Gibson "Lloyd Loar" F-5 Mandolin (1923)

LLOYD ALLAYRE LOAR, a prominent musician, theorist, and teacher, went to work as an acoustical engineer and consultant for Gibson in 1919. Largely as a result of his presence and influence, many dramatic changes and innovations in mandolin design took place, culminating with the introduction , in late 1922, of the new Master Model style-5 series of instruments: the L-5 guitar, the H-5 mandola, the K-5 mando-cello, and of course, the F-5 mandolin, all bearing LoarÕs dated signature of approval on an additional label inside the instrument. The new Master Mandolin featured f-holes, a longer flamed-maple neck joining the body at the 15th fret, elevated fingerboard, and adjustable truss-rod and bridge. This beautiful example was one of the first, signed by Loar on December 20, 1922. It was acquired by David Grisman in 1989 from relatives of its original owner, Willa E. Duhl. David played the instrument the next day in a concert at Carnegie Hall, and it has been his mainstay ever since at live gigs and on recordings (Dawg '90, Garcia/Grisman, Bluegrass Reunion, Dawgwood).

Track 6: I Am A Pilgrim
(from Tone Poems CD booklet , used by permission)

Photography by Eric Harger