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Thread: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

  1. #1
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    Stevie Coyle, guitarist for the Waybacks, now operates Mighty Fine Guitars in Lafayette, CA. A few weeks ago somebody showed up at the shop with a previously undocumented 1924 Loar K5!

    There are a couple of videos at his shop's Facebook page, including Mike Marshall playing the K5 while Caterina plays Mike's Monteleone.

    https://www.facebook.com/MightyFineGuitars/

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    Great stuff! The performance video is phenomenal, and the background/history clip is a hoot. He's pretty excited.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    He seems to know nothing about the history of the instrument or Gibson Master Models in general, referring to Lloyd Loar as the "builder"of these instruments. I am sure he will acquire some of this knowledge, but it seems a shame that the owner/seller of this instrument found him instead of, say, Lowell Levenger, Roger Siminoff or any number of well-informed experts in the bay area to handle the marketing of this important instrument.
    too many strings

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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    Oh, I dunno. It looks like he posted that video soon after the instrument came into the shop. He was pretty excited. He did catch himself and corrected himself about Loar, saying he was an acoustician. And he did mention Levenger - though a listener prompted him. But I think it was up to the owner as to where to take it to get the best deal for it. And bringing it to this shop would have been the best choice. It's not as if anyone can just call up Levenger or Simonoff. And anyway, Coyle called up Gruhn, definitely a smart move. And he then revised his estimate to reflect Gruhn's appraisal from afar. Plus it has to be displayed publicly, in a place where the right clientele will be able to see and hear it. Seems to me it was the right thing to do, overall.

    Be that as it may, what a gorgeous instrument! And to be in such good shape after so many years - truly remarkable. And in the hands of Mike Marshall, it sounded marvelous. It should fetch $75K easily, maybe more.
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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    You don't see a Loar signed K-5 mandocello everyday, and it was undocumented (in the F-5 Journal or the Mandolin Archives?). It's sure in nice condition for 98 years old. Let the bidding wars begin

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL
    Last edited by lenf12; Jul-23-2022 at 1:27pm.

  8. #6

    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    It looks really nice, especially for being 98 years old! We all love stories of how an unknown Loar becomes known.

    I would like to know the story, that is who was the original owner and who ended up with it and at what point did it go from being unknown to being known? Probably the second the current owner googled "Lloyd Loar" I'm guessing.

    Regardless of who is selling it, I'm sure the right people will find out about it.

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    Stevie is well connected within the world of acoustic instruments and knew exactly who to call to get the information he needed .

    There are plenty of "guitar shops" that would have screwed this up.

    It's an interesting question, though: Among people whose main frame of reference is the guitar, how common/likely is it for them to know about Lloyd Loar? I don't think the Master Model L5 has a bad reputation in guitarland, but I don't sense that it's treated as a holy grail the same way a Loar F5 is in mandolinland.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    Collectors like Jonathan Kellerman know and appreciate Loar instruments. He has a full quartet of them.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    There are plenty of "guitar shops" that would have screwed this up.
    I was thinking the same thing. Most mom and pop music stores would probably consign this as a "cool old Gibson" and price at $1500-2500, a price I've seen on many similar looking guitars in shops. (for example, one of the stores I do repair for only has a very basic idea of what vintage instruments are all about -- mostly concentrating on lessons and new sales, FWIW) Which brings me to the question I hinted at earlier, when did the current owned become "somewhat" aware of its rarity and value? Also, has the current owner owned it for a very long time, or just acquired it? If they owned it a long time, I could see where they could be in the dark as to what it is. On the other hand, most people do not own a mandocello on a whim. That makes me think the current owner/consignor might have picked it up recently, maybe doing some basic research before taking it to Stevie's shop. In other words, an "unknown" instrument becomes known very quickly once 3 or 4 people who deal with such things have looked at it. Even a quick google search would at least arm the new owner to ask certain questions about its value.

    On an unrelated note, does the pickguard look like a repro? It does to me, especially the bracket...
    Last edited by Jeff Mando; Jul-24-2022 at 10:12am.

  12. #10

    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    I was thinking the same thing. Most mom and pop music stores would probably consign this as a "cool old Gibson" and price at $1500-2500, a price I've seen on many similar looking guitars in shops. (for example, one of the stores I do repair for only has a very basic idea of what vintage instruments are all about -- mostly concentrating on lessons and new sales, FWIW) Which brings me to the question I hinted at earlier, when did the current owned become "somewhat" aware of its rarity and value? Also, has the current owner owned it for a very long time, or just acquired it? If they owned it a long time, I could see where they could be in the dark as to what it is. On the other hand, most people do not own a mandocello on a whim. That makes me think the current owner/consignor might have picked it up recently, maybe doing some basic research before taking it to Stevie's shop. In other words, an "unknown" instrument becomes known very quickly once 3 or 4 people who deal with such things have looked at it. Even a quick google search would at least arm the new owner to ask certain questions about its value.

    On an unrelated note, does the pickguard look like a repro? It does to me, especially the bracket...
    Do you think this is still pervasive behaviour in the age of the internet? If they're able to identify the instrument, a half hour of Googling would shed light on the ball park of an instrument such as this.

