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Thread: Vernon Bryant Mandolin?

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    Default Vernon Bryant Mandolin?

    Vernon Bryant Mandolins?

    Thereís a music store near me thatís got a couple of mandolins by a guy named Vernon Bryant, apparently of Virginia (Springfield area?). All I can find on the internet is a mandolin cafe forum about them but thatís about it. Is anyone familiar with his work? If so, whatís your opinion on quality, value, etc? The store is trying to sell them for $2450, which is right about the price range Iím looking to buy in and thereís not much between $1000 and $4000. I havenít gone up and played them yet either, just curious for info.

  2. #2
    Kelley Mandolins Skip Kelley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vernon Bryant Mandolin?

    If they are built by “the” Vern Bryant, you’d be wise to buy them all. Everyone I’ve ever seen and heard was a killer Loar sounding mandolin.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Vernon Bryant Mandolin?

    I can answer a little about this. I met Vern once, maybe 15 years ago? I had been playing for a year or two and wanted the Florida on my Kentucky chopped off. I'd taken a few lessons from Orrin Star and he recommended I just get it scooped and that I get Vern to do it. Orrin knew Vern for years, played a Bryant, and although far better known as a flat-picker, he was also a decent mandolin player. He also mentioned Vern had a couple of Loars and if I was lucky he'd let me play one or two. Vern was a really nice guy. It took him very little time to scoop the Florida and I probably spent an hour just hanging out in his workshop, playing some of his mandos, and playing one of his Loars. Looking back, I realize just how nice a guy Vern was. I'd been playing half-heartedly for about two years but was still primarily engaged in being a really bad guitarist, so mando got very little focused attention in my life. Vern brought out a Loar and I probably played beginner versions of Cripple Creek, Sally Goodin, Soldier's Joy, and Boil 'Dem Cabbage Down on the thing for twenty minutes Vern just sat there and smiled and asked what I thought of the mandos, despite me obviously being rather clueless about mandos at that point in my life. He had some great stories about playing with Bill Monroe and other first-gen bluegrass greats back in the '60's and '70's, as well as a lot of cool old photos. I know he wasn't in the best of health back then and I think he passed away just a few years later. Honestly, if they sounded as good as Orrin's, then I'd think $2450 is a pretty good deal, but you should let your ears be the final arbiter in that decision.

    Vern's mando building style was a bit unconventional. The things sounded great, and were very much in the Loar vein. Over the years I ran into a couple more at bluegrass jams in the DC area and they never lacked for volume in a crowded pickin' circle. However, he also had this idea that he liked them to look rough. He'd do things like intentionally leave the underside of the scroll roughly sanded. I guess you could say he was into building distressed mandos before it was cool...which is a trend that I think may have hopefully passed. As nice as they sounded, they were not particularly good looking instruments. I have no idea what their value is like on the market. I don't think Vern was widely known outside the DC/MD/VA region, so they might not have much collectible value. That might not make them great investment pieces if you're buying and expecting the value to increase, but if you're just interested in a loud, well-made mando with a classic Loar sound, it might also make them a hell of a bargain depending on the price.

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Vernon Bryant Mandolin?

    The mandolins for sale at Picker's Supply in Fredericksburg Va. were made by my Dad, Vern Bryant, of Springfield Va. He made a total of 83 mandolins. Each is labeled inside with his name, the date completed, and it's number. Sadly, Dad passed away on November 27, 2022, just two days short of his 97th birthday.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vernon Bryant Mandolin?

    Sorry for your loss and thanks for passing this information along.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
    --J. Garber

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    Default Re: Vernon Bryant Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by VernJr View Post
    The mandolins for sale at Picker's Supply in Fredericksburg Va. were made by my Dad, Vern Bryant, of Springfield Va. He made a total of 83 mandolins. Each is labeled inside with his name, the date completed, and it's number. Sadly, Dad passed away on November 27, 2022, just two days short of his 97th birthday.
    Wow! So sorry to learn this. Thanks very much for letting us know. Living at the west coast I feel like I may never get to see and try one of Vern’s mandolins but if I do I’ll beg to try it out.
    Finished my rookie year and still determined to learn!
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    I donít know what I want to be when I grow up.

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