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Thread: Weight of mandolin

  1. #26
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Interesting, I thought the last one was a pleasant weight and balance but, again the Alvarez is pretty headstock heavy.
    When an item is so "short" balance can be a bit touchy, is that why so many of those old scrolls are missing...Hmmm?
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  2. #27
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    correct me if i am wrong, but i believe that is one of the parameters of collings mandolins. all the tops are supposed to weigh a certain weight or something...
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  3. #28
    Registered User Yonkle's Avatar
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    In Siminoff's books he has the total weight of a finished F5, also the weights of the top and back when ready to glue to the rim.
    I use these weights. When I am done graduateing a top and back,and I think it is ready to glue to the sides, I always weigh each one, if a little heavy I may take a little wood out of the scroll area. Usually when the top is ready, and I weight them, they are always real close to the numbers in Rogers book. I guess I weight them just as a second "opinion" so to speak, and to make sure I am not too heavy. I have weighted the entire mandolin too and they are always real close to Rogers numbers. The mandolins that come in a little lighter are always the banjo killers!
    Shalom,Yonkle (JD)

  4. #29
    MandoHog MandoHog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weight of mandolin

    Sorry for kick starting an old thread, but I had not ever read this. I was thinking about mando-weights though because yesterday I played the heaviest mandolin I have ever held (although not really an apples to apples comparison, b/c it was a solid body electric). But still, how much does a Gibson EM-200 Florentine weigh? It felt like a banjo! VERY heavy. Made me think my mandolins at home might float up into the air and blow away. It was a cool mandolin, but I would have to start working out if I played it very much. I am sure it is near the top of the weight category in the mando world.

  5. #30
    Registered User treidm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weight of mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    28.41 grams/oz.
    454.545 grams/lb.
    Not sure those are correct, at least not in America
    I believe here, they should be....
    1 ounce = 28.349 523 125 gram [28.35 gr/oz]
    1 pound = 453.592 37 gram [453.59 gr/lb]
    May be different system across big pond, not sure?

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  6. #31
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    Default Re: Weight of mandolin

    I have heavy and light mandolins, both have their distinct sounds, but opposite of what I would have thought they would sound like by weight. Heavier, smaller mandolin deeper, lighter and larger mandolin warm, with a brighter low end. My old Gibson is not a light mandolin, but Martin and Unicorn very light, Brentrup is heavy and can take what ever you throw at it. Not sure how weight relates to sound, I think it is a non issue with other factors more important.
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  7. #32
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weight of mandolin

    This IS an old thread and an interesting one too.

    But many of the weights reported in it are probably not "apples to apples" weight comparisons? Or at least it is not obvious that they are such. This was eluded to in one of the posts but should be emphasized again?

    I think to be useful for comparison of "weight versus sound" arguments that the weights should be the finished mandolin with tuners, nut, strings, bridge and tail piece (if the tail piece has a cover it should be in place and don't leave a pick in the strings). That is weigh only those items necessary to make sound.

    Other unnecessary attachments. i.e., pick guard, arm rest, strap, or whatever else you might conceivably add to the mandolin for "play-ability" should be excluded. I suppose a pickup and/or pick up jack, electric tuner etc. are other examples that may confound the comparison?
    Bernie
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  8. #33
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    A few months back, I questioned weight compared to sound.. I was under the impression that having less weight would help with vibration moving throughout the whole body.. My thought was to drill holes in the head and tail blocks to lighten and would those holes compromise any strength in those blocks.. Someone stated that mandos in general were light to begin with and would be a waste of time and loss of strength.. Was I shot down ?? I guess I shelved that notion.. Then this question arose again.. What do you say all of my mandolin heros ?????
    kterry

  9. #34
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    Default Re: Weight of mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by buckhorn View Post
    A few months back, I questioned weight compared to sound.. I was under the impression that having less weight would help with vibration moving throughout the whole body.. My thought was to drill holes in the head and tail blocks to lighten and would those holes compromise any strength in those blocks.. Someone stated that mandos in general were light to begin with and would be a waste of time and loss of strength.. Was I shot down ?? I guess I shelved that notion.. Then this question arose again.. What do you say all of my mandolin heros ?????

    Actually I really KNOW almost nothing about it, But that has never stopped me before.

    So my thought would be certainly you need to build the box and neck strong enough to withstand the string tension. Any wood mass over that minimum would seem to me to be a "waste" or unnecessary.

    If the extra mass was located on the top board particularly it would likely be undesirable and maybe counter productive? But I have never done experiment one to test this theory and likely never will either.

