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Thread: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

  1. #26
    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    I think there is something special about those teen and twenty's Gibson ovals. While I think that the A's and F's have different tonal qualities and play feel, both are simply great instruments. They are not F5s nor do they try to be. They stand on their own. My Hester, which is the best modern recreation on a twenty's F4 that I have played. It can play traditional grass, but is more suited to fiddle tunes and duet type music. It shines most when playing slower melodies emphasizing each individual note. I love having both a serious F4 and F5. Between then, they cover all the bases. I would rather have my Hester than any of the wonderful vintage Gibson F4s that I have played. Gail did the deal.
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  2. #27
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    IMO the F4 is a real aesthetic masterpiece.

    That said, The futures market in mandolins does not affect my purchase decisions. I have no intension of selling. unless, of course, things get very very scratchy and I have to, in which case my investment plans are not the biggest priority.

    If I invest, it's in stocks and bonds and securities and the like. Interesting that these things are sometimes called investment instruments.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

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  4. #28
    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    Mandolin Bros used to have the nicest pumpkin f-4 I ever saw.. I think 1915. It had all the vibes in excellent condition. They really must not have wanted to sell it as it had a $14K price on it.

  5. #29
    Registered User slimt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    I like mine.
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  7. #30
    NY Naturalist BradKlein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob A View Post
    Ry Cooder's playing an F4 is the exact reason I bought mine. Got it from Mike Holmes (Mugwumps) in 1975. Still have the receipts: $200 on March 3rd, $200 on April 4, and $600 on May 14. Inflation Calculator tells me that my $1000 is worth $4888.74 in today's dollars.
    Another way to look at it is this. $1000 invested in the S&P500 index 1975 and untouched until today would amount to over $150,000 today - dividends reinvested, not adjusted for inflation.
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    perpetual beginner... jmagill's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Interesting that these things are sometimes called investment instruments.
    ...Usually to the spouse whose permission is required for purchase...

  9. #32
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    Quote Originally Posted by BradKlein View Post
    Another way to look at it is this. $1000 invested in the S&P500 index 1975 and untouched until today would amount to over $150,000 today - dividends reinvested, not adjusted for inflation.
    I bought a mandolin in the late 70s that cost me a months salary, and about four times my monthly rent. That mandolin today is worth, ohhh about a months salary and about four times my mortgage payment.
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  10. #33
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    Well, when you put it that way ... What's stopping anyone from getting one?

    Kidding aside, if I'd gotten my hands on that F-4 I almost had, that would have been two months' rent, or a bit less than two months' pay at the time of retirement. I'd advise against using these figures as a guide though, since rents here are ridiculously high, probably close to twice the national average. Which would bring that estimate down to that same four months' pay. On the other hand, the new-to-me 1916 A-2 I just got for about a month's rent ... that is probably still a pretty good deal, from this perspective.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  11. #34
    Registered User midyearguru's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    Nice to know I'm not the only one who uses the old "but honey, it's a wonderful investment" routine to get the wife on board . LOL

  12. #35
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    This right here is one big reason I keep wanting one.



    Had a chance to get one a couple months ago for $4000 or so. It's crazy to me to think that was an irresistible deal. That's way more than I've ever spent on anything. Disappointed when someone beat me to it. Oh well!
    I signed up for one for the same price over a month ago (maybe the same one?). All paid for, but no closer to seeing it as it's shipping to me outside the US. Waiting 4 weeks now for a CITES certificate to be processed. From all I've read there's nothing CITES related in an F4, so I guess the cert is just to confirm that. Bummer to be waiting so long. You get so excited about finally deciding on an expensive thing, putting your money down, and you want it now! The 4 week (so far) wait was an unexpected surprise. I'm trying to stay excited....

  13. #36
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    Nope, different one. And already taken. I was #2 on the list. Dontcha know #1 decided to take it? So it goes ...
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  15. #37
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    Question Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    Hi all. Still looking for that great old Gibson F2 or F4... Found this nice looking 1926 F4 at a shop outside Denver (https://www.picknparlor.com/mandolins/1926-gibson-f-4). They are asking $4,000 but with needed upgrades (refret, new bridge and nut, etc.), the cost will actually be about $4,700 which still seems like an ok deal to me -- and you get the benefits of much improved playability. I wonder what folks think?

    Paul
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  16. #38
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paulrb51 View Post
    Hi all. Still looking for that great old Gibson F2 or F4... Found this nice looking 1926 F4 at a shop outside Denver (https://www.picknparlor.com/mandolins/1926-gibson-f-4). They are asking $4,000 but with needed upgrades (refret, new bridge and nut, etc.), the cost will actually be about $4,700 which still seems like an ok deal to me -- and you get the benefits of much improved playability. I wonder what folks think?

    Paul
    Looks lovely. Are you speculating that it will need the extra work, or have you seen it in person?

  17. #39
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    [QUOTE=Bazz Jass;1817048]Looks lovely. Are you speculating that it will need the extra work, or have you seen it in person?[/

    It’s based on a discussion I had with the mandolin guy in their repair department.

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  19. #40
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    [QUOTE=Paulrb51;1817049]
    Quote Originally Posted by Bazz Jass View Post
    Looks lovely. Are you speculating that it will need the extra work, or have you seen it in person?[/

    It’s based on a discussion I had with the mandolin guy in their repair department.
    That's great that they were frank about what is needed. I see it comes with a Calton case and the original as well. If you didn't need the Calton, you could make some money back on that I'm sure.

  20. #41
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    The case looks a bit beat up but maybe I could - thanks for the suggestion!

