When they were still made in Montana, Weber mandolins earned the well-deserved reputation as some of the finest 8-string instruments ever built. Bruce Weber was the head luthier of the Gibson Mandolin Division when it was still in Bozeman, but he didn't want to relocate when Gibson moved mandolin production to Nashville in 1996. So, he started his own company where he could dive deep into his own designs and innovations. Weber remained in Montana until the company sold in 2012, and sadly the quality of the instruments has never been the same.
This 2001 Bitterroot was made in Weber's Bozeman shop—the old Logan schoolhouse just a stone's throw from the Gallatin river. The Bitterroot is Montana's state flower, and the Bitterroot Mountains follow the border between Idaho and Montana. Imbued with the Montana spirit, this Bitterroot is a straightforward F-Style, but while many mandolins have Maple back and sides, this Bitterroot was built with Mahogany back and sides. Its carved Spruce top produces plenty of chop and volume, and the Mahogany adds woody warmth and subtlety that fits in nicely with other acoustic instruments.
Although it is nearly 23 years old, this Weber Bitterroot shows minimal signs of play and use. Sure, there are some faint pick marks on the top (see photos), but there are no severe dings, cosmetic issues, or signs of mishandling. The frets are pristine, and the neck profile feels comfortable and approachable. The original Weber Brekke bridge allows for precise intonation and setup flexibility. At present, this mandolin is set up low up and down the Ebony fingerboard, but the bridge has plenty of breakover to help it sing across the room.
This 2001 Weber Bitterroot has a 1-1/8" nut width, and the original tuners keep everything stable. The original cast tailpiece is sturdy and built to last. Many Mahogany-back Weber mandolins have X-bracing, but this Bitterroot has parallel tone bars like a proper F-5. It's well voiced to cut through the mix, and the Mahogany lends a richer, warmer balanced sound.
This 2001 Weber Bitterroot includes its original hardshell case. While some Bitterroots are satin finish and some our sunburst, this mandolin has a beautiful amber gloss finish that fits the woody, old-time sound it produces.