Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123
Results 51 to 72 of 72

Thread: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only goal

  1. #51
    Hands of Pot Metal
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Forest Grove, Oregon
    Posts
    1,530

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    Since I hear a difference between Bill Monroe, Alan Bibey, Mike Compton, Dave McLaughlin, Ronnie McCoury, Pee Wee Lambert, Adam Steffey, Jesse Brock, Sierra Hull, Nathan Livers and every other great player, it must be so simplifying to know what a 'perfect bluegrass tone' is.

    I hope you end up happy at the end of your search.

    And yes, as pointed out earlier, I do have a mando for every finger, they all have different voices. And I'm still looking......
    Play it like you mean it

    Not all the clams are at the beach

    Arrow G
    Clark 2 point
    Ratliff CountryBoy A
    00-21 (voiced by Eldon Stutzman)

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Bill McCall For This Useful Post:


  3. #52
    Registered User Keith Johnston's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Idaho/Arizona 50/50
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    Brad;
    Just a thought, I am on the end of My wait for Oliver to deliver my Mando. From the time I told him to expect my deposit to him telling me the it would ship the 12th of this month was one year. That being said getting to participate on the bling type of things was exciting and a learning experience. If I had to wait would I do it again "hell yes" BTW Oliver is the nicest man you will meet.
    my two cents

    Keith

  4. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Keith Johnston For This Useful Post:


  5. #53
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Orgiva, Spain
    Posts
    1,309

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    Quote Originally Posted by bradeasley View Post
    Nick - Thanks for the reply. I did mention in a comment, I've been playing mandolin for 20 years and have owned several $2-4k mandolins in addition to some lower grade instruments. Also previously worked for Janet Davis Music for a couple years, and regularly played top-tier Gibsons, Webers, and another high-end instruments. I've got a pretty good sense of what you get as you go up the price point ladder and how much of tone comes from the player. I know this is a contested opinion, but I believe that there is perceived tone that results from the player's technique, phrasing, dynamics, and experience pulling the best out of an instrument and then there is inherent tone of the instrument. If you remove variables this becomes more apparent. For example, if you could have [insert famous player] just play slow arpeggios on mandolins at different quality/price points, let's say $1k, 5k, 10k, & 15k, you remove the perceived tone that comes from our impression of what they're playing and allows us to just hear the actual tone of the instrument. In that scenario, I can certainly hear the difference between the instruments. It's a diminishing returns argument, but there is not a $1k instrument that competes with a good $10k instrument, even if the $10k instrument isn't 10x better.
    I suppose it is where you are at on the diminishing returns curve. Well you have had some experience across the range of tone. It also depends how you want to play your music. I can honestly say that I am not overly impressed with Bill Monroe's Loar mandolin. His style of planning on the recordings is scratchy to say the least. Jethro Burns often performed with some dubious sounding instruments. He always had a smile on his face. Chris Henry's instrument, Randy Wood instrument I believe sounds pretty raw unplugged yet on stage sounds powerful and clear.

    You must have a particular idea on tone that you are seeking. Good luck with your search. Folks on here love recommending their favourite builders and there are many to choose from. They won't necessarily match your tastes in music or mandolins. You can only do that at a jam session. So it will be difficult to find a match and to make the final selection I would think.
    Nic Gellie

    Breedlove Quartz KO Mandolin
    Breedlove Quartz FF Mandolin

  6. #54
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    1,123

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Gellie View Post
    .... Folks on here love recommending their favourite builders and there are many to choose from. They won't necessarily match your tastes in music or mandolins. You can only do that at a jam session. So it will be difficult to find a match and to make the final selection I would think.
    Well of course we’re recommending mandolin builders we like, are we supposed to recommend the ones we don’t like? This isn’t exactly about specific instruments we can compare, is it? More of a theoretical exercise?

    How would you ever get to try all of these out, let alone compare them in jam sessions?

    It seems like asking what others have experienced is a valid way to know what to expect when looking for a high $ purchase. Extrapolating others experiences and finding how they fit what you are looking for can be problematic, but sometimes there are few other options.

