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Thread: Flatiron A5-Artist vs Gibson A5L

  1. #1
    Mike Fox mandolinfox's Avatar
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    Default Flatiron A5-Artist vs Gibson A5L

    I play a 1987 Flatiron A5 Artist signed by Steve Carlson. It was made in January 1987, before Gibson bought Flatiron. I am curious about the similarities and differences between these late 80's A5 Artists and the Gibson A5-L mandolins from the later 80's and early 90's. I know a lot of those early Gibson A5-L's were also signed by Carlson. Is it basically the same mandolin? My Flatiron is X braced. What bracing do the A5-L's have? I would appreciate any other info on similarities and differences between the two models. Thanks!
    1987 Flatiron A-5 Artist "Woody"
    2003 Weber Gallatin F "Phaedrus"
    1921 Gibson A-2 "Lily"

  2. #2

    Default Re: Flatiron A5-Artist vs Gibson A5L


  3. #3

    Default Re: Flatiron A5-Artist vs Gibson A5L

    Great mandolin you have! Can't go wrong with a mandolin bearing Steve Carlson's signature on the label!

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    lenf12 

  5. #4

    Default Re: Flatiron A5-Artist vs Gibson A5L

    I had long lusted for an A-5L and finally got lucky in August of 2021 when I bought my 1992 Steve Carlson signed mandolin at a very nice price. It is tonebar braced rather than X braced and has a beefier, rounder neck profile. I don't have any experience with the Flatiron A5 Artist model so I can't comment on it but I do love my Gibson.

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    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  6. #5

    Default Re: Flatiron A5-Artist vs Gibson A5L

    A couple more shots...

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    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  7. #6
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flatiron A5-Artist vs Gibson A5L

    I think Gibson is parallel and Flatiron is x-braced.

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

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

  8. #7
    Registered User Darwin Gaston's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flatiron A5-Artist vs Gibson A5L

    I have never played a Gibson A5L and can’t make any comments on it. But I must say the sound of my 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 is unbelievable, it was made in November 1987 and signed by Dennis Balian. I think it’s important to mention the X-bracing as contributing to a strong sound.

    I had Bruce Weber do a complete setup on my Flatiron Artist A5. After Bruce put a new bridge and nut on it the playability of that mandolin is fantastic. I like my 1987 Flatiron Artist A5 that much that I keep looking for an 80’s Flatiron Artist F5 to go with my Flatiron Artist A5.

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    Last edited by Darwin Gaston; Dec-20-2022 at 10:23pm.
    2022 Girouard Griffith Tribute A5
    2021 Girouard Concert Master F5 oval hole
    2021 Ellis F5 Special
    2020 Heiden Artist Plus A5
    1987 Flatiron Artist A5

  9. #8
    Registered User BBarton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flatiron A5-Artist vs Gibson A5L

    I had a 1988 Artist A-5 for several years but, like an idiot, sold it! I sure wish now I had kept it -- it was a wonderful mandolin. I also had a mid-'90s A5L for awhile, but I just couldn't warm up to it so I cut it loose.
    Too many instruments...too little time

  10. #9
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flatiron A5-Artist vs Gibson A5L

    Quote Originally Posted by BBarton View Post
    I had a 1988 Artist A-5 for several years but, like an idiot, sold it! I sure wish now I had kept it -- it was a wonderful mandolin. I also had a mid-'90s A5L for awhile, but I just couldn't warm up to it so I cut it loose.

    You’re not alone. I had a Carlson signed A5 Artist, but the truss rod channel was routed too deeply and the truss rod started coming through the back of the peg head. Gibson or Flatiron (don’t remember) put a new neck on it for no charge but by that time I had lost interest and sold it back to Elderly.

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