    Are you still building mandolin parts? I recently made a set of rims but my arthritis is getting to the point that I might not want to carve a maple back. Of course I could sharpen my gouges....
    Bernie
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  10. #35
    Registered User Henry Eagle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weight of mandolin

    In 1923 the F5 was advertised as 2 1/4 lb, which about equals 1020.6 g.
    Here are a few weights (in grams) of actual Loars (all with hard ware except where noted):

    70281: 1025 (with extra heavy pick guard bracket)
    72206: 995 (refinished; Virzi)
    73010: 997.9 (without pick guard)
    73481: 1020.6
    one July 9th '23: 992.2
    75317: 1048.9
    75319: 1020 (refinished)
    76793: 1088.6 (Virzi)
    one Fern Loar: 1048.9 (Virzi)
    82369: 1088.6

  11. #36
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weight of mandolin

    I can tell you that on guitar and bass forums weight can be very important to some people. I personally care about how the instrument sounds, but that can be hard to quantify. I think the weight thing is over-emphasized, but itís sometimes the first question that buyers ask on some classified forums. Apparently a few ounces on a bass guitar can make a big difference to some people. I donít see it, but I guess itís just one more thing for already obsessive musicians to obsess over.

    Having said that, in my older years the weight of bass guitars has become an issue for me. I can no longer stand with a 12-pound bass slung over my shoulder for a 4-hour gig. So I have acquired a couple lighter basses.

    The Weight of a mandolin is not an issue for me. My body weight seems to be an issue for my doctor, though......
    Never say "bouzouki" to a TSA agent...

  12. #37
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    Default Re: Weight of mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Eagle View Post
    In 1923 the F5 was advertised as 2 1/4 lb, which about equals 1020.6 g.
    Here are a few weights (in grams) of actual Loars (all with hard ware except where noted):

    70281: 1025 (with extra heavy pick guard bracket)
    72206: 995 (refinished; Virzi)
    73010: 997.9 (without pick guard)
    73481: 1020.6
    one July 9th '23: 992.2
    75317: 1048.9
    75319: 1020 (refinished)
    76793: 1088.6 (Virzi)
    one Fern Loar: 1048.9 (Virzi)
    82369: 1088.6
    Interesting. I just weighted two modern Gibson F-5s One a 2004 F-5G with a custom wide neck weighted in at 998 g. and the other a 2007 Sam Bush 1085 g. Both of them are actually a bit lighter as both are fitted with a McClung style arm rest that I did not feel motivated enough to take off.

    I'll just observe that with only that 87 g. difference (~8%) in weight the F-5G is notably lighter when you pick it up.
    Bernie
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    Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.

  13. #38
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weight of mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Daniel View Post
    Interesting. I just weighted two modern Gibson F-5s One a 2004 F-5G with a custom wide neck weighted in at 998 g. and the other a 2007 Sam Bush 1085 g. Both of them are actually a bit lighter as both are fitted with a McClung style arm rest that I did not feel motivated enough to take off.

    I'll just observe that with only that 87 g. difference (~8%) in weight the F-5G is notably lighter when you pick it up.
    Is it 8% louder? Or woodyer(sp?)
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  14. #39
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weight of mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMatt View Post
    Is it 8% louder? Or woodyer(sp?)
    Well that is the important question isn't it?

    Unfortunately in this case there are too many other variables out of sync here to even attempt to answer that question.

    The 2004 F-5G is one of a special order of 25 mandolins placed by a music store called the Music Box (in California -- now defunct I think) -- they were F-5Gs with red spruce tops. As far as I know this is the only one of the order with a wide nut. It is a killer mandolin.

    The 2007 Sam Bush of course is Sitka but it is equally strong but in a more balanced or sophisticated way -- probably all around better mandolin, probably the best I've ever owned (no shock there it is Harvey-signed).

    Truth is this case is probably typical -- almost always other confounding variables not matching up?
    Bernie
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  15. #40
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    Default Re: Weight of mandolin

    Yes, Bernie, I do have parts for both F and A style mandolins. I can offer most anything from the normal wood things all the way to mandos in the white minus any hardware. And if you want a finished one, I can do that too...
    kterry

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    Default Re: Weight of mandolin

    I've made a few posts with interest to this weight thing. My last one (#33) concerned how the weight of a mando might affect the sound vs the strength of the instrument. My first made mandolin (in 2001) was built with little concern about how heavy the thing was. I just wanted to say "I made that". It weighed a lot and though easy to play, the sound was much muted. Still have "the first" and go to it all the time for the ease of playing it... I've since learned that sound and playability is everything.. Looks are important too but adds little to "that sound".. We builders are always striving for the perfect package....
    kterry

  17. #42
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    Default Re: Weight of mandolin

    My Gibson weights about 85 kg, including the owner. Not sure, if this is helpful.