    Also, good for you if you don’t like Monroe’s tone, cause that ain’t no part of nothin’
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

  7. The following members say thank you to dang for this post:


  8. #55
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Orgiva, Spain
    Posts
    1,309

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    Yes I am picking and posting.. you pretty much said it Dang 'extrapolating others' experiences and how they fit into what you are looking is problematic. That was essentially the point of my post. My wife won't buy the theoretical - she prefers hands on experiences. In a way that has been said infinitum on this forum. I suppose in one sense this pthread is about narrowing down the choices and then honing in on the possible final options. I remember trying this on the forum when I first started. I put my criteria in and then went with a couple of the suggestions. Years later I could have for instance bought a used Collings MT. I did not know about them then. Sometimes there are some hidden suggestions that come to light through life experience and not chatting on the forum.
    Nic Gellie

    Breedlove Quartz KO Mandolin
    Breedlove Quartz FF Mandolin

  9. #56
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    27,716

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    If money truly were no object I would buy that Monteleone model B at Music Emporium in the classifieds. Not sure if it is the ultimate bluegrass sound but I would say it probably has the ultimate mandolin tone for me.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  10. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Jim Garber For This Useful Post:


  11. #57
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    No. California
    Posts
    888

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    Since I hear a difference between Bill Monroe, Alan Bibey, Mike Compton, Dave McLaughlin, Ronnie McCoury, Pee Wee Lambert, Adam Steffey, Jesse Brock, Sierra Hull, Nathan Livers and every other great player, it must be so simplifying to know what a 'perfect bluegrass tone' is.
    That reminds me of Olympic diving and gymnastics. A judge will give a 10 to more than one dive or routine.

    That said, here is a quick exercise:

    1) Make your personal list of all the players to whom you would give a 10 strictly for "the absolute finest bluegrass mandolin tone."
    2) Add a column for A model vs. F model.
    3) Add a column for the mandolin of theirs --- if they have recorded with more than one --- that you like their tone best on.

    In Column 2 on my list, the only player who consistently plays an A model is Tim O'Brien, with his Collings/Nugget. In Column 3, most play Gibsons, but that includes Hoss and a few Loars.

    In normal times, for someone who can afford to put significant funds into the search and purchase, I'd recommend a trip to Nashville for some hours at Gruhn's and Carter's. When I went there three years ago, I got to play mandolins side-by-side by lots of the builders who have been mentioned in this thread, which was an incredible education.
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

  12. The following members say thank you to Marcus CA for this post:


  13. #58

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    If money truly were no object I would buy that Monteleone model B at Music Emporium in the classifieds. Not sure if it is the ultimate bluegrass sound but I would say it probably has the ultimate mandolin tone for me.
    Jim - Have you played that particular instrument or others like it? I'm familiar with Monteleone by reputation alone, but have never laid hands on one. Would be very curious to experience one in person. Interesting that they state this one recalls his experience with Loars.

  14. #59

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    Quote Originally Posted by tiltman View Post
    https://themandolinstore.com/wp-cont...dlg_givens.jpg

    An older Givens A5 can give you that dry, cutting tone that you seek. I happen to currently own this one - she’s not built for looks...but the tone is there.

    Kirk
    Kirk - I looked around and found this one, but man it seems over priced compared to sold listings on Reverb for Givens A6s. What am I missing? https://reverb.com/item/10045336-199...dolin-sunburst

  15. #60
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    5,444

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    The Givens A6s from 1991 and maybe 1992? I can’t remember which was his last year building. But they are from Bob’s last years building and have much fancier wood than he normally used. $5k is a good price for one.

  16. #61
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Posts
    2,988
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    I'm a mediocre player as well, and this all is interesting to me, think about all the original pioneers of the mandolin work you enjoy, Monroe, Duffey, Wakefield, Osborne, Dawg, McReynolds, etc...they all grew up just playing and working very hard for their style and tone, they didn't have tabs, internet, lessons in many
    cases! They just worked at it all the time, non-stop. We all need to work on that to be better players. I'm thankful for all these originators, they chose to do what they love. Sure they played fine instruments and such but in many cases they sound the same on different makes of mandolins. Just my thoughts.

