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

  1. #26
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    I haven't seen any responses that actually related to my post, I guess it was too long winded.
    My question was does anyone else dislike Fs because they are uncomfortable to hold?
    Usually, the answer to any "Does anyone else like/dislike ..." is going to be "yes." So, if you find F models to be uncomfortable to hold, you might find it more useful to ask people to explain how they hold an F model so that it is comfortable. For example, Ed Hanrahan described placing the point against your thigh to anchor the mando.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    I have to admit that enjoying Springsteen is a guilty pleasure for me, and not without conflict. I often wonder how a guy worth $500 million bucks can be a spokesperson the the "common man?" But, I guess he wasn't always rich and that's where the talent comes into play -- that he can "play the character" of a working man and make it believable.....something artists do....
    Springsteen discussed the irony of that in his Springsteen on Broadway show. He said that he never worked a day of his life in a factory. I bet that when "The Rangers had a homecoming in Harlem late last night," Springsteen wasn't part of any event like that, but nonetheless, he created a majestic song from that concept.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    Tom Waits, well.........I never understood what he was going for -- obviously he is playing some sort of barfly character, but it never worked for me? But, a lot of people I respect really like his "work." So.......
    Waits lost me around 1980, but he wrote some pretty amazing stuff before that. You might like his first two albums, before he blew out his voice and became the barfly character. My absolute favorite album of his is Small Change, which has some absolutely stunning barfly songs on it, although you have to deal with him singing like Louis Armstrong after a couple of drinks. No mandolin content, of course.
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    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    I started a thread about F style mandolin ergonomics asking a somewhat similar question not that long ago and didnít get many responses. Maybe most people donít notice much of a difference? It was quite strange for me adapting to an F-style after having only A-styles (and a 2-point).

    For me the way the strap hangs off the scroll and the weight of the headstock makes an F-style much different to hold standing up. The headstock kept trending towards a more horizontal position and it would change the pick angle and make my right hand really have to adapt. For brief periods I didnít notice it much but for the 4 hour gigs, any little change can make a huge impact!

    But Iíve adapted because I feel like the sound is so amazing on the F-style I have...
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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?
    Historically speaking Ms. Griffith had an issue with them, thankfully. Otherwise the only A style mandolins might have short necks and round sound holes. Maybe.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Player, luthier, tech Andy Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    I often play standing up, with a strap, and to me F5s feel neck-heavy when used that way, that's my only issue with them aside from cost. Every once in a while I play one that sounds good enough to make me think I could get used to the feel, and one of these days it'll be the right deal at the right time and I will.

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

    I own -- and play -- a 1914 Gibson A, a 1921 Bacon Artist and a 1925 Washburn/Lyon & Healy Style A Professional. I wouldn't trade any for an F.

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    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    I have one of each. If an F-style is uncomfortable, you're holding it wrong. Don't push the point into your leg. Let the flat part of the lower point rest on the side of your leg. I have no use for tonegards and can see how they would be uncomfortable.

  9. #32
    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    During one of the mandolin classes at camp, I got to play a TKD Eagle F5 that another student had brought, and I discovered that I don't like F5s or tone guards.
    Wait, you mean to tell me you played one Guys Mandolin once and are now swearing off a whole Mandolin shape!

    It took me some time to get used to my F. But just like learning to hold my pick correctly now I can switch between both shapes with ease.

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

    I've noticed the same thing with Fs, and I've handled some very lovely sounding high end ones. I have a terrible feeling that even a lovely sounding F would, eventually, be something i'd part with. I think getting the balance right would be some of what you'd pay the big bucks for because so many of the mid-price Fs I've played were headstock heavy. it's the first thing I notice when I hold an F, that the balance is different enough to be noticed. I also find that the points don't necessarily work for how i hold the instrument. It puts it in a position that makes me move my hand to accommodate, and I have learned to hold my hands very specifically because of carpal tunnel and arthritis. And since i play sitting down pretty much all the time and don't use a strap, the practical use of the scroll to hold a strap is lost on me. I've seen some absolutely spectacular F-style mandolins but have frankly never felt any desire to own one. my 2 cents
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  11. #34
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    I also have one of each. I love the aesthetics of both. One has the flourish, one the simplicity. Both are high-quality mandos, with different sounds, but that is the result of the way they are made, not the outline of the body/headstock.

