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Thread: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

  1. #26

    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    Amazingly, mine looks just like yours. It gets better each time I play it. Yes it is loud.

  2. #27
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    Hmmm -- not to raise any tempers here but is it not odd we hear one customer has returned two SB mandolins with "issues" and then a copy of the same model ends up in another's hands apparently having the same issue(s)?

    I would hope that Gibson would bite the bullet and fix a $10,000 mandolin rather than just resend it out to another buyer --hopefully this is not what has happened here.

    If Big Joe says he saw an SB model with "normal" f-holes then obviously the SB custom model is supposed to have normal f-holes.

    So if two mandolins came back with build defects I would assume Gibson would have immediately 1) fixed them and 2) checked the remaining stock for the same flaws????????????

    There is a signed statement in my 2002 Gibson F-5 Fern claiming the my mandolin was inspected and approved........

    As a long time Gibson supporter I find this story creepy.
    Bernie
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  3. #28
    Henry Lawton hank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    I personally would rather have one with the f holes off center if it had the best tonal qualities. Who knows these three with the off center f holes may smoke the symmetrical ones. Theres no guarantee that you'll get another Hoss like Mario's if you swap it for another one. If your happy with your mandolin don't let these guys take away your thunder. If you don't like the way it sounds roll the dice, it's a good excuse to swap it for hopefully a better sounding one.

  4. #29

    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    Quote Originally Posted by #14 View Post
    Amazingly, mine looks just like yours. It gets better each time I play it. Yes it is loud.

    Has your mandolin the f holes off center?

  5. #30
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    hank: I personally would rather have one with the f holes off center if it had the best tonal qualities. Who knows these three with the off center f holes may smoke the symmetrical ones. Theres no guarantee that you'll get another Hoss like Mario's if you swap it for another one. If your happy with your mandolin don't let these guys take away your thunder. If you don't like the way it sounds roll the dice, it's a good excuse to swap it for hopefully a better sounding one.
    That is surely true. I should have noted Mario alone has to make the choice on the mandolin himself.

    Just for the record I think that within reason sound and playability are the most important thing -- and frankly I did not notice the issue myself until someone else pointed it out.

    But it does not change the fact that if what we think we see happening here is what it really going on it pretty sad. Certainly there is no reasonable excuse for a factory to sell a $10 -12,000 mandolin that has obvious structural imperfections.

    I hope someone from Gibson will come on and explain this.

    Mario -- I just measure the distance from the bottom of the f-holes to the edge on my 2002 F-5 Fern. I made 10 measurements on each side with a digital calipers and took the average (the standard deviation is very small) and it is 0.79 inches on the bass side and 0.83 inches on the treble. This is not a noticeable difference but I had never thought to measure it before.
    Last edited by Bernie Daniel; Feb-15-2010 at 8:05am. Reason: added info
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  6. #31
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    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    Hi All,

    I ordered a custom Gold Rush mandolin about a year ago. It has a 1 3/16 nut width and a rounded neck. Oddly enough, it also lacks a pickguard and has a one-piece back--appointments that I didn't specify. Until I saw this thread, I never paid much attention to the symmetry of the F-holes. In fact, the treble F-hole is a bit closer to the binding than the bass F-hole, just like the Bush mandolin in question.

    The bottom line, though, is it's a wonderful instrument: It sounds and plays as I'd hoped and I got it at substantially less than the advertised price. So I'm not going to obsess about the F-holes. I'd like to believe that was done deliberately (something to do with the bracing on the treble side or the heavier neck, perhaps). But it really doesn't matter. Each Gibson mandolin, as Big Joe has said, is slightly different from every other. From what I've learned on this website over the past few years, it's been thus since the beginning!

    Bob
    Robert H. Sayers

  7. #32
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    Bob Sayers: I never paid much attention to the symmetry of the F-holes....the treble F-hole is a bit closer to the binding than the bass F-hole, just like the Bush mandolin in question....bottom line, though, is it's a wonderful instrument..... sounds and plays as I'd hoped and I got it at substantially less than the advertised price. So I'm not going to obsess about the F-holes.
    Well said! In fact if you think about it no matter how excellent a luthier that distance will probably never be exactly the same on any mandolin -- and if it is not readily noticeable it all boils down to personal opinion.

