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Thread: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

  1. #51
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    I don't know Bruce, it just won't be the same without some mud on it and a hotel sticker.

    I'm looking forward to seeing it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  2. #52
    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    So if I understand the video correctly, technically (though not legally) the mandolin still belongs to Tut? Talk about awkward.

  3. #53
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    He's been threatening to as long as I've known him...
    If the rest of us lived a few hundred yards down the road from Doe Bay Hotsprings, like Bruce does, we'd have a good excuse for the same kind of long term "distractions"...

    I remember seeing those plates all glued up at John's house;'glad to see you got them Bruce. It will be a nice tribute to your old friend.

    j.
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  4. #54
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Quote Originally Posted by delsbrother View Post
    So if I understand the video correctly, technically (though not legally) the mandolin still belongs to Tut? Talk about awkward.
    I think you should consider the video a story, I don't think Tut still owns it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  5. #55
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    I don't think Tut still owns it.
    Nope.
    Probably one of his biggest regrets...

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  7. #56
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Quote Originally Posted by grandcanyonminstrel View Post
    If the rest of us lived a few hundred yards down the road from Doe Bay Hotsprings, like Bruce does, we'd have a good excuse for the same kind of long term "distractions"...
    Can't find enough distractions around Asheville James? (There are always plenty around here...)

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  9. #57
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Obviously....

  10. #58
    Registered User Vernon Hughes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    I finally finished my take on the A-5..pics posted in the post a picture thread..
    http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...n-finally-done!
    Hughes F-5 #1
    Hughes A model #1
    1922 Gibson A-2
    1958 Gibson A-5

  11. #59
    Registered User mtucker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    There's a nice fake A5 right now at Carmel
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  12. #60
    Registered User Vernon Hughes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    yea,i'll say..I've got many years to go before I could get anywhere near that good..She's a beaut!
    Hughes F-5 #1
    Hughes A model #1
    1922 Gibson A-2
    1958 Gibson A-5

  13. #61
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    A "Fake" A5 would have the "The Gibson" logo at the top and possibly some nice copied signed labels with serial no.
    And yes there are some real "Fake" A5s out there.

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  15. #62

    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Wolfe View Post
    Here is the only subject that deserves a real Hmmmm.....
    It appears to me the A-5 has a longer scale length, but is that true?

  16. #63
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Longer than an A0-A4, but the same as an F5.

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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    I have built over a half dozen "Griffith Loar" copies and started initially with the Siminoff plans. I discovered early on that his peghead footprint wasn't true to the original snakehead pattern, being shorter and wider in the upper aspect than the period snakeheads. i got a chance to have a visit with the "Griffith" a few years back when Tut Taylor had it at IBMA in Nashville on display in the Elderly Instruments booth. I was able to do a little measuring to refine my future pegheads. Here are a couple of shots of my latest "Griffith" copy. This one has an engleman top with birdseye maple back, sides and neck. I try to get the pickguard as accurate as I can including a period date stamp. I have always used the same "Loar" scale on the A fretboards as on the Fs. The body is a little longer measuring from the endpin to the 15th fret marker, the f holes are a little more delicate and placed forward and and at a greater angle than the fs due to the forward arching.
    I'll post a couple of shots of a "Griffith" copy I completed a few weeks ago. This one has an Engleman top and Birdseye Maple back, sides and neck. I try to capture an accurate pickguard copy that includes a period date stamp.
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  19. #65

    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Wolfe View Post
    Here is the only subject that deserves a real Hmmmm.....
    I remain stumped as to what Mr. Darryl is suggesting in that photo that he considers Hmmmm-worthy.

  20. #66
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Oliver View Post
    I remain stumped as to what Mr. Darryl is suggesting in that photo that he considers Hmmmm-worthy.
    The F-hole placement is different between the two I believe.

  21. #67
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    The F-hole placement is different between the two I believe.
    Nope. The size of the F-hole is different. The A5 F-hole is smaller. The was probably done to keep the tuning of the main air mode the same. One reason why it sounds like a Loar.
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  22. #68
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    It is looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooong overdue for a lot of people to drop all of the Loar unicorns + fairy dust and actually get a job in a factory to see how production works:

    Grab whatever is handy from the stock of readily available parts like the well established A body rib garland, saw the scroll off an F5 top with the soundholes already cut, grab an F5 neck and mod it to a snakehead, likewise for a back, put the parts together and get it out the door before the Pavlovian alarm rings for lunch. End of story, No unicorns. No fairy dust. 'A simple conglomerate of existing parts that probably took less than three hours of total production time.

    End of story, & end of single unit production. No more made. No more effort spent. Go back to work making the current production models until the next alarm rings for mid day break time.....That is how all factories work, the same way a $30,000 Martin D45 takes approx. 1 1/2 hours of total production time.....
    Last edited by j. condino; Jul-18-2020 at 11:42pm.

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  24. #69

    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    James -
    The message about the industrial process that created the Griffith A-5 is understood. I always appreciate your comments - anyone that builds archtop instruments that has surface areas measured in a percent-of-acre deserves a listen.
    Mr. Wolfe reported on the non-glamorous origins here 7 years ago. But following those comments on that he offers an image of the A beside an F with the header about something to consider, to Hmmm over.
    I see two industrial products. I thought I knew the scale lengths were the same, but in that image the A appeared longer. You confirmed that item.
    The bridge is where it has to be. The f holes are where they have to be.
    So back to the image...
    I'm down to top-bound A and what appears a single-bound F...

  25. #70
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Oliver View Post
    .... anyone that builds archtop instruments that has surface areas measured in a percent-of-acre deserves a listen.....
    That's a great comment! (For the confused observers, I also build double basses.) The two have little in common, but I'll admit that building basses seems much more of a peaceful athletic undertaking while mandolins are much more fussy...

