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Thread: 1934 F5 copy

  1. #26
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    Thats a pretty cool looking F5 copy.I like the elongated proportions, captures the look but shows some originality. Nice to see one so old, seems that most F5 copies date from much later. I once found a F5 copy from the 40's or 50's made by some Italian maker from NYC, didn't buy it because the workmanship was very crude,but still was an interesting piece.
    Mike Lettieri
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  2. #27
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Well, from your pics, I would say there is no mistaking that for a Gibson. Aside from the inlays etc, it seems that the proportions are different, longer body and different f-hole placement as well as shape of the scroll and peghead.

    BTW that bridge looks similar to one I have on a Weymann-labelled mandolin I have that is a dead-ringer for a Strad-O-Lin.

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  3. #28
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    Dan,

    I wonder who would have wanted to duplicate an F5 in the 1930s--or even knew at the time that these rare birds existed. #The mandolin orchestra crowd? #Maybe. #But F4s and A-models seem to have been more popular with those folks--and vastly more plentiful! #Bill Monroe is most widely credited with introducing the F5 to country music. #But he didn't have his until 1943, though he did play an F7 before that. #

    Then there's the issue of the Florentine design. #Judging from what I've learned here on the Cafe, it's not the easiest thing to make even a rough approximation of an F5 from scratch. #An amateur builder in the 1930s likely wouldn't have had many pictures at hand to copy--let alone a genuine F5. He also probably wouldn't know much about tone bar bracing or creating a raised fingerboard.

    My instinct, therefore, tells me that this was made in the 1950s or 1960s when bluegrass was really catching fire with rural musicians. #And original Gibson F5s--even postwar F5s--were either very scarce or very expense. #(I seem to recall that a new F5 cost around $1,000 in 1965--a lot of money compared to about $400 for a new Martin D-28 guitar.) #Isn't that about the time when the first good F5 copies were starting to appear? #

    Just my two cents worth. #Feel free to tell me that I've got it completely wrong!

    Bob



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  4. #29

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    Bob said, "I wonder who would have wanted to duplicate an F5 in the 1930s--or even knew at the time that these rare birds existed."

    What about an employee or repair person? They would have had the knowledge and skill. Just speculation, but worth the mention.

  5. #30
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Robt. Sayers @ Mar. 02 2006, 22:03)
    I wonder who would have wanted to duplicate an F5 in the 1930s--or even knew at the time that these rare birds existed. The mandolin orchestra crowd? Maybe. But F4s and A-models seem to have been more popular with those folks--and vastly more plentiful!
    I think there were enough f5s around even at that time for folks wo want them. Maybe this was made for someone who did want an F5 but could not afford a Gibson. There were plenty of makers at the time who could undercut the big guys. Even D'Angelico started out as a copyist of Gibson instruments and I bet his early ones were cheaper than what Gibson charged.

    All you had to do in those days was to look and see an F5 in a catalog or magazine ad. "Hey, make me one like that."

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  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by (f5loar @ Mar. 02 2006, 17:54)
    Looks closer to an H5 mandola than the F5 mandolin.
    At least they didn't use the Gibson name anywhere.
    ... or flowerpot!

    That's funky... everythings just a little off (scroll a little longer, peghead pointier). I wonder if the builder was working from pictures rather than having an instrument in hand.

    Thanks for sharing the pics!

    pd
    "... beauty is not found in the excessive but what is lean and spare and subtle" - Terry Tempest Williams

  7. #32

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    It's a very interesting mando. I remember seeing it a few weeks ago. Does anyone know of any other pre 50's F's, besides Gibsons? This is the first I've heard of (if it's legit.)

  8. #33
    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
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    Yes, it still seems improbable.. how widespread was the knowledge of the F5 back then? But.. nothing really leapt up at me and said "later work"..
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  9. #34
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    Certainly is loud.

  10. #35
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    I had a tailpiece like that on my Kalamazoo army-navy (I think it was a K-11 or something).

    f-d
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  11. #36
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (danb @ Mar. 02 2006, 19:01)
    I've seen this tailpiece in period catalogs.. note the wood quality too
    This is one of the few non-Gibson, older style tailpieces still available. Stew-Mac carries them.

