The Loar Mandolin

Loar Mando

No, not a Loar. The brand is "The Loar". I was borrowing a mandolin, but he needed it back, and I had a mando gig the next day. So I went to the Buy and Sell in August of 2010, and grabbed this mandolin, the only decent F Model they had. The model is LM-520-VS. I did want an F-Model, although I do very much like A models as well.

Like I've said, I actually prefer fairly austere appointments on my instruments, so I like that about this mando. Although, due to the desperation of the situation when I got it, if it had an inlay of Jim Bakker on the headstock and neck inlays of the signs of the zodiac , I'da probably had to deal with it. Got lucky I guess.

It's all solid maple, and overall not built too badly, especially at this price point. I wouldn't compare it to a great Weber or F5, but it does what I ask of it. It was pretty tight for a couple years, but recently has started to open up, and sound better.

I haven't done much to it except remove the last 4 or 5 frets, why those are there on mandolins always confounds me.

For most general gigs, I string it with GHS A250s .10-.36, but for straight bluegrass, I like the A270s, .011 - .040. It actually sounds pretty "Monroey" with those on it. Not "wow, that sounds like Monroe's F5", but "oh, I see what you're going for with that sound". I don't use one of those special mando picks for it, just a Fender extra heavy tortoise shell celluloid. I may flip it to the round corner if it's a slow, heavy trem picking song.

I either mic it, or plug it in with a K and K dual spot pickup (bought the same day I got the mando, again, it's what they had) through my Baggs PADI.

Now all it needs is some battle scars. Still a tad polished for me, but I'm sure she'll get there.

See, I smile in pics once in a while.

Loar Mando