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Thread: R L Givens

  1. #1
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    Just curious how many Givens mandolins are around the Cafe.I will start off, A-6 Ser.#447 Completed 11-29-88

  2. #2

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    I have an A-something with #319 in pencil on the inside back. I ran into someone at Wintergrass a couple of years ago who had #320, every bit as ugly as mine.
    Clyde Clevenger
    Salem, Oregon
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    Just my opinion, but it's right.

  3. #3

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    I have an F model #443 signed 10/18/88. Good volume, wonderful tone and playability that's outstanding. Has a great wheat straw peghead inlay and snowflakes on finger board. Nice tobacco burst finish. Signed under base side and has no adjustable trussrod. Love this mandolin!

  4. #4
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    I have #645 signed 1/1/92. It is an A4.

  5. #5
    Fiddler & Mandolin Player Dave Reiner's Avatar
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    I play #178 which I got a while back from Greg Boyd. #Traded it away for a few months, but bought it back because I missed its great tone and playability (and decent volume). #I'm playing it with TI medium strings or J74s. #What do you other folks use for strings?

    Dave
    '04 Gibson F3, '04 Gibson A4, '06 Gibson F4, '14 Gibson A4, '26 Gibson F5, '27 Gibson F4, '87 Givens A6, '91 Givens A6

    Author, Anthology of Fiddle Styles; Co-author, Oldtime Fiddling Across America
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  6. #6

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    I have an A6 made before he started numbering his mando's. Very sweet sound and altho the back wood is plain is does have some curl on the sides and neck. There are some pic's here on the board somewhere but sinece I love to show it off here's one more I took for the wintergrass tasting CD last year...
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  7. #7

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    Dave: I use J74s on mine and they seem best suited to it. That's a nice looking mandolin Mandolooter--mine has the two piece engraved original that's down to brass. Did you notice any difference with the Price?

  8. #8
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    I have my old "ODE" Tennessean mandolin that was built by Tut Taylor Music in Nashville back in the '70's. I understand that Bob Givens was working there at the time. My A-O snakehead model has that distinctive dark burgandy finish that a lot of Mr. Givens' instruments came with.

    Because of the "Nashville Connection" and RL Givens' association with Tut Taylor, I don't think I'll ever part with my mando - it's special to me.

  9. #9
    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    i had a tennessee mandolin that was originally sold "in the white" in the late 70's. the original owner put a dark brown finish on it. it was so long ago that i can't even remember what it sounded like. i sold it to buy a andersen mando in '82.
    mandolooter- that is one sweet lookin' mandolin!
    john
    "it's not in bad taste, if it's funny" - john waters

  10. #10

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    I have the original TP that came with it but when I got it, it had a chrome Price on it and the original was in the case...it still is. I got the black one from Mandomedic (Ken C) last year and I have never tried it with the origanal one on it...its just too butt-ugly for my taste and doesn't have the engraving. I'll look for the pic and put it up. I have since changed out my tuners to some gold Schaller w/pearl buttons and its even prettier now...I'll put up an "after" shot too. Its one fine sounding mandolin and what ya can't see in the picture is it has quite a few dings in the top, a few by me but most from previous owners. It was owned by bassist Mark Shatz(sp?) for a while and has his SSN inside. He marked it since it had no other ID #'s. It was also owned by fellow Cafe member "Givensman" he he, who'd a thunk it...that would be quite a stretch huh? I'll look for those pic's and post em later...Im off to a Xmas party/jam at my old neighbors place. Who every reads this have a safe and Merry Xmas and a prosperous New Year...thats what Im hoping for. Need more $$$ to cure this MAS I caught in the "Groupings" thread!
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  11. #11
    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    there is a very interesting tut taylor tennessee A5 on ebay right now. the seller mentions givens.
    does anybody know about this mando?
    john
    "it's not in bad taste, if it's funny" - john waters

  12. #12
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    There's a Givens f-5 in the classifieds as well. . .

    f-d
    ˇpapá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  13. #13

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    Here's that tailpiece pic i forgot to post...
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  14. #14
    Registered User bud's Avatar
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    I have an A3 model #378 4/15/87 when Bob was in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Great mandolin. Purchased from Greg Boyd last year. Here is the photo from Greg.
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    Bud Martin
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    Kimble A5
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    Old Wave F5

  15. #15
    Registered User Frank Russell's Avatar
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    bud - What sort of inlay, if any, is on the headstock? #My A4 looks very similar. #Frank

  16. #16
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    Frank, is your A4 the new acquisition? What's the difference between an A3, A4 and the "Gibson A5"?
    Wye Knot

  17. #17

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    Bud, thats a beauty! At last years Wintergrass I was at Boyds and was gonna pick that A model he had but someone was looking at it and when I went back it was sold so I never had the chance. Wonder if that was yours? I've played the A6 commemerative model he has and liked the tone but the thing didn't appeal to me visually very much for some reason, maybe the light color. I keep wondering what he'd give me for mine in a trade for a F style, but they all seem to have the skinnier necks than mine so I've never jumped on it yet...maybe at Weiser this year if he still has a F style and i still have some cash or credit!
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  18. #18
    Registered User bud's Avatar
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    I would love to play one of the F's someday. Mine has a pretty skinny neck 1" at the nut.

