2007 Lloyd A5
Red Spruce top, Maple back and sides.
Hans said “Darryl Wolfe was so kind as to provide a beautiful pickguard for this one. It just sets the instrument off beautifully! body width is around 10”-, no Virzi. The back was once a lovely one piece of forked flame maple, but I sawed it in half and slipped the joint a little to produce a likeness of the original. I also yellowed the binding more than I normally would as the original Archive pix seem to show (the famous “Griffith Loar” and only Gibson Loar A5 #74003) being really yellow with a lot of variation. Waiting for a James tailpiece to top it off.
As far as building the exact A5 copy…I have to admit my hesitation to building an instrument with the bridge moved that far forward. There is a powerful urge to cut that nose block down, move the neck back and get the bridge into a more “normal” position. I’ve never had the delight of trying the Griffith, but I sure will make more of these.
I’ve always thought that F5’s had what I call “authority”, while A5’s have a little more “refinement”. Likely this is attibutable to the extra mass of the blocks and possibly the little sound chamberlet of the scroll. The general tone is very similar to the F5 otherwise, with that fundemental red spruce sound and the bell like trebles. It also has that midrangy sound with the “rimshot” D and A courses.
Basically what (Gibson) did to satisfy Mrs. Griffith was to take an A4 body plan view shape and mate it to an F5 neck. Doing that moves the bridge forward and thereby necessitates moving the ff holes forward also. Don’t know how the body size relates to an A5L, but looks like they shortened the “snout” as you put it. My own reasoning says that it was done to put the bridge and ff holes in a “proper place” as on the F5. The bridge on the A5 Loar sits ahead of the high point of the top. This also necessitates cranking the bridge up higher because they left the neck angle the same as on the F5. ”