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Thread: At Last, a Loar To Play

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    Default At Last, a Loar To Play

    At Last, a Loar To Play

    Never played a Loar? Neither had Bill Graham until recently, and he shares the experience with the Mandolin Cafe's readers.

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    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
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    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    The closest I have come is a short visit with an friend's F5 that is in the first batch released after Loar left Gibson. I did play it enough to agree with you about the even tone. Someday I'll have a chance for a more extended visit.
    Jammin' south of the river
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    Registered User scapier's Avatar
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    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    It's funny, I got to play Reischmann's Loar many years ago, and I didn't know what I was playing. I thought it was good, but I liked my mando better. I bet now I've played a bunch more instruments I'd have a better context to appreciate it. I saw Stephane Grappelli when I was 12 and I was bored by the second half of the concert. NOW I wish I'd kicked that 12 year old in the shins and told him to wake up!

    Spencer

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    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    Very nice article by Bill Graham. Appreciate the insights. I got to hold Joe Val's Loar once but he asked me not to play it. I also got to hold one of Herschel Sizemore's Loars. Just holding them was a hoot though. Maybe someday I'll get the chance to hit a string with a pick on one of these icons.

  5. #5

    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    good article - thanks. that mandolin is probably the same age as my father. i think it's time for a "loar mandolin" movie along the lines of "the red violin." events over the past 80-something years, viewed in the context of an quality made american instrument, would make a good story - even for those not especially interested in the mandolin.

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    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    I had a fellow (cafe member, who will remain nameless) hand me his Loar and I played a few notes only to realize that it was missing a string, "Oh it is?" he said. . . I mean I'd think if you owned a Loar you'd know stuff like that about your mandolin! Then again, when you got a bunch, hey, a few must get overlooked, eh?

    In summary, a great sounding 7-string mandolin however. It had a Virzi and quite a projection. I liked it alot!

    f-d
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    Registered User chip's Avatar
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    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    When I bought my Gilchrist the fellow that I purchased it from also brought his Loar as he knew I would enjoy having the opportunity to play one. Opening the case and seeing one of the finest mandolins ever built was really a cool feeling. If I had an hour or so to play it I probably would have been more impressed with it warming up but being that I only had 15 min or so it didn't really impress my all that much but was a nice gesture on the owners part. I liked the Gil better and am very happy to have one!

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    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
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    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    I remember my first impression was not quite hearing it all at first. For me the real hit from it was finally letting myself lose myself in the music for a while.. play it enough to wake it up etc, then really being stunned at how good I thought I was sounding. Some placebo there for sure, and I agree with Bill that you can get 90% of that feeling with a modern maker, but it's still quite transporting to be able to play one long enough to get the feel of it and really let yourself cut loose on it
    The Mandolin Archive
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    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    I did get a chance to play a Loar mandola. It was refinished (before a "Loar" was so legendary) but sounded great. Very clean powerful tone. I have been in the same hotel roomw/ Tony Williamson playing his Loar. It sounded great. Was it Tony?, the Loar? I did not separate the two. Hearing Tony play Charley Parker tunes solo was a real treat.

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    Registered User Bigtuna's Avatar
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    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    I finally got a chance to play a Loar this past July 4th. I too must say, I was a little overwhelmed by it on many levels. Tony Williamson was playing here in town and I went outside to see if I could have a word with him during the set break just to ask if what he was playing that night was indeed a Loar. And what do you know it was. The next thing I know he's going back inside to get it and he hands it to me, and not just to look at, but to pick a tune. I have no idea what the serial number was, or even the date. I remember he told me, and showed me the signature, but all I could think about was, WOW a Loar and in my hands. I was just blown away by the whole thing, I never thought I would ever see one that close or even have a chance to pick one up or much less play a tune on one. My first thoughts, don't drop it!, man this thing plays like butter, and the tone is to die for even in my hands. And in his hands it sounded like a million dollars, or about a quarter million . I must say a big thank you to Tony for making my night and giving me a great memory!
    "They say the ocean, she is a woman, who waits for her man to come home." M.Houser

  11. #11

    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    assuming a coincidence of time and space, skill and signature, i wonder if mandolin aficionados in the future will quake in presence of ... and wax as lyrically over ... a genuine mike dulak mid-missouri?

