View Full Version : Loar Picture of the Day

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Darryl Wolfe
Aug-02-2006, 6:39pm
We will start over here. #Scott, please lock the other thread with Charlie being the last poster.

150,000 views and 2000 posts. This new thread is in memory of our friend Charlie.

Aug-02-2006, 7:19pm
Class act, Darryl. I'm glad you requested it. That's a tribute to a man so respected and admired.


Aug-02-2006, 7:50pm
i was hoping someone would bring up dedicating that thread to charlie, esp with his last post - thanks darryl

Scott Tichenor
Aug-02-2006, 8:56pm
A continuation of this thread (http://www.mandolincafe.net/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST&f=27&t=32721) in honor of Charlie Derringon and his marvelous contributions to the mandolin world. I've locked the old thread with Charlie's last post as the end of Chapter 1 of the story. His membership will remain with us active as long as this board exists.

Aug-02-2006, 9:43pm
What a great way to honor a valued member of the mandolin community.

Aug-03-2006, 8:06am
I just glanced at the first post of the original thread, and although it wasn't by Charlie like the final post, it was a photo of 73732 which he once owned. This was one of two Loars that Charlie's wife Susan CT scanned to get the measurements.

Aug-03-2006, 8:42am
In memory of the late Charlie Derrington.

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-03-2006, 9:32am
In many respects Bill Monroes 72214 was damaged more than 73985. This is one of only a few photos of the mandolin after Charlie's restoration. The mandolins whereabouts are now unknown. It was discovered to be missing after Monroe passed away. I took this photo in Charlies office about 6 months after the vandalism

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-03-2006, 9:34am
the back

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-03-2006, 9:37am
Here is Charlies first Loar 74660

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-03-2006, 9:38am
and the back

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-03-2006, 9:53am
We have covered this before, but Charlies December 11, 23 Loar and the sisters in that batch mark a significant change in the stains Gibson chose for the Style 5. #The switch was from a walnut medium "sheraton" brown to a darker "sienna" type brown with some lamp black in it. #Like the difference between milk chocolate and dark semi-sweet chocolate. #This darker stain carried through to the 24's however they decreased the size of the sunburst quite a bit more. It appears that Charlie chose this slightly darker shade of brown for the new Master Models, essentially modeling them after the December 11, 23's

Aug-03-2006, 10:43am
Here is a picture of Bill playing Charlie's (Loar?) mandolin at the first show Bill performed after having his two Loars smashed by a vandal. A show at the Nightstage, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

I sent Charlie a high-res scan of this picture and he thanked me and told me he had it hanging in his office.

I had a long-running email exchange with Charlie and will state that he was the best spokesman that Gibson could have had in the mandolin shop, or OAI. A true gentleman and one zealous about mandolins!

Aug-03-2006, 1:06pm
And here is a favorite picture of Charlie; just another day at work with a couple of Gibson customers.

Aug-03-2006, 1:12pm
This is great. What a wonderful idea.

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-03-2006, 1:53pm
73987 Before and after Charlie's work - mandopetes post above is "between" http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Aug-03-2006, 2:13pm
Maybe I shouldn't even bring this up but I just noticed someone put up a Charlie Derrington signed Master Model for sale in the classifieds. This would have to be a coincidence as i can't imagine someone would do this at this time. It just doesn't seem right to me.

Aug-03-2006, 2:30pm
i've alway been curious as to why charlie never made any mandolins under his own name? i guess since he was employed by gibson during most of his career, this would have been a conflict of interest - but you would think there would be 1 or 2 out there.

i also didnt realize until i read some of the obituaries, that charlie was only 51 - by doing some simple math, that would have made him around 30 when he restored Mon's Loar - that is an amazing amount of talent/knowledge/skill at that age.

Aug-03-2006, 4:43pm
If I'm not mistaken, the Loar Mr. Monroe is playing in the first picture Evan posted above is #81250. As I understand it, Charlie lent it to Bill while his other instruments were being re-assembled. I had an opportunity to play 81250 very briefly, and it is an incredible instrument. I guess it has some residual Monroe mojo.

Aug-03-2006, 4:59pm
I found this in the 1980 spring issue of "Mandolin World News" a couple of month ago. It is kind of an inspiration to me as a very young builder when ever I get over whelmed by the amount of knowledge of the other members of the board. I feel that there is not enough time in a life time to achieve what I have in mind for my mando building future, then I read this rather simple question that Mr. Derrignton asked just 5 years before his amazing restoration of Monroes Loar and It gives me hope.

Brian Aldridge
Aug-03-2006, 5:57pm
Yes mandophil(e), that is 81250 in the pic Evan posted. Charlie did indeed loan it to Bill while he put Bill's back together. Charlie named this mandolin "Betsy". It is truely an amazing instrument with incredible mojo.

Aug-03-2006, 8:17pm
Maybe I shouldn't even bring this up but I just noticed someone put up a Charlie Derrington signed Master Model for sale in the classifieds. #This would have to be a coincidence as i can't imagine someone would do this at this time. #It just doesn't seem right to me.
I was thinking the same thing when I saw it. It went "On Hold" and gone pretty quick. Maybe somebody could enlighten us on the transaction. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

Aug-03-2006, 9:52pm
the one that sat at Gruhns for so long is gone too - and it was there 2 days ago, because there was a thread about it in the "looking for info" topics and i checked it out....and the response to the posters question was it wasnt all that great of a MM either.

like it or not, under these circumstances, the value and desirablility of CD signed mandos are going to explode. it will be interesting - i have seen quite a few CD signed MM's that have sat unsold in dealers inventory - i bet they are all gone in a week.

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-04-2006, 9:54am
Brian A,

Just for what it's worth, your lovely April mandolin graces the very first and very last page of the old now locked thread

Aug-04-2006, 10:51am
I guess we can call that April 25th the "Bookend Loar"

Aug-04-2006, 11:30am
What a neat and appropriate thing to do in closing the thread. I hope Charlie just got a small glimpse of what folks thought of him before his passing. His skill and knowledge of building mandolins appears to be dwarfed by his genuine kindness and friendship that he spread around so freely.

Aug-04-2006, 5:50pm
Charlie once asked me why I didn't own a Loar ..... especially since my runnin' buddies all do. I told him that I was married.

He never asked again! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif Charlie, we are missing you! Joe

Aug-04-2006, 11:09pm
April 25, 1923....
A big pile of them went out the door......
Busy day in the shipping department???

Brian Aldridge
Aug-04-2006, 11:34pm
Darryl, thanks so much for starting the Loar Pic of the day thread. What a fitting tribute to Charlie it is that that thread has been locked in his honor. This thread has far and away been my most favorite. I will reference back to it over and over, as I have done for quite some time, as it is so rich in information. I wish Charlie had posted more. Also, I wish that a few more folks who really know about this stuff would post more too. This will be read for the ages to come, and I believe there are those among us who really know probably more than any future generations, except what they learn from those of us who have swam across rivers and walked through fire just to see, feel, touch and hear these great mandolins. Darryl, it goes without saying that you are the guru, the ultimate authority on these mandolins, and I want you to know I appreciate your work and dedication to the furtherance of information concerning The Loar F5s all vintage mandolins.I wish to publically thank you and acknowledge all you have done and continue to do. I would like also thank Ken Waltham for his posts. His knowledge and experience with these is vast, and I wish he would share more. Tommy Isenhour is another whos knowledge and experience I wish would be given here more. Perhaps sometime, we could get Frank Ray to chime in here- talk about a walking catalog. All you guys I mentioned have been such a great help to me down through the years when all I knew about Loars you could write on the back of a postage stamp, and that I wanted one. When I bought my first Fern, I got it from Frank Ray. I talked to Darryl, Ken, Tommy, and Charlie. Every one of these guys was so willing to help me in any way they could then, and any time after that too. I feel like I am rambling a bit, but I guess what I am trying to do is let you guys all know how much I appreciate you. There comes a time one way or the other, as we have so tragically just faced with the loss of our dear friend Charlie, when we can no longer say these things to someone we care about and want to be sure they know it. Thanks all.

