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Thread: Hester Mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Hester Mandolin

    I am finally posting on my new Hester F5 mandolin. Gail delivered it to me in February, one week before Wintergrass. I had been on the "list" for quite some time. And believe me, Gail has quite a list, and deservedly so. Anyway, during the entire time I was waiting for my mando, I had a nagging fear of "what if I don't like it" or "it doesn't turn out like I hope". I even had a dream where it looked and sounded like a plastic blue Smurf guitar like the ones you find at Toys-R-Us. So when Gail handed it me (my mando, not the Smurf guitar) and I played the first note, I knew it was everything I hoped it would be. During the time that I was waiting for my mando, I tried lots of great mandos, including Kimble, Duff, Red Diamond, Altman, Gibson, Dudenbostle, Nugget, and others. All of them good. To my taste, Gail's mandos are up there with the rest. In fact, to my taste, she's in the same league as the Dudenbostel and Nugget. Her craftmanship is second to none. Everything is done by hand, no CNC. If you are a fan of the Loar sound, you will find her mandos to your liking. A couple summers ago the mandolin player in my group played his Hester and a Loar together in comparison. Same feel, same sound. Anyway, while at Wintergrass, I put my Hester in the hands of anyone and everyone I could, including David Grisman, Ronnie McCoury, Lou Reid. All of them seemed to be impressed with my mando. Anyway, I love this thing. I can't wait to get home from work everyday to play it. I know that I'm spoutin off about how great Gail's mandos are, but every day I see posts about comparisons regarding good mandolin builders, and they always include the names I mentioned above, and I very rarely see Gail mentioned in those posts. I can only assume that it's because she hasn't made as many mandos as the others, so there are less of them out there being played. But her name should be mentioned in those posts as she is a master craftsman and deserves to be recognized.

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  3. #2
    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    Gail makes very good stuff!
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    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    I've heard nothing but good things about Gail's mandolins. I hope to get to play one some day. Enjoy that thing!

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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    Not only do folks report that Gail's mandolins have the sound, from all the photos I've seen they have the look in spades. She does amazing work.

    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

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  7. #5
    hillbilly lion tamer Wilbur James's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    Congradulations, I know you have waited on that one for a long time, I enjoyed the sound of Adam Tanners Hester at swananoa gathering last year.
    Dignity, Respect and Love, for who they are, not what they are.

  8. #6
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    From banjoboy - " she is a master craftsman and deserves to be recognized. ...".Gail already is recognised as a premier league luthier. As has been said above,she can produce mandolins with 'that' sound & look - you're a lucky guy to own one of her instruments,enjoy it,
    Ivan
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  9. #7

    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    Hi BanjoBoy,

    In the interest of getting Gail some well deserved publicity, how about posting some pictures of your Hester F-5. I do love to look at a really good Loar copy and she does incredible restorations of fine vintage Gibsons. Time to show her off.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  10. #8
    Registered User f5joe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    Congrats on the new Hester. I travel in a tough crowd. Pictures or it didn't happen!
    ..... f5joe

  11. #9
    Registered Mandolin User mandopete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    I have played this mandolin and it's everthing Kent says about it. It sounds and looks amazing and is a excellent example of Gail's fine work. I have a photo of it, but I will wait to see if Mr. Banjo posts one first.

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  12. #10

    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    She's got some great talent, but we already knew that. How about some pics/specs? I've seen a number of good posts on here and clips on YouTube of her work. There aren't that many of them as you said, but then again there aren't that many Dudenbostels either.
    Last edited by OldGus; May-12-2013 at 6:35pm.

  13. #11
    Hester Mandolins Gail Hester's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    Thank you for the nice comments all. I've been secluded in the shop for over a year now trying to get caught up and have not had much time to post, dang it

    I don't have many completed pictures of banjoboy's mandolin but maybe I can help out with a few baby pictures.
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    Last edited by Gail Hester; May-12-2013 at 9:21pm. Reason: Add picture.
    Gail Hester

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  15. #12
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    Yep ! - 'That' look,& a tone to go with it i'll bet. Stunning work Gail,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
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  16. #13
    Registered User ash89's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by banjoboy View Post
    I can only assume that it's because she hasn't made as many mandos as the others, so there are less of them out there being played. But her name should be mentioned in those posts as she is a master craftsman and deserves to be recognized.
    going back, i can't remember how i happened onto gail's work..
    it could have been her post/story of the 'xmas mando' about 5 years ago or so..
    but, where i am in australia is a wasteland for luthiers of any kind esp. mando makers and or quality instrument outlets
    --- and i knew i wanted a traditional F4--
    just from the sound of them i'd heard on records...
    never had played one before..

    so pure serendipity got me connected...
    also with many thanks to this platform called the 'cafe'!

    beyond the 'master craftsperson' tag
    there's an entirely different thing that goes on when
    working with gail on an instrument.
    when i think of what that is, i'll let you know..
    maybe when i first play the incoming A-5 it'll dawn on me..

    gail had become a trusted (long distance) friend, and i know for various
    reasons she hasn't cranked out the numbers of instruments of many others....
    primarily she also began later than most.....
    but not to worry, i feel insurmountably lucky to have 'been on her list'....
    oh yeah, still am too..
    Tony Hannock
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  17. #14
    Registered User f5joe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    Thanks for posting pics Gail. Gorgeous.
    ..... f5joe

  18. #15
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    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    Beautiful mandolin. I'd love to have a mandolin with my name on the headstock (I'm Hester also).

  19. #16
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    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Gail Hester View Post
    Thank you for the nice comments all. I've been secluded in the shop for over a year now trying to get caught up and have not had much time to post, dang it

    I don't have many completed pictures of banjoboy's mandolin but maybe I can help out with a few baby pictures.
    Beautiful work! Gail is a true artist.

  20. #17
    Kelley Mandolins Skip Kelley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    banjoboy, Congratulations! That is one fine looking mandolin!

  21. #18

    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Kelley View Post
    banjoboy, Congratulations! That is one fine looking mandolin!
    Yeah, I'm pretty pumped about it. I'm looking forward to taking it down to Mando Symposium next month.

  22. #19
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    I always expect to be impressed with Gail's work, and, once again, she doesn't disappoint. So glad to have her post again. You're going to love that mandolin!

    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

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  23. #20

    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    This mandolin arrived at my house this past week. I believe I've found the F5 that will permanently cure my scroll fever. Gail did some reshaping on the neck for me and she's wonderful to work with. Looking forward to playing this one as long as I can play.
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  25. #21
    Registered User Russ Jordan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    Congratulations, Don—enjoy!
    Russ Jordan

  26. #22
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Grieser View Post
    This mandolin arrived at my house this past week. I believe I've found the F5 that will permanently cure my scroll fever. Gail did some reshaping on the neck for me and she's wonderful to work with. Looking forward to playing this one as long as I can play.
    Enjoy and play it in good health.

    As you are one of the (many?) musicians who are not unfamiliar to the "catch and release" syndrom, I have noticed some of your mandolins in the past. Am I right that among those are a Gilchrist A-5 (?), a Heiden A-5, a Duff A-5, a Hilburn A-5 (?)...

    I´d really like you to post a video of your Hester F-5 here on the thread and elaborate on the sound of your previous mandolins (those mentioned above), what you liked in them, what the drawbacks are/were etc.
    Olaf

  27. #23
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Grieser View Post
    I believe I've found the F5 that will permanently cure my scroll fever.
    Well, I know that the fever has burned hot, and the search has been extensive. I hope that you’ve found the perfect complement to your Heiden.

    John Hamlett posted recently in the builders section, and it is echoed upthread, about the importance of being prolific as a builder. Obviously, guantity has never been Gail’s goal, but those of us lucky enough to have played and owned her instruments attest to their quality. Welcome to the club! Please check our social group:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/g...hp?groupid=304
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  28. #24
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hester Mandolin

    Pix, Don.
    Phil

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