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Thread: Mike Marshall's Loar?

  1. #1

    Default Mike Marshall's Loar?

    This probably sounds obvious but, is it just me or does Mike Marshall's Loar sound exceptional on his instructional video? Doesn't seem like it gets mentioned in the "best Loars on the planet discussions" Sounds pretty darn good to me.

    PS..I would include a link but I'm pretty sure the instructional website has a process that I don't wish to goof up. Happy Friday.

  2. #2
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    Like most of the best players the sound is in his hands and whatever mandolin he plays (and even mandola or m-cello), his didstinctive attack and tone wins over the instrument.
    His Loar has been regraduated and Virzi removed in the past so most traditionalists don't count it as original "Loar" tone.
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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    ...His Loar has been regraduated and Virzi removed in the past so most traditionalists don't count it as original "Loar" tone.
    ...and tone bars shaved and a wider fingerboard added (to accommodate Mike's big fingers), plus plenty of normal wear and tear.

    I once "played" Mike's loar (...said as if I can actually play mandolin...) and he played mine. He sounded just a good playing mine and I sounded just as bad playing his.

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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    I once "played" Mike's loar (...said as if I can actually play mandolin...) and he played mine. He sounded just a good playing mine and I sounded just as bad playing his
    .

    Me too. Mine sounded better in his hands than his Loar in my hands. Ha ha.
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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    I recently signed up for Mike's Artistworks lessons.
    His mandolin is so cool, with the honest play wear.
    "This is tricky," he said, on the video, "I make it look easy." "I'm a professional"

    yeah
    Last edited by Sue Rieter; Jan-08-2021 at 8:04pm. Reason: corrected quote :)

  9. #6
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    I recently signed up for Mike's Artistworks lessons.
    His mandolin is so cool, with the honest play wear.
    "This is hard," he said, on the video, "I make it look easy." "I'm a professional"

    yeah
    Hmm. I've always wondered what "dishonest play wear" would be. Distressing an new instrument might well qualify (to some, anyway) as being "dishonest," but it certainly can't qualify as being any kind of "play wear," since no playing is involved in distressing. Will someone on the forum please explain "dishonest play wear" to me?"

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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    This reminds me of an old story, probably apocryphal, about the violinist Fritz Kreisler. A patron had him over for dinner after an afternoon recital, and she served Kreisler a sumptuous meal. "Mr. Kreisler," she said, "I must compliment you on the extraordinary sound of your violin." After thanking her, Kreisler thought for a moment and said, "And I must compliment you, madam, on the excellent cooking of your oven."

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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    Quote Originally Posted by jelhai View Post
    This reminds me of an old story, probably apocryphal, about the violinist Fritz Kreisler. A patron had him over for dinner after an afternoon recital, and she served Kreisler a sumptuous meal. "Mr. Kreisler," she said, "I must compliment you on the extraordinary sound of your violin." After thanking her, Kreisler thought for a moment and said, "And I must compliment you, madam, on the excellent cooking of your oven."
    The companion story is the one about the evening a woman came up to Jascha Heifetz after a concert, gushing about how wonderful his Guarneri del Gesù had sounded. Heifetz held the violin case up to his ear: "Funny, I don't hear a thing."

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    Registered User MoreThanQuinn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    Here's a video of it in action in Mike's hands. Of course, those who have taken his ArtistWorks course will recognize the tune. Still, I think he plays it exceptionally. Sounds great!

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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    We can get caught up in the mystique of Gibson Loar F5 mandolins. Perhaps Mike should have found an equivalent modern maker to make a mandolin with a wider fingerboard with the tone he wanted. It is about accepting an instrument for what it is. There ain't much difference between a very good and a good mandolin if both are set up properly.

    He is a very adept professional player. He now plays and endorses Northfield Artist model mandolins that in a way have adopted modern needs to an old established design. He doesn't need to shave braces, remove the Virzi, and change the fingerboard. The makers do that for him.
    Nic Gellie

  18. #11

    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    I'm kinda chuckling to myself over this thread. Let me restate my original thought..Mike, I love the woodiness and sparkle out of that mandolin I heard you play. Thank you.

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    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    I played Mike's Loar several times in quiet situations (e. g. at my home) switching back and forth between his Loar, a couple of recent MM Gibsons and another Loar at hand. While Mike is a fantastic player, of course, his F5 sounds - for whatever reason - superb, woody and sparkling, as you say Old Growth.
    Last edited by Hendrik Ahrend; Jan-09-2021 at 6:56am.

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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    I watched the above video full screen on my 20" iMac and noticed a couple of things. First, the color and finish of the fretwire looks like stainless steel to me, which would make sense for someone who puts as much mileage per year on an instrument as him. With good headphones I also hear a bit of metallic "chirp", same as I hear on my acoustic guitar with cryogenic treated strings.

    Secondly, I'm pretty sure there are 3 different gauges of wire on that mandolin, with the skinniest up high to facilitate fingering those high notes. I believe it was Sunburst who did this on one of his own instruments. Perhaps he is also is MM's tech?

