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Thread: Loar Picture of the Day

  1. #1001
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    This thread was what got me hooked on the cafe in the first place! The information shared here makes me proud to play his fascinatin' lil instrument!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  2. #1002
    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    I'll add that the March 31st batch, both Fern and Flowerpot inlay versions also (for the most part) sported front facing wbw plastic binding on the headstock (a la the later Ferns and "unsigned Loars) as opposed to the usual ivoroid wbw binding on the side of the headstock. And many from this signing date sported Virzis as well. Did I get that right Darryl?

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  4. #1003
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    Yes all correct. Ken, I did start to mention the color (colour in your case) of these mandolins but opted to keep speculation to a minimum.

    These batches from Feb and March did represent the start of what some people refer to as "the black ones". Without going into severe detail, most every batch of Loars sported a variation in color. I do believe that these dark ones with a little bit of black in the coloring were done as a labor saving effort. They are beautiful in their own way. They simply do not have quite the multi- hued gradience of the earlier ones, suggesting (and from my own experience) a coloring that could be achieved easier, quicker and more consistently.

    And yes, starting with 75707 (the last two or three from the Feb batch) or there abouts, they all were bound on the face of the peghead whether flowerpot or fern.
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
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  6. #1004
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    One other thought that I chose not to express in my earlier post is the inconsistency of the few mandolins made after the March 31st batch. Draw your own conclusions:

    Odd one-off serial, late Feb 24 overlay with inlay positioned extremely high, tuners and drilling from well post Loar,beautiful finish work much like a December 23 Loar
    http://www.mandolinarchive.com/gibson/serial/79719


    Where did this maple come from and why is the fingerboard from 2 years earlier, but has gold parts
    http://www.mandolinarchive.com/gibson/serial/79834


    Overlay from Feb 24 but obviously not completed until well into 1925
    http://www.mandolinarchive.com/gibson/serial/80783

    With due respect to Bobby Osborne, one of the ugliest finishes ever applied to a Loar
    http://www.mandolinarchive.com/gibson/serial/80190

    Overlay, not including the binding from 1922ish
    http://www.mandolinarchive.com/gibson/serial/80782
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
    www.f5journal.com

  7. #1005

    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    Darryl; thanks for notice on colour...
    I think this darker colour would be somewhat quicker, easier to do, and to do in large batches. As stated, I really like it, but, your mileage may vary.
    The early Loars, say, up to April 1923, do not appeal to me nearly as much as those that come after May of 1923. Those with the large sunburst, somewhat yellowish tops are not as beautiful as what comes in June of 1923, to say Dec of 1923.
    The evolution of colouring has always intrigued me, but, really, the F4's did a similar, though less drastic thing. Earlier F4's are not nearly as pretty to me as 1920 and onward, having a much less distinct sunburst, and a more uniform colour throughout.
    I have here a Gibson F5 from 1925, and it has the most contrasting, and darkest sunburst of any I have owned. Black, going to almost orange in the centre. (Canadian spelling intentional)

  8. #1006

    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    Look at the difference between 80782 and 80783....
    Astounding.
    Any explanation on that? 80783 being mine own....

  9. #1007
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    The difference in those two Ken and many other consecutive numbers that are not quite the same in color would be two different guys doing it. Like an artist applying paint to canvas a luthier/craftsman would do it different from the next guy sitting beside him.
    Seems I recall a number of at least 6 guys that could build the Master Models. There are consecutive numbers that are pretty darn close to being the same too.

  10. #1008
    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Waltham View Post
    Darryl; thanks for notice on colour...
    I think this darker colour would be somewhat quicker, easier to do, and to do in large batches. As stated, I really like it, but, your mileage may vary.
    The early Loars, say, up to April 1923, do not appeal to me nearly as much as those that come after May of 1923. Those with the large sunburst, somewhat yellowish tops are not as beautiful as what comes in June of 1923, to say Dec of 1923.
    The evolution of colouring has always intrigued me, but, really, the F4's did a similar, though less drastic thing. Earlier F4's are not nearly as pretty to me as 1920 and onward, having a much less distinct sunburst, and a more uniform colour throughout.
    I have here a Gibson F5 from 1925, and it has the most contrasting, and darkest sunburst of any I have owned. Black, going to almost orange in the centre. (Canadian spelling intentional)
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I don't know Ken... there's an awful lot to like about an early tobacco burst like this one...
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  11. #1009
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    I am gonna go out on a huge limb here and suggest something radical.