Aug-05-2006, 8:04am
Great post. You are a good man..Put yourself on that list.

jim simpson
Aug-07-2006, 5:56pm
Are there any photos of the underside of the repaired soundboard of Bill's Loar? I would love to see how it was repaired.

Aug-07-2006, 7:53pm
I actually asked Big Joe that question today!
From what I understood, Charlie had to put a lot of tiny little pieces together to form pieces large enough to be able to attach them to the top..Minimal cleating.

jim simpson
Aug-07-2006, 9:23pm
Thanks Richie,
I guess we could sneak a peak inside with some dental mirrors if we could get past security! What a tremendous restoration.

Aug-07-2006, 10:29pm
You handle the security, I'll provide the dental mirrors!

P.S. Don't forget to wind your watch!

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-08-2006, 3:24pm
Peghead of Charlies mando (81250) A DanB shot I believe

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-08-2006, 3:26pm
81250 in a large Calton

Professor PT
Aug-08-2006, 11:29pm
It looks lonely. Every time I pick up my F-9, I'm grateful that Charlie came along and helped Gibson build great mandolins again. Although I didn't know him personally, I still find it hard to believe that he's gone.

Aug-09-2006, 7:56am
That large Calton is a honey of a case...a heavy honey at that.

Brian Aldridge
Aug-09-2006, 9:08am
CD had 81250 in one of the prototype Gibson Caltons at Bakersfield. I liked it pretty well, and in fact decided I would get one when they became available.

Charlie Derrington
Aug-09-2006, 12:43pm
Hi, this is Charlie's daughter Anna. I have really enjoyed reading about my dad's accomplishments and want to read more of the things he has said here on the cafe. I am trying to learn more about the mandolin and want to read things my dad has said. Can someone tell me how i can read some of my dad's old posts. Everything you all have said has been very comforting to my mother and me, thank you all for your kind words.

Aug-09-2006, 1:08pm
Hi Anna,

You can do a search (upper right) and use the poster name (Charlie Derrington). Go down to the bottom of the search page and click "and older" so it gives you all the old posts. You have my heartfelt condolences. Charlie will be missed.

EDIT - You might also want to select "ALL OPEN FORUMS" in the middle of the screen so it doesn't just search this one


Aug-09-2006, 1:12pm
Anna, Welcome to the Cafe. Our hearts go out to you and your family. I'm glad to hear you are learning more about the mandolin. As stated, just use the search function and don't be afraid to ask the people on here.

Aug-09-2006, 2:04pm
Hi Anna and welcome!

While most of us here on the Cafe never had the pleasure of meeting Charlie in person, many of us felt that we came to know him through his posts here. #There is another thread up in the General Mandolin Discussions forum that has notes on our feelings about him.

One post by TJG provides some insight into Charlie's posts and I'll quote it here for your convenience...

=> Quote:

I hope nobody minds, but listed below are a few Cafe quotes from Charlie over the years. #It gives you an indication of the type of person Charlie was:

"However, if you are not happy (in any way), PM me and I'll see what I can do. I am the head of Joe's and Dave's department and want to make sure every customer is happy."

"I always said if I were to win the lottery, I'd just play bluegrass music until the money was all gone."

"I refuse to mislead anyone for the sake of a dollar. That sort of business behavior only hurts one's credibility in the long run."

"Anyway, even if I weren't, Gibson was a force in the industry long before I came along, and would continue along just fine if I got hit by a truck tomorrow. Danny is one of the best mando players on the planet and has had things directly in his hands for a couple of years."

"I'm going about 5 miles down the road. I'll be starting another project that's important for the company. It's a little early to offer any details, but needless to say, I'll still be involved with the mandolins. Heck, regardless of where I go, I'll always be involved with the mandolins. It's who I am. I think you all know that....."

"Face it. The Loar is the model. Stray too far, and you are flirting with danger on all sorts of fronts. #At least that's my humble opinion."

"I think you all know that if any, and I mean any, of our customers are unhappy with their Gibson mandolin, we will stand behind it..... period."

"Next time you're down (and it's warm enough), I'll take you to this little private lake I fish, and we'll throw a lizard around."

"If it were mine, I'd chalk it up to experience and learn to live with it. Small marks like that just add charm to an instrument. It can't stay perfect forever, if it's being played."

"My dad was Mr. Derrington, I'm just Charlie."

"Send me the serial # and a picture on a pm, and I'll try and answer any questions you may have."

"I am so shocked by his (Cliff Sargent) death. It's a good thing to know that there will be a great human being and mando builder waiting for us when we get there."

"However, if I were to get hit by a truck tomorrow, there is no one I would trust more (to leave things in the hands of) than my right hand mando man, Danny."

"I haven't seen the mandos in question, but if the owners have a problem, I would imagine they'd contact us and then they'll get it fixed for free or a brand new Master."

"Joe holds very strong opinions (and certainly isn't one to keep those opinions to himself), but I really love that big lug and worry about him greatly. I actually don't know how I'd operate without him."

".......and I appreciate hearing about it when we do it wrong."

"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."

And finally:

"Give me a call tomorrow. I need to talk with you."

Aug-09-2006, 2:45pm
Welcome and I am so sorry for your family's loss. #Here is a link (http://www.mandolincafe.net/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=Search&CODE=02&SID=44da3aed0e5f4b81) to all the threads your dad contributed to. #I hope you can use this to help learn more about the instrument your father was so passionate about.

Jamie Stanek

edit. You can see by his user name in his posts he had only ~600 posts since 2002 while I seem to prattle and post on and on. With your father it was quality over quantity.

Aug-12-2006, 7:07am
Nice photos of Bill's Loar at CMHF from Pat


Aug-12-2006, 7:07am
Check out the engraving on the tailpiece cover at the "Ears" there..

Aug-12-2006, 7:08am

Jim Hilburn
Aug-12-2006, 8:34am
On Bill's, at the time the inlay was restored and before it was attacked, was there any re-finish work done?

Aug-12-2006, 9:22am
From what I understand, the reason that he scratched out his inlay was because they did a refinish.

Jim Hilburn
Aug-12-2006, 9:46am
I can't track it down on Google, but there's a photo of Larry Barnwell of Gibson returning the mandolin to Bill.
I thought it had been properly re-finished at that time. But maybe it was after the Derrington repair. I can't really remember but I thought it was from before it was destroyed.

Aug-12-2006, 12:31pm
If I know the order right (Darryl standing by to rip stripes off my uniform)

Bill sent it back for some light maintenance, it returned refinished. He scratched the extra finish off with something because it made it sound very dull.. Bill then scratched the logo off the peghead out of anger. Later when it was damaged by vandals, the peghead overlay was replaced as well. I think a little finish went on it because you can see a more even top with slight gloss than there was before.. It's final state is basically as it was after the Derrington repair

Aug-12-2006, 12:47pm


Aug-12-2006, 12:47pm
Post restoration


Aug-12-2006, 12:48pm
The mottled color is most likely a result of the refinish, scratch off, playing wear and then a light topcoat when Charlie repaired it? Hope I got this right.. Darryl...

Jim Hilburn
Aug-12-2006, 12:57pm
But I'm pretty sure there was a time before the vandalism when they kissed and made up. At least the inlay was restored at that time.

Actually, I'm starting to think I have these events mixed up and that I'm thinking of when he had it returned to him after the damage.

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-12-2006, 2:29pm
On Bill's, at the time the inlay was restored and before it was attacked, was there any re-finish work done?
Not to the body

Dan, (no stripe removal) #That is the suggested and generally accepted story, however, I have examined the mando many times and do not find any evidence of extra finish and that finish in the center of the top appears fully original. #That certainly does not explain how it went from mint to worn out in a year or so.

Charlie certainly applied some stain and some finish to the top during the repair.

The peghead repair was done in the early 80's right after the F5L was introduced

Jim Hilburn
Aug-12-2006, 3:01pm
So My memory isn't totally gone after all.
They fixed the peghead in the 80's, but didn't do any re-fin.
I know that pic of Barnwell presenting Bill the mandolin at that time is around somewhere, but I can't find it.

