View Full Version : Big Joe/Charlie D.

Jan-28-2004, 9:33pm
Hate to jump in here, but I've seen the Gibson crew answer this before.

Sam Bush's are strung with Sam Bush's

All others are strung with Bill Monroe's.

Jan-28-2004, 9:41pm
Thanks for the info. Now I know what to order.

Jan-28-2004, 9:48pm
My roomate saw an F9 at Guitar Center that he said didn't sound too good. He also said it had nickel strings... I thought maybe those would be Monel, since they're similar in color (and high in nickel I think) and that those were stock strings, but maybe they didn't know what they were doing and restrung it with nickels?

Jan-28-2004, 10:03pm
...maybe they didn't know what they were doing and restrung it with nickels?

That is probable. I've tried out a couple A-9s and F-9s new and all were strung stock with Monroe strings...unless Gibson made a change.

Charlie Derrington
Jan-28-2004, 11:37pm
Monroe's it is.....(I put a 15.5 or 16 A-string on my own personal mandolin)

On everything but Sammy's.


Jan-29-2004, 12:00am
One of the problems of using a dealer network for selling product is they restring with the cheapest string they can find for that instrument and don't bother to get the bridge placement right and when someone tries it out Gibson gets a black eye. Especially the stores that have no clue what bluegrass instruments are or have anyone in the store who truly plays them. Many of the big name stores will have that happen. Then we hear reports about how bad our setups are. It has little to do with us. They leave the factory with the right strings and right setup. However, by the time they get to a location several hundred miles away after spending days in a UPS truck and being exposed to different temperature and humidity conditions the set up is going to be off. The dealer may not have a clue how to correct that and they display it on the wall. After hanging for some time they decide to change strings, remove all the strings, and when they try to restring they realize the bridge is off the instrument. I've seen them with the bridge on backwards, off center, too far forward or backwards, and they complain about the instrument sounding like crap. That is frustrating. In most cases the blame needs to go to the dealer not the manufacturer. However, that's life.

Just thought I'd throw my two cents in. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif .

Jan-29-2004, 2:32am
Wouldn't that make a great thread to see the mandolins that Big Joe and Charlie D play

Jan-29-2004, 9:55am
Big Joe my mail order from big chain Nashville Festival F came with the bridge on backwards and was so screwed up it took a trip to a Gibsn authorized shop and a consultation with Nashville to figure out.

Jan-29-2004, 2:23pm
leifire I found the same thing with my fern. It doesn't sound nearly the same to me with the Monroe strings on it. However I am currently using up a whole box of J-74s on it. But I long to get back to the original sound I like so well. I've been playing mine alot lately to get more treble response from it with some success I might add. Good luck.

Jan-29-2004, 3:15pm
Big Joe & Charlie, can the nut slots on current generation Gibson F5's
(from 2001 on) accomodate the medium-heavy J75 set from
D'Addario? #The E & A strings tend to stick in the slots once in a while.
I have tried using graphite lubricant on the slots, but eventually went to the Gibson Monroe set, which seems to work better (Master model,
2002), and be not as stiff feeling as the J75 set.

Charlie Derrington
Jan-29-2004, 5:18pm
Different string diameters, different size slots.

You need to recut your nut.


Feb-04-2004, 8:41pm
Quote from Big Joe
"One of the problems of using a dealer network for selling product is they restring with the cheapest string they can find for that instrument and don't bother to get the bridge placement right and when someone tries it out Gibson gets a black eye. #Especially the stores that have no clue what bluegrass instruments are or have anyone in the store who truly plays them. #Many of the big name stores will have that happen. #Then we hear reports about how bad our setups are. #It has little to do with us."

Big Joe,
Wouldn't it be in Gibson's best interest to do away with those dealers you speek of? The ones that have no clue about bluegrass instruments or have anyone that plays them or cares about the set up and playability of them. Seems like the Gibson name would be better represented in the music stores that cater to the acoustics musicians. Seems like the big box stores that carry your acoustics instruments seem to hurt the small independent dealers anyway. Seems like a lose lose situation other than the high volume money making end of it. Do you guys have some sort of rep force that goes out and checks in with dealers to show them new product and do some sort of clinics with sales staff and or repair techs? This is pretty standard in other retail markets. I have set up many mandolins that have had there bridge on backwards and or misplaced on the top. Does not seem to be just Gibson mandolins. I think it unfortunately happens to other folks mandolins as well. I wonder if a simple solution would be to put a simple instruction tag in with each new mandolin that would explain how to set a bridge in the propper place for correct intonation. Everyone may not read it, but it may cut down on the amount of poorly set up instruments. I hope I am not poking or prodding into your business. These are just a few thoughts I had that may help make things better. I have been on the retail end of things for almost 20 years in a few different markets and feel like there is always room for improvement. Take my suggestions for what they are worth.

Feb-04-2004, 8:47pm
<<You need to recut your nut.>>


Feb-05-2004, 12:47am
Hey Thunderplucker~! I appeciate your comments and thoughts. This is an issue we face daily and try to make the best decisions we can. For many communities we would leave them with no representation if we began removing dealers who were not very good at caring for the instruments. I spent a few days recently with a dealer that has quite a bit of inventory. He is a reasonably respected dealer and does do a good job with acoustic instruments. When we got together all of his instruments needed to be restrung and set up. He was not interested in doing that. They could have been made easily playable and he could have sold some if he had bothered to do that. Instead, he chose to blame Gibson for his lack of sales. Every effort was made to help him, however, he owns his product and we can only make suggestions.