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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    Quote Originally Posted by joh View Post
    Do you think this is still pervasive behaviour in the age of the internet? If they're able to identify the instrument, a half hour of Googling would shed light on the ball park of an instrument such as this.
    Not sure. Many old timers are not a part of the internet world. Another group is very anti-social media and choose not to participate for fear of their data being appropriated by dishonest people. In fairness, I do see that a lot of small shops are using Facebook as their ONLY form of advertising and communication with their customers, in many cases forgoing an actual website, in my experience.

    I see this as a two-part question. That is, once the approximate value has been established the next step is to find an appropriate way to market it. Obviously, you need something better than Craigslist, for example, but some people who do not operate in the vintage world are stubborn and think they can do it themselves, not knowing the risks involved. Just as often, they are shocked to hear consignment rates of 20-25 percent and refuse to participate on principle alone. For most of these people, the only high priced item they have ever purchased has been their home/homes and really have never dealt with this type of situation, IMHO.

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    ..

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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    Maybe there are naive music store owners/proprietors with functioning brick and mortar stores that have survived the market moving on-line, epidemics, price hikes and all the other obstacles to continued existence without being internet savvy, who don't know the right people to call to authenticate and evaluate instruments brought in by customers, who don't know who Lloyd Loar was, who don't have Gruhn Guitars' phone number saved in their phones, but my bet is they are few and far between.
    When we pass what used to be considered retirement age and we are still at it, like I am and my life partner who runs a music store that has been in business for 55 years is, it takes a little getting used to, but we are the old timers.

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    Also, has the current owner owned it for a very long time, or just acquired it? If they owned it a long time, I could see where they could be in the dark as to what it is.
    I can tell you haven't watched Stevie's Facebook videos. Current owner's dad played it in a mandolin orchestra; it's been in storage for 50 years.
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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    I can tell you haven't watched Stevie's Facebook videos. Current owner's dad played it in a mandolin orchestra; it's been in storage for 50 years.
    Thanks, I actually tried to watch a couple of his video's, but his whispering, dry humor, and constantly checking his ipad made me give up. I watched the Mike Marshall video and attempted to watch one on a 47 Gibson J-45, but again it was too slow to hold my interest, I gave up before I got to the Loar description video. I'm sure Stevie is a great guy.

    I also figured all this info would come out in our discussion...

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    This was a live webcast which explains his checking his iPad to see comments and questions from the audience.

    BTW am I remembering correctly that Gibson made a K-5 copy as part of their historical series, maybe only one? I remember a store in Queens, NY had it maybe ten years ago.
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    Registered User slimt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    Im always looking for guitar stores. This one place is a new one on me. That is a pretty nice poece.

    To bad there wasnt a index or directory with all the guitar stores in every state on a site. ��

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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    This was a live webcast which explains his checking his iPad to see comments and questions from the audience.

    BTW am I remembering correctly that Gibson made a K-5 copy as part of their historical series, maybe only one? I remember a store in Queens, NY had it maybe ten years ago.
    Ah, I wasn’t imagining it and I think they may have made a few of them. The Mandolin Store had one and I think some small store in Queens had one as well. Here’s TMS’s: https://themandolinstore.com/?doing_...37139892578125

    Obviously not a copy of the Loar K-5 at all.
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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    That is the real McCoy, and in wonderful condition.

    I hope that Mr. Coyle is sharp enough to know not to string it up with the badly mis-engineered D'Addario J78 mandocello set. It would tear the instrument to pieces.

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    I hope that Mr. Coyle is sharp enough to know not to string it up with the badly mis-engineered D'Addario J78 mandocello set. It would tear the instrument to pieces.
    Well, he strung it up with something! What gauges would you use?
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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    Well, I'd have to do some research, but I'd go for no more than an absolute maximum of 200 lbs of tension on the instrument, and that's pushing it for a 100 year old instrument. I'd be more comfortable with 160 to 180 lbs.

    The tension of the J78 set exerts 238 lbs. on the instrument. That's as much as the load on a 12 string guitar, and we know how necks and bodies often fold up on them.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For comparison's sake, their J74 set exerts 180 lbs. on a mandolin.

    The tension of standard light and medium guage mandolin or flat top guitar sets varies between 160 lbs and 200 lbs, depending on choice of alloy and gauge.

  28. #22

    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    I gave his descriptive video a second chance, he doesn't really say much other than he does know to call certain people who might know and he will update as soon as he has that info. The one thing I did hear was that it was in storage for many years UNDER A HOUSE?!!! If it were mine to sell, I'd leave out the "under the house" part of the description.....

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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    IMO, in the interest of full disclosure as well as honesty, that needs to be said. It's in such good shape, taking everything into consideration, that's even a selling point. "You see how well-constructed it is? It survived all that, so however you treat it (within reason), it'll be fine."
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    He did not say basement, he said under the house! That scares me, unless crawlspaces in California are a lot nicer than mine.....

    Also, I'm working on the timeline in my mind. If the owner's father bought it used in the 30's and used it through the 40's. (were there even mandolin orchestras performing in the 40's?) They said it was in storage for 50 years -- that would only take us back to 1972, so basically what or where was the mandocello from 40's through early 70's? A lot of questions. But it sure looks pretty...

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Previously unknown Loar K5 Gibson mandocello shows up!

    Has a price been determined on this K-5?
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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