View Full Version : Hey, Big Joe!
I have a question for actually anyone at Gibson. I have a 2003 fern with varnish finish, and because of the varnish, the binding is considerably yellower than the Ferns with lacqeur. Now, I actually like that feature, cause it makes the mandolin look way older than it really is, but my question is this: why didn't Gibson make the binding on the pickguard the same color? That binding is a blinding white and just doesn't look that good on the mandolin. Kinda looks like an afterthought. I took it off, of course, and the little bolt assembly just popped off of the back of the pickguard. I guess I can epoxy it back on, or maybe I could trade you fellers at Gibson for one with a more appropriate color binding. Thanks, and by the way, I do love the mandolin other than that one snafu.
And a snafu it is. That's my fault for not thinking far enough ahead. Email Joe and we'll get you a new one.
Wow, That's a quick response! I did e-mail Joe, and thank you, Charlie for your help.
Wow Charlie. You and Joe certainly do a lot for the Gibson name. All companies should have employees like you two. Clamdigger
Big 'Attaboy' for the Gibson customer service team.
Mr. Charlie sure made me a happy camper & I love my Gibson Mandolins. And you can quote me on that!!!
And then there was the time that Charlie even lent Bill Monroe his own mandolin as a loaner for an extended period...<G>
But I'll let Charlie tell that tale.... and the tune Bill wrote about Gibson's customer service department!!!
Charlie, could you tell me what the difference sound-wise is between the current Fern and the Master Model? Or perhaps more specifically, what the difference is in how the two mandolins are crafted (if any) in regards to sound quality? If Elderly has both models in stock, I hope to go out there in a couple weeks and give both a test drive. Much obliged.
I noticed the same tone difference between mandolin and pickguard on a fern and had the same reaction. I love the color under the varnish, but the pickguard looked like an aftermarket add-on. But it's an easy fix.
Charlie and Joe are the best. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I disagree with their take on things, but I've never had a moment's doubt about their integrity or dedication. They're not just an asset to Gibson but to the whole mandolin community.
Another question for Charlie or BigJoe -
Who signs the varnish Ferns? #Charlie or Danny? #
mine is signed by danny roberts
So the signature and the V in the serial number will be the obvious distinction between a varnish Fern and a Master Model F5V with a fern headstock inlay?
i'm not an authority on the master model, having only seen one of them, but i remember seeing somewhere on this message board that the wood is somewhat different as well. oh, and about 4000 bucks different.
Thanks for this great thread.
The pickguard on my Master Model also does not match the binding. #
Help BigJoe or Charlie!!
Let me make a correction. I think Charlie meant the snafu was the bracket falling off. The pickguard binding on the mandolins do not get varnish on them so they will be the actual color of the binding material. On the Fern we use a white plastic, but the varnish turns the color this really warm ivory color. Since the pickguard is not varnished, and would not do well with the finish on it, the pickguard is the white color.
The Master Model uses an ivoroid binding but is also varnished over retaining the warm ivory color. The pickguard binding is the same as on the fern. White binding. The originals were similar to this.
Now, to the matter of construction differences from the Varnished Fern to the Master Model. The fern uses the same construction and materials as the standard fern. The only difference is the varnish instead of lacquer and, of course, the price. The Master Model uses a red spruce top, hide glue, macasar ebony under the fingerboard extension, flowerpot (on most MM's) and only available in varnish and french polish finish.
Tonally the MM will sound more loar like than the fern. The fern will have a slightly darker sound than the MM. They will both play similar and there is some variation from mandolin to mandolin. These are kind of generalizations on tone, but seem to be true in all that I've seen. The Varnish Fern is not a standard production item and is only available from time to time. They are exceptional values and the sound is incredible. It is impossible to make many so one must make hay while the sun shines http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif . One final word. There is generally a varnished fern and a master model at the Bluegrass Showcase you can play and check out. We try to keep both on hand all the time.