    Frussell, here is a photo of the headstock. I believe it might be a decal and not inlay. Not for sure. It was described to me as an A3 when I purchased it from Greg Boyd.
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    Bud Martin
    http://www.mrbbluegrass.com
    Kimble A5
    Kimble F5
    Gibson F4
    Old Wave F5

  19. #19

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    Hi bud, sweet headstock! You think it a decal? #Now that I never heard of before on a Givens but Im no expert, and have only been aware of his work for the few years I've been pickin. I'll admit I've done countless searchs for tidbits of info and photos of his work, my own little Givens Archive per say. #Could ya send me a high res pic of that? I've already saved your other pic. One thing tha I noticed right off the bat was the "extra dot" down on the right side of the initials under the leaf. #Thats the first of those Ive seen unless its a trick of light. A lot of his inlays seem to have a freehanded look to them, and then some have architectural/art deco look that looks like it took some time to come up with. A lot of different looks in the 680+ mandos he built. In the headstocks thread there is one of my all time favorites by any luthier even tho its quite simple in design. I'll post it here.
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  20. #20

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    Drum roll please, here it is...
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  21. #21
    Registered User Frank Russell's Avatar
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    Mandolooter - I agree, that's one of my favorites. It is the exact same inlay on my A4. Just flashy enough. And yes, some do have decals. I have a friend who has an F which has a decal instead of inlay. Some of the gold-toned floral type decorations are decals. They are still pretty nice looking. Lee - Yes, that's what I ended up with, an A4, made just a few months before he died. Greg Boyd identified it as an A4 over the phone, with a verbal description of inlay, wood and color. He's definitely the Givens go-to guy. I might be paying this one off for a while, but it's worth the wait. I'll sure miss that Old Wave though. bud - thanks for posting the headstock for me. That's what I like about this site, you always get the info you need. Frank
    FJ Russell


    Es mejor morir de pie que vivir de rodillas. E. Zapata

  22. #22

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    ditto Frank...I love this place and never fail to find something interesting or informative most every visit.
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  23. #23

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    Mandolooter--That is a great inlay(elegant simplicity)--I like it more than his torch. Would that have been found only on A styles of the early 90s?

  24. #24

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    This is a story of luck, generosity, and how I have become a happy Givens owner again. In 1978 I bought a Givens A. I'm not sure what model number it is. I sold the mandolin to a friend of mine about 1980. Over the years I've owned a couple of different mandolins but mandolin has not been my main instrument.

    In the last year the mandolin has become more of a passion so a few months ago I bought a very nice Eastman 515. I've been playing it a lot and like it very much but then I saw my friend that I sold the Givens to 25 lears ago. She said she had a Givens mandolin she wanted to sell. I asked if it was the same one I sold her and she said "oh yeah it is". This was just after I bought the Eastman so I didn't really have the funds to buy the Givens and I was sure the price would be more than I could afford anyway. Also one of the really great Mandolin players around here was interested in the Givens so I thought he was going to buy it for sure. Sorry this story is getting a little long but I just can't believe my good fortune.

    Last Saturday evening I went to a bluegrass jam night a local coffee place. My friend was there and I asked if the other fellow had bought the Givens. It seems he hadn't even called her back about it. So I asked about the price and it was very affordable as long as the mando was going to a good home and I promised if I ever sold the Givens again I would give right of first refusal to my friend. So long story short is I now own the Givens A I bought back in 1978.

    It is number 131 and is brown burst. The maple is pretty plain but it has a bound fret board and nice inlay in the headstock. The finish is checked all over the top and it has Jesse McReynolds autograph on the face but it sounds just great with a very sweet tone and it plays so easy. Hard to believe I ever let it go. The top is dated and signed under the top but it is pretty hard to read. I can read the date, 8-8-78, there is more than just a signature but I really can't read the rest. Anyway due to the generosity of my friend in not wanting a small fortune for the Givens and the luck of the other guy not buying it I am just thrilled to be a Givens owner again. Anybody want to buy an Eastman? I still can't afford to keep two mandolins so I'll list the Eastman in the classifieds. Sorry for the long post, I hope some of you will have enjoyed the story.

  25. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Rob Griffin For This Useful Post:


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    I enjoyed it very much, Rob. Thanks for sharing it. Regards, Mike

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