolins.
    And the more people that agree with me the more the price of A style mandolins will drop. Thank you very much, I don’t mind if I do!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    If we poll the members of Mandolin Cafe we would certainly get wide-ranging opinions. From love to hate on the following topics:

    • F-model mandolins
    • A-model mandolins
    • Vintage mandolins
    • New mandolins
    • American mandolins
    • Imported mandolins
    • BlueChip picks
    • Thick picks
    • Thin picks
    • TAB notation
    • Standard Notation
    • Ear learning
    • Thomastik strings
    • Dogal Calace strings
    • Phosphor Bronze strings
    • Nickel strings
    • Monel strings
    • Using straps
    • Not using straps
    • Playing standing
    • Playing seated
    • Playing scales


    etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

    Hey, it keeps these forums alive, so why not?
    How about:

    • Metronomes
    • Electrical amplification
    • And that often asked question.
      I have a large collection of valuable mandolins, a certain number of which are F style.
      My (attractive) neighbour is going away for a couple of months and wants to leave me her/his huge dog that, apart from being bred to kill anything that moves, including itself, also has serious psycho/attitude issues and in 3 days and four hours will be off his meds.
      -while practicing tunes on my mandolin, should I carry a gun?
    Last edited by Simon DS; Oct-10-2020 at 8:16am.

  14. #60
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Here's a thought. What if the mandolin that Bill Monroe saw hanging in a barbershop window had been the Ms. Griffith Loar? One. They only made one.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  16. #61

    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Here's a thought. What if the mandolin that Bill Monroe saw hanging in a barbershop window had been the Ms. Griffith Loar? One. They only made one.
    Interesting question.

    The universe as we know it would be a vastly different place no matter how that situation played out. With only that one scroll-free Loar floating around out there, massive amounts of capitol would surely have been directed to other pursuits.

    And imagine the digital bandwidth never used or needed to support the discussions on this Forum. Or...with no place to tie on the bailing twine, he may have just left it hanging there and taken up the trombone.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    Sblock, you're probably right that more time would help, but I cannot afford that luxury, and I don't really have reason to.
    When sitting, I hold the mandolin between my legs, with the neck at about 45 which I find comfortable. I hold it parallel to the line of my shoulders, and with the body centered. With all of those parameters met, the lower point sits directly between my legs, lending absolutely no aid to anything. When I do let the instrument slip into a position where the point holds the neck up, it either is uncomfortable to play or to hold.
    The tone guard was mainly a problem because I was sitting with the instrument for 30+ minutes, and at some point I started slouching. But even when I was sitting up, I didn't like how it felt, or how it munched my shirt. I doubt one will ever grace an instrument that I own.

    All that said, I still love how Fs look, and would totally buy one if it really stood up and spoke to me. But I like the looks of As about as much, and when shopping, they're what I'll look for because you get more bang for your buck
    I only owned A styles for 10 years or so after first taking up the mandolin. Nothing wrong with that as there are plenty of amazing instruments to choose from. A few years ago I finally purchased an F5 style. I struggled with how to hold it for awhile and things felt awkward. I even thought I might just not be an F style kind of guy an might have to sell, but after a bit of research and practice I found ways of holding that felt comfortable and now it is my number one mandolin. Not because it is an F style but because of its tone and incredible responsiveness. I would have been just as happy with an A but I do love the look of it.
    2014 AL Smart F5
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    1921 Gibson A
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    2002 Martin D-18V
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  18. #63

    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Tone guard is seldom used in many years experience so it's an option but I'd forget that. I've always loved the shape thst Gibson created but I agree that playing sitting down has the point sticking in my leg. I actually had Barry Kratzer make me an F4 without the bottom point. Looks just as good.

    I've often thought of just playing an A5 but I love my Northfield Big Mon F5 so much that I just can;t make that move. I even tried an Ellis A5 recently but it just fell short of the Big Mon. The Ellis was a great mandolin but I've love to hear one made like the Big Mon. i.e. 5% bigger. You just get a little more.

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  20. #64
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    I always tell myself that my primary interest is tone and playability. My very first Gibson was a whiteface A3. I didn't like the way it looked but it was the best-sounding mandolin on the wall at Mandolin Brothers circa 1978. So I do have to confess that the aesthetics does come into play with an instrument: fine woods, lovely delicate finish, small cosmetic flourishes, scrolls, points, fancy bindings, doodads, etc.