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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Gellie View Post
    We can get caught up in the mystique of Gibson Loar F5 mandolins. Perhaps Mike should have found an equivalent modern maker to make a mandolin with a wider fingerboard with the tone he wanted. It is about accepting an instrument for what it is.
    How many of those mandolins (and makers) were around in 1979? We are spoiled now with the range of quality instruments and talented builders available, but back in the day, you had to get lucky to find one (maybe in a Florida barbershop window), move heaven and Earth to afford it, and then modify it as necessary to maximize it for what it is: a tool for making music. Gator’s story is not that different from Sam Bush, John Reischman, or even Chris Thile (though it is instructive that the latter, who did have his choice of modern makers, still sacrificed everything to acquire a February 18 Loar and then optimize it for his playing).
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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    How many of those mandolins (and makers) were around in 1979? We are spoiled now with the range of quality instruments and talented builders available . . .
    Very few good handmade mandolins were being made back then. Monteleone and Randy Wood were making a few, and Gilchrist was just starting to build his first instruments. There were only a few others who were starting to dabble at that time, such as Gene Horner and possibly Lou Stiver.

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    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    High quality instrument + premiere player = musical nirvana! There’s a reason the best players in the world aren’t playing a $500 Eastman. And yes, his Loar sounds awesome.

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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    How many of those mandolins (and makers) were around in 1979? We are spoiled now with the range of quality instruments and talented builders available, but back in the day, you had to get lucky to find one (maybe in a Florida barbershop window), move heaven and Earth to afford it, and then modify it as necessary to maximize it for what it is: a tool for making music. Gator’s story is not that different from Sam Bush, John Reischman, or even Chris Thile (though it is instructive that the latter, who did have his choice of modern makers, still sacrificed everything to acquire a February 18 Loar and then optimize it for his playing).
    My point is that he has replaced his Loar recently with a Northfield Artist model. Here he is teaching arpeggios at Elderly Instruments 1 week ago:

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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    Quote Originally Posted by sgarrity View Post
    High quality instrument + premiere player = musical nirvana! There’s a reason the best players in the world aren’t playing a $500 Eastman. And yes, his Loar sounds awesome.
    Well if you were a first class act why would you bother with a $500 Eastman - the world of mandolin making is your musical oyster. There are plenty of folks who get plenty of satisfaction with their Eastman mandolin and don't lust after a Loar. First they couldn't afford it and second they are mostly happy with what they have. And third they are not taken up with a myth of perfection. They have plenty of work to improve their playing skills.
    Nic Gellie

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  33. #19
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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Gellie View Post
    My point is that he has replaced his Loar recently with a Northfield Artist model.
    Did he “replace” his Loar or add a Northfield to his stable of instruments for any number of reasons?
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    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    He added it. Maybe there are a couple of Northfields now in his stable. You see him playing a Northfield more often than not. He was part of the team to create the new Artist series of Northfield mandolins.
    Nic Gellie

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    I love the violinist stories but, of course, it is true that the top violinists usually do play the top violins, if possible. And so it is with the mandolinists. Having had the sublime privilege of playing a Loar F-5 for about 30 minutes straight without anyone standing nervously over me, I can say that I heard some exquisite subtle tones. I highly doubt that anyone would notice it even if they were recorded on the best equipment and perhaps I was hearing things but there is something to a musician who can play at an upper level of virtuosity who chooses a particu;art instrument. Certainly, the audience would not know the difference but I would guess a violin soloist would know the difference. And it is a combination of instrument and the player who knows how to get the tone he/she wants out of it.
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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Gellie View Post
    He added it. Maybe there are a couple of Northfields now in his stable. You see him playing a Northfield more often than not. He was part of the team to create the new Artist series of Northfield mandolins.
    I’m aware. From what I’ve read, Mike seems to enjoy experimenting, both with his Loar (removing the Virzi, tinkering with the nut, modifying the bridge, etc.) and beyond it (he had a longer scale Altman that has been frequently in the classifieds, has talked about a couple of 10-string instruments that he was developing with builders). Maybe he has retired his Loar (like Statman his snakehead). Perhaps he has modified his use of it (like Bush claimed he won’t take Hoss to the mountains). But I can’t help remembering what he said in his interview with the Cafe years ago:

    “I have played lots of mandolins over the years, but I always come back to this one for some reason. I think it's because of the mid-range being very, very solid. It might not have that much big bassy low-end or even be as loud as some mandolins, but this solidity in the mid-range I think is what makes this mandolin so even from note to note and also what makes it record so well."
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  37. #23
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    It is possible Pat that he sought to recreate the tone that is in his 'Loar' derivative in the new Artist series at Northfield. In that video I attached he says he is enjoying immensely his Northfield Artist F5. It possesses that strong mid-range in the quote you put up in your post. I hear it in that video too.
    Nic Gellie

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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    Just the other day MM played a cool rendition of Rice’s “Swing 51” with the Loar. He plays one or the other depending on the situation, methinks. If anyone is interested, the tribute is still showing on the Artistworks site.

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    Default Re: Mike Marshall's Loar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Gellie View Post
    It is possible Pat that he sought to recreate the tone that is in his 'Loar' derivative in the new Artist series at Northfield. In that video I attached he says he is enjoying immensely his Northfield Artist F5. It possesses that strong mid-range in the quote you put up in your post. I hear it in that video too.
    Absolutely correct. Mike and I talked about the subject several times. The mid range portion Mike is so fond of in his "antique" (and the Northfields) he sometimes refers to as "bone structure".

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