Aug-13-2006, 4:30am
Darryl- didn't bill scratch off the extra finish applied on top at some point? To me that explains the super-worn look, you would normally get some clean stuff under the strings where no pick/arm wear would normally occur

Aug-13-2006, 4:32am
By the way- the lower of the two pictures above.. seems to show a different tailpiece cover (no extra engraving below the "Ears") to the ones from the CMHF..

Aug-13-2006, 12:07pm
In the pre-restoration photo are there initials/letters scratched in the top between the tailpiece and bridge (under the E course). If so, what's the story, if not... I'm not drinking but maybe need an optomitrist.


Aug-13-2006, 12:09pm
Maybe even visible post repair (image flipped from above)?


Aug-13-2006, 3:19pm
I think if you looked back possibly in the old Loar thread, seemingly C. Derrington said that and provided pics of those letters pretty clearly. " B M + B M " what that stands for is a guess (Bill Monroe + Bessie Maulden)
The Repair dates escape me know but several months separated the headstock repair and the vandalism. There are old 'Frets' Magazine articles about each. But there were 2 distinct separate times that it went in during the 80's. The kiss and make up when they gave him an F5L to play and the vandalism Repair later.

[QUOTE]That certainly does not explain how it went from mint to worn out in a year or so.

MINT! ? Was it? I thought it looked beat in all those LP album photos in the 60's binding, finish etc.
And It does look several shades darker in the middle after the Vandalism repair.

Aug-13-2006, 3:21pm
I thought it said "Bill Monroe" under the strings between tailpiece & bridge..

Aug-13-2006, 6:38pm
Thanks guys. Now I can have that drink! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif I can kinda see BM BM twice. Otherwise, it just looks like my mother.... oh.. scratch that.


Aug-13-2006, 11:59pm
Okay you guys are all over with these Monroe repair dates.
Let's get it right if you are going to discuss it. To start the date bought for $150 in the Barbershop in FL has been misprinted many times mainly due to Monroe's memory when he was first asked the question in the mid 60's. Tom Ewing got to the facts and with his excellent research could prove Monroe was indeed only in a winter in Florida in Jan. 1945 which also coinsides with the first recording with the Loar on Feb. 13, 1945. In late 1951 he dropped it breaking the neck at the heel. The scroll had also been off by this point many times. It should be noted that Monroe housed the Loar in a Gibson shape case not a Loar case which may have been the case it came with. In 1951 I suspect the only way to get a neck back on a Loar F5 was to send it back to the factory. He did that and also asked for a few other things be done like a refinish. He also expected them to give him top priority in get it back quickly. It came back in the summer of 1952. I would suspect he was presented a heafty bill at the time too as he was not the original owner. How do we know this? Sonny Osborne has long told the story that when he was a BGBoy he was there when Monroe pulled his pocket knife out to scrape the finish off. Sonny was with Monroe the summer of 1952. Why he did it we don't know other than Monroe says Gibson only put the neck back on and did not do the other things he wanted done like frets, refinish, new tuners. It is possible that they did overspray it with lacquer. A practice common back then. Maybe or IMO he didn't see evidence of a total refinish and in anger/protest of being charged, keeping too long he removed the "Gibson" name and the overcoat finish. Add to that the fact that Gibson did not endorse Monroe as a Gibson user while they did endorse Scruggs by this time. Do we need to go down the Monroe/Scruggs feud? I suspect Monroe knew by 1951 he was selling F5s for bluegrass use not classical although they only produced 44 F5s by 1952 since Monroe got his in 1945. That would explain going from near mint to very worn quickly leaving traces of the original Loar varnish. After all it only had 6 years of wear at this time since we do know by the photos like Darryl says it was near mint when he first got it in 1945. Gibson gives Monroe the new F5L when it comes out in late 1978(Monroe got No. 1 dated June 1,1978).
Later he accepts their free offer for repairs and in Sept. 1980 Dick Doan headed up the team to replace the scroll with a totally new veneer headstock, new tuners and a new fretboard. Nothing was done to the finish at this time. The vandal does her thing to both Loars on Nov. 13, 1985 while Monroe is out in town for lunch. CD returns the repaired July Loar on Feb. 25, 1986. The other Loar much later. I welcome any disputes of these dates.

Aug-14-2006, 8:12pm
Didn't Greg Rich have the original peghead veneer/overlay from #73987?
I think he did hands-on repair work at Gibson when the restoration was done to the mandolin.
The above chronology of repair work comports with my knowledge of Monroe's mandolin as well.

Aug-14-2006, 10:04pm
Dick got the credit for it. Wasn't Greg more into the banjos then? Seems I recall CD got the overlay in his posession.

Brian Aldridge
Aug-15-2006, 12:40am
thanks Tommy.

Aug-15-2006, 9:15pm
Greg was not at Gibson at the time Mr. Monroe's mandolins were fixed if I recall. Also, knowing Charlie, I am sure he did whatever staining was needed but the only finish he would have done is french polish. He certainly would not have sprayed lacquer on any of it. Not even that many years ago. We talked about that job from time to time and I'm pretty sure he just did a french polish to the mandolin before returning it.

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-16-2006, 9:05am
Thanks Big Joe. That is my take on it too (Charlie's work). I do believe they did some minor satin lacquer touch up during the peghead deal (peghead only). Agree?

Tom C
Aug-16-2006, 9:35am
Quote:In 1951 I suspect the only way to get a neck back on a Loar F5 was to send it back to the factory. He did that and also asked for a few other things be done like a refinish. He also expected them to give him top priority in get it back quickly. #It came back in the summer of 1952.

I thought he sent it in to be fixed and Gibson thought they would do him a favor by refinishing it. And this is what he got mad at and scraped the finish off and Gibson logo.

Aug-16-2006, 9:43am
That's part of what I heard too.

Aug-16-2006, 9:45am
Me to.

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-16-2006, 9:57am
OK..OK. #There is alot of conjecture and information being passed on as fact here just because so and so (Sonny) said it, or BM was heard to say it. #The fact of the matter is that at most only the top was oversprayed. There is no possibility that the top was sanded down and refinished, and there is no evidence that the side and back were ever touched at all. And this is very unlike Gibson in the 50's. At very best, the overspray on the top did not stick well to the varnish and Bill scraped it off. #Photos of the instrument (from album covers) taken just after the "scrape job" clearly and unquestionably show most of the original July 9 color and shading to be intact and there is no shine of "lacquer" under the strings. #I'm still not convinced it was oversprayed but I can accept the fact that it may have been. #I suggest that he just as likely scraped it all up a "lapse". #If you want conjecture, Maybe he picked it up at the factory and they had not done anything at all yet. #I have never been able to detect any 50's work being done to it.

Jim Hilburn
Aug-16-2006, 10:58am
But an "overspray" in the early 50's would have meant about a 1/16" of lacquer. I'm sure everyones seen Gibson's from that era with stress cracks in them. You can see that the instrument is entombed in thick lacquer.

Aug-16-2006, 1:20pm
there is a really good photo in the fiddle method book 'Bluegrass Fiddle Styles' that shows Monroe with Curly Cline and Jimmy Martin circa around 1952 that would have been when Sonny was with Bill - in this pic, you can see astounding evidence of a massive scraping of the finish far worse than what i ever saw at later dates - i'll try to scan the pic, but he did a good one on it for sure, there was little finish left - it wasnt raw wood, and its a black and white, but you can see a huge area of finish gone.

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-16-2006, 2:29pm
But an "overspray" in the early 50's would have meant about a 1/16" of lacquer. I'm sure everyones seen Gibson's from that era with stress cracks in them. You can see that the instrument is entombed in thick lacquer.
That's exactly my point. I don't see any evidence of that type of refin or overspray on the instrument in any picture nor from the numerous time that I have held and examined the mando. They would not have oversprayed just the top, and even if they did it would be thick thick thick.

In summary, my opinion is that there is no visual evidence to support the generally accepted stories. Something is amiss.

Also, If it did have a neck problem repaired, then it failed again. I'm pretty sure I remember Randy fixing the neck in about 1972. I'll call him and get the story

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-16-2006, 3:00pm
One thing that I either forgot or never noticed is that Charlie replaced the overlay during the vandalism repair. This one is much more correct than the ealier one was.