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  12. #37
    Registered Mandolin User mandopete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (AlanN @ Mar. 03 2006, 05:41)
    Certainly is loud.
    A real "pre-war banjo-killer" !
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  13. #38
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    I think the mandolin has alot of really cool mojo. #It definately displays the age and period that it was made, and is actually a fairly historically important piece of work. It captures the elements of an F5, it was obviously not intended to be fake or clone, but still pays homage to design of an F5. #I believe we would be hard pressed to find another instrument of it's sort that was not made sometime in the 60's or later. #Mr. Wilson certainly deserves some piece of historical "mandolin lutherie" mention, note or footnote in the whole deal.



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  14. #39
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    I can't get this mando off my mind. #This thing is really quite interesting and important. #Consider the following. #To my knowlege all F5 "homemade mandolins" essentially started in the 60's with Bob Givens, Randy Wood, Mr Fowler and Tom Morgan, Wayne Henderson ect. #Prior to that a few folks had converted F4's, (Tom Morgan and Bob White in Columbus OH). #All of these mandolins were "for Bluegrass" and related to the Bill Monroe phenomenon.

    Bill Monroe turned 23 the same month this mando was made. # A '24 Lloyd Loar mandolin was only 10 years old. Like a '96 F5L or Gilchrist

    This Mr. Joe Wilson almost certainly took it upon himself to build this mandolin for totally different motives than we are accustomed to. #The style of sound we like and hear from an F5 mandolin essentially had not been developed. #He just about had to be paying homage to people like Dave Appolon, Wm Place and such and wanted a mandolin like theirs. #How cool is that.



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  15. #40
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    I think you summed it up very well Darryl.
    Mike Lettieri
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  16. #41

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    ..Im with ya Darryl..

  17. #42
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    "Itís news to me that anyone would have done an F-5 style copy this early. Iím a skeptic since itís easy to fake a name and date, but maybe itís a piece of history."


    George Gruhn
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  18. #43
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    Who is Joe Wilson? .... found this (related to determining an instruments authenicity ...Goto bottom on page

    Joe Wilson is a very well known Luthier. He has been repairing guitars professionally since 1964. He also owns and operates an authorized Fender service center. Precision guitar Mt. Pleasant SC



    Maybe his father made it as this guy looks to young?

  19. #44
    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
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    It's pretty interesting in person. The binding is grained ivoroid that would match what you'd find on a national- grain up and down rather than horizontal with the line of the binding.. the tuners were *probably* Gibson A machines filed down to fit. That clamshell tailpiece appears in some ancient catalog I've seen.. the case has a very home-made look to it (all those rivets!). The work is pretty good overall, though not up to modern standards.. and the tone was interesting, but it's more a visual homage than an acoustic one.

    But what about the bound f-holes.. that's the detail I'm stumbling on.. were there any examples of this on anything that would predate 1934? Quite an interesting piece. I have a few more pictures, but not much to add that isn't already there.. I guess I can't think of a good reason it's not a '34 yet, so I'm fishing for that at the moment!

    Is the Joe Wilson pictured above contactable?
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  20. #45
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    Dan,
    The f hole bindings could have been added later???
    Trevor
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  21. #46

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    ..Hmmm Tom..now youve got me thinking in the other direction some...and the bound F holes that Dan pointed out kinda makes me wonder too...

  22. #47
    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
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    Looked pretty original to the piece.. though the fholes were pretty small (added binding makes them seem smaller you see?)
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  23. #48
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Gibson Super 400 1934, bound F-holes, D'Angelico 1932 Bound F-holes
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  24. #49
    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
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    By the way- the body shape and contours are more evocative of a 3pt. I don't think the builder had an F5 to copy, except perhaps in a photo
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  25. #50
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (danb @ Mar. 03 2006, 13:45)
    Is the Joe Wilson pictured above contactable?
    I am sure he his since he works at Ed Roman's Guitars. OTOH there are lots of Joe Wilsons out there, so it may be a long shot.

    Is there anything else written on the instrument besides his name and the date? Any location? Also, if you could check inside with a mirror there may be something written on the top. I have two instruments by an obscure late 1920s/early 1930s luthier who also glued his business card to the top.

    Jim



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