2009 The Loar LM-700-VS Prototype

  • Body: AAA carved Sitka spruce top, Maple back & sides
  • Neck: Maple/Ebony fretboard, abalone inlays
  • Hardware: Schaller tuners, Allen gold plated flowerpot tailpiece, compensated ebony bridge, pearl nut
  • Pickups: Fishman M-300 Nashville series

I started my artist relationship with The Music Link in 2009, with this instrument. The unique thing about The Loar LM-700 model is that it does not have tone bars, the top is “free floating.” Along with the rather hefty neck, that gives it a somewhat unique, deep sound. This is actually one of the prototypes that they sent to me to beta test before it became a production model. After several road trips, I had them shave the neck down a bit and remove the finish off the back, we also changed the tuners to Schallers, installed a pearl nut, and I replaced the tailpiece with a gold plated Allen AR-2 cast bronze, which increases the amplitude, sustain and balance. It mics up well, and has good volume and cutting power. Perhaps somewhat less focussed than a tone bar mando, it makes up for it by being quite “open” sounding with a good low end. A very serviceable road instrument (though I also use it frequently in the studio; it’s on a few tracks of The Dixie Bee-Liners’ Susanville album, including “Heavy” and “Truck Stop Baby”), and ideal for use with a pickup due to the slightly thicker top. It’s got a nitrocellulose finish, with a poly undercoat, but I believe they’re now all nitro. In the studio I use D’Addario’s NBM11540 Nickel-Bronze wounds; on the road I use their EXP75 Coated Phosphor Bronze. Both sets are medium/heavy gauge, .11.5-.41.