Big Joe
Aug-16-2006, 3:35pm
It was standard practice at Gibson (and most other manufacturers) in that day to refinish instruments in repair. The idea was to make them look new again and gain the pleasure of the owner. Vintage value was not a consideration at that time. It has only been recently that practice has been stopped and the originality and value of the instrument has become the more important issue than its looks.

I have seen and played this mandolin quite a few times. It was in our shop for restringing, set up, whatever for as long as I've been with Charlie. There was still varnish on the mandolin that would likely have been sanded off had the factory refinished it. Secondly, the color was right for the era. If it has been refinished the color would have been different. It is possible a light coat of lacquer was sprayed over part of it many years ago, but there was not much. In the twenties and early thirties it was not uncommon to have a mandolin sprayed over with lacquer on top of the varnish when it was at the factory for repair.

I have heard many rumors about why Mr. Bill scraped the name off, but I have no idea which one is true. I do know the mandolin well enough to doubt the refinishing theory. I guess the only one who really knows is Mr. Bill, and as far as I know, he has not been talking about it for many years.

Tom C
Aug-16-2006, 3:52pm
If it was refinished or oversprayed, it's a good thing it was not done in the '60, else it may have come back with the atomic red sunburst. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif
Thanks for the insight Joe.

Ken Waltham
Aug-16-2006, 4:11pm
Interesting. Until these current discussions, I have never heard that refinnishing was part of the equation. IMHO, I agree with Darryl, in that it has never looked refinned at all to me.
I don't think that ever happened, but, that's just my opinion.
Other problems, yes, something disatisfied him, maybe refret, or whatever, but, Bill was a prickly man....

Jim Hilburn
Aug-16-2006, 5:27pm
I first learned about mandolins, bluegrass, and Bill Monroe in the early 70's from a great guitar and mandolin player and collector who was in the Denver area in those days named is Doug McKee. That's where I first heard the story of the re-finish or overspray leading to the scrape-off.
If Gibson pissed him off, I can see the name removal but why would he attack an otherwise good finish? It seems like the only logical explanation.
However this is just conjecture on my part.

Aug-16-2006, 6:35pm
Logic may not fit here. If something EVER gets said as a possibility it soon seems to become a supposed fact.

Aug-16-2006, 7:12pm
Mr. Bill was never very concerned about the appearance of his mandolin, and rareley...especially in the earlier years...about how it played. He was more concerned about the tone. His mandolin was often in dire need of set up and cleaning. If something physical was wrong, as long as it sounded good and he could physically play it, he did not care about much. Playability was not his greatest concern either. His hands were extremely strong and he was used to playing it with near impossible action. In his later years he liked it when we would set it up and put the action at a near reasonable level. However, when we got it back several months later the action would be raised through the roof again. I don't think he would have cared if it was refinished or not. He may have been much more concerned about the way he felt he was treated or respected by someone more than the appearance. Of course, that is just speculation but it's as good a story as anyone's http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif .

Aug-16-2006, 10:17pm
I don't recall anyone saying it was totally refinished. Bill asked it be refinished and then noted they did not do that to it. However a light lacquer overspray does make more sense and would explain what he scraped off. I don't think anyone is doubting he did scrape something off and if it retained most of the original varnish finish it was not that. Darryl, ask Randy Wood about the April 25 Loar that Herschel got and it had a light factory overspray in lacquer. Randy was able to remove it without damaging the varnish. Randy could tell you just how light of an oversray it was. Also several Loars have had lacquer oversprays. Common practice prewar but not so sure about post war however there were probably a few old timers still left that knew the difference between Loar varnish and lacquer in 1952.

Aug-17-2006, 11:37am
So here's a fairly famous picture of Mr. Bill that is dated 1989 and I assume that this was taken after the restoration. The finish here looks pretty good in my opinion.

Jim Hilburn
Aug-17-2006, 11:53am
Why is it brown in the center? It looks almost like some brown stain was added and then worn in the picking area below the strings.

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-17-2006, 12:21pm
Here is one of the better pics of the mando prior to any restoration. I forget the date of this Frank Ray photo, but it is very late 60's or early 70's. Note that the original sunburst is retained under the strings from just above the bridge to just short of the fingerboard. It also goes out to about 3/8" from the F-hole. This is the typical July 9 pattern and color

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-17-2006, 12:26pm
Here's our bud CD working on the back cracks

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-17-2006, 12:30pm
This photo was in 1982. There is not much difference other than a bit more wear and the addition of the first peghead restoration

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-17-2006, 12:35pm
In this photo you can clearly see varnish based on the way it burnishes off. I had to fench polish repair a spot like that on mine on the same bout

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-17-2006, 12:37pm
a better look at it

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-17-2006, 12:43pm
It is very clear in this photo tha 73987 has an abnormally wide grained top for a Loar.

Gail Hester
Aug-17-2006, 1:19pm
Incredible photos Darryl, thank you.

Jim Hilburn
Aug-17-2006, 1:25pm
It wasn't brown stain, just dirt.

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-17-2006, 2:17pm
Here is one I may not have posted before. This is previous to vandalism, mid 80's maybe

Aug-17-2006, 3:25pm
"Later he accepts their free offer for repairs and in Sept. 1980 Dick Doan headed up the team to replace the scroll with a totally new veneer headstock, new tuners and a new fretboard"

Here (http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=download&ufid=398787ED0B983F8D) is a cool little recording made on November 3, 1980 at the Softrock Cafe in Vancouver, B.C....

"Didn't Greg Rich have the original peghead veneer/overlay from #73987?"

I have a pic of it in a frame that I am not supposed to know how I got... #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif

"It is very clear in this photo tha 73987 has an abnormally wide grained top for a Loar. "

And, it's miss-matched with a knot-shadow...
Kills the theory of AAAAAAAAA wood, no?

Aug-17-2006, 3:56pm
a pic of what?

Aug-17-2006, 4:52pm
Great Story...thanks Spruce, for posting!

Aug-17-2006, 5:05pm
Charlie told me around two years ago that Monroe's Loar was oversprayed with lacquer. How much of it, I didn't ask.
Chris Stanley

Aug-17-2006, 5:11pm
Thanks Bruce, that's fantastic. Is there more to that recording?

Aug-17-2006, 6:31pm
On the scraping, doesn't Sonny say in one of the bluegrass documentaries, that he heard a scraping sound, and turned to see Monroe had a pen-knife out and as scraping on the top.

Sonny asking what or why. Monroe answered something like:

"If it don't look so purty, than someone is less likely to pick it up and make off with it."

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-18-2006, 8:13am
# Sonny asking what or why. Monroe answered something like:

# "If it don't look so purty, than someone is less likely to pick it up and make off with it."
Now that story fits more closely with the evidence. I have always thought that he did it for some reasons that did not necessarily involve disdain for Gibson.

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-18-2006, 8:17am
Charlie told me around two years ago that Monroe's Loar was oversprayed with lacquer. How much of it, I didn't ask.
#Chris Stanley
This is true. Charlie and I have pondered this many times. The overspray is consistent with that found on other July 9's. It is a very light topcoat, and is nothing like that found in the 50's or 60's. It is like Ronnie Renos mandolin and at least two other July 9's

Aug-18-2006, 8:36am
But an "ORIGINAL" 1920's overspray, not done during a repair? Thus, NO overall BODY refinish or overspray during any of the subsequent (1950's or later) repairs?

Aug-18-2006, 8:38am
...see the Fern on ebay for sale S/N 86104. 80K Nice pics.

Aug-18-2006, 8:46am
I stand by the reason he removed "Gibson" from the headstock was to make a statement after the 1952 repair was or was not done. Removal of the finish could be another reason. Makes you wonder why Earl didn't do the same when Gibson replaced his fancy Granada inlayed fingerboard with a 1949 BowTie Inlay fingerboard. I would have been pissed!

Aug-18-2006, 9:00am
I cannot find Fern #86104 on ebay. Anybody care to post a link?

Aug-18-2006, 9:07am
Makes you wonder why Earl didn't do the same when Gibson replaced his fancy Granada inlayed fingerboard with a 1949 BowTie Inlay fingerboard.
Huh? That is the first I've heard of this story. When did that happen?