  17. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to William Smith For This Useful Post:


  18. #62
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Orgiva, Spain
    Posts
    1,309

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    I'm a mediocre player as well, and this all is interesting to me, think about all the original pioneers of the mandolin work you enjoy, Monroe, Duffey, Wakefield, Osborne, Dawg, McReynolds, etc...they all grew up just playing and working very hard for their style and tone, they didn't have tabs, internet, lessons in many
    cases! They just worked at it all the time, non-stop. We all need to work on that to be better players. I'm thankful for all these originators, they chose to do what they love. Sure they played fine instruments and such but in many cases they sound the same on different makes of mandolins. Just my thoughts.
    That is where the most gains can be made I believe too. Just work on every aspect of bluegrass-manship that you can and enjoy the journey and the ride to a better tonality overall.
    Nic Gellie

    Breedlove Quartz KO Mandolin
    Breedlove Quartz FF Mandolin

  19. The following members say thank you to Nick Gellie for this post:


  20. #63

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    William - Thank you for your response! I'm jealous that you're about to receive your Apitius! Or have you already? I'd really love to hear some more samples of his Loar Spec instruments. The video of Forrest O'Connor playing one sold me. I contacted Oliver and he said he'd contact me when there was an opening on the waiting list, so fingers crossed for that.

    With regards to practice and developing one's own sound, I absolutely get that. I've been trying to find my own musical voice since the 80's. I turn 40 next year, and started music very young thanks to my parents support and my dad being a guitar player, builder, buyer & seller. In my life, I've played piano, drums, guitar, tuba, bass, banjo, mandolin, saxophone (briefly), sitar, and pedal & lap steel. Last year, I played around 100 gigs, mostly bass, but I also gig on guitar, steel, and mandolin when I get the call. Mandolin is far from my strongest suit even after 20 years of dabbling, but I love the sound and feel of playing it and the fretboard comes quite naturally to me. Over the years, I've had direct instruction from several pro mandolin players Ron Pennington, Matt Flinner, Tim May, Wayne Benson, and I've studied numerous instructional materials (books, tapes, videos, online courses, etc.). I'm not saying any of this to brag, far from it. My point is that I'm not trying to solve for lack of skill and ability with a more expensive instrument. I know I have a long way to go in that department, and that's its own thing. But I also just love great instruments. At this point in my life, I want to have top quality instruments that I can play for many years, that inspire me to play more, and that I won't "outgrow" as it were. I've played a lot of mandolins from the big name brands (Gibson, Weber, Northfield, etc.), and I have a sense of what I like. Yes, "perfect bluegrass tone" is a ridiculous idea to propose. There's no one sound. But the players I love pull fantastic tone from Loars and Loar-based instruments. So, that's what I'm looking for as well. I know Loars were not all the same, nor would an instrument based on a Loar sound identical to any particular instrument. But I know that great builders (like Apitius and McCrostie) can hit a homerun nearly every time and the tone is going to be pretty similar to the best Loars, if that's what they're aiming for. I truly appreciate everyone's feedback, even if it was just to say I should practice more or that there's no right answer to the question posed, that's all great advice. I researched every builder whose name was mentioned, listened to videos of their instruments, looked at their instruments, read forum posts about people's experience and impressions of them. Very insightful in my search to understand which builders specialize in the tone I want. I still feel pretty confident in my selection of Apitius and will just have to be patient, though it may be a long wait. In the meantime, I'll try to get my hands on a suitable substitute.

  21. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to bradeasley For This Useful Post:


  22. #64
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    2,278
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    OK .... try and find a Gibson A5L or a Flatiron A5 Artist from the Steven Carlson period in the Bozeman, MT Gibson Factory from 90 or 91. These mandolins are excellent grass mandolins with the pop and ring needed. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  23. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to UsuallyPickin For This Useful Post:


  24. #65
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Ms
    Posts
    168

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    all I have is an opinion and you know what they say about opinions, I'd think you could take a couple of talented players playing the same instrument and hear different tonal qualities and then you could play it and get an absolute different tonal quality, with each player having a different opinion on the likeability and playability...talent-opinions-money all 3 are different, the only way to truly know is to eliminate those 3 options and play as many as possible to find one that gets the tone You are after if you're wanting to stick with something that excels to you in one genre and that could be $...$$...$$$...$$$$

  25. #66

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    I'm sure y'all were ready to put this topic to bed, but I think I may have landed on the answer, or at least a suitable answer. Fingers crossed anyways.

