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Thread: A-Style or F-Style: Cost vs. Acoustics

  1. #26
    Registered User Pjones3's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-Style or F-Style: Cost vs. Acoustics

    Well said Blueron. It is not dissimilar to the age old argument about redheads vs blondes. Which has more fun? Which is more fun to play? Which is the real deal? For those lucky enough to have one of each, the testing phase can be as interesting as the final decision.

  2. #27
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-Style or F-Style: Cost vs. Acoustics

    Ron - My Weber 'Beartooth' cost just a bit more than 1/2 what my 'Fern' cost,& i'd have to say that it sounded every bit as good as the Fern,but with added volume. That 'Beartooth' in the Classified's is a good buy & i wish i was a few 1000 miles closer to it,
    Ivan
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    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

  3. #28
    I'll take it! JGWoods's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-Style or F-Style: Cost vs. Acoustics

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Ludewig View Post
    There is no reason that an A model mandolin from the same builder should sound any different, at least to any significant level, from an F. I'm not self promoting. But I can say that I've had a number of my own, both styles, played so that I couldn't see what was being played. I couldn't tell. And I made them.
    Hard to argue with this.
    Someone said- not all As are as good as Fs...well not all Fs are as good as As either.

    Some folks just have to have an F style. it defines the mandolin to them and they are only happy playing an F. I get that.
    I play A models and I am happy. I like the looks, the symmetry, light weight, price, and they do everything I want a mandolin to do.
    Be yourself, everyone else is taken.
    Favorite Mandolin of the week: 2013 Collings MF Gloss top.

  4. #29

    Default Re: A-Style or F-Style: Cost vs. Acoustics

    My father-in-law loves the cheapest Piggly Wiggly store brand ice cream much better than Bryers or Hagen Das. I guess that means he gets to spend a lot less to stock his freezer than I do.

    I'm lucky that way with mandolins. Just love me a nice A-style! If I happened to dig the scroll and points that's what I'd have to but. As is, it leaves me a little pocket change for buying Blue Chip picks...too bad I don't like the 50-cent nylon ones.
    The first man who whistled
    thought he had a wren in his mouth.
    He went around all day
    with his lips puckered,
    afraid to swallow.

    --"The First" by Wendell Berry

  5. #30
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    Default Re: A-Style or F-Style: Cost vs. Acoustics

    I know this goes against the conventional wisdom here but I am certain I hear a difference between my Breedlove FF and Breedlove A's and K's. I believe I have read other posts in the past where people have offered the opinion that they like the sound of the Breedlove FF but not the sound of the other styles so I am not alone. There are other minor differences such as the shape of the headstock but a lot of folks seem to think there is a real difference in tone between the models of that maker at least. To be honest I have no idea whether the "scroll" (more of a hook actually, which is why some traditionalists say the Breedlove is "not a REAL F style") is solid or hollow. I don't know how to describe the tone difference I hear. It's not "woody" really, it just sounds more "bluegrassy" (if that's not a real word it should be!). I come down on the side that each instrument's tone is the sum of ALL it's parts- wood choice, the actual wood used, the design, the workmanship, the bracing, the holes, the hardware choices, and probably a bunch of stuff I'm forgetting. Tone is just the product of too many variable to generalize. The scroll really has to affect the tone in my mind. It's made of wood. Wood vibrates. Vibrating wood affects tone. I know my scroll vibrates like crazy when I play because I can feel it. I don't see any way that doesn't affect the tone. I'm not trying to start any arguements but this is just what I feel and hear.
    Don

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  6. #31
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-Style or F-Style: Cost vs. Acoustics

    Everyone's ears are different; every mandolin is unique in some way. So it's not surprising that some think F-models sound different from A-models. Any given F-model may sound different from any given A-model. Any two A-models may sound different, and so on.

