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Thread: R L Givens

  1. #26

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    Thanks Mike. I should add a big thank you to Petey Mando for starting this topic and to all who have replied. It really inspired me to asked my friend about the Givens last Saturday night. Thanks to all!

  2. #27
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    Rob sounds like you have a very good friend to let you have the Givens back for what you sold it for in 1980.Enjoyed the story and glad I started the thread that reunited you with the Givens.Earl

  3. #28

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    Mike D- Im not really sure what mandos that inlay was put on, I found the pic online and saved it. #If I remember right it was one that Mr Darrow had up for sale here in the classifieds.

    rob- great story, kinda like that mando was destined to be yours the whole time.



    Look up (to see whats comin down)

  4. #29
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    Addcourt - The picture of the inlay that Mandolooter posted looks just like a headstock photo I posted a while back. #It was from my #645 signed 1/1/92. #It is an A4.

    Thanks for the story Rob and congrats!

  5. #30

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    Okay, you Givens experts, how do you tell which model you have. Mine is an A, I know that, but I've heard A-2, A-3, A-4, A-5 and A-6. Mine is a brown burst, not very pretty, very plain wood, almost ugly, bound fret-board and bound front and back with an in-laid RLG on the head-stock. It really is butt-ugly. Makes all the pretty Asians sound like two by fours.
    Clyde Clevenger
    Salem, Oregon
    www.myspace.com/oldcircle
    Just my opinion, but it's right.

  6. #31

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    I'll see if I can find/still have the "classification" info G. Boyd either posted or sent to me... I honestly don't recall. If I find it I'll post it. Mine is supposedly an A6 and sounds very similar to yours, is your headstock bound or just the fretboard? If memory serves me right I think fully binded 'cept for hte headstock is a 5. I'll have to stop by the Boutique this summer and compare the 2.
    Look up (to see whats comin down)

  7. #32

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    The headstock is unbound rosewood veneer, the only pretty piece of wood on the whole box. But she sure does sing pretty.
    Clyde Clevenger
    Salem, Oregon
    www.myspace.com/oldcircle
    Just my opinion, but it's right.

  8. #33
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Here's an odd duck......

    Givens 12-string custom mandolin, 4 courses of 3 strings....

    Nice workmanship and woods, but what was the person who ordering it thinking?
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  9. #34
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Nice wood on the back...

    Bob would use a lot of unfigured woods in his mandolins, so it was nice to see him pull out the stops on this mandolin....
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  10. #35
    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    bruce-
    i've seen and played another 12-string givens set up the same way. the trick is to tune the middle string of each set to the major third of the other two. it's for playing jimmy bryant style mandolin.
    sorry we missed you when you were out this way.
    john
    "it's not in bad taste, if it's funny" - john waters

  11. #36
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    bob was the man for sure. it took me more then three years to find a mandolin as good as the givens I supidly trade away. nice 12 string bruce
    "Mandolins are an Illness" Conrad Deislar

  12. #37
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    Mandoholic,
    yours is an A5. from the description. the A3s are unbound, the A5s i have seen are bound W on fretboard and top and back. flat fretboard. some have been radiused later. ugly but beautiful in their own way. Mine is sort of orange where the stain has caused the binding on the top and back to discolor. and i know of a greenish one. A5s also have RLG inlay in the Headstock. A4 are a RLG sticker. the A6s are bound on the headstock as well with BWB binding as are the top and back. And the inlay on the later A6s is the torch inlay. and snowflake fret dots. the fretboard is radiused and a bit narrower at the nut then the A5
    F5s are varied, you see Givens with a fern inlay on both rosewood and ebony. there is the Wheat inlay on some and obviously ther are exceptions to all of the above.
    thats what i have observed as far as Givens
    He was one of the great makers.
    dryseptember
    Thats what i know.

  13. #38
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    If there are hundreds of Givens, has anyone started a registry?
    I have #275 bought from Elderly a few years back for $1900. Almost consigned it once, in fact I had to retrieve it from a local shipper. Its not going anywhere now.

  14. #39
    Fiddler & Mandolin Player Dave Reiner's Avatar
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    I have two Givens A-6's, #346 and #362, and really enjoy playing them. #They have a combination of easy playability and fine sound that is great.

    I've reluctantly decided to sell #346 since I don't need two of these. #Haven't listed it on the Cafe yet, though.

