THE NAME LLOYD LOAR IS KNOWN to mandolin players all over the world. His dated signature appears on an extra label inserted in every F-5 mandolin (and H-5 mandola, K-5 mandocello and L-5 guitar) made between 1922 and 1924. Mr. Loar, a concert mandolinist and acoustical theorist, spearheaded the Gibson R&D department from 1919 until his departure from the company in December 1924. He is credited with all of the major innovations of the Master Model line, and was probably blamed for their failure to re-invigorate the public’s waning interest in mandolins. At least 20 years would pass before the F-5 Master Model would find its true acceptance as the premier bluegrass mandolin, due to Bill Monroe’s use of a Loar-signed F-5 (July 9,1923) on his recordings and stage appearances. Many subtle variations in appointments ("fern" or “flowerpot” peghead inlay, silver or gold plated hardware, “tobacco” or “cremona” sunburst finish, Virzi or non-Virzi) appear on different F-5 mandolins, but they all have “f"-holes, elevated fingerboards and longer necks. This non-Virzi example is unique in the fact that its Master Model label bears the highest serial number (#80416) known to be found on a Loar signed instrument, making it quite possibly the “last” Loar.
Track 3: It Had to be You
(from Tone Poems II CD booklet , used by permission)
Photography by D. Brent Hauseman