    I believe.........A) there is a darn good chance that Gibson sent out those early '23 mandolins (like Glasweeb posted) for a violin maker to finish.....or B) Gibson had someone come in and finish them...and C) The process was taking too long to dry and cure so they changed

    Note that the colors (colours) appear on no other instrument and a great deal of '22's including 70281 more closely match the instruments after April 23
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
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  12. #1010

    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    It's true that Glassweb's posted F5 is very beautiful. And, I too think, different than the others that come before and after. It does not have that yellowish, almost cloudy look that some have on the tops. The maple seems to take the stain better on the backs and rims.
    I wonder if that is why they went to a more brownish look, starting around the May/June 1923 period, that is, to get a slightly more pleasing look, and, actually, more violin like. And, then, to a darker still colouration as time goes on.
    Having said all that, I must state that I love all the various colours of the Loar signed F5's, and the unsigned's, they just look so "hand made", kind of crude, but, they age wonderfully, and have a look that is unreplicated.

  13. #1011
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    I love the "hand made" aesthetic too! I was chatting with Bill Halsey about that one evening I said that there is a "casual perfection" about them. All within spec but a certain allowance for whatever reason, color, grain, humidity on day of finishing. They are by no means cookie cut instruments, each is an individual with its own quirks. But, now I'm just getting long winded.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  14. #1012
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    I've been wondering about the finish also. I'm told that the harder staining job for a luthier is a very dark sunburst while keeping figure in the maple clearly visible at the same time (and no blurring through to the inside). The (generally) later almost black and the earlier light colors shouldn't have been as demanding as the rich Cremona brown. Heck, I love them all.

    As to the "unsigned" F5s. Joe Spann, would you mind touching upon those and their apparently 1923 FONs? 80783 looks like having been opened in order to have its Virzi installed after first completion. Virzis smell a lot like Loar to me.

  15. #1013

    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    I see what you are saying about the 1923 FON. 80783, said to be a 1925, shows that it was built in 1923 by the FON. Very interesting.
    Joe?

  16. #1014
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    Let's not get too wrapped up in that FON. Regardless of how Joe sequences out the FON, the 11985 FON is the FON associated with the last signed Loars, not those with '23 signature dates.

    We really need more FON's from Loars to compile the rest of the story. If, in fact 11985 is a '23 FON, we would expect to see later FON's in those signed during '24, but we do no have any evidence except for a few December 1, 1924 Loars with FON's revealed
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
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  17. #1015
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    I agree, Darryl. One witness is no witness. And the question remains, is 11985 really 1923? Joe's work is really all we have. At the same time, we keep dealing with the serial numbers, as if they indicate, when the mando was actually manufactured.

    Allow for complicating things further, 81290 carries both a "neck block number" 11896 (according to the F5 Journal) and FON 11985. Maculation?

  18. #1016
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    I need to check into that info..I may have a typo

    Edit: Henry< I don't know where you are getting that info. All Dan and I have noted is 11985
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
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  19. #1017
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    F5 Journal Vols. I & II. I thought about typo first, but since it clearly reads "neck block", I was confused and thought it was worth mentioning, as other "unsigned Loars" seem to have their FON stamped underneath the treble f-hole, right where you would normally have the Loar-signature label.

  20. #1018
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    OK, I get it. Those are my words and I examined the instrument years ago. There is a possibility I used that terminology (neck block number) as it actually pre-dated our current "FON" terminology...and it represented a "neck block" number even though it is located under the f-hole. Does that make sense? Before we knew they were Factory Order Numbers, they were simply neck block number...because that's where they usually were.

    What I am questioning to you and saying I cannot find is the number 11896. I do not have that in my records. If I said it in Vol 1 or 2, it has been corrected.
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
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  22. #1019
    Site founder Scott Tichenor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    Received this email from Christie at Carter Vintage Guitars, thought worth sharing.

    -------------

    Our April 12th Loar F-5 celebrated its 91st birthday today with friends and family and a glass of champagne. Big brother H-5 (Mar. 31, 1924) looks on from the left. The well-traveled cousin (June 13, 1923) is second from right, flanked by the twins (both from Feb. 18, 1924). The youngsters in the back are 1927 ferns.

    Our friend multi-instrumentalist Joey McKenzie stopped in to celebrate the 91st birthday of our Apr. 12, 1923, Loar F-5. (Our Loar shares a birthday with Vince Gill.)

    Click image for larger version. 

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  24. #1020
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    One of the coolest mandolin pics I've ever seen!