    Dave
    '04 Gibson F3, '04 Gibson A4, '06 Gibson F4, '14 Gibson A4, '26 Gibson F5, '27 Gibson F4, '87 Givens A6, '91 Givens A6

    Author, Anthology of Fiddle Styles; Co-author, Oldtime Fiddling Across America
    Genial host, Fiddle Hell Massachusetts (coming up on Nov 4-7, 2021 with 200+ concerts, jams, & workshops (incl some for mandolin))
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  15. #40
    Registered User Frank Russell's Avatar
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    Matthew - I beg to differ. #I've got an A4, and it has a nice art-deco "R.L. Givens" inlay, sort of cross or star shaped. #Certainly not a sticker. #Bound top and back, unbound radiused fretboard, best playing and sounding mandolin I've ever owned, out of a great many. #There's a picture with the exact same headstock inlay on the first page of this thread. #Mine is a funky-looking greenish brown, some have called it "Sheraton," and it has more flame in the back than many Givens I've seen, about like the 12 string pictured here. #I love it. #Frank



    FJ Russell


    Es mejor morir de pie que vivir de rodillas. E. Zapata

  16. #41
    Jason Wicklund DryBones's Avatar
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    what kind of bracing in the Givens? tone bar or X?
    Jason

    Lefty JBovier F5 Tradition, Lefty Mid-Mo M1

  17. #42

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    I have seen quite a few RL Givens mandos over the years and all have been tone-bar braced. #

    I have Givens #574, which is an A3, as I understand it--gold decal with no fretboard binding; I recently installed gold/pearl Waverly tuners and a gold Bill-James tailpiece because the old silver tailpiece was rusty, and the tuners tarnised, on an otherwise almost-like-new instrument (a non-player from Seattle had owned #574 since it was new). #I really dig the understated look of this particular instrument (and the A3/A4 in general), but the important thing is that #574's tone is outstanding with lots of pop all over the place, and with lots and lots of equal/strong volume from top to bottom. #I have too many mandolins and "intend" to take this one over to Greg's "someday soon", although it's hard to part with a mandolin that sounds this good.

    I also have one of the 30th-Anniversary Givens A6's (#674). #I agree with the person above who said that the blond top doesn't particularly appeal to them, but I cannot imagine #getting rid of this one, as the tonal quality is in a roughly equal class to that of my X-braced Gil 3 (obviously the Gil and #674 don't sound at all alike, but both have a high level of tonal quality that I never expected to have in hand).

  18. #43
    Registered User Frank Russell's Avatar
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    There's three Givens mandolins in my weekly jam, and all three have unique tone. My friend has an F5 and a killer A6, and was the original owner of my A4. We've had many different mandolins in our circle, but none have really held up to those three in terms of volume and tone. Part of my ongoing mandolin search is finding another mandolin I think sounds and plays as good as my A4. I've had many that were prettier, and more expensive, but none really measured up. The search continues though. Frank
    FJ Russell


    Es mejor morir de pie que vivir de rodillas. E. Zapata

  19. #44
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    I agree. I have had some wonderful mandolins including a Smith Creek, Tucker and Flatiron F5 Artist and for f hole types the one that remains with me is my Givens A5. I wish I could've kept them all.

  20. #45
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    frank,
    You are absolutly right, tend to spout off like i know what i am talking about. My wife says its so people wont know how full of it I am. I don't know much about A3s or A4s so i don't really know much about them. I have only played one A4 and it had a decal, it could have been an A3 come the think of it. And i have seen one or two for sale occasionally.
    Also
    I have see the pic of the inlay that you are talking about. I think that is one of my favorite givens inlays i have seen.

    Mace,
    i have started a registry on excel, i will email it to you if you would like. there are about 50 on the list so far. and i can see from reading some of these posts i have some wrong information.
    as far as other builders that come close to Givens tone, i have a A.L. Smart that i really really like, for the very reason that it comes very close to my Givens.

    I am really glad to see this thread alive, i love talking Givens and learning more about his mandolins.
    matthew

  21. #46
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    My dear husband got me two very nice mandolins for my birthday this year. They are both A6's. #504 is from 1989, has the most beautiful tone. #600 is from 1991 and is really beautiful as well as sound great, though I think 504 is just a little better sounding. Why did hubby get me two? I've heard some of ya'll talk about MAS and I guess even a banjo player can get it. I'm just the lucky beneficiary.
    Kentucky 380S
    R.L. Givens A6 # 504, 538, 600
    R.L. Givens F5 #534

  22. #47
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Here's a shot of 4 Givens taken a few years ago at a music store in Idaho...
    Notice the aforementioned 12-string...

    Drove by there the other day and the store was gone....


  23. #48

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    My Gosh...lots of Givens in one place. For those who might not know, the second mandolin in (the one behind the A3/A4) is a Givens A6, and the the third one in is a 1992 Anniversary A6. Yes, hard to miss the fourth one in as the Givens 12-string. Where in Idaho was that store, Spruce?

  24. #49
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Post Falls, just east of Spokane...

    You can see it from the interstate. #A great guy named Red ran it, and it was in an old house with a "Vintage Guitars" neon sign on the front.

    I drove by not long ago, and they looked like they were remodeling the house, and the sign was gone. #

    Hope Red just sold the house and moved to a better locale... #

  25. #50

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    lotta different colored strap buttons on there
    Look up (to see whats comin down)

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