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Thread: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

  1. #1
    Registered User Darwin Gaston's Avatar
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    Default 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    I recently acquired a 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 mandolin which couldn’t have been played very much. It was in mint condition no nicks, dings, cracks or scratches anywhere on the mandolin (like new).

    I had the Flatiron Artist A5 mandolin sent to Bruce Weber (Montana Lutherie) to do a complete setup on the mandolin. He had too level a couple frets, put a new bone nut and bridge on the mandolin. This 34 year old mandolin now plays like butter!

    I now see why so many of you on the Mandolin Cafe like these old Flatiron mandolins that were made in Bozeman, Montana.
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    2021 Ellis F5 Special
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    1987 Flatiron Artist A5

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  3. #2
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    Congrats! Nice addition to some awesome mandolins. As a Girouard owner myself, I lust after one of Max and Lauri's F-4 styles.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  4. #3
    Registered User Darwin Gaston's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    Here are a couple more pictures of the Flatiron Artist A5. Its hard to believe this mandolin is 34 years old.
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    2021 Ellis F5 Special
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    2020 Heiden Artist Plus A5
    1987 Flatiron Artist A5

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  6. #4
    Registered User Darwin Gaston's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    Here are a couple more pictures showing the headstock.
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    2021 Ellis F5 Special
    2021 Girouard Concert Master F4 oval hole
    2020 Heiden Artist Plus A5
    1987 Flatiron Artist A5

  7. #5
    Registered User Darwin Gaston's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    Congrats! Nice addition to some awesome mandolins. As a Girouard owner myself, I lust after one of Max and Lauri's F-4 styles.
    Charles,
    Believe me Max and Lauri’s F-4 style mandolins are fabulous you need to order one!

    Darwin
    2021 Ellis F5 Special
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    1987 Flatiron Artist A5

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    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was trading away my '85 A5 Artist.
    "it's not in bad taste, if it's funny" - john waters

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    Registered User loess's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was running over my '85 A5-1 with a Toyota minivan. True story.
    *`.☽☆☾.*

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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    Quote Originally Posted by loess View Post
    One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was running over my '85 A5-1 with a Toyota minivan. True story.
    Ouch!!! Don't know that I could bear hearing the details. Along the same lines, one of the biggest scores I ever made was recently buying a
    1992 Carlson signed Gibson A-5L, Bozeman, Montana made. I'm loving it and believe it's a lifetime keeper. Pics will come soon.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

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  13. #9
    Registered User Darwin Gaston's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    I have a question, what strings do you use on your Flatiron Artist A5?
    2021 Ellis F5 Special
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    Registered User Lane Pryce's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    Very nice. Nothing like hitting it off with a closet queen.
    J.Lane Pryce

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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    Wow! I have one of those too! Mine’s from ‘89 though.

  18. #12
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    That OP's is a real beauty. I own the precursor '83 A5-2. Main difference is that hardware is not gold-plated. Bought one of the first two carved Flatirons from Mandolin Brothers. They hadn't started making F's yet.

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    Jim

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  20. #13
    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    [QUOTE=Jim Garber;1839718]That OP's is a real beauty. I own the precursor '83 A5-2. Main difference is that hardware is not gold-plated. Bought one of the first two carved Flatirons from Mandolin Brothers. They hadn't started making F's yet.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  21. #14
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    Quote Originally Posted by loess View Post
    One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was running over my '85 A5-1 with a Toyota minivan. True story.
    How badly did the A-5 damage the minivan? I understand these mandolins are very solidly built.

    To the OP: I'm wondering - why did you ship it out to Montana for a set-up? Sure, Bruce is top-notch, but there are plenty of luthiers and repairmen in the Northeast, within driving distance.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    How badly did the A-5 damage the minivan? I understand these mandolins are very solidly built.

    To the OP: I'm wondering - why did you ship it out to Montana for a set-up? Sure, Bruce is top-notch, but there are plenty of luthiers and repairmen in the Northeast, within driving distance.
    Why not? Bruce had a hand in building it...

  23. #16
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    Oh, sure, I get that. Just the cost and risk of shipping. And the worry ... All for a fairly uncomplicated job. None of my concern, of course, just curious.

    For some perspective, I incorporate luthiery visits with trips up to New England, because of my longstanding relationship with and admiration for George Youngblood. So I should talk!

    I understand customer loyalty, but if I knew a good local luthier, some things might change.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  24. #17
    Registered User Darwin Gaston's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    How badly did the A-5 damage the minivan? I understand these mandolins are very solidly built.