    I love the point on the lower side of the F, as it rests against the inside of my right thigh and helps anchor the instrument.

    I had a Tone-Gard on a previous F mandolin, an older mahogany-backed weber Bitterroot. It helped with the tone and volume, and didn't take much getting used to. The main thing with that was the difference in overall weight. Neither of my current mandos have (or need, IMO) a Tone-Gard.

    In a similar sense, I had to warm up to a pickguard, both visually and functionally. My previous F didn't have one, but both of my current instruments do.
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Purely based on appearance I prefer F styles. BUT...
    Not at twice the cost.
    I was totally converted to A's when I got my Pava.
    Now I have to decide if the next upgrade is an Ellis A, or a Pava F.
    I still keep an Eastman 515 F that I use to avoid shocking people at Bluegrass jams.
    I also think the prettiest mandolin ever made was the reddish colored F4's from the 1920's, but I don't want to play one.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by mandocrucian View Post
    The scroll/points are cosmetic...the real issue should be preference for round/oval holes vs F-holes and SONIC in nature.
    The Gibson F2s and F4s were oval holes with scrolls and points.

    And they are the coolest looking mandolins with scrolls in my opinions.
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    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Orr View Post
    So, you played one rather obscure budget pac-rim F style mando and decided you don't like F styles in general? I got news for you, if you don't like the sound of the F style TKD, you likely won't like the A style either.
    You obviously didn't read my post. I actually liked the tone and playability a lot! I played several other F styles (including Northfield, Weber, Gibson, and others) almost all of which sounded awesome.
    My complaint was that they were uncomfortable to sit down and play. The neck tended to fall more seated than standing, and it was too sharp and pointy (that goes for all of them)

    I know lots of people like the points to keep the neck angle, but I couldn't find any way to prop the instrument up at any comfortable angle. And I found that the F styles slipped in my lap worse than any A styles I've played
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by sgarrity View Post
    I have one of each. If an F-style is uncomfortable, you're holding it wrong. Don't push the point into your leg. Let the flat part of the lower point rest on the side of your leg. I have no use for tonegards and can see how they would be uncomfortable.
    I tried to do that, but it either resulted in the neck being too horizontal, or angled too far out from my body. Standing up I had no problems.
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    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zach Wilson View Post
    Wait, you mean to tell me you played one Guys Mandolin once and are now swearing off a whole Mandolin shape!

    It took me some time to get used to my F. But just like learning to hold my pick correctly now I can switch between both shapes with ease.

    Happy picking!
    Not at all! First off, I don't swear.....
    But seriously, I played several F styles, and had no problems while standing up. Several of them sounded amazing. I dislike how they all behaved sitting down, and A styles are cheaper, so I'm not complaining about it.
    Still, if I came across an F that I loved for a price I'm willing to pay, I would buy it.
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    Registered User SwartDeco's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    This isn't the first time I've heard someone mention that the point digs into their leg and is uncomfortable, and I just can wrap my head around that. Does it weigh 20lbs? But, I also rest the point against my leg and not on it.

  19. #41

    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?...
    No, easily remedied with strap or position adjustment.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    and the points on the body poked into my legs.
    I'd gather from this that you're holding the mandolin sub-optimally. The points aren't purely aesthetic.

