in 2017 I was commissioned to build replica copy of a 1924 Gibson “Lloyd Loar” signed H-5 mandola for William Edward “Ed” Davis who performs with the Atlanta Mandolin Orchestra https://www.atlantamandolins.com . Mr. Davis has been a highly regarded music educator in the Southeastern United States over the past 40 years and became the 30th inductee in the Georgia Bandmasters Hall of Fame in 2019. Ed is a key member of the Atlanta Mandolin Orchestra in the mandola section and in arranging music for their concerts and productions. In the fall of 2018 I visited the Atlanta area and was privileged to experience an Atlanta Mandolin Orchestra rehearsal session. They are quite impressive and very professional, indeed! In an email dated August 20,2020 Ed said: “I spent an hour with “The Wilson” yesterday playing Irish fiddle tunes. Keep up the good work – I love my hand crafted Loar copy. Ed”
Having owned a 1924 Gibson “Loar signed” F-5 mandolin for over 34 years and having been a director of the “Loarfest West” mandolin symposium in 2006 and 2007, I have been fortunate enough to examine and play a significant number of these vintage instruments over the years as well has having H-5 blueprints and several photographs of the various aspects of the H-5.
A Sitka Spruce top was used along with figured Red Maple back sides and neck.
I selected dark tortoise celluloid for the pick guard (finger rest) and had a date stamp made to reproduce accurate vintage pick guard copies for replacement of old damaged ones or in this case an instrument reproduction.
The hardware for this mandola is all upscale in gold appointments and accurate in vintage appearance including; Bill James tail piece, Cumberland Acoustics adjustable bridge and Waverley tuning machines. The fretboard is radiused using EVO gold fret wire and a vintage accurate mother of pearl nut.
This Wilson WH-5 #23 mandola is a comfortable, responsive instrument with good vintage like tone and volume. I’m hopeful that it will give Ed many years of enjoyment!