In his area of the country he is one of the only dealers to stock product. To remove him would mean no representation for that part of the country. That is not fair to the consumer, so it is a tough issue at times.

We have used instructions before but find they went unused or confused the dealer more than not giving them. It's an issue we discuss often and I will mention these sugggestions when the opportunity arrives. Thank you again. Oh, you are right. It does not happen to just our product. We are just the big dog on the block so we are the one normally blasted for it.

Feb-05-2004, 1:51am
I understand your problem and agree with your answer...ya can't do everything for everyone, everywhere. Our local Guitar Center doesn't hardly carry any Gibson products but have a wall full of Martin guitars (35-40) priced from around $500-$2500 hanging on the wall for anyone to take down and play...totally unsupervised, in there "Acoustic" room. Here's what kills me...not a one is in tune! Being only a few blocks from my house I drop in all the time with my tuner and pick on the high-end models I can't afford for a hour or so...and sometimes a little jam will start up and then Im on the Tacoma mandolin which just isn't my cup of tea tonewise for bluegrass but its that or the Fender's which have a real tight string spacing on the bridge which I get hung up on all the time.

Feb-05-2004, 2:26pm
I stopped in the local music store (gibson dealer) and played a KM something or another. It was soooo bad out of whack I walked back to the guitar repar guy He took out a tape measure and said ____ inches to the 12 fret double that to get to the bridge. and quickly slid it into place. That was his cure. it still wasn't in and some poor unfortunate beginner will not like the sound as much as if it were in. But thats the attitude of many rocknrollguitarrepairmen.

Feb-12-2004, 3:04pm
Hey Big Joe,

I guess I wasn't thinking about the fact that you would be leaving an area without representation. I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. I have lived in areas where the web is your only resource. I try to check out as many mandolins when I travel. I guess alot folks don't have that option. I guess that some representation is better for business than no representation. You make a great point in that the music store owner owns the inventory and at that point, you don't have much control other than not selling to him any more and that affects the customer. What a challenge on Gibsons part. I guess in a perfect world, everyone would buy directly from Gibson and have the mandolin set up just right and ready to go. We don't live in that ideal world. As far as the instructions.....I thought about that more after I posted before. Not many folks read these days. You would have to have some sort of interactive how to set up your mandolin video game or something to make that effective. Sorry to get off track of the original post topic folks, just had some thought running on his dealer thing. Well, all you can do is educate the dealer and hope he represents your product well. Thanks for your reply on this and good luck

Big Joe
Feb-12-2004, 4:05pm
I really appreciate the input. We really do look at everything we can to improve our product on a daily basis. We discuss various ideas all the time and we implement those things we feel are both plausible and cost effective. As I pointed out earlier, with all we do there is a point where the local dealer has to accept their part of the responsibility for the product.

I offer one more thought. If you buy an instrument...any kind...from a dealer or wholesale catalog dealer you are at the mercy of thier attitude towards the product and the customer. If you buy from many of those who discount highly you may save some money on the initial purchase, but you may not be getting the bargain you were hoping for. If you spend too little for a product there is usually a reason. Often the instruments are warehoused and not checked out. They will not be set up properly or cleaned or checked out by anyone. If someone does do it, it may be a kid in shipping who knows nothing of the product or the way it should look or play. When you get the instrument you are unhappy and blame Gibson. If you had bought the same instsrument from a reputable dealer you are far more likely to get an instrument set up properly and able to do what you want. The small difference in price is not much when you take that into consideration. There are times when one may save a few bucks on the initial purchase only to spend far more getting the product made right after the fact. Of course, everyone like to save money, but savings have to be viewed in the total cost, not just the purchase price. Thank you.

Dru Lee Parsec
Feb-18-2004, 4:57pm
In his area of the country he is one of the only dealers to stock product. To remove him would mean no representation for that part of the country. That is not fair to the consumer, so it is a tough issue at times.

That is a point of view that I had not thought of. Thanks for sharing that.

I live in San Diego where there are only 2 stores worth going to for mandolins or hand made guitars. One of the "other" stores (and no, it's not one of the big chains) has a ton of Fenders and Ibanez solid body electrics. They also have Fender banjos and Fender mandolins. Even though Deering banjos are made just 20 miles away they carry Fender.

In any case, the Fender mandolins are pretty much unplayable. Not because of the quality of the instrument, but because of the setup. The bridges are so out of position that the 12th fret harmonic is off from the fretted note by at least a half step. Now to be fair, this store caters to the kid who wants to be in Metallica. They sell a ton of cheap Fender strats as well as some mid priced electric guitar and amps. They have an acoustic room that's full of Martins, Taylor, Ovations, and (surprise) Fender guitars. That makes me wonder if part of the distribution deal for that store might be "In order for you to get all these stratocasters you must also buy X number of Fender mandolins, banjos, and acoustic guitars". That might explain why this store, that has essentially NO bluegrass or old time music customers, has these instruments at all.

I wouldn't think that Gibson would do that kind of deal. The quality and price point for a Sam Bush mandolin vs.a Fender F style places it in a totally different realm. But it makes me wonder why this store who carries so much Fender gear has these instruments that it doesn't seem to have any intention of selling.

By the way, I would like to say that my very favorite guitar of all the ones I own is my 1979 Gibson ES-335 Pro (dot neck). What a sweet guitar!