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  22. #42
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    Paul, IMHO, have it set up, have the bridge top checked (as the a-strings spacing is off) and go for it.
    The original tuners should have been round end worm-over tuners. (Still with the mando?) Rubner may supply more adequate replacement tuners than those Schallers.

  23. #43
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    I got to looking through the Mandolin Archive, and noticed something I hadn't before - sometimes the worms on F2s and F4s are above the cogs, sometimes under. I couldn't detect a pattern, whether this was related to some point in time when they changed, whether it varied depending on models, etc. Does anyone know? Or is this just another Gibson oddity?

    I took a quick survey of my collection, and on the three teen As, the worms are under. On the 30s A-00, they're over. So I thought there might be a point in the 20s when they changed. But looking through the post-Loar era section, there seemed to be a mix. My eyes started glazing over after a while, so I thought I'd see if anyone might have some ideas about this. Also, does it matter?
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  24. #44
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    All the F4s I have photos of from 25,26,27,28,29 have worms above cogs.

    The F4 we're talking about has had the tuners replaced with "under" style. Because the headstock holes are drilled differently for "over" worms, the replacement tuning pegs sit too low on this one. It would be good to replace them with the original style.

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  26. #45
    Registered User Denman John's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    Visually I love the F-4 design and style. As a player, I prefer an A style mandolin.
    ... not all those who wander are lost ...

  27. #46
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    Research would indicate that the tuner style change happened somewhere during 1925, coincidentally the change from varnish to lacquer finish seems to have occurred in the same year.

    I just posted a new message to help identify worm under vs worm over tuners here.
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...A-visual-guide

    Sorry, Paul it looks like that F4 you located in Colorado is sold. It had a few correctable problems but would have been a good bargain.

    Listen to Adam Tanner playing his 1928 F4 in this Mandolin Mondays link. The late 20’s Gibsons are highly underrated in my opinion as everyone focuses on the Loar Era instruments.

    https://youtu.be/8aRUqVbKzVk

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  29. #47
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    There's a nice looking 1916 F-4 for sale at Dusty Strings in Seattle for $4750.
    I have no personal experience with the shop, but they have been around for decades and have a return policy. NFI.

  30. #48
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    There's a nice looking 1916 F-4 for sale at Dusty Strings in Seattle for $4750.
    I have no personal experience with the shop, but they have been around for decades and have a return policy. NFI.
    Thanks so much; I'll check it out.

  31. #49
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    I played the F4 at Dusty Strings. I was a little disappointed that they failed to mention a rather pronounced (though I assume repaired and stable) crack underneath the pickguard - from the trough of the upper point to the rosette. Also the lower point was replaced by a newer whiter plastic piece. I think these details should have been included in the online description. The photos online make it look more flawless than it is in person.

    For background, I have a 1917 A4 with a sunk but stable top, and a gaudy refinish from the 50s/60s (?). It's not much to look at, but I'll be darned if doesn't sound and play great. I bought it cheap about 5 years ago thinking I would keep it for a while then upgrade. But every time I've played a nicer A (like a couple at Wintergrass in Seattle) I ended up realizing just how good my player A4 sounds and feels.

    I brought it with me to Seattle to A/B with this F4, and I played them both back and forth for an hour, alone in a quiet room, and in the end I would say that the F4 sounded just a little bit sweeter and breathier than my A4. But did it sound $4k sweeter? Not to my poor self. So even though I went in really wanting the F4 to be "the one," I just couldn't justify the large expense. But, as always, YMMV. It's certainly a beautiful instrument, no doubt.

    I recently watched a David Grisman live video where he was sitting in his living room and showing/discussing his mandolin collection. He's owned so many instruments over the years. One thing he said that stuck with me is, "Either an instrument has IT or it doesn't. And I can tell from the first strum." I'll keep that in mind whenever I'm trying out a mandolin. It seems like it should just grab you right away.

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  33. #50
    Registered User Paulrb51's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F2 and F4 mandolins.

    Quote Originally Posted by KCNelson View Post
    I played the F4 at Dusty Strings. I was a little disappointed that they failed to mention a rather pronounced (though I assume repaired and stable) crack underneath the pickguard - from the trough of the upper point to the rosette. Also the lower point was replaced by a newer whiter plastic piece. I think these details should have been included in the online description. The photos online make it look more flawless than it is in person.

    For background, I have a 1917 A4 with a sunk but stable top, and a gaudy refinish from the 50s/60s (?). It's not much to look at, but I'll be darned if doesn't sound and play great. I bought it cheap about 5 years ago thinking I would keep it for a while then upgrade. But every time I've played a nicer A (like a couple at Wintergrass in Seattle) I ended up realizing just how good my player A4 sounds and feels.

    I brought it with me to Seattle to A/B with this F4, and I played them both back and forth for an hour, alone in a quiet room, and in the end I would say that the F4 sounded just a little bit sweeter and breathier than my A4. But did it sound $4k sweeter? Not to my poor self. So even though I went in really wanting the F4 to be "the one," I just couldn't justify the large expense. But, as always, YMMV. It's certainly a beautiful instrument, no doubt.

    I recently watched a David Grisman live video where he was sitting in his living room and showing/discussing his mandolin collection. He's owned so many instruments over the years. One thing he said that stuck with me is, "Either an instrument has IT or it doesn't. And I can tell from the first strum." I'll keep that in mind whenever I'm trying out a mandolin. It seems like it should just grab you right away.
    Thanks so much, KC, for posting your assessment of the Seattle F4. It is very hard to purchase an instrument (especially a relatively expensive one like a F4) sight unseen. Truth is though that most of us can't travel to see and play many (or any) in person so it all seems like kind of a crap shoot.

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