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-18-2006, 9:21am
Granada with orig fingerboard

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-18-2006, 9:21am
Granada with bowtie fingerboard

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-18-2006, 9:25am
Although those pictures are in reverse age order. #The banjo started original, got the bowties and then was changed back. Note: this is the banjo that he got from Don Reno in exchange for his "flying eagle flathead"

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-18-2006, 9:28am
Fern for sale
<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/Very-Clean-1927-Gibson-F-5-Fern-Mandolin_W0QQitemZ170015120805QQihZ007QQcategoryZ1 0179QQss
PageNameZWD1VQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem" target="_blank">link</a>

Big Joe
Aug-18-2006, 9:44am
Yes, Darryl, it was consistent with the repair shop in the twenties to early thirties to do a light lacquer spray over the top and not always any place else. Earl's fingerboard replacement is no surprise either for that era. Most manufacturers did those kind of things as standard practice. Remember, they were required under warranty to bring them to the same condition as the then current models. That would mean bow tie inlays on the banjo. Aren't you glad some of us have stopped those kind of actions? The factory only used what they had available to make repairs. They were not concerned about originality.

Aug-18-2006, 10:20am
Fern for sale
Buy It Now, only $89,500!


Aug-18-2006, 10:58am
With good Loars going for $160-$175k or more, $89.5 for that Fern doesn't seem like a bad deal. And, it is a GREAT Fern--I used to own it.

Aug-18-2006, 5:20pm
Clarification -- on the Sonny - Big Mon scraping:

The scraping just had to do with messing up the top finish so it would be less attractive to theft.

I was under the impression that the gouging of Gibson from the peghead was a different deal, and due to him being hacked at Gibson.

On current Loar pricing -- someone from Nashville recently told me Ronnie McCoury paid $350,000 for his.

That can't be right, can it?

Brian Aldridge
Aug-18-2006, 5:41pm
no bgmando, that is not right.

Aug-18-2006, 11:18pm
$350,000 for a Loar....yeah that's the going rate these days(HA!) Let's get that price on up there so me and Darryl can retire early! Big Joe, it would make sense to replace the whole fingerboard vs. doing each fret one at a time but that don't explain how Monroe wanted a new fret job in 1951 and he didn't get the same treatment as Earl and the Loar come back with the current F5 block inlay fingerboard(There have been several Loars with Block inlays). Maybe that was another problem is they didn't do that as he asked for new frets and tuners along with a refinish. Actually I guess Monroe was pretty happy they at least reattached the original neck. Poor PeeWee Lambert '22Loar sported an early 30's neck. Earl must have been happy with his new bowties as he is smiling the same in both photos!

Big Joe
Aug-18-2006, 11:56pm
It was not unusual to replace the fingerboard when some instruments were returned to Gibson for fret issues. When you consider the means they had available at the time, it was probably as quick and easy to just replace the fingerboard and rebind it than to just refret. That way you get the "factory new" look with the binding over the fret ends. We must remember most manufacturers were pretty good at building instruments, but that does not make one good at repair. They are often two different skill sets. In addition, it was quite likely the factory did not have luthiers who built the whole product, but just did their particular job and it passed to the next guy for the next job. With this in mind, they may not have had the ability to do a quality refret, while they obviously knew how to put a new fingerboard on the instrument. These boards were likely fretted before installation on the instrument. It is much easier than pounding frets over the extension! Replacing the fingerboard is not that complicated and was likely easier than dealing with planing and refretting the instrument. I would not be surprised if many of the fingerboards were not replaced to rid the instrument of the hump at the body joint. Replacing the fingerboard is an odd way to relieve this situation, but may have been the only method they knew to handle the issue. Of course, some of this is speculation but we do know they did replace fingerboards rather than do refrets.

Aug-19-2006, 4:11am
Darryl- I think that sound clip Bruce posted covers the peghead scrape very well. That's a fantastic piece of audio history. I'm thinking I might need to add a new part to the archive for stuff like this, hearing instruments described in the owner's own words sounds like a great addition http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Aug-19-2006, 11:02am
I'm thinking I might need to add a new part to the archive for stuff like this, hearing instruments described in the owner's own words sounds like a great addition

Have you considered adding soundclips of the instruments being played?

Aug-19-2006, 11:08am
I have a few of those, though only stuff I owned myself so far. Might be something coming up in that area, though it's a fairly subjective thing. I can only really demonstrate how they sound when I play them, for example.. check out "Tone Poets" to see what I mean

Aug-21-2006, 2:12pm
Someone recently told me that Monroe's main Loar mandolin that Charlie fixed was tap tuned to E, while most mandos are tuned to D.

Is that folklore or true?

Aug-21-2006, 5:29pm
What did you all use to play the Monroe sound clip that Bruce posted? It acted like it was a Window Media file... but my computer says it doesn't have the extension needed in order to play. Thanks in advance, I reckon I need a computer class http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Aug-22-2006, 1:57am
It played in itunes, and also my nokia phone software plays it..

Aug-22-2006, 10:43am
Charlie Derrington I believe told me that too the only time I met and talked to him. We were talking about Gibson's plans for the Monroe Model. And he mentioned how Monroe's was "tuned" or was resonant (or whatever ) to E. He also mentioned that it was unusual for that to be so. (I thought most were resonant at Eb not D).

Aug-22-2006, 11:03am
The significance of the tap-note may not extend beyond being used as a guideline during carving.. From talking to a builder friend, carving to a tap pitch every time will result in inconsistent mandolins because the resonant note of the top has little to do with the final sound/response

Chris Baird
Aug-22-2006, 11:10am
What is being talked about is the resonance of the internal air volume coupled with a body mode. #It is sometimes referred to as the Helmholtz/A0/0,0 resonance. It does have a significant effect on the tone of the instrument but it is more a factor of design than tuning as that mode is very hard to change. The main reason for a higher than normal 0,0 mode would likely be a narrower rim depth. #That is to say that the internal air volume is less than normal. #I've only measured one Loar and it was at 311 hz, D#/Eb.

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-22-2006, 11:20am
I cannot speak to any technical details on the subject, but I can say that of all the Loars I've seen, heard and played. #Monroes and the first one 70281 are absolutely different than all others is some fashion. #Some come close, some sound the same over a PA, but none have the same woompf in person.

Chris Baird
Aug-22-2006, 11:51am
Darryl, Can you elaborate on the "woompf"?

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-22-2006, 2:10pm
Darryl, Can you elaborate on the "woompf"?
The loose Monroe sound, where the whole instrument seems to breath, particularly in "C". Like comparing a '37 Herringbone to a really good later one

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-24-2006, 11:33am
Nice Loar signed L5 guitar available at Lowell Levingers site. Link and pic below

L5 (http://www.vintageinstruments.com/archtops.html#Thisone)

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-24-2006, 11:36am
It is quite rare to see maple used. Most are flamed birch

Aug-24-2006, 1:07pm
That is just dead sexy . . .

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-24-2006, 1:48pm
The bridge appears to be crafted by Monteleone. The remainder of the parts, including the pickguard appear original to me.

Aug-24-2006, 5:23pm
That back color is the best!

Aug-25-2006, 3:10pm
The color, the shape, the finish . . . I'm in love!

Darryl Wolfe
Aug-28-2006, 9:23am
A 1922 Gibson brochure and Price list recently sold on eb**. The seller was kind enough to answer my question as to whether the pricelist contained the F-5. The pricelist dated August 1922 DID include the F-5. The brochure did not.

So, this Aug 1922 pricelist is the earliest mention of the F-5 that we have found to date. Prior to that it was May 1923 pricelist, the late 1923 Catalog N and the undated presumably early 1923 F-5 mandolin tri-fold brochure.