    There is a pretty broad consensus that the main variables producing tonal variations in mandolins, do not include the presence or absence of the scroll, body points, extended headstock, or other features of F- vs. A-models. I'm pretty comfy that this consensus includes veteran players, builders, and experienced mando-fans. But, given the acoustic variations among mandolins, there probably can never be a definitive, empirically proven answer to this question. Which means, "YMMV," and dissenting opinions are welcome -- as long as we recognize that they're just that, opinions.
    Allen Hopkins
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  7. #32
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    Default Re: A-Style or F-Style: Cost vs. Acoustics

    I believe that "back yonder" F model mandolins had more attention put into the building of them when compared to the A models and therefore probably did sound better and that sort of became a standard for the way we look at mandolins...Now with modern builders that want to try and copy the Loar A-5 we are seeing more and better made A models...I have four F models and they all sound good and I have one A model that knocks the socks off of all of them, oddly enough the A model is Asian made and the F`s are American made....Down the road which will be more valuable?...I don`t really care because each one gets equal attention from me and I don`t plan on any of them making me rich from a re sell....So if you are a musician and not a colllector buy what you think sounds best to your taste and enjoy it because there will another one that will come along and sound better to your ears and you will then be caught by the MAS syndrom like many of us are.....

    Willie

  8. #33
    Registered User Chip Booth's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-Style or F-Style: Cost vs. Acoustics

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie View Post
    I believe that "back yonder" F model mandolins had more attention put into the building of them when compared to the A models and therefore probably did sound better and that sort of became a standard for the way we look at mandolins...
    I agree that for probably from the 40s to the 80s the F style was considered a more "serious" instrument. For a while now I have been slowly forming the opinion that I have played more good sounding A style mandolins by the various modern small builders I have tried than F style mandolins. I'm not talking about the guys getting big dollars for their instruments who turn out consistently good sounding instruments, but rather the up and coming builders. My theory is that, unlike Willie says of the early days of building, that more attention is payed to the tonal characteristics of the A models since the aesthetics are easier to deal with, while the Fs receive a certain amount of tonal neglect in favour of making the scroll look just right or other aesthetic concerns that don't effect the tone. This is purely an unfounded hypothesis on my part.

  9. #34
    Registered User G7MOF's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-Style or F-Style: Cost vs. Acoustics

    Check out this scroll, can't decide if I like it or not!!!

    http://youtu.be/AsY_cLTQlxw
    I never fail at anything, I just succeed at doing things that never work....


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  10. #35
    Lost my boots in transit terzinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-Style or F-Style: Cost vs. Acoustics

    Quote Originally Posted by G7MOF View Post
    Check out this scroll, can't decide if I like it or not!!!

    http://youtu.be/AsY_cLTQlxw
    OK, why did you dredge up this old thread to post a link to that vid?

    And that reverse scroll kind of gives me vertigo.

  11. #36
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    Default Re: A-Style or F-Style: Cost vs. Acoustics

    It's people who are different. Some pursue a single goal. Others pursue variety. It's important for us to realize there is this difference.
    Wye Knot

  12. #37
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-Style or F-Style: Cost vs. Acoustics

    I'm just too cheap to wonder. I do love my a-style mandolins though! I've had a few f's, but never found them superior to my a's.

    Just another man's opinion. . .

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

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  13. #38
    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-Style or F-Style: Cost vs. Acoustics

    I really don't feel a need to own an F style mandolin as flash and "great looks" are not a priority for me. My favorite mando currently is a 1937 Gibson A-00 that many would call rough. Click image for larger version. 

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    It has been played and played and played over its life and shows all the scars. Lots of wear on the top, the end of the fretboard has been worn down by picking over it, the first 7 frets have been replaced once and the current ones recently dressed. Whoever owned it before me loved it and played the hell out of it. It sounds great and plays great. Only my Weber Bighorn with ff holes is louder (an instrument I recommend highly). I would recommend you just don't think about whether a mando you are considering is an F or an A, just whether it grabs your soul or not.
    Jammin' south of the river
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  14. #39
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-Style or F-Style: Cost vs. Acoustics

    .. so I've been playing mandolin for a little over a year now ..
    it's a common distraction, the notes on the fingerboard are the same.
    now go practice..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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