    I've played the Griffith, I've measured it, spent the whole day with it, & regularly admitted that it is probably my favorite Loar. Much of what I like about it is that it gets the job done exceptionally well while maintaining a simple package that is easy to produce. BUT, the basic idea is that they got the formula right by using a combination of existing things that already worked well. Enjoy it for what it is, but feel free to step outside of the box. Lloyd was also a solid violin player. My guess is that he applied the classic cremona build approaches to the mandolin combined with some exceptional wood.

    The main reason for the funky bridge placement is that the corpus of an F5 and a teens / '20s A have a different length from the endpin to the button, F5s being slightly shorter. The bridge position compensates for this. The corpus sizes are also the reason why many modern builders, myself included, use the F5 proportions as their A model: standardized feel and build process.

    The Gibson factory at that time employed a number of exceptionally skilled European immigrants. I'd bet that more than a couple were trained in some of the violin making schools and applied what they knew to the modern fretted instruments. I'd venture to say that Loar recognized their individual skill sets and utilized them as much as possible, the way a smart young lieutenant will find the most battle seasoned sergeant to teach them the ropes.

    When I was at the the Oberlin Acoustics seminar, in addition to Stradivari violins and such, they analyzed the classic Loar era 16" L5. 'Hit it with lasers and all the science tech, then the reverse engineer it using the same manner that a classic Cremona trained violin builder would start out with a set of dividers & center point, make some arcs, cross the lines, and in a few minutes you'll have the whole classic Italian violin design laid out in symmetry. The 16" L5 worked out almost 100% perfect; my guess is that it was not coincidence. Many of the same approaches would have been used across the spectrum for the production instruments...after trying a few prototypes.

    I'd gather that this one was a prototype that worked. I've always been surprised that they made only one, but it would have been easy for other companies to copy, unlike the F series. If you want my larger theory about design evolution in the A series 100 years ago:

    The company built paddlehead oval holed A models. Lloyd took one of those and built himself an experimental ten string paddlehead mandola. Next, the company came out with snakeheads. He then made the snakehead mandola prototype (I've played and blueprinted that one too). That worked well, so they took a customer order for a snakehead A5 (the Griffith- a paid experiment). That also worked well, so Loar expanded the idea and made himself a new snakehead ten string mandola with F holes. It was a great idea that worked well, but then we all know the story of him having too much eggnog at the company Christmas party with some of the management wives and then somehow he lost his job soon after....
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  27. #71
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    James, was that L-5 data ever published? I cannot see any obvious link on the Oberlein Acoustics site.

    Thanks

  28. #72
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Nope.

    The Oberlin summer workshops are a tremendous source of cutting edge lutherie from all angles, but their emphasis is not on publishing. It is about inspiring people with a hands on approaches to scientific analysis and real time information sharing, taught by some of the best builders in the world. I highly recommend it to anyone with an inquisitive mind who likes a rational, methodical approach to analyzing specific material properties and then going big testing the end result. Ever watch The Red Violin with their Hollywood frequency testing of the violin? It is that sort of thing.

    I do know that the Griffith Loar had all of this number crunching analysis done about six years ago by one of the greatest mandolin builders in the world, who has been going to the Oberlin sessions for a decade. So far, I do not believe it has been made available to the public. I've seen a sneak preview- there is some amazing data in it.....but....for most folks it is pretty heady. 'Better off to build a lot of mandolins from the same batch of woods, listen to your ears, and keep good notes.

    One of the biggest takeaways I got from Oberlin was in systematic measuring the qualities of your wood- density, mass, specific gravity, using a Lucci meter to measure the seed of sound, and then calculating the radiation ratio to try and get consistency of materials from instrument to instrument. This is a common approach in the violin and bowmaking world. Almost all pernambuco suppliers give a Lucci reading on every stick of wood sold. You can take all of the measurements you want, but if one mandolin is super dense red spruce, the next is featherweight Engleman, the one after that is punky red cedar, then you need some kind of system to equalize them.

    My well published and proven mandolin plate testing jig was created in response to all of this after the fact. I spent a tremendous amount of money and time on my education and subsequent research, but as a mandolin builder, I don't give a can of beans about pretty math diagrams and fancy visual representations. I want to build mandolins that sound great, have a ton of headroom, are consistent from instrument to instrument, and kick @$$ in a good jam session. Being able to achieve all of this and string it up live with only 11 hours of building time is priceless to me and represents 40 years of studying instrument building & 350+ builds. I use it extensively in teaching other builders. I did live demonstrations of the rig at the Guild of American Luthiers Convention and at the ASIA Symposium. You can read more about the whole system published in American Lutherie, and a couple of threads here:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...lins-in-2-days

    'Hope that helps....

    'Apologies for the thread derail. Back to the original story: Griffith A = very cool mandolin. Build one; don't sweat the little stuff!
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  30. #73
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post
    Darryl pretty much sums it up about this mandolin and a lot of others! The same basic ideas goes for the ten string.
    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Wolfe View Post
    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.
    So James, with your measurements of the snakehead H2 mandola #75109 discovered at ETSU, do you have any plans to build a tribute to Loar’s ten string #70321?
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
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  31. #74
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    About ten years ago I built four different ten string mandolas. No current orders for one on the books.

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  33. #75
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Griffith Loar A-5 drawings?

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post
    About ten years ago I built four different ten string mandolas. No current orders for one on the books.
    If you ever build one to stock, let me know. While I’ve spent this year’s budget, I haven’t blown next year’s yet!
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
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    2015 Black A2-z
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    2011 Passernig F5
    2018 Vessel TM5

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