Joe Val’s Loar for Sale

A very rare and important piece of Bluegrass History is up for sale at the Mando Hangout, Joe Val’s Loar. Details are below. If I’m not mistaken a friend of mine who I’ve jammed with a number of times owns a Gilchrist that once belonged to Joe Val. I’ll need to reach out to him to confirm that little detail, but even if it never belonged to Val that Gil was a beast. Anyway hopefully this rare and important example of a vintage Gibson mandolin will go to a deserving and appreciative home.

Previously owned & played from 1970~1985 by the late New England pioneer in bluegrass music, Joe Val (Waltham, MA). Joe performed and recorded with this mandolin on all of his Rounder Records recordings from 1971~1983. Joe passed away in 1985. Joe purchased this beauty ca.1970 and repairman Kenneth Miller did the initial setup at his New England guitar shop. It came without tuners on the treble side and was reportedly sold for quick cash by a local guy…shall we say…down on his luck.

Joe’s mandolin has been owned, cared for and played exclusively by myself, Kevin Lynch, since January 1986. It was at that time that I was chosen to purchase my friend Joe Val’s mandolin from his widow, Thelma Valiante.

Present playing condition is EXTREMELY FINE.
Joe left the original tailpiece in a hotel room in the 1980s. Banjo fret wire, slightly wider than classic fret wire, installed in the late 1970s by Joe’s sideman-banjo player Paul Silvius. Refretted only once since. Very minor ‘repair’ of original fingerboard (re-glued), dressing of frets, and custom-made Lloyd Loar-era Solid Silver Waverly tuners installed in October 2007. The original fruitwood shim under the fingerboard was saved (a rarity) and is intact. All work done professionally by one of the best in the business, Master Luthier David Harvey at the Gibson Company in Nashville, TN.

No Virzi Tone Producer was ever installed. The felt in the pick guard brace, between the bracket and the body, is original (also a rarity) and in mint condition. The ‘teardrop’ on the peg head is typically broken-off on many of these Loars. This one was cracked, but never broken completely off. Repaired during its initial setup after Joe bought it. The neck joint is as solid and tight as the day Lloyd signed-off on it…as is the entire instrument.

Sale includes original rectangular case — complete with original Gibson sales tag tied to key (“Gibson: Music Pal Of The Nation” $250.00). Also comes with original bass-side tuners, original bridge & (broken) saddle, photocopy of my Bill of Sale, and misc. photos of this well-documented instrument.

Serious Buyers Only please contact Kevin Lynch (based in The Netherlands) via e-mail at KLBGRASS (at) AOL.COM for phone number, sale price and a more complete history of this rare collectible piece of American Bluegrass music history. Can negotiate terms for hand-delivery to buyer. No bargain basement prices here, not desperate to sell. This instrument will only be considered for sale to an appreciative, responsible and caring buyer.

Joe Val with Loar.

5 thoughts on “Joe Val’s Loar for Sale

  1. Joe Val never owned a Gilchrist. The correlation between Joe & the Gilchrist F5 is that Kevin Lynch (who bought Joe’s mandolin from Joe’s wife in January 1986) sold his Gilchrist to a friend in order to help pay for the Loar in 1986.

    • Well I think that Gil ended up in the hands of a friend of mine. If I remember correctly it was a ’79 or 80 red with s-type violin looking sounds holes. Great instrument.

      • I sold it to one, Steve B. who lived in CT, then relocated to Ohio. It had the numbers ‘1980/81’ on the label.

        He had Gilchrist re-work it several years ago and now it’s a killer. Steve G. said “..the minute I opened her up I realized this was one of, if not the first, F5’s I sold”.

  2. Yep, that’s the one. Steve B filled in on banjo when our regular banjo player couldn’t make a gig. I played that Gil a few times, it really is good. It’s also really similar to the one Ronnie McCoury used to play before he got his Loar. Small world!

    • I guess when your regular banjo player can’t make it…irregular will do!!

      I believe Ron’s Gilchrist (aka Grisman’s) was one of the early “best of” F5’s that Steve made. He brought Brechter’s up to date with similar specs. That thing had a club of a neck when I bought it from Fretted Instruments in Amherst, MA (ca. 1985).

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