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Thread: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

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    Registered User jman72's Avatar
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    Default Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    Hi Everyone,
    I've been playing mandolin for about 7 years (a mid range Pac Rim mando) and I'm finally able to purchase my first "nicer" mandolin (I've been playing guitar and banjo for over 20 years and have several higher grade acoustic instruments, so I appreciate quality American craftsmanship). I play mandolin quite a bit in a couple of different bands, and I'm looking to spend around $2K. It seems to me that the best options in this price range (American made) are the Gibson F9 and the Weber Bitterroot. I want a spruce/maple mandolin because I love that traditional bluegrass sound, but I am flexible and really just want a good quality, playable mandolin. I know ideally I'd like to play before I buy, but since I'll probably buy used, that might not be an option. Any suggestions from the experts here would be tremendously appreciated!! Thanks!!

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    Registered User Vernon Hughes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    Gibson for me if those are the only 2 choices..
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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    Well they both will sound and look different from one another and likely have different neck profiles. Even if you can't play THE instrument before you buy, try and get your hands on some examples from the brands. I couldn't make a choice without at least doing that.

    Jamie
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    Registered User Jim Ferguson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    Hi Jman.........I have never played a Weber Bitterroot but I did own a Gibson F9 and it was a very nice mandolin. I had a 2004 F9 and it had a great sound, loud chop, nice playability up & down the neck. I've played other Webers and loved their sound too. The F9 is a nice mando for the $$$.
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    Jman, one of my students has 3 webers, one is a bitterroot. Ive played it quite a lot and think its a fine instrument in that range. In addition, one of the tuners was damaged in a mishap. After a quick call to weber, they sent a replacement tuner and button without hesitation...nice.
    C

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    Registered User mandobassman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    The Bitterroot is one of the nicer Weber's I have played (I have been disappointed by several Webers). But the one F9 I played was really outstanding. It was one of the early models and the only thing I didn't like about the F9 was the frets. It had the tall skinny frets that I never liked, but the volume and tone was very nice. If I had to pick between the two, I probably would go with the Gibson.
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    Registered User Toycona's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    I'm no expert, but I played a guy's F9 last summer and had a hard time handing it back. That said, a good buddy of mine has a killer Weber. You'll be well off either way, I think.
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    Registered User Mike Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    To my ears, the tone that Gibson/Weber build into their mandolins is significantly different. Wish I could flesh that out a bit other than to say that Weber is a more "modern" tone and the Gibson more traditional. You should at least try to reconcile yourself to one or the other, in a general kind of way. When I try to explain the difference my preference for Gibson mandolins becomes quite obvious.
    Mike Snyder

  9. #9

    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    Like Jamie said...make sure you play an example, at least enough to compare Gibson and Weber neck profiles. Lot of Gibsons have 1 1/16" nut width. Lot of Webers a tad wider and come with larger frets. If you are buying used, consider the Cafe classifieds. Most sellers offer a 48 hr approval period. That's one way to shop. Good hunting!

    Scott

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    Fingers of Concrete ccravens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    I have owned both, and I traded my F9. Even with these 2 fine builders, consistency isn't automatic, but pretty close. Of course, every instrument is different, yada, yada.

    If I remember correctly, my F9 had a thinner neck profile.

    Weber will probably have the larger frets, Gibson the smaller/thinner.

    Get a nut width that suits you. As has been said, the Webers are more likely to have larger nut widths; most F9s are 1 1/16" with fewer exceptions.

    As for sound...... like Mike I'm hesitant to get into THAT discussion, but I would say they are voiced a bit different. What type of music do you play? I had my F9 because I was going through a big bluegrass phase and it did a good job for that. My pallete has enlarged/changed somewhat, so now the Weber fits the bill. No right/wrong or good/bad, of course, just different.

    Have you considered a Lafferty?
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    If you are looking for a Spruce/Maple Bitterroot it will need to be a newer one. The old ones were mahogany/Spruce. I believe they made the change around 2008.

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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    Go with a special edition Weber from the Mandolin store
    you can trick it out with upgrades at a real decent price too

    Check this out:
    https://www.youtube.com/user/brmichaelpaul?feature=mhee

  13. #13

    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    I own a 2010 Weber Yellowstone and a 2008 Gibson F9. The Yellowstone would probably be comparable to one of the newer Bitterroots as far as the sound. They are both great sounding mandolins. The Gibson is a little more mid-rangey, and maybe a little bit louder. As far as looks there's no comparison. My Weber is about as good as they get, but that isn't really an apples to apples comparison. I've not dealt with Gibson's customer service, but it would be almost impossible to top Weber in that regard. Weber has gone FAR out of their way to make me happy. I did get to speak to Dave Harvey on the phone about my Gibson and he was extremely nice too; he's obviously enthusiastic about mandolins. So..., you can't really go wrong with either one in my opinion. Play them both and pick the one that you can't put down.

