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Thread: Other Loar/GRAIL instruments - ?

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    We here at Mandolin Cafe are all on the same page: Loar F-5 is the GOLD STANDARD of mandolins.

    We'd also probably agree that a PreWar/Herringbone D-28 is the GOLD STANDARD of flattop guitars.

    But what about the other stringed instruments (many of which many of us play)??

    What's the "sine qua non" of: B@njos? Resonators? Double basses? Ukuleles? ??s??

    On "the back 9 of life", you might as well play the Masters!

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    If you play the Swinette (swine-ette), the 1975 Bacon-Ranch is the pinnacle.
    (Swinette: Cat gut stretched across a Pig's ### and played with your teeth).

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    Aw man, I got censored. I really should go to bed.

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    Registered User 8ch(pl)'s Avatar
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    I heard something about a ... is it Stradivarius? I think it is a high end fiddle.

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    As far as gold standards, there is such a thing when it comes to market value but I doubt that "everybody" is on the same page (Eugene, are you listening). As far as mandolins, some serious players (Bobby Clarke comes to mind) actually prefer the sound of a Fern over a Loar. Others are in love with the sound of a Snakehead (Statman) Monte Grand Artist, Nugget or Gilchrist even if they can afford a Loar. If that was not the case, every deep pocketed picker would either play a Loar or a Gibson Master Model which, seen from that perspective, is the next best thing. Also, letīs not forget that there are entire communities of amazing players who prefer a decent bowlback (classical) or flattop (choro) over a Loar any day. Variety is a good thing. And as far as guitars, some find prewar D 18s to sound richer and more musical than the bones. But as far as prices, D 28s fetch more. Speaking about banjos, prewar Gibsos rule, pricewise. For the bases, good bluegrass bases are a bargain. If you are into vintage Italian or German bases, the sky is the limit (same for violins).
    Who am I and if yes, how many?

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    To complicate the matter further, fine violin family instruments are usually made in a shop as opposed to a factory. While this sounds like it might ensure a higher quality instrument, it can mean that instruments out of an atellier (shop) may be of wide-ranging quality. This being the case you can't look to a "brand" such as Stradivarius to exemplify a standard. It really goes instrument by instrument with some defference shown to particular makers. Incidentaly, counterfieting is a huge issue, and many violins bearing the names Stradivarius or Amati are in fact fakes (and you think Gibson has problems) so provenance becomes a big issue too. Like Loars, no one is sure precisely how many strads are actually out there, but if I understand correctly (which is not always the case) it's more like dozens rather than hundreds.

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    While most agree the pre-war Herringbone is about as good as it gets, let's not forget the late 30's Advanced Jumbo. These few guitars are more than incredible and will stand with any pre-war bone. There just aren't as many of them available. Let's also think about the L5 and Super 400 for arch top guitars. These have been the models that changed music forever and brought the banjo to its knees in big band music.
    Have a Great Day!
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Big Joe @ Nov. 04 2005, 09:15)
    Let's also think about the L5 and Super 400 for arch top guitars. These have been the models that changed music forever and brought the banjo to its knees in big band music.
    And for that, we owe Gibson a large debt of gratitude!

    Can you imagine how it would have been: Muddy Waters, Jimmy Hendrix, Eric Clapton, B. B. King, all banjo players?
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    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Nothing personal Big Joe, but the Gold Standard is the prewar Martin D-28. Due to lack of availability and severe cost, 100k+, the D-18 has sort of taken it's place, not a Gibson, as fine as they are.
    But, just to make you happy, Big Joe, (I am needling my friend at Gibson) I was writing this to say that the preware Gibson Granada is the gold standard of Banjos, imo. While I play dobro, it is not my instrument, let's here from your dobro boys. Pre-war pre-Gibson Hound Dog (Dobro) or the newer Scheerhorn? Nothing like stiring a bit of contraversy with my coffee.
    Tony
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    Registered User Steven Stone's Avatar
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    Perhaps the previous poster is confusing D-28's with D-45s?

    Even Pre-war D-28's are not over $100K yet (wishful thinking maybe?)Pre-war D-45's ar well over that however.

    And just as some pickers prefer Ferns over Loars, some guitarists prefer D-18s or heaven forbid, AJ's over D-28's. Even Clarence White prefered to play solos on his D-18 instead of his D-28.

    Different strokes.....

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    Registered Mandolin User mandopete's Avatar
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    When I was in high school it was a 1957 Gibson Les Paul Flame Top.
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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by
    We here at Mandolin Cafe are all on the same page: Loar F-5 is the GOLD STANDARD of mandolins.
    Well "we" all not all on that page. I only agree that it is the mandolin that costs the most gold!