Darryl Wolfe
Sep-12-2006, 1:58pm
Here are some detail shots. #73992 of course

Darryl Wolfe
Sep-12-2006, 1:59pm
hopefully I have captured something we do not normally see

Darryl Wolfe
Sep-12-2006, 2:02pm
Dusty Miller

Darryl Wolfe
Sep-12-2006, 2:04pm
Button (distressed)

Darryl Wolfe
Sep-12-2006, 2:05pm
woops, I need a 1/4" wrench

Darryl Wolfe
Sep-12-2006, 2:06pm
Now this is "scroll"

Darryl Wolfe
Sep-12-2006, 2:08pm
Not too much finish left from the nut to the fifth fret

Darryl Wolfe
Sep-12-2006, 2:09pm
almost an optical delusion

Darryl Wolfe
Sep-12-2006, 2:10pm
lighting is making the sunburst look off-center. It's not

Sep-12-2006, 2:11pm
Darryl, those are great thanks for sharing. Now for the stupid question, "hopefully I have captured something we do not normally see", what do you mean??

Darryl Wolfe
Sep-12-2006, 2:12pm

Darryl Wolfe
Sep-12-2006, 2:13pm
more buttons

Darryl Wolfe
Sep-12-2006, 2:14pm
The twisted neck syndrome that I have mentioned before. They all have it

Darryl Wolfe
Sep-12-2006, 2:18pm
Bridge. #That's a Daniel Smith bridge top (how weird is that when I make bridges) #Actually I learned from him. #He supplied the first ones for me in 1982, when I got this mando.

You can see the neck twist from this end too

Darryl Wolfe
Sep-12-2006, 2:27pm
Darryl, those are great thanks for sharing. #Now for the stupid question, "hopefully I have captured something we do not normally see", what do you mean??
I took many of this batch of pictures from "stupid angles" to hopefully get something I've never snapped a picture of

Darryl Wolfe
Sep-12-2006, 2:32pm
Like, under the pickguard

Darryl Wolfe
Sep-12-2006, 2:33pm
and tailpiece angle

Darryl Wolfe
Sep-12-2006, 2:36pm
There's those higher on the treble side tuners again

Chris Baird
Sep-12-2006, 2:36pm
Darryl, thanks! Those are the kind of pics I like.

Darryl Wolfe
Sep-12-2006, 2:38pm
last for now

Sep-12-2006, 4:46pm
Thanks for all of these great pictures Darryl...it makes us feel like we're right there looking at a Loar in person!

Sep-12-2006, 5:05pm
I see all of that now. Question about the neck twist. Does this cause problems with playing? Do you think that it could add to the different tone that the Loar has? You say that they all have them???

Sep-12-2006, 5:34pm
my snakehead has that too

Darryl Wolfe
Sep-13-2006, 9:31am
It causes no problem. I think it's just a jig thing. I guess there is some possibility it was intentional, but probably not. It causes the bridges to be consistently thinner on one side, and I used to think the top was carved that way, but it's just a function of the neck.

Sep-13-2006, 3:46pm
It causes no problem. #I think it's just a jig thing. #I guess there is some possibility it was intentional, but probably not. #It causes the bridges to be consistently thinner on one side, and I used to think the top was carved that way, but it's just a function of the neck.
I can see that it could be a jig thing, but could all of this work in connection to give the Loar it's unique sound?

Are the new DMM's being built to replicate this? If not, how can it be stated that they are replicas of the Loar?

Please, don't anyone think I am trying to cause a stir with these questions. I am truely interested in what gives the Loar it's sound. I have only played 1 for a breif 4-5 minutes, but I was hooked on this sound. If the neck has something to do with that sound, I am interesting in knowing this.

Sep-13-2006, 3:54pm
Ron, I think there are a lot of little minutae you can look at.. Charlie came up with a list of 30-odd little details that still vary from example to example.

Well I was chatting with a builder friend about this earlier tonight- his comment was that it's nearly impossible to get it dead straight, and it's probably just a building artifact. Do it intentionally vs just let it happen? Interesting question.

I think there's enough variety in the Loars out there that you can only go so far with this line of "how can it be stated that they are replicas of the Loar". There isn't just one design, or just one variation..

Sep-13-2006, 4:51pm
My '02 Gibson Master Model has the twisted neck syndrome Just like Daryls Loar. It is not quite as sever as the picture shows 73992 but it is deffintly twisted toward the treble side.

Big Joe
Sep-13-2006, 10:27pm
To a certain degree it is an optical illusion (or dilusion, depending upon one's version). The headstock is not cut exactly straight to the neck itself. This gives the impression of a twist that does not really exist. It appears greater in some more than others, but it not unusual to the Loars or the MM's. Check your mandolins and see what I mean.

Sep-15-2006, 10:53am
Thanks to Scott for posting the audio of the loarfest panel discussion (http://www.mandolincafe.com/loarfest/). I'd Forgotten some of the interesting subjects raised there

Darryl Wolfe
Oct-11-2006, 9:14am
Well, 74012, September 27, 1923 just popped out of it's closet where it has been unknown of since it was made. More info to follow.

Oct-11-2006, 10:30am
Hooray, I was starting to think it had been a while. More new perhaps in the works!

Since Darryl & I collaborated to get the F5 Journal and mandolin archive up on the web, we've added 15 Lloyd Loar signed instruments to the total known! It's a very fun case of "information loves company"

Oct-13-2006, 2:03pm
The suspense is killing me.

Troy Harris
Oct-14-2006, 9:40pm
When you say, “twisted neck”, do you mean that the neck is tilted to the treble side, so that the measurement/depth of the riser block/fingerboard extension at the 15th fret is lower on the treble side than the bass side? #Similar to the way a neck is set in a violin.

Darryl Wolfe
Oct-15-2006, 10:29am
When you say, “twisted neck”, do you mean that the neck is tilted to the treble side, so that the measurement/depth of the riser block/fingerboard extension at the 15th fret is lower on the treble side than the bass side? #Similar to the way a neck is set in a violin.
That is correct, However BigJoe makes accurate note that some of the twist is in the headstock itself, so not all of it is at the riser block

Kirk Albrecht
Oct-16-2006, 8:04am
Loar pics on the Folkway Music site - apparently someone brought in a one-owner Loar for inspection there. Great looking, appears to be all original, neck has ivoroid binding worn off in the first position from playing!

Darryl - do you know what serial number this is?

Here's the link -


Darryl Wolfe
Oct-16-2006, 8:50am
Thanks for the link Kirkola. I do not have dig pics of that mando. It is a Feb 18 24, and likely from the 753xx batch. I'll compare some of my film pics to narrow it down.

Oct-16-2006, 9:30am
Tuners don't look replaced--no sign of arrow end marks on the finish--another Gibson anomaly?

Oct-16-2006, 9:34am
Looks to me like the tuners have been replaced as there are clearly markings of round-end tuners in the "back of headstock" photo. Nice looking instrument!

Oct-16-2006, 10:02am
actually I see what Steve sees.. either arrow-ends (most likely) or the later 28 tuners were on there at some point. Nice looking one though!

Darryl Wolfe
Oct-16-2006, 10:15am
Agree, tuners have been replaced. #Makes sense connsidering that the mando has obviously been in the hands of a player. I feel certain I have seen this mando, just haven't figured out which one it is yet. I do have a suspicion (which one) though.

Oct-16-2006, 10:30am
OK Brothers Dan and Darryl, now what's the skinny on the "other" Loar that's reared it's pretty head?!

Darryl Wolfe
Oct-16-2006, 12:17pm
Here is a picture that Brian A sent me. #Two vintage F5's visit within 100 feet of where they were made. #Brian and Ron Thomasson. Too cool, thanks Brian.

Darryl Wolfe
Oct-16-2006, 12:20pm
Glassweb, no news..one simple email with "I have..." no reply back yet

Oct-16-2006, 2:58pm
Thanks for the update Darryl!

Ken Waltham
Oct-16-2006, 7:37pm
Oh, I know that Loar. Been a few years since I've seen it. Cool tuners, huh? Reworked F4 model tuners, only a couple of guys can do that............

Darryl Wolfe
Oct-17-2006, 7:23am
Oh, I know that Loar. Been a few years since I've seen it. Cool tuners, huh? Reworked F4 model tuners, only a couple of guys can do that............
Thanks for the info Ken. I started to say that they didn't look exactly like silver plated early Loar tuners, but I wasn't sure. Great job on the tuners, they "almost" fooled me. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Oct-17-2006, 7:37am
What a great foto.

