Say Hello to Wiens F5 #45, signed & dated Feb 19th 2018. This particular instrument was influenced by a run-in with a March 31 1924 Fern Virzi’d Loar that visited the Wiens shop over 10 years ago. I’m still thinking about that one! These later period Loars are known for the their fully evolved appointments such as the thicker triple binding on both body and peghead, the deluxe Fern abalone Inlay pattern, the dark “Cremona sunburst color, and of course the Virzi tone producer, which Lloyd Loar envisioned as an important element of these top-of-the line orchestral instruments.
Wiens F5 #45 pays an homage to all these elements. The triple-bound peghead is adorned with a handcut red abalone Fern pattern and Mother of Pearl “Wiens” logo. It’s fine Adirondack spruce soundboard with tone-bar bracing includes my version of the Virzi tone producer…The “Wienzi”. The elegant understated slab figure of the one-piece back is quite similar to the Loar that it was inspired by…Nothing glitzy or scandalous, just class. The soundboard is fine quartersawn Adirondack Spruce sourced from Old Standard Wood company. The instrument is hand stained in it’s entirety. No poofy looking airbrushing to cover up the grain of the wood. French polished Spirit Varnish tops it off with a very thin and very beautiful surface that will wear nicely and will always be highly repairable.
Neck profile is slightly rounder than a more typical Loar V shape and was influenced by a Monteleone Grand Artist that came to stay at the Wiens shop for a couple months. Nut width is just a hair over 1.1″ wide. Fingerboard is of the finest Ebony of course. It has a non-radiused flat profile and incorporates a subtle scooping on the upper fingerboard extension to allow picking room. Frets are stainless steel for long wear. Bridge is a handmade Wiens replica of the Loar-era Gibsons. A replica patent stamp completes the vintage look.
Pickguard is all celluloid and completely made by hand using no glue. Only acetone is used to weld the material together. The Wiens pickguard incorporates an inlaid steel rod in the reinforcement strip just like the Loar era examples. Again a replica patent stamp completes the vintage Loar look. Waverly tuners and James Tailpiece round out the hardware, which is all silver-plated.
The effect of the Virzi in this instrument is subtle but captivating. The tone is just a touch sweeter than my non-virzi’d instruments. The Virzi..or “Wienzi” seems to sustain and bloom the played note just slightly and delivers more of the fundamental overtones. It seems to invite the player to explore those big, juicy sustained notes and perhaps envision the orchestral glory Lloyd Loar was after in his quest for “a new sound” back in the 20’s.
This instrument is currently available at Carter Vintage in Nashville TN
$10,000 USD .