• The Life and Work of Lloyd Allayre Loar, by Roger Siminoff

    The Life and Work of Lloyd Allayre Loar, by Roger Siminoff

    ATASCADERO, CALIF.The Life and Work of Lloyd Allayre Loar is the title of a forthcoming coffee table style book by Roger Siminoff with foreword by George Gruhn. The release date is anticipated mid-July.

    About the book, Siminoff told us, "I've been collecting information on Lloyd Loar since the early 1970s and have tons of documents and photos. About two years ago my wife and I spoke about organizing the information chronologically to see how/if pieces fit together, to see if there was a story to be told, and to determine if there were any missing pieces. It was like a huge puzzle but as each piece fit together it displayed a detailed roadmap of Loar's life from his birth in Cropsey, Illinois in 1886 to his death in Chicago in 1943. Further, various documents I had, like Loar's Termination Agreement at Gibson, pinpointed some very important dates and issues.

    "More importantly, it filled in a lot of holes about Lloyd's life, and it satisfied some of the myths like "when did Loar leave Gibson?" - "why did he leave?" - "what did he actually do at Gibson?" - "what did he do before and after Gibson," and more.

    "As many are aware, I befriended Loar's widow Bertha in 1974 and supported her, and had Power of Attorney for her affairs in her later life until her death in 1998. While she knew little of Loar's work at Gibson, she was a wealth of information about Lloyd, his music, and more. And she gave me great insight into who Lloyd was. She also (fortunately) had a bunch of Lloyd's instruments (in storage), the story of which is revealed in the book.

    "Aside from Bertha, I interacted with a few folks who knew Lloyd and had first-hand knowledge of him. These include Julius Bellson (who knew Loyd but didn't actually work with him at Gibson) and Ted McCarty (Gibson's president from 1948-1966). Ted had several interactions with Lloyd when Ted was at Wurlitzer, but like Julius, he never worked with Lloyd at Gibson. Then, of course, I had numerous discussions with some of the old-timers at Gibson both when I was a consultant there and more recently when I was doing some follow-up fact-checking. None of them actually knew Lloyd - he died before they joined the company - but they had all heard tons of stories, so they were at least good for second-hand info."

    The book begins with Lloyd's birth and family in Cropsey, Illinois and later in Lewiston, his early schooling, his education at Oberlin College and involvement in the Oberlin Mandolin Club, his playing on both Gibson and Martin mandolins, how he developed ideas and tunings for his several 10-string mando-violas, his work with the Fisher Shipp Concert company, his marriage to Sally Fisher Shipp and his divorce from Fisher, his segue (twice) to Europe and his work with the American Expeditionary Forces to support the troops during WWI, his early work at Gibson, his actual work assignment as outlined by Lewis Williams, his work on tap tuning, developing Master Model instruments and ball-bearing Master Tone (later to become on word) banjos, Lloyd’s involvement with the Virzi Tone Producer, why he left Gibson, his last day at Gibson in the end of October 1924 - and that he was NOT at Gibson when the last 27 instruments were signed and dated by him, his work as editor at Walter Jacobs Publishing, trying to get a job at CF Martin, becoming a professor at Northwestern University, establishing the Vivi-Tone line with his friend Lewis Williams, (the section on ViVI-Tone instruments is written by Lynn Wheelwright), the failure and downfall of ViVi-Tone, his efforts and patent work for Frank Holton, his patents and designs with Gulbransen Piano Company, his relationship with his second wife Bertha, son Mark Siminoff finding Lloyd's ashes in Bertha's house (as described by Roger's son), discovering and uncrating Lloyd's instruments, a review of his 15 patents and comments about the patent for the Gibson spring-loaded ball-bearing banjo which he assigned to Gibson (and was filed for by someone else at Gibson!), and his legacy.

    Coffee-table book, 200-pages with over 300 color photos, 8-1/2" x 11," 1 lb. 10 ounces. Edited by Roger Siminoff's wife Rosemary.

    The book will be available mid-July, 2023 with a retail price of $49.95 on the author's websites linked below.

    To be alerted when the book is ready to ship, interested parties can be added to a no-obligation email list by emailing the author at siminoff@siminoff.net and adding "LOAR BOOK" in the subject line.

    Sample Pages

    Samples displayed here are offered in low-resolution to give an idea of the layout and quality of images throughout the book without giving away the written content.

    Additional Information

    Comments 7 Comments
    1. Glassweb's Avatar
      Glassweb -
      This looks fantastic... can't wait!
    1. Nick Royal's Avatar
      Nick Royal -
      I have a sense it will be an expensive book, but I am very tempted to buy it when it comes out.
    1. Jim Garber's Avatar
      Jim Garber -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Royal View Post
      I have a sense it will be an expensive book, but I am very tempted to buy it when it comes out.
      It says above "retail price of $49.95"... not sure what that will be in the UK, though.
    1. Bill McCall's Avatar
      Bill McCall -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
      It says above "retail price of $49.95"... not sure what that will be in the UK, though.
      Didn’t know California was part of the UK
    1. Flynx's Avatar
      Flynx -
      I've just finished listening to the "Mandolins and Beer" podcast from April '21 (I'm a bit behind, sorry Daniel) with Mr. Siminoff and if this book has 10% of the energy & enthusiasm he had on the podcast, it's going to be an incredible read. Can't wait!
    1. darylcrisp's Avatar
      darylcrisp -
      Sounds like a massive venture and a very interesting read.
    1. Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
      Mandolin Cafe -
      Roger just told us the book is going to the printer this week! Can't wait to read this one.