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Thread: Flatirons - festival, performer, artist, signature

  1. #1

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    I've had a hard time figuring out the Flatiron line -- I know there are Performers, Festivals, Artists, Signatures, A-5 etc.

    Which one is the starter model, and then what's next?

    Are some model names only from the Montana Flatirons?

    Thanks.
    Sheryl --- Me

  2. #2

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    i think that festival-performer-artist is the general rank low to high.

    a-5 is the body shape and can be any of those. contrast it with f-5. signatures came out sometime after gibson bought them. i think in 96, around the time of the move east. also the performer changed shape around this time to include a detached fretboard with exension....

    fd?

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    Registered User pickinNgrinnin's Avatar
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    The Montana Flatiron (Gibson era) carved top Mandolins were in order, the Performer, Festival, Artist, Special and Master. Performer and Festival models were considered their entry level models since they had the integrated fretboards - not the elevated fretboards.

    When they moved to Nashville, the F styles were the Festival and the Artist. A styles were the Performer and Artist.

    Pre Gibson A styles were the A5 and A5-1.

    Don't forget about the Flatiron Pancakes!

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    Registered User Ken Berner's Avatar
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    The Flatiron Signature Series (built in Montana) included the F5 Master, F5 Artist, A5 Artist and A5. All of these models were X-braced; for some reason the F5 was not.

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    Wasn't there a Custom at one time?

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    there was also the A5-jr. from back in the Montana days, it wasn't x-braced (they did keep making this model after the Gibson purchase, but I don't know for how long)
    Wes
    "i gotta fever...and the only prescription is more cowbell!!"

    '87 Flatiron A5-JR/'25 Gibson A-JR

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    Registered User Ken Berner's Avatar
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    AlanN, I also recall "Custom" model(s); the one sticking in my mind had a fretboard like the Gibson Bush model and was also an F style mandolin. These would have been special order instruments and not a specified model. My previous post info was taken from http://www.gibson.com/products/flati...6/f5mast.html.

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    When I bought my Flatiron F-5 Artist in 1985, I remember Mandolin Bros catalog listing that one, the Master and the Custom, from low to high. The Artist, new, set me back $1,995. Ah, the good old days

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    Yup, the good ole daze. I purchased my JR for $384.00 less the case. Still got it (camping/travel mando), might have the biggest chop in the house, if you're into that.
    Bill

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    Registered User Ken Berner's Avatar
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    AlanN, I'm getting a little long in the tooth and can hardly remember '85. However, that would have been a fine year for Flatiron, not that all of the Montana years were not. I was not able to purchase my '92 F5 Artist until 2002 and had been shopping for a Master Model, which eventually started showing up. Mass Music had a couple Fs and an A at one time and Joe Martin (NC) sold his, but my $$$ were gone by then. A friend here on the Gulf Coast has an '84 A2 which is the same as the later Artist and it is one fine-sounding mandolin. I am sure that yours is a precious jewel.

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    There was a guy who used to post to the cafe as JDARTGOD. He bought a Flatiron F5 that was either a custom or a special. It had block style inlays on the fretboard. It was the only one I'd seen like that.

    Ken, that 1996 Gibson link has not worked for awhile. I wish they would put it back up as it was a good source of info.

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    Hi Ken,

    I know Joe and remember that mandolin he had, it was special. And alas, my F-5 Artist #85100106 is long gone. It was a dandy factory-made instrument.

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    pickinN

    If I remember correctly the block inlays were on the standard F5 model which had tonebars. Help me here with the lineup Flatheads. I think it went Pancakes, JR, A-1, A-Artist, F5, F5-Artist and the F5-Master. The Jr and the F5 have tonebars, all others are X-braced. Then there was some sort of Vine of Life Model that I remember seeing pictures of. It is easy to forget this stuff, I don't recall the Custom model. Alan, I am thinking you said one time you had some old Elderly catalogs, maybe you could clear this up for sure.
    Bill

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    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Bill (and others):

    Not sure about an A-1. During the years 1983 (late) and 1984 (not sure thereafter), there were A5-1 (plain) and A5-2 (fancy) mandolins. These were the first carved top mandolins made by Flatiron. When they inttroduced the F-series, I think they went to the performer/artist designations. I'm just not sure that there was ever an F5-1 or F5-2 made by Flatiron. Then again. . . .

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

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

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    I had a Flatiron Custom F5 a years back that I got in trade fron Danny Clark. Nice mando with block inlays. The Weber folks said less than 10 were made.
    Russ Jordan

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    The Montana Flatiron F5 had tone bar bracing - only F5 with tone bars in the line as far as I know. They had the traditional dot MOP inlay on the fretboard. Only the specials/custom had the block inlay. Not many of them around indeed!

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    Quote Originally Posted by (Mando-lynn @ Aug. 06 2007, 12:23)
    old Elderly catalogs, maybe you could clear this up for sure.
    Bill, I'll look. Not sure I have one from the 80's, but maybe. I know I have one from 1994 or so, the one with a minty '24 Loar on the cover they were selling for **gasp** a mere 40K.

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    Here is the Flatiron A5 Master Model sold at Mass Music a few years back. The only visible difference seems to be the fretboard inlay. At one time I was in contact with a few of the F5 Master Model owners, in attempt to make a purchase. They were very kind in their responses, but not kind enough to part with their mandolins!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    f-d

    Yup, A5-1, thanks for the correction. What I called A-Artist is the A5-2.
    Bill

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    Registered User Ken Berner's Avatar
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    Oops, the headstock has the more ornate, "Custom Fern" also.

    I can only give you the lineup for the Signature Series carved-top instruments, from top to bottom: F5 Master, F5 Artist, F5, A5 Master, A5 Artist, A5, A5 Junior, M5 Junior. The only two of these with tone bars are F5 and A5 Junior. This info is from their '96 specs.

    There were three other lines at the time; Signature Series Flat Top Mandolins, Signature Series Flat Top Mandolas/Octave Mandolins, and Performer Series Instruments. I have no printed material for any of these.

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    On the low end of the scale my 94 Festival A has no binding, no inlay (other than the dots on the fretboard and the side markers) and has tone bars.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User Ken Berner's Avatar
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    Let show and tell . . . . here is the backside of my 1992 F5 Artist.
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    Interesting, some good info here. Nice to here about the Custom Model, after reading this info my guess is that I saw a Custom with block inlays and assumed that to be an F-5 because it did not look like an Artist Model. When were these Customs made, where and by whom? Bracing?

    Couple other questions? My 84 JR has a coffee color finish, I believe at some point this was changed to black finish. Anyone know when.

    And, does anyone recall the Flatiron Cadat? That was black face pancake as I remember.

    I remember the Festival and Performer Series came out after the Signature Series to create a less expensive (integrated neck joint) Flatiron line.

    Now I wish I had not dumped all my old Elderly Catalogs.
    Bill

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    Nice pic Ken. My first thought was how did he get a picture of my F5-Master. The back curl and finish look about the same.
    Bill

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    Registered User cooper4205's Avatar
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    Here's my Carlson signed A5-Jr. from 1987, so they were doing the coffee color at least until right before the Gibson purchase. Most of the A5-Jr.'s I have seen have a 'The Flatiron' decal on the headstock, but this one is MOP. anyone know when they changed that?

    Wes
    "i gotta fever...and the only prescription is more cowbell!!"

    '87 Flatiron A5-JR/'25 Gibson A-JR

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