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Thread: Larrivee mandolins

  1. #1
    Registered User raulb's Avatar
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    Default Larrivee mandolins

    Larrivee had mandos on display at the Winter NAMM.

    This picture is actually by Jun (banpreso) at the AGF.

    raulb

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    Registered User Elliot Luber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    Nice looking display of mandos.
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    Bulldog Strap Owner!! Lawn Jockey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    I'm happy to report I own a fresh Larrivee A-33.

    Absolutely fantastic mandolin in every aspect.

    Kudos to Larrivee for finally getting it right!!

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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    I played the A model last weekend down at Sylvan Music in Santa Cruz, CA. It had a really bright, clean sound on the top three strings, but the G was a bit dull. It played quite easily for me; the neck was a good match for my hand. It was priced to compete with the low-end Collings and Webers.

    I guess the release of these mandos has been an odd story. Sylvan had ordered them several years ago, probably around when they were first announced, and had forgotten about them until the box showed up.
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  5. #5
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    OK, I'm going to say something that probably many Cafe habitues won't agree with or like:

    Another quality instrument company enters the mandolin market. Larrivee has made some exceptional guitars and ukuleles, and I'm sure their mandolins will be first-rate.

    But, again, they look like Gibson A and F models. I would have been more interested if they'd appeared different -- not weird, Dali-esque, self-consciously avant garde -- but a departure from the shapes and colors and finishes that we've had for the past century.

    One of the things I enjoy(ed) about manufacturers like Flatiron, Tacoma, Breedlove, Rigel, Big Muddy etc. was their willingness to go a bit "outside the box" in designing their instruments -- Flatiron in resurrecting the old "pancake" design (which, admittedly, was homage to G's Army/Navy models), Rigel in taking inspiration from the electric guitar world, etc.

    I also understand that not all these departures met with commercial success, and therefore new manufacturers might be a bit chary about breaking new ground in their designs. But I kinda wish we weren't looking at another line of Gibson look-alikes, which I do think many of the most respected instruments, by larger shops and by individual luthiers, really are.
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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    As nice and timeless as Larrivee mandolins look, I do agree with the statement above.

    But pushing creative change aside, well done, Larrivee!!! ha ha
    "A mando is a terrible thing to waste."

  7. #7

    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    Hope to try one in Vancouver,no MAS.

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    Registered User Ken Olmstead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    Allen, I agree totally. Unfortunately, the market still demands the traditional look! I too crave a new direction. Not casting aside the glory of our past but being inspired by it. This is why I chose to have Brentrup build me a Stealth. However, I too am guilty in perpetuating the traditional market by buying my Fern and at the time it is what I had to have visually. I love the look but now I want something different.

    It is amazing how a small difference can make a noticeable impact. I think one of the best acoustic guitars out there is the Larrivee "L" series. Not a bluegrass cannon but plays that genre respectably and for everything else, finger or flat picked, it sounds fabulous!! Proof that a divergence from the norm can be successful, even though there are no guarentees!! Their mandolins sound and play great! The look of the F model is debateable and the scroll does not satisfy the traditionalists. However, I think the A model looks great! They make very high quality products and I sincerely hope that the mandolins work for them.
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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    One of the things I enjoy(ed) about manufacturers like Flatiron, Tacoma, Breedlove, Rigel, Big Muddy etc. was their willingness to go a bit "outside the box" in designing their instruments
    As a Breedlove Quartz OF owner, I share your appreciation of this willingness. However, I have read plenty of postings on the Cafe in which writers said that they couldn't bring themselves to even try out a Breedlove because it looked so ugly (ITHO). Yet when I bought the OF two years ago, I found nothing in that price range that was even a close 2nd in tone.

    That said, ten years ago, I bought a Larrivee J-03 guitar, and since then, my Ovation Legend has rarely seen light of any sort.
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    Bulldog Strap Owner!! Lawn Jockey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    Allen, I suppose the same could be said for Collings too.......right?

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    Registered User Ken Olmstead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Lawn Jockey View Post
    Allen, I suppose the same could be said for Collings too.......right?
    Interesting point. Collings had deep penetration in the bluegrass market with their guitars already. If you can't find a good Martin (yeah, right) then Collings is the next name in a bluegrass guitar (from my perspective anyway.) I guess the next point that comes to mind was that Collings met with instant success with the targeted market. I guess you could say he got it right the first time. Personally, I like the sound of the Larrivee over 90% of the Collings that I have played but there you go, I am not really a full-on bluegrass guy. However, Collings is certainly qualified to make a unique mandolin as evidenced by their superb archtop guitars.

    Not arguing Lawn Jockey but your question brings up an interesting discussion so I am just spilling some thoughts that it brought up for me.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    I think the Larivee mandolins look identical to a Collings mandolin. Except the Collings has a better scroll.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    Let me add to my above post. The tailpiece is the same also as well as the dots in the fingerboard. Well actually the whole fingerboard looks the same.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    I agree with the comments on different "out of the box " shape. I've been a long time admirer and owner of a few L'ARRIVEE GUITARS WITH THEIR INDIVIDUAL STAMP. They had an opportunity to do something different. These ones do look at little "toffee apple" finish whereas their guitars often have a lovely satin finish. The 000-50 i bought is a wonderful guitar and not a copy of anything else really. Their L series with the Spanish shape again are justa little different and have sold in thousands.
    They could have done a Mike Vanden sort of F5 + 5% which gives a deeper bigger sound for those who may fancy that (whcih I do) The fingerboard extension looks a bit predictable. They could have done something "larrivee--ish" on that. I'm quite disappointed that they will just follow the trend but who am I to say. You can't knock success and L'arrivee are one big success story.
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    Bulldog Strap Owner!! Lawn Jockey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Olmstead View Post
    Interesting point. Collings had deep penetration in the bluegrass market with their guitars already. If you can't find a good Martin (yeah, right) then Collings is the next name in a bluegrass guitar (from my perspective anyway.) I guess the next point that comes to mind was that Collings met with instant success with the targeted market. I guess you could say he got it right the first time. Personally, I like the sound of the Larrivee over 90% of the Collings that I have played but there you go, I am not really a full-on bluegrass guy. However, Collings is certainly qualified to make a unique mandolin as evidenced by their superb archtop guitars.

