View Full Version : Monroe and Grisman vs. Gibson

Feb-05-2004, 11:14am
Hi all,

I am constantly lurking, but seldom post. I have seen many references in various threads and in articles regarding Mr. Monroe's dissatisfaction with Gibson at some point in his career. So much so, he actually gouged the Gibson name off his headstock. Would any of the Monroe authorities here care
to tell this story in some detail? Just curious. And if it has been discussed here before, could you point me to the relevant thread? Also, I heard that at one point David Grisman put black tape over the Gibson name on his headstock as well. Interested in that as well. Please share what you know.



Feb-05-2004, 11:42am
Grisman discusses this in an interview on Co-mando.com. As I recall his contention was that it didn't matter what instrument he plays, his sound is created by his technique. I don't think he mentioned any problem with the Gibson organization.

Feb-05-2004, 2:53pm
Mr. Monroe's motives were different from Grisman's. #He was often dissatisfied with Gibson's work after receiving his July mandolin back from their factory set-ups, re-frets, etc. #At one point or another, Bill knocked the headstock scroll off and carved out the name "Gibson".
Sonny Osborne tells the story of how he once witnessed Bill taking a pocket knife (or piece of glass) and scuffing up the surface of his mando recently returned from the factory. #Allegedly, the company had taken the initiative of re-finishing the top, but Bill viewed this as being unauthorized (and unwelcome) work. #As he explained to Sonny as he was scraping the new finish off, "It won't look so pretty now, so maybe no one will steal it!" #

But that was Bill Monroe! #My understanding is that he was more than grateful when Gibson performed the mammoth job of re-constructing his July mandolin from several hundred pieces in the 1980's. #

But that's a story best left to Charlie D, who actually undertook this amazing forensic work almost 20 years ago.

Feb-05-2004, 8:16pm
Kind of on the subject. I see many pictures that seem to avoid showing headstocks. When I find a picture showing one it often seems like the name is blurred out. I find this with most bands and players.

Feb-06-2004, 12:36am
I would think it is a simple statement from the Dawg to Gibson who has failed to come out with a Grisman signature
model. I mean the Dawg did stray from Gibson several times
but he seems to favor Loars and Ferns in the long run. I think most anyone would agree that Grisman has helped the sale of F5s as much anybody out there.
I would have thought they would do the Grisman Fern model
long before a Wayne Benson. Sort of a pecking order in

Feb-06-2004, 12:46am
One vote for a Grisman Signature model!

Feb-06-2004, 2:56am
Well, it would have to have Grismans endorsement, and if he's blacking out The Gibson logo on his mando...

Feb-06-2004, 8:23am
Would Gibson put a piece of tape on the Grisman Signiture model headstock or would you have to do that your self?


Tim Saxton
Feb-06-2004, 9:34am
I'll second the motion.

Tim Saxton

Feb-06-2004, 1:53pm
I just got a great recording of Bill explaining to the audience the whole Gibson story from his perspective...
Pretty cool recording....
He then rips into "Evening Prayer Blues" on his newly restored mandolin....

Jim Hilburn
Feb-06-2004, 2:29pm
So ,Bruce ,I always heard he scraped off the finish because it was put on so thick,as they did in those days ,but most accounts these days don't mention that. What did he say?

Feb-06-2004, 5:04pm
Bill's stories had a way of changing depending upon when and where he was at the moment, but one version is in his biogrophy "Can't You Hear Me Calling?" According to that acount he cut out the Gibson name with a pocket knife and scraped of the finish with a piece of boken glass because the Gibson factory had done some work to it that he did not authorize and he was afraid hat the new finish would hurt the tone of his July 9 Loar.