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Thread: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

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    Default Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    Back when I was in my twenties, and playing bluegrass full time, I bought a mandolin, second hand from fairly unknown builder. Paid $1,000. It was a Monteleone F5 copy - one of the 10 or so he made as Loar replicas. It was #4. I played it on stage for many years, got married, had kids and it hung on the wall for two decades. Got into delta blues slide guitar.

    Not being a collector I had not stayed up with the market. 5 years ago, kids all out of the house, I pulled it out and figured I would see what it was worth. Probably doubled in price I figured. A bit of a surprise to find out what had happened to the market since 1977. 4 or 5 years ago I heard numbers like $16K to $20K.

    I have been playing it daily and the tone is unbelievable and it has brought me back to playing bluegrass and fiddle tunes again. It has aged wonderfully. Just an incredible instrument. Don't think I appreciated what I was playing back in my 20's. Absolute gem of an instrument.

    So, does anyone know much about this first series of Loar copies that John made before he branched out? This mandolin has Gibson on the headstock and is supposedly a straight Loar copy. He only made a few, and apparently #1 never made it out of the shop. So the story is told.

    Does anyone know where the other 8 or 9 F5's are?

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    Americanadian Andrew B. Carlson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    I can't help ya with info really, but I'd be tickled pink to see some nice pictures!
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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    Hi. I'm pretty sure that John made the first 8 with 'Gibson' inlays. Then he made 16 more Fern copies that had 'Monteleone' in the headstock. During the same time he had already started his Grand Artist models. Wonderful guy.

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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    #7 is in Salem Oregon and I worked on it back in 98 or 99. The owner of it said he won the Bean Blossom banjo contest in 77 I thinkhis prize of choice was the mandolin. When it came to me for a setup, in the case was a one piece bridge that was made by John Monteleone and came with it. The owner preferred a traditional Loar style that adjusted. I put the one piece on to see what the difference was and that began a series that I wrote for Mandolin Magazine on bridges and tailpieces. I talked with John about this mandolin and if my memory serves me, he said he had repaired a Loar the Mandolin Brothers had in their shop. While in for repair with the back off, John measured the top graduations and bracing. He was asked by Mandolin Brothers if he could build some copies of it. He did, and I believe he built 8 until he quit and started his own designs. They are great mandolins and if you have the original bridge with it and don't have it on, I'd suggest you try it and see if you like the tone. That bridge and those articles I wrote have spawned a whole new generation of bridge designs. One of those concepts are seen on John Reischman's Loar that had a full bridge fit. It was adjustable at the top, like a loar bridge, but there is no gap between the bridge feet. Last time I did an insurance appraisal on one of those Montleone F-5 Loar copies, the replacement value was $24,000.00.. I would hope you can keep it, but if not, someone's going to get a amazing mandolin...
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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    I actually had one that I let go for over 20k five years ago.... a really fine mandolin.... in fact I thought that it had a better voice than a Grand Artist I had at the same time... It was a much lovelier sound than a Loar had 20 years ago as well... I used to play them side by side and would always love the Monteleone each time.... The Loar might have had some issues that could have been addressed at the time, but I was young and ignorant.... now I am just old and ignorant... All of my Monteleones have gone onto other players now, but one two point that I keep.... John M is one of the very best, and he had the chops from a very early time in his history, as these Loar copies prove.
    John D

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    I don't know the numbers, how many are Gibson copies and that sort of thing, but here is number 6. It belongs to a friend of mine and I snapped a few pics when it was in the shop for fret work. It is one of a kind.
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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    There's an F5 with a "Monteleone" Script near Arcata, CA....

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    bird and mando geek Rob Fowler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    djweiss that is a nice Monty; the owner let me play it at bluegrass jam the whole jam a while ago! Very well aged!

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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    ThereŽs a thread about an Austin Monteleone gathering here: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...eone+gathering

    About the change from the Loar style appointments to the Grand Artist style I found something on this thread: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...ght=monteleone

    AFAIK about 17 Monteleones had "The Gibson" in the headstock. From then on it was "Monteleone".