    To the OP: I'm wondering - why did you ship it out to Montana for a set-up? Sure, Bruce is top-notch, but there are plenty of luthiers and repairmen in the Northeast, within driving distance.
    To answer you question I purchased this Flatiron Artist A5 from an individual from the State of Washington. He paid to ship the mandolin to Bruce Weber in Montana to have a new bridge put on the mandolin since the original bridge was cracked. When Bruce received the mandolin he called me right away on the phone and told me this 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 basically looked brand new and it was never played much. I figured once the mandolin was in his hands I’m never going to get a better person to work on this mandolin than Bruce! He also informed me he had worked on this mandolin when it was built. It must have been something for Bruce to look at a 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 mandolin that he helped built 34 years ago and still look like new and get to play it again. After Bruce did a complete setup on the mandolin he then shipped it back East to Central Pennsylvania where it now resides. After getting this 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 mandolin it’s NOT going up for sale anytime soon “it’s a keeper.” After getting one and playing this beautiful old Flatiron Artist A5 mandolins that was made in Bozeman, Montana. I now see why everyone likes these old Flatiron mandolins.
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  25. #18
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    I gotcha. Makes perfect sense. Thanks for explaining. And sorry for any disruption. Sounds like you've got a good 'un. Looks like it, for sure. Enjoy!
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  27. #19
    Registered User loess's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    Quote Originally Posted by lenf12 View Post
    Ouch!!! Don't know that I could bear hearing the details.
    It's a pretty boring story and a bit of downer, but what the heck. Summer of 2013 roadtrip that was to take me to Telluride bluegrass festival, and then on to northern CA for High Sierra music festival. My first stop in Colorado was to spend a couple of days camping in the San Juan Mountains with friends. Did that, then was packing up the morning that I was to depart from there on to Telluride. I unloaded the van to re-organize and pack up my camping gear, put it all back, and backed out of my parking spot ready to roll on to Telluride. Felt a bump and figured it was a big rock or just the terrain, so I kept on backing up...and then I felt that back corner of the van drop back down onto level ground and had the sinking feeling that there was one item that I had forgotten to put back in the van. Soon as I saw the smashed case (just a basic TKL), I knew even before opening it up that the mandolin was a goner. Heart dropped down to my toes like an elevator whose cable just snapped, and my mind melted. I pretty much went catatonic and stayed that way for about 36 hours. I tried to make the best of it and drove to Telluride anyway since I had already invested in the tickets and parking pass and such, but once I got there, it began to set in just how severe of a fragmented state of mind that I was in. I spent a single night there and had to leave. Now that I'm reflecting on it, as someone who lives with complex-PTSD (an entirely different story unto itself that bears no relevance to mandolins), I think that was perhaps the first trauma-based panic attack and subsequent prolonged state of dissociative nervous system dysregulation that I'd ever experienced in my life. Silver lining was that I did push on to High Sierra and spending time there with friends was a much needed antidote to that long lonesome drive across the west in a pretty broken-hearted state. Needless to say, every single time I bring an instrument with me in a vehicle, I triple-check the area around it before starting the car and driving off! I've got some gruesome photos of the corpse on an old backup hard drive somewhere...if I ever run across them I'll add them to this post

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    How badly did the A-5 damage the minivan? I understand these mandolins are very solidly built.
    Ha! Well, I did end up crashing the van at a four-way stop a couple of years later...maybe a delayed reaction.

    Darwin, that's a fine looking Flatiron. Congrats on acquiring it and hope you play it in good health for many years to come.
    Last edited by loess; Oct-15-2021 at 6:13pm.
    *`.☽☆☾.*

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    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    Quote Originally Posted by Darwin Gaston View Post
    I recently acquired a 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 mandolin which couldn’t have been played very much. It was in mint condition no nicks, dings, cracks or scratches anywhere on the mandolin (like new).

    I had the Flatiron Artist A5 mandolin sent to Bruce Weber (Montana Lutherie) to do a complete setup on the mandolin. He had too level a couple frets, put a new bone nut and bridge on the mandolin. This 34 year old mandolin now plays like butter!

    I now see why so many of you on the Mandolin Cafe like these old Flatiron mandolins that were made in Bozeman, Montana.
    That could very well have been mine. I bought one new via Elderly in 87.

  30. #21
    Registered User Darwin Gaston's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtone2 View Post
    That could very well have been mine. I bought one new via Elderly in 87.
    Lowtone2,

    If you were the original owner I want to say it is one great sounding 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 mandolin! The notes are crystal clear and it sounds amazing!!
    2021 Ellis F5 Special
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    2020 Heiden Artist Plus A5
    1987 Flatiron Artist A5

  31. #22
    Registered User Darwin Gaston's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    Quote Originally Posted by loess View Post
    Darwin, that's a fine looking Flatiron. Congrats on acquiring it and hope you play it in good health for many years to come.
    Thanks, believe me it sounds as good as it looks!!

    I enjoy playing this Flatiron Artist A5 and it puts a smile on my face every time I play it. It’s definitely a “KEEPER”!! A mandolin that sounds this good doesn’t come around every often and then to look this good is icing on the cake!!
    2021 Ellis F5 Special
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    2020 Heiden Artist Plus A5
    1987 Flatiron Artist A5

  32. #23
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 (Mint)

    Quote Originally Posted by Darwin Gaston View Post
    Lowtone2,

    If you were the original owner I want to say it is one great sounding 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 mandolin! The notes are crystal clear and it sounds amazing!!
    If it is my former mandolin, the neck has been replaced. Flatiron replaced it under their lifetime warranty.

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