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Thread: Vern bryant #31, loar tribute

  1. #1
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    I often make use of mandolin descriptions and photos on MandolinCafe for documentary purposes, so I'm glad this is available. Shown here is Vern Bryant's #31. Dated April 10, 1993. He lives in Springfield, VA, just south of Alexandria and Washington. I think he was in the military for years and worked in the Pentagon.
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    Note the gold Gibson tailpiece and the way the thin finish sinks down into the wood.



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    When Bryant built this he was able to borrow a 1924 Loar for a several months and copy it as accurately as possible. Note that in good Loar tradition, the scroll of the headstock has broken off and been repaired. A careful comparison of the inlay here with closeups of several '24 Loars shows that it's close, but not exact.
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    I bought this from a professional musician who bought it from Bryant himself but was now selling it because he'd purchased a Lawrence Smart F more suitable for jazz. Unlike most Loars, this mandolin has a radiused fretboard.



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    Vern Bryant claimed that this mandolin actually sounded better than the '24 Loar it was based on. However, he took the previous owner to visit a friend with a '22 Loar for an A-B test, and he warned him that it didn't sound as good as the '22. However, the previous owner says it compared very favorably with the '22 Loar. I think that means it was nearly as good.
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    So what does it sound like? Very dry, very woody, but with a solid "thunk" sort of sound. Most satisfyingly "thunky" chop chords I've ever played. Very little sustain when played loudly. Good volume, but very little sustain. The notes have a thick but stacatto sound. This is great for playing fast, as the notes don't step on each other.
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    Compared to the Tucker #2 I've just finished describing, the Tucker comes out far ahead, overall. But this is still one of the finest bluegrass mandolins I've ever played. I wouldn't want to play classical or jazz on it, but if you like the most hardcore traditional bluegrass tone, this is it. It hits like splitting a log with an ax.
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    Gold Gotoh tuners.
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    This mandolin looks a bit distressed because Bryant played it in gigs all over the place for more than a decade (he even did a couple gigs with Bill Monroe, but not with this mandolin--I think he was also a guitar player). I haven't been able to capture it in the photos, but the finish on the front is unusual in the way it sinks and rises with the grain. It really does look like it might be a '24 Loar until you look closer. A seriously fine mandolin.
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    (This comment was removed by the site moderator for violation of board policy.)




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    I really like the looks of Orrins Bryant...the first one is nice...but Orrins has got "that" look. Thanks for sharing

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    Emory Lester just sent me the following comments on Vern Bryant's work:
    "Vern built me an F model back in 1982, and I recorded
    my first album, 'Jerusalem Ridge' with it....it was a great mandolin,
    and Vern is a first class guy, and knows his stuff. It was great for
    bluegrass playing....really punchy, and was certainly loud enough. I
    know that back then, Dave Propst had one of Vern's as well, and later
    on, Leon Morris bought one too. All were great. Chris Warner
    refinished mine, and I sold it back in the late 80's....last I knew,
    Dave Kirk (playing with Randy Waller) had mine, but not sure if he still
    does or not."

  14. #13
    Registered User bradeinhorn's Avatar
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    i have played orin's bryant. pretty nice chunky sound. am attending his workshop next month. if he brings it i will pay closer attention.
    www.bigdrawbluegrass.com

    Voight A-5
    Bayard GBOM

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    Registered User Orrin Star's Avatar
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    Gee - didn't realize that the forum title had been changed to
    "Post a picture of someone else's mandolin" (unbeknownst to them).

    I don't mind being listed as a Vern owner/supporter (since I am).
    And I have no problem with anybody mentioning or linking to things
    on my website whever the spirit moves them. But copying my mandolin
    photo and text for display on a community forum without asking for
    permission to do so ain't right in my book.

    I sense an agenda other than simply "documenting" your instrument.

    Orrin S.
    www.orrinstar.com

    ps Brad looking forward to Mandolin Workshop Day in NYC on 4/29.
    orrinstar.com
    mandolin, mandola, guitar & banjo instruction
    in the washington, dc area and online.

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    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
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    (This comment was removed by the site moderator for violation of board policy.)



    IM(NS)HO

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    It is indeed in the nature of the Internet, but Orrin automatically holds a copyright on his Web content, whether his page says so or not. That copyright has been infringed, irrespective of whether it costs him any money, and he has submitted notice of infringement. It's now in everyone's best interests for BlueMountain to edit the above post and just link to Orrin's site without reproducing all the content -- or to ask Orrin for permission.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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    (This comment was removed by the site moderator for violation of board policy.)



    09 Altman F5
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    It is indeed a problem when you use content from another individual's site without permission and they object to it. Telling someone they have no right of control over their own images is not correct. Petty name calling is inappropriate and in violation of the posting guidelines for this site and will not be tolerated further.




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    Hey Orrin! It's your old band mate, Rusty, from what, 30+ years ago? Hope all is well.


    russell
    Bulldog F #5

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    Sorry, Orrin. No offense meant. I should have asked first. Perhaps you could post a photo of your Bryant and what you think of it.

  22. #21
    Registered User Orrin Star's Avatar
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    No problem.

    (And if anyone's curious about my Bryant mandolin, I invite you to
    peruse the "My Gear" page on my website.)

    Orrin S.
    www.orrinstar.com
    orrinstar.com
    mandolin, mandola, guitar & banjo instruction
    in the washington, dc area and online.

  23. #22
    Registered User bradeinhorn's Avatar
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    orrin - my buddy was curious if you are doing an advanced guitar workshop on the weekend you are here in the city? if not, he also wanted to know if you'd be free for a lesson.

    B
    www.bigdrawbluegrass.com

    Voight A-5
    Bayard GBOM

  24. #23

    Default Re: Vern bryant #31, loar tribute

    Sorry to be resurrecting this thread, but Orrin, if you've sold that Bryant since this, I think I have picked it up. It's an absolutely wonderful piece of work. I bought a Bryant at House of Musical Traditions in Tacoma Park and they told me it was yours. Just thought it might be kinda worth mentioning enlightening it's whereabouts. Of course they may have just gotten themselves mixed up, in any case it is a wonderful instrument. the number is 65 if you remember or not.

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    Default Re: Vern bryant #31, loar tribute

    I’ve known Vern for over 30 years and he is a great person,I have had my gibson mando repaired and he hollowed the scroll out and refinished everything many years ago as mine is a 1971 and I never really was happy with the sound till he changed it! I did hear his mando and the 24 Loar and to me his mando definitely was louder,but the Loar didn’t have any miles on it. I bought a Bryant mando and its got a good thump sound and the neck is thicker which I like. I also have 2 guitars he made and they play awesome and sound decent.

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