    From what I remember, an average price for an early Monteleone (Loar style appointments) is around 17.000,00 USD. GAŽs etc. go from around the 24 k (upward).

    The following video I liked (It was a series of comparing a Monte, a Kimble and a newer Gibson MM):



    IŽd like to see pictures and a video of your instrument.
    Olaf

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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    That Monteleone in the above video sounds good to these ears, but so does everything that Jeff Guernsey plays. His primary instrument is fiddle, but plays a killer mando and guitar as well. Wish I lived near him so I could take lessons as he is an amazing musician. His brother, Ivan, builds beautiful resonator guitars for some of the heavy hitters and seems like a real down to earth guy. Back to the topic, I believe the only Monteleone I ever heard was a fine F5 instrument that RichieK (see above reply) used to bring to some of the Philly area jams back in the 90s. It too was a memorable instrument for sure. Do you still have that Richie?

    Sean

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    I have played a good handful of Monteleones (I have a GA mandola and almost ordered a mandolin back when I could). I don't think I ever played one that wasn't an exquisite instrument. I did play an early F5 style at a guitar show but i can't recall if it said Gibson or Monteleone on the headstock.

    My very favorite is a Baby Grand that lives not too far from me. I also played a simple A model that was quite nice as well.
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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    Quote Originally Posted by mandomedic View Post
    #7 is in Salem Oregon and I worked on it back in 98 or 99. The owner of it said he won the Bean Blossom banjo contest in 77 I thinkhis prize of choice was the mandolin. When it came to me for a setup, in the case was a one piece bridge that was made by John Monteleone and came with it. The owner preferred a traditional Loar style that adjusted. I put the one piece on to see what the difference was and that began a series that I wrote for Mandolin Magazine on bridges and tailpieces. I talked with John about this mandolin and if my memory serves me, he said he had repaired a Loar the Mandolin Brothers had in their shop. While in for repair with the back off, John measured the top graduations and bracing. He was asked by Mandolin Brothers if he could build some copies of it. He did, and I believe he built 8 until he quit and started his own designs. They are great mandolins and if you have the original bridge with it and don't have it on, I'd suggest you try it and see if you like the tone. That bridge and those articles I wrote have spawned a whole new generation of bridge designs. One of those concepts are seen on John Reischman's Loar that had a full bridge fit. It was adjustable at the top, like a loar bridge, but there is no gap between the bridge feet. Last time I did an insurance appraisal on one of those Montleone F-5 Loar copies, the replacement value was $24,000.00.. I would hope you can keep it, but if not, someone's going to get a amazing mandolin...
    It has the original bridge on it. I am the second owner. And I do not plan to part with it. I am a player not a collector so I feel a bit ackward with such a valuable instrument. It certainly does not go to bar gigs. Thanks for the history.
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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    I hope to be able to keep this one. Do you know about the scale length? It seems to be a shorter scale length. Is that the scale length that the Loar's have? I have a GA copy (Kentucky Dawg) that has a longer scale length and it is easier to play. But on the Monteleone you can play hard and you can play sweet sensitive and it does them both very well. But I have always been curious about the scale length. Anyone know about that?
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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    Hi Sean. After I got sick and couldn't play I let almost everything go. 2 Monteleones, a Randy Wood, 2 Gilchrists,a Gibson Fern, my Gary Vessel 'Faux Monroe', etc and some of my Tele B-benders. I miss 'em all, but not as much as I miss picking. As they say "You don't miss you water 'till your well runs dry".

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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    I'd think the scale length on a Monteleone F5 should be the same as on a Kentucky Dawg.

    There is a really nice Monty F5 here in the SF Bay Area, John's next to last F5......great tone and volume.......it is #64, built in the early 80's. John still built F5's on order along with his GA's for a few years. #64 is kind of a hybrid, the bridge is unusual in that the saddle goes straight across at an angle. It has the Monteleone cast tailpiece and an abbreviated cantilevered pickguard, both Grand Artist features, but the shape of the body is an F5.