Oct-17-2006, 10:17am
#Two vintage F5's visit within 100 feet of where they were made. #Brian and Ron Thomasson. #
So fill us in on the story of Ron's mandolin, is that a Loar? Sure looks different...

Darryl Wolfe
Oct-17-2006, 10:46am
Yes, it is a Loar. #It has strange green hued transluscent binding. #72210 Feb 26, 23

Oct-17-2006, 12:40pm
Darryl... it's interesting to note that some components of some Loar tuners appear not to have been silver plated. For example, one of my mandolins has tuners (5 screw plates) that are completely and obviously silver plated and my other F5 from the same signing date (3 screw plates) seems to only have the main plates plated. Tuner shafts, posts, gears, worms, button screws and washers seem to be unplated brass. I don't see any obvious signs that they were ever silver plated. Seems like "business as unusual" at 'ole Gibson! What do ya think?

Darryl Wolfe
Oct-17-2006, 1:10pm
Well, I'd have to study that. You could be correct, but I always assumed the plating had worn off.. You could be right though.

Oct-17-2006, 3:09pm
Yes, it is a Loar. #It has strange green hued transluscent binding. #72210 Feb 26, 23
"On top of old hot-tub, all covered with steam..." A great way to get that neat twisted-neck effect eh?

Yeah, it was that binding that really looked odd, thanks Darryl.

Darryl Wolfe
Oct-17-2006, 11:48pm
It has strange green hued transluscent binding. #72210 Feb 26,

Yeah, it was that binding that really looked odd, thanks Darryl.
To be quite honest, I have not seen that mandolin since 1982. #I think the binding has gotten stranger over that time frame (from what I see in the newer pics here)

Oct-18-2006, 12:27am
Looks like Ron's Loar is starting to show significant wear.
It always was an unusual cermona shading.

Brian Aldridge
Oct-18-2006, 11:43am
Just about all the wear on 72210 was done probably 15 years ago by a musician in Ron's band, who played it while Ron did his guitar or banjo stuff. I'm not sure why Ron let it go on so long. Ron is very careful with his mandolin, and even has worn a sock on his right forearm to prevent sweat from getting on it. I have never seen another Loar the color of Ron's or with that wierd binding.

Oct-18-2006, 9:38pm
Glassweb # Regarding the silver plating, Check this one out tuners (http://www.mandolinarchive.com/perl/show_image.pl?5151)

Oct-19-2006, 1:45am
Very interesting... thanks Chris. Perhaps the plating on certain parts was very thin and more likely to wear off.

Nov-02-2006, 9:00pm
Brain&Ron's Loar photos made me dig out the night my Loar was blessed on stage by the Master. Monroe in 1986 with 73005. He was one happy picker that night. The song being played on this photo is a new instrumental just written for the kind folks at Gibson "Lloyd Loar".

Nov-02-2006, 9:30pm
Was that song ever recorded.

Nov-02-2006, 10:47pm
Here is a version of The Lloyd Loar (http://world.std.com/~ereilly/lloydloar.wav) that I recorded on Bill's bus. It is the buses' motor running in the background producing the hum.

Nov-03-2006, 2:54am
Thanks Evan & Tommy, cool cut & story. That's on Skip Gorman's disk too, nice to hear the original!

If I remember correctly, Charlie was asked to name that tune when Bill played a few tunes for the folks at Gibson just after Charlie completed the repair job.

Darryl Wolfe
Nov-15-2006, 10:11am
Here are some interesting attributes to note. #On the left is Loar 73992, on the right is fern 85370. #Notice how Gibson utilzed the same overlay pattern shape (before the binding is applied) #This makes the peghead essentially larger for the triple bound on the face fern. #The triple binding tightens up the small scroll. #This also proves that it is likely profiled after the binding because the small scroll "drilled hole" is smaller. #The same applies to the large scroll cut. #Notice how it is narrower and shorter. #I measured the peghead width and it is wider by the difference in binding widths.

Now, from this fact one could possibly reason that this is why the necks on earlier Loars are so narrow. The neck width at the nut may have simply been fitted to the overlay instead of the other way around

Darryl Wolfe
Nov-15-2006, 10:15am
The same is not true of the body scroll. Notice how the button is smaller on the fern, but retains the overall outside the binding dimension

Darryl Wolfe
Nov-15-2006, 10:17am
They make a nice pair. #Notice how light the finish is on this particular fern

Darryl Wolfe
Nov-15-2006, 10:25am
I did not take a photo specifically to depict this, but I also noted that the round "drilled hole" part of the ferns' f-holes are significantly larger than the Loar, but the part in between is actually smaller/tighter than on the Loar

Darryl Wolfe
Nov-15-2006, 10:37am
The nice fern above is "available". PM Dan or myself for info.

Nov-15-2006, 1:37pm
What is the difference in the measurement at the nut between the Loar and the Fern?

Darryl Wolfe
Nov-15-2006, 3:43pm
about 3/32's...will double check tonight

Will Kimble
Nov-15-2006, 7:51pm
The Fern I measured was 1 3/32", most Loars I have measured are 1 1/16". #Not quite as much difference as 2 pieces of .040" b/w binding. #It would be a lot easier to taper that part of the headstock overlay to match the fingerboard than it would be to reduce the entire overlay by the width of the extra binding, so maybe they just tweaked the bottom section and moved on. #

I never noticed the overlays being so similar before, that is fascinating. #Thanks for the insightful post and picture Darryl!

Will Kimble

Will Kimble
Nov-15-2006, 7:54pm
As I look at them some more I think I disagree, the overlay part of the small scroll on the Fern headstock is narrower than overlay part of the the small scroll on the Loar. Not enough so it all works out to give the exact same outline, but different enough to think they were made from different overlays.

Same with the big headstock scroll, they look different to me, too.


Will Kimble
Nov-16-2006, 2:41am
Put a scrap of paper on your computer screen and mark the width of the overlay on the small scroll of the Loar at about 10 o'clock. #Then slide that over and compare with the Fern in the same spot. #You can do the same with the big scroll measuring horizontally across its widest spot. #

But this does bring up a really interesting question - why did they make the fingerboards wider and the necks a little chunkier on the Ferns? #Maybe Loar himself preferred narrower fingerboards as a player, that would explain the move to narrower fingerboards across the board on all of the Loar-era mandolins. #And it would then make sense that they might change it once he had left the building. #

Will Kimble

Nov-16-2006, 2:48am
We're pretty sure they came this way (picture from Jamie Wiens's website) minus the pocket and + inlay already in place:


They were prepared by the inlay "outsource" or supplier. A few unused ones have appeared on ebay in this same format of a large square with the inlay already in place. This also fits with instruments with the inlay in unusual positions, or truss rod pockets/tuner holes cut through the inlay.. a slight mis-fit would cause that.

Darryl Wolfe
Nov-16-2006, 8:31am
As I look at them some more I think I disagree.....
Good catch Will, you are right that they are somewhere in between. We know for sure that they had a brass template for the overlay. It appears that they may have constructed another one for the Ferns. I would think it too much work to slightly modify each overlay. Here is the brass template.

Darryl Wolfe
Nov-16-2006, 8:35am
I have posted this one before, but you can never have too much July 9 scroll

Nov-16-2006, 12:12pm
Hey is that monosteel strings on there? When did you switch or is that just an old photo?

Darryl Wolfe
Nov-16-2006, 12:21pm
good catch Tommy. I assumed that was a pic of my mando too. I think I swiped that one from Elderly. The July 9 with the written over F41515 number

Nov-16-2006, 3:24pm
Darryl and Tommy... give the GHS Silk and Bronze strings a try on your Loars - a match made in heaven!

Nov-16-2006, 4:33pm
I've not tried those but didn't like the Silk&Steel they had many years ago. I did like the Gibson SamBush(with a .16 in place of the whimmpy .14) and they were really fine until I broke a D string premature.