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  21. #43
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    You obviously didn't read my post. I actually liked the tone and playability a lot! I played several other F styles (including Northfield, Weber, Gibson, and others) almost all of which sounded awesome.
    My complaint was that they were uncomfortable to sit down and play. The neck tended to fall more seated than standing, and it was too sharp and pointy (that goes for all of them)

    I know lots of people like the points to keep the neck angle, but I couldn't find any way to prop the instrument up at any comfortable angle. And I found that the F styles slipped in my lap worse than any A styles I've played
    Based on what you've written, it strikes me that your seated playing position is a trifle unconventional, and that is why the F-model kept moving around and poking you. You wrote "I know lots of people like the points to keep the neck angle..." That is absolutely correct: while seated, the placement of the tailward side of the lower point against the inside of the right thigh serves to brace the instrument, keeping it form sliding around (which the A-model is more prone to do, being smooth on the bottom). Furthermore, this ergonomic placement serves to keep the neck up at the correct angle. This is especially helpful because, as others have already noted, most F-models are more neck-heavy than A-models, due to their larger pegheads. I suspect you were simply not holding the F-model properly in the seated position. Once correctly braced with the bottom point inside the thigh, it simply cannot slip in the manner that you reported. You seem to have the point keep sticking into you, instead!

    Of course, learning to play -- either seated or standing -- using a newer and slightly different playing position may take some getting used to. You need to spend that time, and not dismiss things after the first try. Other, more experienced players do not report any problems holding the F-5, so you need to consider seriously the possibility that your problem may lie with your technique (which you are still learning), and not with the instrument itself.

    The same thing goes for the ToneGard. Your discomfort likely came from the fact that, which seated, you are pressing the core of your body rather hard against the back of the instrument. You might have become be used to doing this to stabilize the A model, which otherwise can slip around. You need to stop doing that, and arrange for your core to only touch the instrument lightly, if at all. With an F-model held properly in the seated position, the ToneGard should not really touch your body at all. The ToneGard is most useful when standing, nor seated, because the mandolin falls naturally against the body when suspended from its strap! The ToneGard provides a space behind the instrument, so the back can freely vibrate and is not dampened by contact with your core. Simple, and effective. I love my ToneGard and it's never uncomfortable.

    In summary, I don't think your problem is with the F-model or with the ToneGard. I suspect it's with your body position and the way you're holding the instrument, especially while seated. You could benefit from some more "private time" with an F-model to discover how best to hold it.

  22. #44
    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    Not at all! First off, I don't swear.....
    But seriously, I played several F styles, and had no problems while standing up. Several of them sounded amazing. I dislike how they all behaved sitting down, and A styles are cheaper, so I'm not complaining about it.
    Still, if I came across an F that I loved for a price I'm willing to pay, I would buy it.
    That's fair. I guess I needed the clarification

    As for me, I actually like the look of A's better and would probably have never owed an F if it wasn't given to me (shout out to The Mandolin Store!). However, I dont find my F uncomfortable. The lower point is barely noticeable while sitting. The neck dive took a little getting used to.

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  23. #45
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Don't have anything against the way an F style mandolin feels while sitting. Now, up until yesterday, I have not owned an F style mandolin, but that was for different reasons. Will report later once I have more time to see if there is a difference in feel between an F style and an A style.

    As for Tonegards. Have them on each mandolin and prefer it that way. But I don't have to worry about them digging into my ribs. Good luck finding them.
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    Call it age/wisdom or whatever but when people ask my opinion on things like this, it’s usually for validation so I tend to refrain from comment. I was heavy in the car culture in Southern Cal.and folks would always want my opinion about their car, color choice and paint schemes, body styles, wheels and motors, etc., I learned very quickly that it was better to say that it’s really not about what I like, it’s what you like, It’s your money. Rest at peace and continue to spread mandolin love regardless of shape or style.

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  26. #47
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't like F styles. Anyone else?

    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?
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  28. #48
    Registered User Sue Rieter'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?
    You forgot mandolins opening up/waking up

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  30. #49

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

    I like the A style. When I bought a Givens back in 1978, I had the choice of an A for $675 or an F for $950. It was a no-brainer. These days, the price differential can be closer to two times higher for an F over an equivalent A.

    I also think the scroll is ugly. <Ducking for cover ... >

  31. #50
    Registered User Bob Clark'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?
    It's all amusing and either way it goes, nobody dies. So, 'discuss on'!
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