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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    Quote Originally Posted by alexzen View Post
    Back when I was in my twenties, and playing bluegrass full time, I bought a mandolin, second hand from fairly unknown builder. Paid $1,000. It was a Monteleone F5 copy - one of the 10 or so he made as Loar replicas. It was #4. I played it on stage for many years, got married, had kids and it hung on the wall for two decades. Got into delta blues slide guitar.

    Not being a collector I had not stayed up with the market. 5 years ago, kids all out of the house, I pulled it out and figured I would see what it was worth. Probably doubled in price I figured. A bit of a surprise to find out what had happened to the market since 1977. 4 or 5 years ago I heard numbers like $16K to $20K.

    I have been playing it daily and the tone is unbelievable and it has brought me back to playing bluegrass and fiddle tunes again. It has aged wonderfully. Just an incredible instrument. Don't think I appreciated what I was playing back in my 20's. Absolute gem of an instrument.

    So, does anyone know much about this first series of Loar copies that John made before he branched out? This mandolin has Gibson on the headstock and is supposedly a straight Loar copy. He only made a few, and apparently #1 never made it out of the shop. So the story is told.

    Does anyone know where the other 8 or 9 F5's are?
    I realize this is an old thread, but here is some information on one of the F-5's

    I am not sure how many F-5's were made before the GA was released but heard that he did both for awhile.

    There were apparently 8 that were made with "The Gibson" on the peghead as mentioned before and the 9th had "Monteleone" for the first time on the peghead.

    What the deal was, is that my uncle, who still has the mandolin, was getting into Crosspicking and was using an A-50 mandolin which of course did not have the scale to get into the higher positions.

    My uncle started looking for an F-5 and was not real thrilled with what Gibson was offering at the time. He looked at Randy Wood and they had a fairly long waiting list at the time (1977).

    He called up Mandolin Bros looking to see what they had available and was told about John Monteleone. Stan apparently told him that John was making very faithful copies of the Gibsons and the price was pretty fantastic.

    My uncle told my dad that John could make one better then Gibson and in fact would put their name on the peghead. My dad said, " well if they're that good, why doesn't he put his own name on the peghead"? My uncle said, "I will ask him if he will do just that".
    That is pretty much the story of how #9 became the first to have Monteleone on the peghead.
    My uncle still has it and I play it now and again and it takes @ an hour to wake up as it is not played much at all anymore. It is an orange/black sunburst fern and is in fantastic condition with just a bit of buckle rash on it. It plays and sounds great.

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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    Scale length = distance (length of fretboard) from nut to twelfth fret x 2
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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    You know I was thinking not too long ago about who the first custom builder to inlay their own name might have been and this may be the answer.

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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hilburn View Post
    You know I was thinking not too long ago about who the first custom builder to inlay their own name might have been and this may be the answer.
    You may be right...or perhaps Givens?

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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    Didn't Orville use his name (Gibson) before there was a Gibson corporation?

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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    I had #26 Monteleone F-5 for sale as part of an estate I managed. It was a nice mandolin.
    ..... f5joe

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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    Here's a photo of the late Kevin Brill playing his #24 Monteleone (photo from the 90's - Philadelphia). Also pictured is the late Lonnie Mondell and the late Fran "Mad Dog" Hoffman.
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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hilburn View Post
    You know I was thinking not too long ago about who the first custom builder to inlay their own name might have been and this may be the answer.
    Hi Jim,

    This is Paganoni #2. It is dated March 15, 1970. Pag #1, according to Jonh Paganoni, was signed in 1969. But that one seems to have vanished from the planet. There were F5 copies made by Randy Wood, Givens, Tom Morgan, and others in the 60's, but they all sported "the Gibson" headstock logo.

    I have not encountered a straight F5 copy, with the builders name on the headstock, dated earlier than Pag #2.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    For what it's worth, Monteleone is very approachable.

    Call or email him & he'll get back to you.

    Billy

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  35. #25

    Default Re: Monteleone F5 - #4 of his original 10 Loar copies

    I have #14 F5 Fern in So. Cal. Superb mandolin! I put the original one-piece bridge that was hidden away in the case and after the mandolin getting broke into it, increased the warmth and tonal evenness tremendously! It looks like John may have gotten the style idea from Selmer/Maccaferri guitars as they are similar in design.

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