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    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    Both are excellent mandolins no question. They will sound and play wonderfully and they will almost certainly sound different. No one but you knows which you will like best. Between Collings, Weber and Gibson I have always felt Gibsons are a bit biased to the bass tones, Collings the emphasize the trebles, and Webers are most balanced. But again that is just my opinion and it is not much use to you I am afraid. I would agree that not one has better customer service than Weber.
    Bernie
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    A couple Bitterroots are at the local BG Jam. They are both very nice. Of course there is no substitution for a direct comparison but the Bitteroots are better looking (IMO) and they sound great too. The Mahogany is a little mellower and I would go w/ maple. I have 2 Webers and am very happy. Weber customer service is second to none.

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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    Remember if you buy a used Gibson there is no warranty. If you buy a used Weber it can be recertified.

    From the Weber website.

    RECERTIFICATION



    You now have the ability to renew the Limited Lifetime Warranty
    •Perhaps you have just bought a used Weber and want to protect your investment by insuring that all is in order and good working condition.
    •You are considering selling your Weber to upgrade to another model and want to increase resale value and purchaser confidence.
    •If you are sending it back to the Weber Shop for routine maintenance or customization and are not the original owner, it's a great time to go ahead and get it recertified.

    The cost is $200.00 plus shipping. We will check it over, adjust the truss rod and action, put a new set of strings on it and give it a clean bill of health. If needed we will recommend any maintenance or other work needed with an estimate on how much the work would be. Any exclusions to the Recertification Warranty will be notated on the new card, and the new warranty entered into our permanent data base.

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    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    Quote Originally Posted by George R. Lane View Post
    Remember if you buy a used Gibson there is no warranty. If you buy a used Weber it can be recertified.
    Now that is some pretty heads up customer service by Weber. Good for them! Maybe I'll send my '06 Absaroka octave in for that service. Of course we all know you are partial to those Montana folks anyway!
    Bernie
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    Fingers of Concrete ccravens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    Good point George.

    I've done the Weber recertification myself.
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Daniel View Post
    Now that is some pretty heads up customer service by Weber. Good for them! Maybe I'll send my '06 Absaroka octave in for that service. Of course we all know you are partial to those Montana folks anyway!

    Yeah, I admit they are some mighty fine folks over there in Logan, Mt.

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    Registered User jman72's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    Thanks for all the input- it is greatly appreciated! I would love to play both before buying, but here in the Orlando FL area, there aren't many places to shop for or play quality mandolins. If anyone on here is in the central Florida area and has either of these (or similar instruments) and brings them out to play, I'd love to try one and see how it feels. I know there is a shop in Plant City FL that carries Webers, so I might make a trip down there, but I don't think there are any Gibson dealers around here.

    I know that different builders have different sounds, and I just want a great quality, good playing mandolin, so I know I'd be happy with either sound, but playability is definitely a factor. I often gravitate towards a sound that is not necessarily traditional -I play a Taylor guitar (not a Martin) and a Deering banjo (not a Gibson), not because I don't love the traditional sound, but because I like the playability of the Taylors and Deerings better than the others (and, truth be told, they ARE more affordable). I've played a few Collings (loved them, but out of my price range) and Eastmans (I want American), but never a Weber or Gibson. I guess I'll just have to somehow get my hands on each and play them!

    John

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    Registered User Fstpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    Check with (Bob?) at Cornerstone Music Store in Clermont. It's a small mom & pop store, but sometimes they'll have a used Weber mandolin or Collings. They also have some McPherson guitars last I was there a few weeks ago.

    798 West Montrose Street Clermont, FL 34711
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    Fingers of Concrete ccravens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    Quote Originally Posted by jman72 View Post
    I know that different builders have different sounds, and I just want a great quality, good playing mandolin, so I know I'd be happy with either sound, but playability is definitely a factor. I often gravitate towards a sound that is not necessarily traditional -I play a Taylor guitar (not a Martin) and a Deering banjo (not a Gibson), not because I don't love the traditional sound, but because I like the playability of the Taylors and Deerings better than the others (and, truth be told, they ARE more affordable).
    John
    Based on what you said, I would lean you more towards the Webers. Understanding that they are both AWESOME brands, of course. But just basing it off of your quote above, and if you have to buy without trying first.
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    I think you will get a lot more for your money if you drop the idea of a scroll and look at some of the better quality A-5 models, both Gibson and Weber.

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    Spencer Sorenson Spencer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    Quote Originally Posted by coelhoe View Post
    I think you will get a lot more for your money if you drop the idea of a scroll and look at some of the better quality A-5 models, both Gibson and Weber.
    If you consider going scroll-less, then the Collings MT is also a viable choice, especially since you said you like the Collings sound. A friend of my just got one of these, and it is a very nice instrument, with respect to sound, both tone and volume, and looks/workmanship (no scroll, though). It has all the sound he will ever need, scroll or none. There are some listed in the classifieds new for 2200-2300 dollars, and used ones turn up usually for under 2000.

    Think about it and good luck what ever you choose.

    Spencer

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    Registered User Sandy Beckler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber Bitterroot or Gibson F9??

    Quote Originally Posted by coelhoe View Post
    I think you will get a lot more for your money if you drop the idea of a scroll and look at some of the better quality A-5 models, both Gibson and Weber.
    +1....... maybe a Collings MT or MTO

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