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Thread: William Halsey mandolin owners?

  1. #1

    Default William Halsey mandolin owners?

    I am interested to hear from owners who have a Bill Halsey built mandolin. Demetrius and I have spoken a time or two about this topic. I believe Bill built a total of 12 mandolins.
    10 F5's and two A5's. It would be great to hear from anyone who owns a Halsey or has played one.

    Thanks kindly.

  2. #2
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: William Halsey mandolin owners?

    I believe there is another thread about Bill's mandolins. I have no idea perhaps a moderator will mention the link. If I remember correctly there were some great photos as Mr. Halsey himself is/was a member and chimed in. I remember reaching out to him at one point asking about one of his builds and at the time it was above what I could spend but very reasonable! I think it was one of his keepers as he still had it? Or it may have been the one he just finished up? I honestly don't recall. I think he also did an old 24 Tenor Lute to Mandola conversion, maybe more than one. I'm no fiddler but he makes some of the best bows I've heard people talk about.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: William Halsey mandolin owners?

    Here's a thread that was started by Bill back in 2007.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...1990-Prototype
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: William Halsey mandolin owners?

    I too am interested in knowing who else has scored on if these fine gems...

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    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: William Halsey mandolin owners?

    Quite some years back I had a short private mail conversation with Billbows. The essence of his mail was this.

    Williym Halsey builds F-5 style mandolins that he models after the Bill Monroe tone of the 60ies while aestetically reproducing a Lloyd Loar F-5. (For those of you who have one or have played one, is that your impression? If not, whatīs your impression?)

    I found that very appealing. If his instruments are only half as nice as the tone in his mail anyone who has one of his mandolins has a lifer for sure. I would really like to try one of Billbows mandolins out. I donīt know what happened but I donīt see him being active here. I hope heīs doing well.
    Olaf

  8. #6
    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
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    Default Re: William Halsey mandolin owners?

    William Halsey's talent can only be matched by his kindness. I had the chance to play one of his F5 mandolins earlier this year and I believe it was as fine as any mandolin I've played... with the build and artistry being just unbelievable. I've owned and played many original Loar mandolins and, as mentioned in other posts, his instruments are more Loar-like than most Loars!

    Unfortunately Bill is no longer building mandolins... time and tide have moved him on to other things. And I'm not sure either if he's still making his world-class bows.

    So for those of you who have one of his creations, be assured that you have something really special.

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  10. #7
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: William Halsey mandolin owners?

    I was really lucky to have had six or seven months with the mandolin Demetrius now owns, it was a real treat! I have also been lucky enough to have been able to help him get some tuning data when several were in the white.
    As far as I know the two A-styles were made for his children and they still have them.
    Bow production is still his gig, he and I had a pretty lengthy chat about his decision to stop building mandolins and the gist of it was that the amount of time to produce mandolins was more than he wanted to invest, better return in making bows. So those of you that have one, be happy! I’m just happy to have known Bill for almost 50 years. He is a very close friend and, one of the most kind gentle humans to grace this earth.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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  12. #8

    Default Re: William Halsey mandolin owners?

    Thanks to all who have responded. I could not agree more with the sentiment about Bill as a human being. Truly a wonderful person. It's funny to me but even just receiving a package from Bill illustrates his keen sense of detail. Bill turns wrapping & mailing a package into an art form I am blessed to spend each day with Bill's initial foray into the world of F5 mandolin construction from 1977. I shake my head each time I pluck a note. Thank you Mr. Halsey.

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: William Halsey mandolin owners?

    Yep, that’s Bill!
    When I was remodeling my kitchen I wanted to put a “twine dispenser” coming down from a stainless screw eye but, I drilled a hole in the cupboard and it just didn’t quite “right”. I started thinking about what would make the thing more elegant and I realized that a tuner bushing was exactly what I needed, I asked a couple of luthier buddies around then, while keeping Bill tuned in on the project(he has always been interested in what is going on here) I asked if he had a spare, two days later, a carefully wrapped little package with a couple bushings in it!
    They broke the mould after him!
    Old Growth, post a picture of your ‘77
    I probably had my hands on that one too!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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  15. #10

    Default Re: William Halsey mandolin owners?

    Hi Timbofood..that sounds like Bill to me. Always happy to lend a hand. In terms of photo's of the 1977 Halsey F5, I will refer you to the previous thread via this link. There are a couple of photos that a friend posted for me about half way down the page: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...rototype/page3

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  17. #11

    Default Re: William Halsey mandolin owners?

    I’ve played 3 of Mr. Halsey’s F5s and they were all magnificent. He is a phenomenal individual all the way around.
    '02 Gibson master model #70327 02-01-02
    '25 Gibson A-4 Snakehead #82626
    '06 Hicks #1 and #2 F-5 still not done

    Gibson F-5 Master Model Registry

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  19. #12
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: William Halsey mandolin owners?

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Growth View Post
    Hi Timbofood..that sounds like Bill to me. Always happy to lend a hand. In terms of photo's of the 1977 Halsey F5, I will refer you to the previous thread via this link. There are a couple of photos that a friend posted for me about half way down the page: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...rototype/page3
    I’d forgotten about that thread, I’m pretty sure I played that a little back then. I miss the after dinner chats that would sometimes last until four AM. Talking about any number of subjects, wood, home improvements, whisky, instruments, music in general. Just two guys talking until we had answered all the worlds questions. One of these days, I’ll have to take a trip to Virginia to visit! What a guy.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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