    Not arguing Lawn Jockey but your question brings up an interesting discussion so I am just spilling some thoughts that it brought up for me.
    Oh Ken, I wasn't trying to stir an argument with anyone. Allen prefaced his post with what he felt would happen within this thread.

    Jean began building in 1967 and Bill in 1977, but didn't really achieve "success" until 1989. Having Tom Ellis in his shop early on was no doubt a bonus. That may/might be why the Collings mandolins were right......right from the start.

    I don't think Larrivee ever has......or ever will........go after the bluegrass market. Their SD series certainly could however.

    Both are successful business models to be sure, but the "roll out" of the Larrivee mandolins was seriously flawed IMO.

    I felt it a valid comparison due to the fact that they both started with acoustic guitars......and have since added electrics, mandolins, and ukuleles.

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    Registered User stringsattached's Avatar
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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    As a newbie Mando guy (Oldie guitar guy) I think we are incredably fortunate to have such a variety of great choices when the time is right.
    I picked ,or should I say a Larrivee A-33 "Picked me" this weekend , but there sure was a lot of eye and ear candy hanging on the wall to choose from. I wonder if Bob Taylor is thinking about 8 strings ???

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    As a fan and owner of Larrivee guitars, my impression is that their new mandolins stand apart in looks from Gibsons, about as much as their guitars currently stand apart from Martin and Gibson. I mean, Larrivee's have some unique and 'trademark' features to their feel, sound, and looks for sure, but still the guitars fall into similar categories and features as most of the other makers.

    I agree that visually there is a strong resemblance to Collings; maybe at this point wider necks and radiused fingerboards don't brand a mandolin as non-traditional in looks, but that's a departure for a lot of players compared to a traditional Gibson-style narrow neck and flat fingerboard. I still lean toward Larrivee's older guitar designs myself, but as with their newer "traditional" lines of guitars, they must figure that is what players mostly want.

    Personally, I would be more interested in a more economical Larrivee mandolin offering more along the lines of their 03-series guitars.
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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    Sylvan's website hasn't included Larivee in their list of mandolin's yet. Any idea what the street value will be for the A.
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    Bulldog Strap Owner!! Lawn Jockey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    Sylvan's website hasn't included Larivee in their list of mandolin's yet. Any idea what the street value will be for the A.
    Street prices should be around $1,800.00 or so. I know that Spruce Tree Music has an A and an F. The prototype on eBay currently has a $1,580.00 BIN price.

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    Registered User John Hill's Avatar
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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    I think the Larrivee's are sharp. Hopefully the mandos sound as good as their guitars (which always feel super comfortable in my hands).

    I can see me playing a Larrivee F. Yes indeed. I can't see my paying for one howevah.

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    Registered User man dough nollij's Avatar
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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Albert Whiting View Post
    I think the Larivee mandolins look identical to a Collings mandolin. Except the Collings has a better scroll.
    I've played two Larrivee mandolins in stores, and got a good look at 'em (an F and an A).

    They weren't within a thousand miles of a Collings in terms of fit and finish. More like a Johnson. No axe to grind, just my unbiased opinion.

  22. #22
    Registered User John Hill's Avatar
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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by man dough nollij View Post
    I've played two Larrivee mandolins in stores, and got a good look at 'em (an F and an A).

    They weren't within a thousand miles of a Collings in terms of fit and finish. More like a Johnson. No axe to grind, just my unbiased opinion.
    Oh dear, I hope that's not the norm.
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    What is this about? CNC machining capability, that's what. If you're an acoustic guitar maker, once you have a CNC machine you eventually realize that all it can do is make your necks, fingerboards and bridges. You want more to do on the machines. Solid body electric guitars, archtop guitars and mandolins...that's the ticket... And if you have an established dealer base, you can at least fill the pipeline with new stuff. Sell through and profitability are another couple of matters, though.

  24. #24
    Registered User Chris Biorkman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    At the risk of getting flamed, I have to say that those F models look pretty rough to me. Having never played one, I can't comment on the tone, but those scrolls aren't even close to what I would expect from a well respected company.
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    Registered User raulb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Larrivee mandolins

    I find it incredible that Larrivee tries to get its toe into the mando market by building what the market demands, A and F-styles. What happens? Y'all start criticizing them for building A and F-styes.

    Do you complain that the mandos are built like junk? That they sound like heck? No, the criticism is that they built what the market demands.

    If "Larry" had been innovative with their first offering, would you then be complaining that they didn't build either A or F-styles that look like Gibsons, saying, "they should have stuck to the tried and true!". By the way, except for headstocks, whose A and F-styles don't look like Gibsons somehow? Yes, I do know of at least one.

    I would suggest giving them time. If their mandos are a success, maybe they will innovate. The way I look at it, market share has to be established first. Was the "L-body" the first guitar body Jean made?

    I think Jean Larrivee should be thanked for taking the risk by entering the fray, where most mando players seem to be happy with inexpensive mandos.

    Personally, I can't wait to play one. I just don't know where to find one.
    raulb

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