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Old 10-29-2017, 09:02 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Washington State
Posts: 1,904

Originally Posted by HHP View Post
The biggest differences over the 80 years can't be photographed. The 1919 is much lighter than the 1999. Tonally, they are almost not the same instrument. The 1999 has what you expect in a mandolin, a loud, punchy, fundamental tone that really cuts through. The 1919 has an open, airy, ringing, sustained sound that is released by the lightest touch.

That is probably attributed to the bracing. Modern mandolins are either tone bar or X braced. Most modern oval hole mandolins us the X brace. The 1919 Gibson has a very light lateral brace that no one ( as far as I know) uses today.

Despite the light bracing, it does the job pretty well. Even thought the old Gibson has had a modern adjustable bridge added, I still have the original fixed bridge from 1919. The amazing thing is, both are exactly the same height so the top stability is pretty good for 80 years of play without a neck reset.

The old Gibsons have a unique and useful voice when compared to modern instruments. Be nice to see some modern builders offer these features for those who don't want to own 70-80 year old instruments.
Sonny Morris still uses a single transverse brace on some of his oval holes. I'm sure there are other modern builders doing this as well.

On my 2010 hybrid F4 that he built for me I have an oval hole, transverse brace, elevated fretboard and 15 fret body join (vs 12 as is standard on "flat" fretboards. This is why its a "hybrid"). The point where the neck joins the body makes a big difference. Since the scale length is usually the same, the bridge moves up the body on a 15 fret join compared to a 12. This, combined with different bracing, neck construction and wood selection contributes to tonal differences.
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