    Maybe it was done purposely for tonal purposes (seems unlikely?) -- but its also possible that there is on set of templates at Gibson that are off.

    You mention that you have a Goldrush -- don't they (by design) have slightly smaller f-holes than other Gibson F-5's?

    I'd sure like to have a Gibson F-5 with that 1 3/16" nut -- I wonder how expensive of an option that is?
    Bernie
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  8. #33
    Registered User Benski's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    OK, well so now you guys got me intrigued....being an engineer, I grabbed a ruler and whaddayaknow: the treble side f-hole on my 2008 Goldrush is just shy of 1/8" closer to the rim than on the bass side. Totally not noticeable without the ruler, and like Bob Sayers above, I couldnt be happier with my GR...I love the way it looks, plays and sounds...off-kilter f-holes nonwithstanding.

    I guess it would be interesting to see if other Gibsons (and/or mandos from other builders as well) had this same assymmetrical quirk.

    Cheers, Benski
    2009 Bush Fern '34

  9. #34

    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Sayers View Post

    The bottom line, though, is it's a wonderful instrument: It sounds and plays as I'd hoped and I got it at substantially less than the advertised price. So I'm not going to obsess about the F-holes. I'd like to believe that was done deliberately (something to do with the bracing on the treble side or the heavier neck, perhaps). But it really doesn't matter. Each Gibson mandolin, as Big Joe has said, is slightly different from every other. From what I've learned on this website over the past few years, it's been thus since the beginning!

    Bob
    I think as you....

  10. #35
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    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    Bernie,

    Yes, the Gold Rush has slightly smaller F-holes. By the way, I wasn't charged anything extra for ordering my mandolin with a wider neck. (I ordered it through Mandolin Bros.) And the one-piece back was a freebie.

    Benski,

    I love my Gold Rush. It looks, plays, and sounds great. I also have a wonderful Gibson Wayne Benson signature F-5; but the neck is a bit too slender for my left hand. That's the reason I ordered the 1 3/8 neck on my new mando.

    Mario,

    I'm with you, too. I'm sure your Bush '34 mandolin is a killer.

    By the way, I was thinking that with all these slight variations from one mandolin to the next (and with Gibson's occasional lack of transparency), collectors 80 years from now are going to be totally confounded. Why the wider neck on this one? Why the asymetrical F-holes on this one? Why the one-piece back on this one? Maybe they're "floor sweeps." Hah!

    Bob
    Robert H. Sayers

  11. #36

    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Sayers View Post
    Mario,

    I'm with you, too. I'm sure your Bush '34 mandolin is a killer.

    By the way, I was thinking that with all these slight variations from one mandolin to the next (and with Gibson's occasional lack of transparency), collectors 80 years from now are going to be totally confounded. Why the wider neck on this one? Why the asymetrical F-holes on this one? Why the one-piece back on this one? Maybe they're "floor sweeps." Hah!

    Bob

  12. #37

    Smile Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    Quote Originally Posted by #14 View Post
    Amazingly, mine looks just like yours. It gets better each time I play it. Yes it is loud.
    Here it is. .865 on bass side, .670 thousandth of an inch on treble side to the outside. .195 difference. If this is what makes it louder and sweeter than my two other F5's so be it.

  13. #38
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    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    Well, I'm not an engineer, so my measurements are suspect. On my 2003 Sam Bush, the difference seems to be about 1/16 of an inch (narrower on the treble side than the bass side), about 0.78 versus 0.72. I never noticed anything looking asymmetric with the holes and still don't see one, but my ruler seems to think there is one, although it would be about 1/3 of what #14 measured.

  14. #39

    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    Has anyone purchased # 25 yet?

  15. #40
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    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    Since Gibson mandolins are hand made, and the F holes are cut by hand, and not with a laser or CNC it makes it nearly impossible for each to be completely identical on all instruments. Part of the mystique of the Loar is that each one is a little bit different from others, and there are even differences from each batch and year. Pretty amazing, and yet they all sound incredible.