    I looked at every suggestion made here and plus numerous others throughout the forum. Listened to a lot of videos and recordings of various builders and models. I know everyone suggests visiting a store that keeps a good stock of higher end options, which I'm aware is the preferable way to find one that really speaks to you. Unfortunately, that wasn't an option at the moment.

    Getting back to the root of the search, I was looking for an A style, with a strong bluegrass voice, at a price point that is commensurate with the quality of work but not unnecessarily high. Charles pointed out a recent Skip Kelley A-5 available at Mandomutt, and after listening to Skip's video of it and doing some homework on his mandolins, I pulled the trigger. Now, I wait to see if it hits the mark. I've gotta hunch it will.

    *Oh, and I'm still trying to get on the wait list for an Apitius, but that's likely a 2 year wait. Might end up with 2 fine A's in the stable eventually.

  26. #67
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine Beach FL
    Posts
    4,925

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    Congrats Brad! I got my Girouard F-5 from Kevin, super nice guy to deal with.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  27. The following members say thank you to Charles E. for this post:


  28. #68
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Irvine, California
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    Congratulations on selecting a Skip Kelley. Please let us know how you like it.

  29. The following members say thank you to Lucas for this post:


  30. #69
    Registered User Keith Johnston's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Idaho/Arizona 50/50
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    Brad nice choice on both sides of the isle. I like my A end will eventually upgrade it but only once my girlfriend forgets about my Apitius J model. who knows how long that will take at our age month maybe or years.

    Keith

  31. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Keith Johnston For This Useful Post:


  32. #70
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    23,386
    Blog Entries
    53

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    I have doubts as well. I don't believe that the higher cost is due to the extra work required.

    I think the higher cost is due to it being a different market, where people are willing to pay more, and it is up to the builder to figure out how to make money at that price point. Many do, perhaps some don't.

    Point is I do not think you can assign the increased cost of an F body to costs of making it. I think that is the cart before the horse.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

    The entire staff
    funny....

  33. #71
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine Beach FL
    Posts
    4,925

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    If you were to ask any builder of A and F style mandolins, they would tell you that building an F style is more time consuming in the carving, side bending and binding. Of course it is going to cost more.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  34. The following members say thank you to Charles E. for this post:


  35. #72
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Redwood City, CA
    Posts
    2,194

    Default Re: If money was no object, and perfect bluegrass tone was only g

    The points raised by JeffD and Charles E. are not mutually exclusive! Yes, building an F model takes more time and effort for the carving, bending, binding, and all that. Therefore, a luthier has more hours invested in it. His or her time comes at a price, however, and this additional work is not generally performed "at cost!" An F model therefore tends to carry an extra profit margin.

    So, some of the price differences between A and F models are, unquestionably, due to the significant differences in the labor involved. Some are due to the differences in profit (margin) associated with that additional labor. Of course, these are just the differences at the production end. There are ALSO differences at the market end.

    Since their production costs are significantly higher, folks must be prepared to pay more for F-models than for A-models, because if they didn't, no F-models would get made for sale (they wouldn't be economically viable)! Ah, but how much more? Well, AT LEAST enough to make up for the differences in production cost. And that sets a practical floor for F model prices. After that, market forces can come to bear. If folks are so enthusiastic about F-models vs. A-model that they are willing to pay a premium beyond the difference set by production costs, then F-model prices can rise accordingly.

    At the low and middle end of the market, modern wood production methods (e.g., CNC milling, mass clamping jigs) have greatly reduced the differences in production costs in recent years, and allowed factory-made F-models to be produced for only slightly more than A-models. For them, I suspect that F-models command a higher profit margin, being "flashier" and in greater demand.

    This is not so true at the upper end of the market, however, especially for small shop and single luthiers. Here, I suspect that the price difference is driven mainly by time and labor. In this case, I tend to doubt that the higher prices for F models are inflated by market demand, and merely reflect the additional work.

    That's my reasoning, anyway.

  36. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to sblock For This Useful Post:


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •