New Instrument Review
February 9, 2000
A quality vintage replica
© Frank Ford, 2000; Photos by FF
So what's new for 2000? The Gryphon guys went to the famous NAMM show in Los Angeles to find there wasn't really all that much new stuff to get excited about. But, they did discover this item. It's new, but old.
Thanks to Charlie Derrington, Gibson's vintage mandolin guru, we now have available the finest replica of the Lloyd Loar era F-5 mandolin. Unlike other world class replicas, this one is actually made by Gibson, so it wears the all the Gibson logos and trademark features.
Starting in 1971, Gibson's reiterations of the F-5, including F-5L, had each been improvements over their predecessors, but each looked and sounded as though its designer didn't know the originals intimately. We compared this one to a 1923 F-5, and were very pleased at the similarity in tone, as well as visual detail. (That's saying a lot, coming from a bunch of old curmudgeons like the crew at Gryphon!)
I included a close view of the peghead scroll so you could see a little whimsical
touch not found on originals. The binding was cut from a large sheet of ivoroid,
rather than bent to fit the curl. That way, you get to see the ivory grain.
I can't tell you how glad I am that they finally dropped that damn "F-5L" designation. After all, "L" had always meant "left handed," not "Loar."
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