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Thread: F'in Mandolin Shootout with a Nugget, Gilchrist and Hogan!

  1. #1
    Registered User Jake Howard's Avatar
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    Default F'in Mandolin Shootout with a Nugget, Gilchrist and Hogan!

    Hello and Happy New Year!

    I wanted to start off my saying I am not a fan of the word shootout because it gives the connotation that I am comparing these mandolins which isn't/wasn't my intention. All three of these mandolins have attributes that make them so much fun to play. I also like to view every mandolin build as being a piece of art made by the builder, so picking 'favorites' makes me cringe. Each builder has their own way of approaching the vast field of mandolin luthiery and it is AWESOME to hold in your hands all these years of research, education, and building. So let's view this video in the lens of getting to see the years of experience from three really talented builders. That being said, here is the video!



    Here are some thoughts from my viewpoint. I wanted to wait until you watched to add my two cents (didn't want anyone to read what I said and listen for those things the first go around).

    I have had the Nugget for the longest, I got it in 2017. Mike Kemnizter is one heck of a guy and has an insane amount of knowledge with mandolins. Anytime I get to chat is a treat, I always learn something new. This mandolin probably plays the easiest (for me) since it is has a radius fingerboard and has custom string spacing. The two other mandolins are flat fingerboards. I also haven't had the Gilchrist or Hogan for too terribly long so I am still learning how to approach them. The Nugget is extremely responsive up and down the fretboard for the player. Even when you keep climbing the fretboard it still keeps on giving no matter how hard you pick. And every note is crystal clear, which makes playing this thing fun and especially makes picking Bach pieces on this thing an absolute blast. It is really even throughout the whole fretboard which makes it a mandolin that I want.. no, have to pick up everyday. This is my daily driver mandolin.

    The Gilchrist has this really cool sound that I hear in some of Gilchrist mandolins but don't hear in too many other builder's mandolins. I like to think of it as Tube Amp distortion. If anyone has ever had the pleasure of hearing a high end tube amp break up but in all the right ways, that's how I would think of the Gilchrist. And my goodness it is loud... What we like to call a thumper. That being said it sounds good up the neck like the Nugget. Wouldn't describe the tone as crystal clear, again I hear that distortion up the neck, but I kind of love it. Makes it such a different instrument than the Nugget. Cool to see two ridiculous builders build with similar materials and get waaaay different results.

    The Hogan is a mandolin built by Adrian Minarovic of Slovakia. He is on the Cafe quite a bit and I love reading what he writes and adds to conversations. It might not be the same price range as the other two, but definitely the same attention to detail and clearly has the tone to hang out with the big dogs. This mandolin is extremely light in weight and has great sustain. I was amazed at his attention to detail, it truly is a work of art! A real powerhouse in the midrange/low end. And again, it has such a different sound than both the Nugget and Gil. It has a very Loar like presence to it, which is what Adrian is going for. He nails that vibe to me. Still getting used to the pesky small fretwire I'll just let the video do the talkin' for this mandolin.

    I always to love to hear how people describe mandolin tone, what does thumpy or woody truly mean? Your thumpy and woody might be different than mine. Let me know what you think! Thanks y'all.

    Jake

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    P.S. Be kind to the slow mo in this video. Need a new camera strap to get more steady shots... Also be nice to my playing, definitely made some mistakes but the sun was going down quickly!

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  3. #2

    Default Re: F'in Mandolin Shootout with a Nugget, Gilchrist and Hogan!

    Thanks Jake and I enjoyed listening. Not a dud among those three. However, I will describe what I hear through my speakers.

    Overall, Nugget has the very sweet tone, well balanced and HUGE A and E strings.
    Gilchrist, loads of volume, mid-rangy and leans more toward the bluegrass cutting tone.
    Hogan, nice tone as well. I think weaker A and E strings than the others but will probably develop the more it's played.

    If i had to pick only one to keep for me and my style, which is mostly bluegrass, it would be the Gilchrist and the Nugget a close, very close second.

  4. #3

    Default Re: F'in Mandolin Shootout with a Nugget, Gilchrist and Hogan!

    Interesting, thanks for doing it. I listened to the whole thing twice, once over speakers, and once with earbuds. I think I can hear what you mean with the Gilchrist's high end. Listening on the speakers I really didn't like it (especially noticeable on the E maj prelude, but on earbuds its distinctive tone on the high notes I rather liked! Aside from that I thought the Nugget and Hogan quite similar, but the Hogan maybe a bit smoother, but consequently not quite as punchy.

    And, yes, I'll be nice to your playing - I cd hardly be otherwise as it's really very good!

  5. #4
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: F'in Mandolin Shootout with a Nugget, Gilchrist and Hogan!

    Three great mandolins! Love that Gil tone though. Would probably love the Nugget just as much in person.

  6. #5

    Default Re: F'in Mandolin Shootout with a Nugget, Gilchrist and Hogan!

    Fantastic and informative shootout! Great playing!

    I love the dry midrange of the Nugget, the tone and bass of the Gil and the extended high end of the Hogan the works great in those classical pieces

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    Default Re: F'in Mandolin Shootout with a Nugget, Gilchrist and Hogan!