Nov-16-2006, 6:08pm
The Silk and Bronze are quite a bit different in tone and feel from the silk and steel... give 'em a try and you'll see what I mean. Much warmer and much more complex tone. I tried them, was very impressed, then gave the J74's another spin just to make sure I wasn't dreaming. I came running back to the silk and bronze!

Nov-16-2006, 9:46pm
Of course, I don't play a Loar, but Will Kimble turned me onto the GHS silk and bronze and they are all I use now. The do have a complex tone and sound even better when broken in. Lower string tension--which I need and like--while still getting some of the bronze tone (unlike the monel wounds or silk and steels which I used to use quite a bit before).


Nov-17-2006, 5:59am
New Photos of F5 #72206 (http://www.mandolinarchive.com/gibson/serial/72206) (recently sold at Skinner) from Anonymous



Nov-17-2006, 5:59am


Nov-17-2006, 5:59am

Jim Hilburn
Nov-17-2006, 8:42am
Is that a re-fin?

Jim Hilburn
Nov-17-2006, 8:50am
Back to the pegheads, I started looking at the binding seam in the big scroll on the top-bound one. Were the blk/whi. inner lines done separate from the outer ivoroid? I've noticed separations between them on several examples on the body that leads me to believe they did them separately.

Darryl Wolfe
Nov-17-2006, 8:59am
Back to the pegheads, I started looking at the binding seam in the big scroll on the top-bound one. Were the blk/whi. inner lines done separate from the outer ivoroid? I've noticed separations between them on several examples on the body that leads me to believe they did them separately.
agree, done separately on many or mosr. I think there is one very white type that was done in one pass though.

Nov-17-2006, 9:28am
Agree, the joins of the pieces don't always overlap.

Jim Hilburn
Nov-17-2006, 9:36am
Is this the one Monteleone refinished in lacquer?

Darryl Wolfe
Nov-17-2006, 9:50am
yes, and a very fine job of getting close to the original light tobacco color

Nov-18-2006, 4:23pm
Has Montelone come forth with detailed information on what all he did to this Loar and why it needed a refinish?

Bill Halsey
Nov-20-2006, 12:07am
We know for sure that they had a brass template for the overlay. It appears that they may have constructed another one for the Ferns. I would think it too much work to slightly modify each overlay. Here is the brass template.
Here are a couple of factoids guaranteed to cure insomnia in any but the most dedicated Gibson trivia fans... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sleepy.gif

These old headstock templates (sorry I'm late, see photo p. 9) bring to mind a couple of interesting points. This old brass pattern for the F-5 headstock presents a particular conundrum that I could not figure out since I first saw it in the '70s... When viewed head-on, the tiny layout holes indicating centers of the LH side string posts are slightly further north and closer to the edge on the lower G post, as seen on some of the side-bound '23s. Yet, for the reasons stated above, this template was obviously fashioned for the triple binding. I've not seen another old F-5 template at the factory, but might this one have been borrowed to lay out the holes only, on some of the single bound headstocks?

Also, the A-5 template had a slightly larger counterpart made from a sheet of ivoroid (as did several of the old templates), indicating the bound size of the headstock. It had lines scribed around its perimeter indicating the binding and offsets, and was marked with their widths. (BTW, this ivoroid template measured just a shade under 1-3/32" at the nut.) The brass template in the photo originally bore the marks "A-5" and the date "6-23-23" done with machinist's stamps, but appears to have had some other marks added. Of course, this date lines up perfectly, leaving about three months production time in front of the label date of 9-20-23 of #74003. Almost none of the many other old headstock templates were dated.

Nov-20-2006, 7:50am
New pictures of F5 # 73478 (http://www.mandolinarchive.com/perl/show_mando.pl?111) from Dexter Johnson of Carmel Music (http://www.carmelmusic.com)


Nov-20-2006, 7:51am

Nov-20-2006, 10:30am
I didn't see 73478 on the Carmel site. Did Dexter previously have it available for sale? Details, please.

The description on the Archive said "missing tailpiece" (cover??). Looks like an awfully good replacement.

Nov-30-2006, 10:00am
Bit of a coincidence, here are new pictures of F5 #73479 (http://www.mandolinarchive.com/perl/show_mando.pl?3529)



Dec-21-2006, 9:11am
New pictures of an October '24 H5:


Dec-21-2006, 9:12am
The back is nearly holographic


Dec-21-2006, 9:12am
More images of H5 #76969 (http://www.mandolinarchive.com/gibson/serial/76969)

Dec-21-2006, 1:07pm
i love those big dola bodyscrolls

any close ups of the scroll on hand ?

would make a good desktop background


Jan-13-2007, 4:52am
New in the inbox from Anon, some new pictures of F5 #74658 (http://www.mandolinarchive.com/gibson/serial/74658).. very nice!



Jan-13-2007, 4:53am


Jan-13-2007, 9:01am
Dan, just wondering how many new *undocumented* Loars/Ferns that surfaced last year - i dont recall it being very many. it would be kind neat to keep a running yearly tally on irrelavant stuff like that.
i know about two years back, it seemed like one was coming out from under the bed at a rate of 1 every other month.

Jan-13-2007, 11:09am
This is my table of discovery dates.. from when I started keeping them. 76547 turned up shortly after the launch of the archive, but I wasn't tracking dates for creation of records back then..

| Documented date | serial | model | day | month | year |
| 2006-11-28 07:07:53 | 77401 | L5 | 1 | 12 | 1924 |
| 2006-10-14 13:55:23 | 73479 | F5 | 29 | 5 | 1923 |
| 2006-10-11 09:24:05 | 74012 | F5 | 27 | 9 | 1923 |
| 2006-05-09 19:07:26 | 80264 | L5 | 1 | 12 | 1924 |
| 2006-03-12 16:40:00 | 73486 | F5 | 29 | 5 | 1923 |
| 2006-03-12 03:59:13 | 73485 | F5 | 29 | 5 | 1923 |
| 2006-02-06 20:33:13 | 71629 | F5 | 20 | 12 | 1922 |
| 2005-08-26 03:05:33 | 72055 | F5 | 8 | 2 | 1923 |
| 2005-07-31 09:42:45 | 76498 | H5 | 31 | 3 | 1924 |
| 2005-05-04 11:49:57 | 73006 | F5 | 25 | 4 | 1923 |
| 2005-04-14 16:13:16 | 75844 | F5 | 31 | 3 | 1924 |
| 2005-02-04 06:38:12 | 73994 | F5 | 9 | 7 | 1923 |
| 0000-00-00 00:00:00 | 72541 | F5 | 31 | 3 | 1924 |
| 0000-00-00 00:00:00 | 73728 | F5 | 9 | 7 | 1923 |
| 0000-00-00 00:00:00 | 72211 | F5 | 26 | 2 | 1923 |
| 0000-00-00 00:00:00 | 73718 | L5 | NULL | 0 | 1923 |
| 0000-00-00 00:00:00 | 76547 | F5 | 31 | 3 | 1924 |

That's just the Loars mind you..

Jan-17-2007, 7:06am
thanks dan - thats interesting info, but yeah, the ferns need to be in that batch too.

looks like we can estimate around half-dozen a year surfacing (including all LL signed H5, L5, etc)

i bet the ones that begin surfacing now are gonna be the ones in exceptional condition - probably long ago put away and just now the heirs realize what they have inherited!
a few years ago, here in NC, an heir just gave away a LL signed H5 to a local viola player, he didnt even know what it was!

Jan-20-2007, 8:07am
new pics of 72211



Jan-20-2007, 8:09am



Jan-20-2007, 8:51am


Jan-20-2007, 12:54pm
Great pics Dan!

Mikey G
Jan-20-2007, 3:27pm
73478 is a beauty! Is that classified as a dark tobacco sunburst or Cremona? I'm not sure that I've ever known the difference, but I love the color.

Darryl Wolfe
Jun-21-2007, 2:26pm
We can't let this thread die. #Here is a new brochure I paid dearly for. #It puts a new spin on things

Darryl Wolfe
Jun-21-2007, 2:31pm
If you want a closer look at the front and back, you can see it here

pdf1 (http://www.f5journal.com/pic_day/scan1.pdf)

pdf2 (http://www.f5journal.com/pic_day/scan2.pdf)