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    Registered User JimRym's Avatar
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    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    I always look forward to articles by Bill Graham. This one illustrates some of the cost/collect-ability/quality issues that have been endemic to the violin world for centuries...the 'folk' music world is just now catching up with the impact on affordability that exorbitant prices commanded by the sellers of fine, vintage instruments have brought on. Interestingly though, the cost of a Loar, pre-war D-45 or Mastertone is chump change compared to the Strads, Amati's, and Gagliano's of the world.

    The article also brings to mind a funny interaction with Tommy Jarrell, old time fiddler, who got to play a Strad usually stored behind glass at the Smithsonian. He looked at it...sawed off a few tunes, handed it back seemingly unimpressed and commented that he preferred his better. His own was, of course, an old beater with a flat bridge, caked-up, rosin and not worth the case lining of the Strad...but it suited him plenty. (I take that back...Tommy's fiddle is probably worth quite a bit now because it was...Tommy's) -Jim
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    The Forrest Gump of Mando Rob Powell's Avatar
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    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    Playing a Loar may not have altered your world but I suspect owning one would. ;-)
    "If you can make it to 50 without growing up, you don't have to..."

    Rob Powell AKA The BeerGeek

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    Registered User Dan Margolis's Avatar
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    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    Nice article. The label was signed on my dad's 11th birthday.

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    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    Thank you Bill for an informative and insightful article.

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    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    I've played about half a dozen, including the Griffith A-5, the only known Loar A-model. They are indeed special. Are they the best mandolin ever made? If you like Loars, they are. I like 'em. John Reischman's is probably the best I've ever gotten to try out. But, and here's the catch...John and others do indeed sound like themselves on any good mandolin. Also, even Loars vary in their tone, volume and response. Nice read!

    Roscoe Morgan, Jr.

  17. #17

    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    [QUOTE=Denny Gies;714718]I got to hold Joe Val's Loar once but he asked me not to play it.

    That's brutal......
    But Amsterdam was always good for grieving
    And London never fails to leave me blue
    And Paris never was my kinda town
    So I walked around with the Ft. Worth Blues

  18. #18

    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    I also played John Reischman's Loar about 1996/97 at a workshop in Vancouver, Washington. Halfway through the workshop John said "Let's take a 20 minute break. Oh, does anybody want to look at this?" at which point he passed around his Loar for all of us to pick a tune on (like Bill's friend said "it's just a mandolin"). I only had about 5 minutes to pick on it but it was an amazing instrument. Call me cheap but I'll stick with my John Sullivan mando.

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    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    $150,000? They have come down $100,000? That's good to know for new buyers.

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    Registered User Bill Bradshaw's Avatar
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    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    Mike Marshall was nice enough to offer to let me play his Loar after a show here in Sheridan. After hearing what I'd just heard him do with it I was afraid I might ruin it or somehow put bad juju into it, or embarass the instrument by making it respond to my feeble skills, so I passed on the chance. In hindsight I should have taken him up on it as I'd just started seriously looking for a new mandolin and his Loar would have been a great benchmark to have in mind as I searched. Oh well, I won't let the next opportunity slip away.

    Cheers,
    Bill

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    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
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    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    anytime someone offers you a Loar to play, play it! their monetary value has made owners much more cautious than before...

  22. #22

    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    I was at a mandolin tasting last year and spent a fair amount of time watching people test drive mandolins. It was interesting to watch people pick up the Loar that was there and play a couple bars on it then put it down and move on. No one really sat down and jammed on it like they did on everything else. It was treated almost like a curiosity, and no one really handled it any different than anything else on the table except those that had never had a chance to hold or play one. You could easily spot "first timers", my self included, because they all had a look like they had just won the lottery on their face. In the end, it was the Taggarts, Dudes and Kimbles that seemed to be the center of attention.

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    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    Quote Originally Posted by Glassweb View Post
    anytime someone offers you a Loar to play, play it! their monetary value has made owners much more cautious than before...
    So true...and as always, it's 'Let me see you pick on your'n first...'

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    As a friend of mine said - if you ever get the chance to drive a V-16, you should do it.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

    The entire staff
    funny....

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    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: At Last, a Loar To Play

    Even as a Loar owner it is always a thrill to play one that you have not played. I played several "new" ones the other day. Another July 9 and a March 24 Fern Loar (also a true 26 Fern)

    Nice article
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
    www.f5journal.com

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