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Oh man, I just wish you people had come along twenty years ago; I was in my prime then - Mance Lipscomb to Paul Oliver, Chris Strachwitz and Mack McCormick, 1960

Author Topic: Gibson A mandolins  (Read 5675 times)

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Offline crookedtune

  • Member
  • Posts: 15
Re: Gibson A mandolins
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2005, 04:56:26 PM »
I've been playing mandolin long enough to have owned a few, including a 1923(?) Gibson A-.  (I eventually traded it for an old-time banjo).

The Gibson was a great, sweet player, and I miss it.  But I have moved on to a Weber Beartooth (f-holes.  Expensive but really, really great).  I also have an old Strad-O-Lin (also f-holes), which is great, particularly for blues.  It's not as refined as the Gibson or Weber, but very strong and full of character.  If you've listened to mandolin blues by Yank Rachell, Johnny Young, or Howard Armstrong, you'll get the picture.  I've not been impressed by any of the modern middle-priced instruments, and wouldn't even bother looking at them. 

Bottom line: the Gibson's better, but the old mail-order mandos are great deals and might just satisfy your itch!

arbarnhart

  • Guest
Re: Gibson A mandolins
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2005, 01:49:08 PM »
I play a cheap (about $200) A4 inspired import - the Washburn M1SDL I got mine here:

http://www.music123.com/Washburn-M1SDL-i131427.music?t=4

I like it a lot and it has been played by others with more experience than myself and I have yet to hear anything but praise (though sometimes qualified by the "for the money" disclaimer). I have "e-chatted" with another owner who lives in NYC and knows Andy Statman, and he had Statman look his over. Statman immediately recommended it to someone else who was looking for a good A4 style for little cash. This same guy in NYC has a friend with an early Gibson and says that cash value is the only reason he would consider a trade.

I did have to do a little fret leveling to get mine buzz free with really low action. The Washburn line is known for inconsistency (the F hole A model that carries a similar price tag is completely different) but they do carry a lifetime warranty and the company has been around a while (not as long as they would lead you to believe; the current company bought the name, but I think that was over 25 years ago).

On Steve James' DVD (Learn To Play Blues Mandolin), he likes the old Gibsons but says that for the blues sound you really don't need to go high end and recommends looking at used Harmony mandolins.

Don't get me wrong - I would love to have a vintage A4. But it's not necessary to plunk down a lot of cash for a good blues mando

arbarnhart

  • Guest
Re: Gibson A mandolins
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2006, 06:48:43 AM »
Wow - it's been about a year since I made that recommendation and guess what - I still stand by it and like that little bugger more now than I did then. I read a post elsewhere from someone that got one used that the previous owner had carved on the back (carved a relief picture of some sort) and he decided to replace the back. Had some nice things to say about the inner workings and measured against an A4 drawing and found there is more than a passing resemblance - other than the F style peghead and the in line (instead of transverse) brace it is a dead on copy.

I have discovered that strings can make a huge difference and I am using the JazzMando JM-11s (http://jazzmando.com/jazzmando_jm11_flatwound_strings.shtml). And I have still not received any negative feedback on it from anyone playing it (other than some grassers telling me it's not a bluegrass mandolin - ya think??  ;) ).

I play a cheap (about $200) A4 inspired import - the Washburn M1SDL I got mine here:

http://www.music123.com/Washburn-M1SDL-i131427.music?t=4

I like it a lot and it has been played by others with more experience than myself and I have yet to hear anything but praise (though sometimes qualified by the "for the money" disclaimer). I have "e-chatted" with another owner who lives in NYC and knows Andy Statman, and he had Statman look his over. Statman immediately recommended it to someone else who was looking for a good A4 style for little cash. This same guy in NYC has a friend with an early Gibson and says that cash value is the only reason he would consider a trade.

I did have to do a little fret leveling to get mine buzz free with really low action. The Washburn line is known for inconsistency (the F hole A model that carries a similar price tag is completely different) but they do carry a lifetime warranty and the company has been around a while (not as long as they would lead you to believe; the current company bought the name, but I think that was over 25 years ago).

On Steve James' DVD (Learn To Play Blues Mandolin), he likes the old Gibsons but says that for the blues sound you really don't need to go high end and recommends looking at used Harmony mandolins.

Don't get me wrong - I would love to have a vintage A4. But it's not necessary to plunk down a lot of cash for a good blues mando
« Last Edit: September 08, 2006, 06:54:18 AM by arbarnhart »

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