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    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    I stand corrected about the price of D-28s vs D-45s. I think of the D-28 as the Gold standard, for the sound as much as the look. I know the D-45 is valued more, but to me it is a bit whorey looking. I was fortunate enough to play Ginger Boatright's prewar D-45. The thing felt like a feather in your hands, but when you played it, the sound pushed against your stomach. I enjoy this kind of thread. Fun to listen to all the opinions.
    Tony Huber
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    I agree the D28 is the most prevalent and most often considered the gold standard of acoustic flat tops. That was never the issue. I was merely pointing out there are others that were just as important then....and now....to our current musical heritage. The list could be much larger including some Larson Brother guitars but that is another issue. I am thankful for all the wonderful guitars and mandolins...oh, yes, and banjos that made our current music possible.
    Have a Great Day!
    Joe Vest

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    Registered User Jim Yates's Avatar
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    We'd all agree that Brazilian rosewood is mighty pretty stuff and it makes a great sounding guitar, but Doc Watson, who can't see the beauty of the grain, seems to prefer the sound of a mahogany guitar. I think I'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between a D18 and a D28 in a blindfold test. The Tone Poems album really drove home to me that all of the guitars on that CD sounded like Tony Rice.
    Jim Yates

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    Blep I have to disagree with there, while I agree that all those guitars sounded like Tony Rice playing them but there is obvious tonal variation from song to song. Sure it isn't the car it's the driver, but man both and Dawg and T-Bone have a wide array of tonal sounds on that record, and it is really awesome. Having spent a year and a half woring in a high end acoustic shop I have taken the blindfold Mahog vs Rosewood test I passed and could tell every time. Now Brazillian and Indian is a bit tougher but I've gotten them right before.

    Back to the original question Granadas are the no brainer banjo answer, I think it would be safer to answer the fiddle question by saying really Old Italian Master instruments. Dobro's while I like the stye and vibe of a 30's Triolian, I think Screehorn/Douglas changed the sound enough that it trumps out the older ones, but to each his own. T

    Third, currently I think the Kay bass is the epitome of the gold standard Slapping bass, don't ask those actual note playing bass players they are all confused




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    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Threads like this are quite a bit of fun. #Over the years I have owned, brokered/been involved it some really rare and "Gold Standard", at least in someones mind instruments.

    Here are some examples,
    1938 forward x braced cat eye inlay D-45, no cracks, exc
    1932 12-fret D-28 herringbone
    July 9, 23 Loar (2)
    Several other Loars
    Brazilian pre-war SJ
    1935 D-28, no cracks exc
    1937 orig 5string, flat Granada with uncut label
    1939 RB 75 orig 5str flathead
    41 D-28
    39 D-28
    61 White Falcon
    63 Jazz Bass
    61 Prec Bass
    57 Strat
    26 Fern
    28 Fern
    Model 156 Dobro-walnut 4-way match, engraved, gold
    Model 100 Dobro-walnut 2-way match, engraved, nickle
    Model 27 Dobro-the ultra rare 8000 series with sq neck, sunburst peghead
    24 F4 virzi
    24 A4 Virzi

    I and happy and excited just to have had the chance to hold and play, or own for a short while all of these wonderful instrument ...that's my Gold Standard



    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
    www.f5journal.com

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    The only person I know who sounds like Tony Rice IS Tony Rice.
    mikeguy

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    Wyatt Rice sure sounds a lot like him at times though.
    42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

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    I am extremely happy with my 3 primary instruments: a 2003 Huss and Dalton Custom DS (based on the late-30's Gibson slope-shouldered guitars), a slightly modified 1994 F-5G, and a '75 ES335TD. #They are much, much nicer than anything I deserve.

    But I dream of some day getting a chance to pick on a Loar F-5, a teens F-4, a late-50s Les Paul or Strat or Tele through a 60s Fender amp, a 30's AJ, a prewar 'bone, a prewar D-18, and ANYTHING that today's top luthiers produce. #I don't particularly need to own anything that nice (as far as I know), but it sure would be a treat to be able to lay my hands and eyes and ears on them for a little while.
    Clark Beavans

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    Registered Mandolin User mandopete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (f5journl @ Nov. 04 2005, 10:24)
    61 Prec Bass
    Wow, I never realized anyone else considered a pre-CBS Precision bass to be a "Gold Standard". I traded an older Ricky 4001 for a Precision in '75 and everyone thought I was nuts!
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    Old Martins are the gold standard of ukuleles.
    Gibson snake-heads are the gold standard for A/round hole mandolins. Pre-war D-18s rule for guitars. I can't comment on what I've never played.
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  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by (red7flag @ Nov. 04 2005, 06:35)
    the Gold Standard is the prewar Martin D-28.
    When I was 16, I had a chance to buy one for $180, and I had the money, but my parents wouldn't let me buy it. They said that I already had a guitar (A J-45) and didn't need another one.

    In the world of the pedal steel, the gold standard is the latest rather than the vintage. Since the steel is a product of technology, as that technology improves, the older ones become less valuable. The current gold standard is the MSA Milennium, a woodless instrument made out of carbon fiber. The carbon fiber body is more resonant than wood, and weighs half as much.




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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (jaydee @ Nov. 04 2005, 07:21)
    This being the case you can't look to a "brand" such as Stradivarius to exemplify a standard. It really goes instrument by instrument with some defference shown to particular makers.
    Huh? Stradivari violins were made by Antonio Stradivari, a particular maker. Anything else is a copy of his work. Yes, those are Stradivari-style violins but they are not Strads.

    BTW the ne plus ultra of the uke world (at least among vintage collectors) is the Martin 5K. The most desirable of National guitars is the tricone prob style 4.

    Jim



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    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Well, I guess the ultimate player's instrument in the bowlback world is the Embergher No. 5bis. There are the followers of Calace and Vinaccia, and to some extent the top models of Martin or Vega, but when it comes to identifying one single model by one builder, the 5bis has the edge.

    Martin
    (don't have one, but have once played Alison Stephens' 5bis)

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