    Three awesome mandolins! I hear what you’re saying about their differences, and, if I had to choose one, I’d really want a few hours to play in person. That said, I wouldn’t be disappointed with any of them. Gotta admit, though, that reverb thing with the Gil I’m kind of digging...
    Chuck

  8. #7

    Default Re: F'in Mandolin Shootout with a Nugget, Gilchrist and Hogan!

    Thanks for sharing, Jake! I enjoyed your demo very much. All are great mandolins. Great playing, too.

  9. #8
    Registered User Mark Seale's Avatar
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    Default Re: F'in Mandolin Shootout with a Nugget, Gilchrist and Hogan!

    Really nicely done comparison video. All 3 are stellar and that Hogan is a bargain with how well it hangs with the more well known builders. The Nugget is super clear and has great note separation, sonically it reminds me a lot of the recent Heidens. The Gilchrist has "that thing" that they have. Sort of a bloom after the note. I love it, and yours has it in spades.

  10. #9

    Default Re: F'in Mandolin Shootout with a Nugget, Gilchrist and Hogan!

    Hogan's are a steal

    All 3 world class plus..thanks!

  11. #10
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: F'in Mandolin Shootout with a Nugget, Gilchrist and Hogan!

    The obvious conclusion to all of this is for all of us to do what Jake did: buy them all. Might have to sell a car or two but hey—I’m not really going anywhere anyway this year.
    Jim

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    Default Re: F'in Mandolin Shootout with a Nugget, Gilchrist and Hogan!

    I guess I'm partial to the Tube Amp Overdrive you mentioned. The Gil has my attention but they all sounded great...I would love to own the Hogan in 10 years, very sweet. btw - your playing was sounding really great Jake. You brought out the best in each mandolin's tone. Bravo!!

    Len B.
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    Last edited by lenf12; Jan-11-2021 at 7:24pm.

  13. #12

    Default Re: F'in Mandolin Shootout with a Nugget, Gilchrist and Hogan!

    Thanks, Jake. Great playing and interesting to compare the mandos. I'll take the Gilchrist.
    Palatable to a Goat: New Music from Gregg Daigle and Don Grieser, now on bandcamp
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: F'in Mandolin Shootout with a Nugget, Gilchrist and Hogan!

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Grieser View Post
    Thanks, Jake. Great playing and interesting to compare the mandos. I'll take the Gilchrist.
    In that case, I will take the Nugget.
    Jim

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    Registered User Al Trujillo's Avatar
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    Default Re: F'in Mandolin Shootout with a Nugget, Gilchrist and Hogan!

    Thanks, Jake, for that great demonstration! As I've found with high-end camera lenses there can be sample variation between two of the same lenses - but, often minor at that level of build. And so I imagine it is the same with Mandolins at that level of build - all are superb in their own right but my preference of the three would be the Nugget.

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    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: F'in Mandolin Shootout with a Nugget, Gilchrist and Hogan!

    APPLAUSE!

    Now that is a very good mandolin presentation.

    I very much like the presentation of the different musical styles on the different mandolins. I like that itīs the same piece played on the different instruments. I like that the gear information is available (recording, strings, picks). I like that the music playes was on the low strings as well as on the high strings, up as well as down the neck. I liked that apart from the musical pieces scales were demonstrated and the evenness across the board was demonstrated in the open strings. I liked that the pictures reflected the instruments in their appearence and that the pictures showed the parts show the intricacies of the built. I liked the editing of the video. Chapeau, that was very well done.

    I have been in jam sessions with Nugget, Gilchrist and Hogan mandolins, having played different Gilchrists and a Hogan. Though I always see the difficulty to "judge" an instrument from a video, I see the properties of the three instruments displayed nicely from what I know of these brands.

    The Nugget has the "clearness" and "cleanliness" of sound that I associate with a Nugget. This makes it possible to play most any style of music as this sonical properties are probably the most versatile. I must admit, that this "glassiness" is not truely my kind of sound though a Nugget is an absolutely top dog instrument.

    The Gilchrist is a post 2000 Gilchrist (by the look and sound). Do you mind to post the serial #? I know the Gilchrist F-5 # 500 (ex Compton) and # 502. I found interesting that # 500 shines when played "full throttle". It is incredibly loud and the tone quality increases. I do not see this happening in a Lloyd Loar F-5 where the tone is all about playing the instrument evenly and not necessarily aiming for volume. I do also like the Gilchrist tone when played at a "normal volume". The Gilchrist seems to be the darkest of the three sonicaly. It probably lends itself best to agressive roots music.

    The Hogan is a steal at the price. It barks with the big dogs. I mentioned in other threads that I thought the finish is a little "redish". Well I must say that the finish leans towards an early Lloyd Loar light brown sunburst finish (which might have had me thinking of red in the tint). Knowing a Hogan I can attest that the workmanship is top tier. The sound to me is the most loarish of the three. There is a clarity in the notes that I think the Gilchrist lacks (because of the darkness of its tone).

    I have a difficulty to comment on the evenness of the notes across the board. I do think that I might tip my hat to the Nugget, possibly with the Gilchrist and then the Hogan following but that may be because of you being most familiar with the Nugget which probably enables you to coax a better sound of the instrument.

    All three are instruments anyone can be proud to own. Thanks for your presentation and enjoy the instruments in good health.
    Olaf

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