    To get back to the original subject: I don't have any problem F vs. A in holding or playing those two styles of mandolin. I guess it just depends on how you play and what you are used to. OTOH I have also had to adapt to playing bowlbacks but was able to do so after some time. The instrument that I think is very difficult to work out comfortable positioning is the violin. I know, Gunnar, you also play violin so I wonder how you worked out your playing on that instrument. Over the years i have been playing i have had to find the most comfortable chin- and shoulder-rest that works with my particular physique.
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  21. #65
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    It's a beautiful design, isn't it? I've only played a few Fs, so not sure about how comfortable it would be to own one. Should have bought one of John Monteleone's F5s back when he was selling them for $1850, and I probably would have adjusted by now.

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  23. #66
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    The instrument that I think is very difficult to work out comfortable positioning is the violin. I know, Gunnar, you also play violin so I wonder how you worked out your playing on that instrument. Over the years i have been playing i have had to find the most comfortable chin- and shoulder-rest that works with my particular physique.
    The violin was my very first instrument--I think I was 8 when I first picked one up. It never occurred to me to consider whether holding it was comfortable. So maybe that's the "strangeness" scale against which I would measure the playing position of any other instrument.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    I think that there is nothing inherent in the F style body that makes it harder to hold comfortably. As to the beauty of the design, I agree, but as i described, it took a some experience and context for me to appreciate it.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Not an F or an Eh? I like My Hodson D'jangolin .. http://www.emando.com/builders_inactive/Hodson.htm ..
    writing about music
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    My favorite design of all times is the asymmetrical two point mandolin.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

    The entire staff
    funny....

  27. #70
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    The instrument that I think is very difficult to work out comfortable positioning is the violin. I know, Gunnar, you also play violin so I wonder how you worked out your playing on that instrument. Over the years i have been playing i have had to find the most comfortable chin- and shoulder-rest that works with my particular physique.
    I actually had very little trouble adjusting to playing fiddle, I did use a folded cloth shoulder rest at first, but once I got a full size I play with no shoulder rest, and I don't have any trouble.
    I'm sure the same would be true with an F style mando, but the why is lacking, as A styles are so much more affordable, and I like the look just as well
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

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  28. #71
    Notary Sojac Paul Kotapish's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    If we poll the members of Mandolin Cafe we would certainly get wide-ranging opinions. From love to hate on the following topics:

    • F-model mandolins
    • A-model mandolins
    • Vintage mandolins
    • New mandolins
    • American mandolins
    • Imported mandolins
    • BlueChip picks
    • Thick picks
    • Thin picks
    • TAB notation
    • Standard Notation
    • Ear learning
    • Thomastik strings
    • Dogal Calace strings
    • Phosphor Bronze strings
    • Nickel strings
    • Monel strings
    • Using straps
    • Not using straps
    • Playing standing
    • Playing seated
    • Playing scales


    etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

    Hey, it keeps these forums alive, so why not?
    Did someone mention "capo"?
    Just one guy's opinion
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  29. #72
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    I actually had very little trouble adjusting to playing fiddle, I did use a folded cloth shoulder rest at first, but once I got a full size I play with no shoulder rest, and I don't have any trouble.
    I'm sure the same would be true with an F style mando, but the why is lacking, as A styles are so much more affordable, and I like the look just as well
    Gunnar, how did your search for online fiddle lessons work out?
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  30. #73
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Gellie View Post
    So James the question is have you made one like the Holy Grail of mandolins you seek?

    Of course. It is sitting right next to me and I play it every day!

  31. #74
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post
    Of course. It is sitting right next to me and I play it every day!
    So do you have some pictures of it and perhaps a soundclip of how it sounds. Or is that top secret?
    Nic Gellie

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  32. #75
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    I actually had very little trouble adjusting to playing fiddle, I did use a folded cloth shoulder rest at first, but once I got a full size I play with no shoulder rest, and I don't have any trouble.
    I'm sure the same would be true with an F style mando, but the why is lacking, as A styles are so much more affordable, and I like the look just as well
    I know you are fairly young but did you study violin when much younger. I never really had classical teachers so worked out my own ergonomics. Violin/viola has to be the least natural of stringed instruments to adapt the human body to IMHO.
    Jim

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