    I have not measured or paid any attention to the differences in F hole alignment on any particular mandolin, but the problem as I understood it on the 34 Bush was that they were not the same on the top and bottom. What I assumed was meant was that one was farther back than the other, though I cannot say that is what the complaint was for sure. In any case, if it sound good and plays good, that is far more important. One of the best sounding mandolins I've ever heard is not the best in fit and finish. It was the first one built by a very good luthier and he certainly learned a tremendous amount in the process. The owner absolutely loves it and plays it to death.

    Again, it truly is all about the sound. If I had one that was visibly perfect, but sounded like a kitchen table, I would not be very happy. On the other hand, if I had one that looked a bit weird and sounded like the best thing I've ever heard, well, I can live with a little weird in my life. After all, look at who all my friends are... most are on the cafe .
    Have a Great Day!
    Joe Vest

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    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    Well this thread really wandered away for the purpose of admiring Mario's new Gibson '34 Sam Bush LE mandolin. But it was interesting for sure.

    From now on I will always look at how the two f-holes line up. But I don't know why I'll do it!

    But I thought Big Joe's last comment really brings home the point that Gibson mandolins are as "hand-made" as any out there -- it's just a bigger shop that's all.

    Enjoy you wonderful new Gibson mandolin Mario!
    Last edited by Bernie Daniel; Feb-16-2010 at 7:05am. Reason: typo
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  17. #42

    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Daniel View Post
    Well this thread really wandered away for the purpose of admiring Mario's new Gibson '34 Sam Bush LE mandolin. But it was interesting for sure.

    From now on I will always look at how the two f-holes line up. But I don't know why I'll do it!

    But I thought Big Joe's last comment really brings home the point that Gibson mandolins are as "hand-made" as any out there -- it's just a bigger shop that's all.

    Enjoy you wonderful new Gibson mandolin Mario!
    Thanks Bernie....

  18. #43
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    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    I don't think I would have noticed the F-holes unless someone pointed it out to me. I guess my eyes aren't that good....

    Anyhow, these folks are correct, Mario....your mandolin is seriously flawed and I would be glad to take it off your hands !

    I think it looks great, and from the video... I bet it sound great, too.
    Last edited by jimbob; Feb-16-2010 at 9:50am.

  19. #44
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    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    Hey Mario - at the end of the day, when you close your eyes and sit and play it in your living room, does the mando make you smile? If the answer is "yes", as I'm sure it is, then that's pretty much all that matters.

    Looks like you got yourself a beautiful mandolin that any one of us would be happy to own. Enjoy it and congratulations!
    2009 Bush Fern '34

  20. #45
    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    Quote: "But I thought Big Joe's last comment really brings home the point that Gibson mandolins are as "hand-made" as any out there -- it's just a bigger shop that's all."

    You mean they eye-ball the f-holes? No template? Maybe template was flipped and wrong side used.

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    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    We all use templates for different things. I cannot say how those mandolins were done (Bush 34's) but I seriously doubt they were eyeballed. Who knows, maybe they just had a template that was messed up or not fit correctly or maybe they did it intentionally. I have not discussed it with them but whatever the case, I have not seen the problem personally, only heard about it. If I get time I will try to measure some of the other brand mandolins for F hole placement. It may be interesting to see how other do it as well.
    Have a Great Day!
    Joe Vest

  22. #47
    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    I'm with the group where it it plays good and sounds good, I'm happy.

  23. #48

    Smile Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario D'Orrico View Post
    Has your mandolin the f holes off center?
    Yes it does..
    This must give it the deep sound it has.
    Wonder where the other 23 of them are?
    Congratulations to you.

  24. #49
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    Tom C: You mean they eye-ball the f-holes? No template? Maybe template was flipped and wrong side used.
    Why do you say "eye-ball" it? I do not think that was implied. There is no connection between "hand-made" and "templates used" or "templates not used" in my mind.

    But anyway flipping the template would just exchange which f-hole was farther from the edge (actually you cannot flip the template because it does not have a line of symmetry.)

    But I agree with you that , within reason, sound is the thing. However we have no evidence either that this f-hole placement issue is related or not related to the sound of the mandolin do we? We are just speculating on that.
    Bernie
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  25. #50
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    Default Re: Sam Bush Fern '34 LE

    #14:
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mario D'Orrico View Post
    Has your mandolin the f holes off center?
    Yes it does..
    This must give it the deep sound it has.
    Wonder where the other 23 of them are?
    Interesting.
    Bernie
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