  25. #1021
    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    Regarding Darryl's theory on Gibson sending Loars off to violin makers for finish work- I think there is a strong chance of this. Charlie Derrington was quite convinced that the Ed Heron Allen Violin Making as it was and is book was influential, and that the author himself may have been involved with Gibson.

    Of course, it's hard to say! There could have been a particular person doing finish work allowed to experiment a bit like that recent post from Joe & Sounding Board magazines told us.

    I've also often wondered about some of the early 2-point F4s- they differ significantly from the 3-point finishes for a while, with some very interesting violin-like brown stained backs (attached). Note it's lighter and more transparent than a sheraton brown finish. There are full-sized shots of this mandolin but they had poor color match on the back.
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  27. #1022
    Registered User Joe Spann's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    Gibson DID have a violin-maker on staff. His name was Adrian Glerum and he worked at Gibson from about 1919 until being laid off in December 1931. Then he was then re-hired in 1935 and worked there until his death in 1956. He built the higher-priced Gibson violins which Gibson offered in 1940-1941.

    Also, I don't see what the issue is with any Gibson mandolin having an early FON and a later serial number. It simply means the mandolin was built earlier and shipped later. Clearly the last few Loar Master Models were not shipped until after Loar was gone from the factory in December of 1924. Also, completed instruments were not shipped in FON order. Loar F-5 mandolins completed in 1923 were put in the rolling racks along with everything else. Mandolins completed later could have shipped earlier as instruments in the racks were consolidated and re-arranged to make more room.

    Joe Spann

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  29. #1023
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Spann View Post
    Gibson DID have a violin-maker on staff. His name was Adrian Glerum and he worked at Gibson from about 1919 until being laid off in December 1931. Then he was then re-hired in 1935 and worked there until his death in 1956. He built the higher-priced Gibson violins which Gibson offered in 1940-1941.

    Also, I don't see what the issue is with any Gibson mandolin having an early FON and a later serial number. It simply means the mandolin was built earlier and shipped later. Clearly the last few Loar Master Models were not shipped until after Loar was gone from the factory in December of 1924. Also, completed instruments were not shipped in FON order. Loar F-5 mandolins completed in 1923 were put in the rolling racks along with everything else. Mandolins completed later could have shipped earlier as instruments in the racks were consolidated and re-arranged to make more room.

    Joe Spann
    Thanks, Joe, for chiming in.
    Those "unsigned Loars" seem to be among the last "Loar F5s" made, as they feature the very dark sunburst and the double bound peg head among other traits. In other words, despite some exceptions, most Loars were, indeed, shipped in FON order. Hence, one might conclude that there were no F5s made neither in 1924 nor in 1925, a thought not easy to get used to - and obviously the issue.
    A while ago, Darryl explained that many leftover parts were assembled in 1924. Finally, Henry Ferris changed a lot of things at Gibson during his short reign from late 1923 to most of 1924. I wouldn't be surprised, if he put a halt to the costly production of unsellable F5s.

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  31. #1024
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    Couple of corrections. Gibson started making violins in 1939 and made them up to and during WWII. Gibson's General Manager in 1924 was Harry Ferris, not Henry.
    Visit www.fox-guitars.com - cool Gibson & Epiphone history and more. Vintage replacement mandolin pickguards

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  33. #1025
    Registered User Joe Spann's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loar Picture of the Day

    Henry said, "Those "unsigned Loars" seem to be among the last "Loar F5s" made, as they feature the very dark sunburst and the double bound peg head among other traits."

    Joe's response: They were among the last Loar F-5 mandolins shipped, but they were built in 1923.

    Henry said, "In other words, despite some exceptions, most Loars were, indeed, shipped in FON order."

    Joe's response: We don't have any Loar F-5 FONs except 11985. Therefore, I don't understand how you know that "most Loars were shipped in FON order." I certainly wouldn't say that.

    Henry said, "Hence, one might conclude that there were no F5s made neither in 1924 nor in 1925, a thought not easy to get used to - and obviously the issue."

    Joe's response: Don't understand how you came to that conclusion. Without more FONs we just don't have enough evidence to say.

    Henry said, "A while ago, Darryl explained that many leftover parts were assembled in 1924."

    Joe's response: I'm certain Darryl is correct about that.

    Henry said, "Finally, Henry Ferris changed a lot of things at Gibson during his short reign from late 1923 to most of 1924. I wouldn't be surprised, if he put a halt to the costly production of unsellable F5s."

    Joe's response: Yes, Harry (not, Henry) Ferris ended production of a number of Gibson models. I just reviewed the original factory records relating to those changes yesterday.

    Joe Spann

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