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  19. #43
    Bob Remington
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    Default Re: Weight of mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Eagle View Post
    In 1923 the F5 was advertised as 2 1/4 lb, which about equals 1020.6 g.
    Here are a few weights (in grams) of actual Loars (all with hard ware except where noted):

    70281: 1025 (with extra heavy pick guard bracket)
    72206: 995 (refinished; Virzi)
    73010: 997.9 (without pick guard)
    73481: 1020.6
    one July 9th '23: 992.2
    75317: 1048.9
    75319: 1020 (refinished)
    76793: 1088.6 (Virzi)
    one Fern Loar: 1048.9 (Virzi)
    82369: 1088.6

    My F model with rosewood back, sides, neck and Engleman top weights 1,118 grams.

  20. #44
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    Default Re: Weight of mandolin

    All builders carve their mandolin tops in order to achieve the optimum 'tone' when the instrument is finished.Whether this is done by 'tap tuning' of by the 'flexing method',is the choice of the builder. However - whether the wood is capable of taking the total string pressure will only be discovered when the instrument is strung up & tuned. We've all read on here about mandolin tops collapsing,maybe because they were carved too thin -prefect for the 'tone',but 'structurally' not strong enough. IMHO - It's dependant on the individual pieces of wood. Some pieces of wood may be capable of taking the full string pressure even if they're a tad 'thin' - others won't. The density of the woods may vary as well. I'm sure that i've read that very often builders will weigh the uncarved tops & bottoms in order to determine the wood density - i wonder by how much that varies from one type of top/bottom timber to another ?.

    I compiled a spreadsheet for my Weber & Lebeda mandolins a while back using the dimensions from the UK Calton case Co.order form, just in case i decided to buy a 'one size fits both' case. The dimensions show that the Lebeda is larger than the Weber,which i assume to be of 'standard' dimensions. However,the weight difference between them is 3/4 lb !. That might be due to the Lebeda neck being on the 'less than slender' side,but may also indicate that the top/bottom are a tad on the thick side. I have no way of measuring this,but as the mandolin sounds excellent 'to me',it's of nothing but an academic interest,
    IvanClick image for larger version. 

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  21. #45
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weight of mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    All builders carve their mandolin tops in order to achieve the optimum 'tone' when the instrument is finished.Whether this is done by 'tap tuning' of by the 'flexing method',is the choice of the builder. However - whether the wood is capable of taking the total string pressure will only be discovered when the instrument is strung up & tuned. We've all read on here about mandolin tops collapsing,maybe because they were carved too thin -prefect for the 'tone',but 'structurally' not strong enough. IMHO - It's dependant on the individual pieces of wood. Some pieces of wood may be capable of taking the full string pressure even if they're a tad 'thin' - others won't. The density of the woods may vary as well. I'm sure that i've read that very often builders will weigh the uncarved tops & bottoms in order to determine the wood density - i wonder by how much that varies from one type of top/bottom timber to another ?.

    I compiled a spreadsheet for my Weber & Lebeda mandolins a while back using the dimensions from the UK Calton case Co.order form, just in case i decided to buy a 'one size fits both' case. The dimensions show that the Lebeda is larger than the Weber,which i assume to be of 'standard' dimensions. However,the weight difference between them is 3/4 lb !. That might be due to the Lebeda neck being on the 'less than slender' side,but may also indicate that the top/bottom are a tad on the thick side. I have no way of measuring this,but as the mandolin sounds excellent 'to me',it's of nothing but an academic interest, Ivan
    That Lebeda is quite a big larger than the Weber and a lot heavier too.

    Not sure how you measured the total length? I assume by measuring on the back side at edge above tail piece to tip of head stock? That is how I do it.

    The Gibson G-5fb (really a custom F-5G) is 27 3/16" (691 mm) and weighs 2.19 lbs (998 g) the Sam Bush is the same length but is heavier 2.38 lbs (1085 g).

    Of course another way of saying it is that Weber is really a light mandolin!
    Bernie
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  22. #46
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    Default Re: Weight of mandolin

    Hi Bernie - The 'total' length was measured in accordance with the Calton order form - Dimension 'I'. Yes,it's a heavier mandolin than most, & having looked at my Weber & Ellis necks & their dimensions,i suspect that a lot of the weight is in the neck, it is deeper (top to bottom) & wider than many other necks as well,but it balances nicely ie. It's no more 'neck heavy' than my other 2. However the 'extra' 3/4 lb in weight, isn't entirely due to the neck,there must be some 'extra' on the body as well,
    Ivan
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    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

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