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Thread: Tear drop or pear-shaped A style--what's your preference?

  1. #1
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Tear drop or pear-shaped A style--what's your preference?

    A somewhat trivial question, although not in terms of aesthetics.

    Some A style mandolins are in what's usually called a pear shape, after the old Gibsons. Modern examples: Heiden, Pomeroy, Gilchrist Model 1, Kentucky 900 series.

    And some (a majority) are tear-drop shape, such as Collings, Webers, Eastmans, Northfields, Girouards, and many more.

    Just curious, do you have a preference?
    Cary Fagan

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    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tear drop or pear-shaped A style--what's your preference?

    My ears have never noticed this difference, but I’m sure some folks can detect a more woody sound in one shape and more openness in the other shape.

    My eyes have not noticed this either. Obviously,

    YMMV
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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tear drop or pear-shaped A style--what's your preference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cary Fagan View Post
    Just curious, do you have a preference?
    I donít have a preference, though Iím thankful to own one of each. My Hester A5 is part of the former camp, a tribute to the legendary Mrs. Griffith Loar A5:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Meanwhile, my Passernig A5 belongs with the latter grouping:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    It might interest you to learn, Cary, that Stefanís more recent A5ís (and it has been a couple of years) have reportedly been more along the lines of the Gibson silhouette.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2014 Smart F-Style Mandola
    2018 Vessel TM5
    2019 Hogan F5

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tear drop or pear-shaped A style--what's your preference?

    My Life has gone pear shaped long ago ..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tear drop or pear-shaped A style--what's your preference?

    So I thought about this question. Maybe thought about it too much.

    My preference is for the more Gibsonesque shape.

    I thought long and hard about why that was, and to avoid hijacking this thread, I wrote a blog. So this is what I came up with.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

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    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tear drop or pear-shaped A style--what's your preference?

    Pear, definitely - teardrops seem too skinny, somehow.

    D.H.

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    Default Re: Tear drop or pear-shaped A style--what's your preference?

    Well.....I'd say get one of each, play 'em a while and make the decision you like them both.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  13. #8
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tear drop or pear-shaped A style--what's your preference?

    Nicely said, Jeff. I suppose I ought to give my own opinion (which, as Monty Python said, is my own. Well, that was 'theory' but same thing).

    I started the thread because over time my preference has changed. I think I preferred the tear-drop originally because that was more common when I started playing about 20 years ago, in less expensive instruments and then in the new Collings when they appeared. I played (or tried to play) only bluegrass then and I associated the pear shape with Gibson oval hole mandolins, which I felt no attraction to. And then about 10 years ago I began playing old time as well and really fell for the music. Suddenly that Gibson shape began to really appeal to me, based on my seeing fine old time players and historic photos (including photos from the revival period--Hollow Rock String Band, etc.). As, I should add, did the oval hole sound. This is somewhat in accord with JeffD's experience.

    And somewhere along the way there came a time when I just preferred the more curvy pear shape even for f-style instruments.

    I'd be curious to know what builders think of the difference. I assume a teardrop is a little easier, though for a pro it might make no difference. Of course we all put sound and playability first, but after that it does matter to me what my instruments look like. They are works of useable art.

    I certainly can see why some might have the opposite opinion.
    Cary Fagan

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    Registered User T.D.Nydn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tear drop or pear-shaped A style--what's your preference?

    Gibson put out both shapes with the A5L..I prefer the earlier A5L shape myself..

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  16. #10
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    Default Re: Tear drop or pear-shaped A style--what's your preference?

    I much prefer the teardrop shape.
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