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Thread: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

  1. #1
    Registered User Vernon Hughes's Avatar
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    Default Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Are there any accurate griffith loar a-5 plans out there taken from the original? Are siminoffs accurate? Thanks!
    Hughes F-5 #1
    Hughes A model #1
    1922 Gibson A-2
    1958 Gibson A-5

  2. #2
    Mandogenerator Mike Black's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Siminoff's drawings are supposed to be from the Griffith A5, but I know for sure that the headstock is way off. Someone said that he reduced it to 75% from the original so it would fit in a normal case. There are a few threads that have a lot of information in regards to the A5 including one with the Hacklinger gauge measurements of the top and back taken by the late great John Sullivan.

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    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    There is some amazing information on that one particular mandolin in a very tidy specific technical reference package for luthiers that is lurking on the near horizon that will eventually be available to the public. It is not my work, but I've seen it and it will set a new standard. For now, reading up on those old threads and finding a luthier dork type who has had good hands-on contact with it are your best bet. John's hack' maps are pretty accurate. He was a great guy and amazing builder who lived just a few blocks away from me in Portland.

    Mike, did you hack' the rib thickness when you saw it?

    The Griffith A is my favorite Loar!

    j.
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    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    I know who doesn't have it...... The Gibson Co. Their attempt to copy it in the 90s as the A5L is about as far from the original as you can get. I know a few high end luthiers that made their own spec sheets but I'm sure they would not want me to tell.

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  6. #5
    Registered User Vernon Hughes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    I've been pouring over the years old threads here,and have the great grad specs that most everybody else has..I'm assuming someone, while having it in hand, made at least a tracing of the body and peghead? I'm happy so far with this first attempt at a replica A5,just was hoping to get something drawn off the beast itself to see how close I am.
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    Hughes F-5 #1
    Hughes A model #1
    1922 Gibson A-2
    1958 Gibson A-5

  7. #6
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    can I come play it when it's done? I love these projects!

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

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  8. #7
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Let me just say this, and only once. The only thing secret and special about the Loar A5 is that there is nothing secret and special about the Loar A5. If you have a Loar era snakehead mandolin of any model in your hands, there is nothing else to figure out. Just build the thing 1-3/8 thick instead of 1-1/2, carve the top and back the same (as the oval hole snake) but suddenly dive it under the fingerboard extension. Install the neck/15th fret the same distance from the tip of the body as the F5's are. Cut the f-holes in the appropriate position in relationship to the bridge. DONE

    I learned this 3-4 years ago when I made a special trip to visit and measure it. I took my F5 and my A4 with me for comparison. Until this time (now), I have been hesistante to soften the mystique of the A5 with my findings. But I could have left my Loar F5 at home. So, think A-model forms...all of them...slightly modifiy to suit.
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    Last edited by Darryl Wolfe; May-21-2013 at 10:24am.
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  10. #8
    Lost my boots in transit terzinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    So easy a child could do it!

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    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Quote Originally Posted by terzinator View Post
    So easy a child could do it!
    Any decent luthier with a snakehead A4 in one hand and a decent straight on shot of the A5 in the other.
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  13. #10
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Wolfe View Post
    Let me just say this, and only once. The only thing secret and special about the Loar A5 is that there is nothing secret and special about the Loar A5. If you have a Loar era snakehead mandolin of any model in your hands, there is nothing else to figure out. Just build the thing 1-3/8 thick instead of 1-1/2, carve the top and back the same (as the oval hole snake) but suddenly dive it under the fingerboard extension. Install the neck/15th fret the same distance from the tip of the body as the F5's are. Cut the f-holes in the appropriate position in relationship to the bridge. DONE

    I learned this 3-4 years ago when I made a special trip to visit and measure it. I took my F5 and my A4 with me for comparison. Until this time (now), I have been hesistante to soften the mystique of the A5 with my findings. But I could have left my Loar F5 at home. So, think A-model forms...all of them...slightly modifiy to suit.
    That is very interesting. So all Loar era mandolins (including F5s) have the same top carving profile? That would basically mean that the major sound-producing difference would be the position of the bridge, the f-holes, the bracing and (as you mention above) the depth of the soundbox?
    Jim

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  14. #11
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    That is correct Jim. Edit, I may have read you wrong. F5's are F5's, A models are A models (including the A5), with respect to basic carving profiles for the tops and backs. The A5 used the same rib/sides fixture as the rest of the A models. Some folks think the A5 peghead is different, it is not.

    Here is a more properly positioned comparison. Anybody want to move on to how some A2z's got curly maple backs??
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  16. #12
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Wolfe View Post
    That is correct Jim. Edit, I may have read you wrong. F5's are F5's, A models are A models (including the A5), with respect to basic carving profiles for the tops and backs. The A5 used the same rib/sides fixture as the rest of the A models. Some folks think the A5 peghead is different, it is not.
    I was just reading Tut's account here. In it he mentions this:

    Dr. Griffith's wife , on occasion, would borrow his F-5 to play or teach. The points on the mandolin hurt her legs so she asked Dr. Griffith to he an F-5 without any points.
    So F5 has a different carving pattern than an A? How about an F4 -- how does that compare in terms of carving patterns?

    It sort of does make sense but did Mrs. Griffith actually get, as Tut says, an F5 without points or, as you say, an A with F-holes?
    Jim

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    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    She got an A with F-holes and a longer neck orientation and Style 5 appointments.

    The F5 has a carving pattern for the top
    The F4 has a carving pattern for the top
    They share the carving pattern and body molds for the back and the rim set

    All A models share the same carving pattern for the top and back...and share the rim set body mold/form.

    The A5 was made off of the same three patterns as all other A-models.
    The A5 neck was roughed out and mostly finished as an F5 neck.. and cut with the same snakehead template as the A models.

    It is possible that they made a carving pattern for the top of the A5 instead of modifying the spruce top it has afterwards. Either way, they modified something that was carved from the same A4/A2 pattern be it a spruce top or a new hardwood pattern..
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    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Darryl pretty much sums it up about this mandolin and a lot of others! The same basic ideas goes for the ten string. The big mystery is that if you don't have the whole scroll obsession thing, you only have a few choices in historic instruments, so this one stands out in the scroll geek crowd. It was made in a factory where guys were concerned about going to lunch on time and getting the weekend off and not getting yelled at by the managemnet dorks who called the neck a "handle" and considered themselves a musician because they won a yodelling contest in high scool.....

    j.
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    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Wolfe View Post
    The A5 neck was roughed out and mostly finished as an F5 neck.. and cut with the same snakehead template as the A models.
    Any speculation as to how the A5 neck wound up to be offset, in a similar manner to the F5s??
    Maybe they just modified a pre-cut F5 block, and thus the similarity??


  22. #16
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Again, I mentioned softening or diluting the mystique of the Loar A5. As James says the 10 string was done the same way..in a factory.

    But, these two instruments DO have a special place and mystique. They are unlike any other Style 5 instruments and they are unlike their visually similar A and H model kins

    Both sound like a Loar Style 5 instrument.

    The Loar A5 sounds similar, but yet very different than Loar F5's. This is because it is different. It has a less symetrical and more elongated curvature to the top. It has substantially more air volume inside than an F5, because the vibrating top and back plates are indeed much longer than the F5. In fact, if the A5 had been fitted with an F5 peghead, it would not fit in any of the cases made for an F5. They might have even figured that out beforehand.

    Most everything I have said about the A5 holds true for the 10-string mando-viola. It was made from the H2 madola forms and carving patterns and modified to suit.
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  24. #17
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Quote Originally Posted by grandcanyonminstrel View Post
    ...considered themselves a musician because they won a yodelling contest in high scool.....
    Do you mean someone else actually won a yodeling contest in high school?
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spruce View Post
    Any speculation as to how the A5 neck wound up to be offset, in a similar manner to the F5s??
    Maybe they just modified a pre-cut F5 block, and thus the similarity??
    Yes...that more or less fits the same situation. If you look at the body (and not the neck), everything was done like an F5 in that area. The position of the cross piece and it's relationship to the dovetail is like an F5. A typical A model has the crosspiece much further south. So, however they were fitting necks and cutting dovetails had to match the neck they were fitting to it....and there is the replicated offset.
    Last edited by Darryl Wolfe; May-21-2013 at 12:10pm. Reason: delete photo
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    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Here is the only subject that deserves a real Hmmmm.....
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Darryl, was the Ms. Griffith Loar drilled for a pickguard?
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Yep.
    The pickguard was floating in the case when I played it...

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  33. #22
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    One more of my comparison shots. Keep in mind that the two photos are not precisely the same angle
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    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Pickguard???...The one I traced?
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  36. #24
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    This is probably a pic I robbed from these pages (yours Darryl?), but I've got one here that's similar, with a 'guard floating in the case...


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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    All this further confirms my impression of the Gibson factory of the day. "They used what they had". New designs take time (time=$$), so if you already have an "A" body mold and snake head templates, you're done with the design phase! Just add F-holes!

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