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View Full Version : It's Baaaack! Distressed 1942 F5 on eBay.



Zigeuner
Jun-28-2009, 1:59pm
Forgive me if someone else has started a thread on this instrument. I recall a thread from a while back when there was a lively discussion about whether the wear on the top was natural (long fingernails, overzealous play, etc.) or done to create some "ambience".

I don't recall if I said this before or if I said anything before but I've now come to a conclusion after looking at the picture closely for a few minutes.

Note that the damage to the top extends all the way to the very base of the fingerboard. It's in an area where a picker couldn't reach with a pick or a fngernail, even if he or she wanted to. If the damage were natural, it would be in areas where a picker could reach, not all the way to the edge of the fingerboard.

That and the extremely clean look of the exposed wood leads me to believe that someone did this deliberately. If so, it's really a shame.

I'm not a pro picker, still just a rank amateur, yet part of the fun for me has been taking good care of my instruments. I have far more experience with guitar making and repair than mandolins yet It really irks me that someone would think that this would be stylish.

So, I'm firmly convinced that this was a needless defacement of a very nice instrument. I'm probably not alone in this view since this mandolin has been listed several times and has yet to be sold. It seems to be on eBay every time I run though my vintage Gibson search.

Whay say ye?

Z.



http://cgi.ebay.com/VINTAGE-GIBSON-1942-F-5-MANDOLIN-RARE-WARTIME-FIND_W0QQitemZ260380686379QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_De faultDomain_0?hash=item3c9fe5f82b&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=65%3A12%7C66%3A2%7C39%3A1%7C72%3A1205%7C 240%3A1318%7C301%3A1%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A50

allenhopkins
Jun-28-2009, 11:08pm
I don't see it. There are scratches on the back, the finish is worn off the point of the headstock, the pickguard's been removed sometime in the past. I'm too lazy to look up the prior thread, but there was a very credible post by someone who knew the F-5's previous owner, and said that he was an aggressive player who "distressed" it by playing it.

I mean, the mandolin is 57 years old! And it's been played hard for decades. I think the reason it's coming up on eBay again and again is the $33K price. Though it's a vintage Gibson F-5, it's no Loar or fern, and that's a lot of money to spend over the internet for an instrument you can't try first. The question, IMHO, isn't the wear to the instrument, it's whether as a player's mandolin, it can put out enough volume and tone to warrant $33K. Collectors won't want it because of its condition, and musicians want some assurance that it's worth 50% more than a new DMM.

Not sure that worrying about how it got into the shape it's in, is focusing on the central issue. Any instrument in that price range is not likely to sell at the drop of a hat, regardless of how the finish got worn off.

Bernie Daniel
Jun-29-2009, 3:37am
Yes it is not a collector's piece that's for sure and 1940's F-5 carry no "reputation" -- having been so few made. They are indeed rare however.
Production stopped about 1942 and resumed in 1949 I think.

So the "right" person who has to have it will have to come along.

If I were to spend $33K on another mandolin right now that one would not be it -- I'd save 10K and get a DMM.

But nothing against it -- just my preferences but I think many would feel that way so it might take a while to move it.

But it sure is a cool looking mandolin.

MikeEdgerton
Jun-29-2009, 7:26am
Wasn't this the one where somebody here knew the owner that had made it that way?

pager
Jun-29-2009, 10:05am
I have a friend with a Gibson Fern that plays in a band. He has had his Fern for about 6 years, and the top is wearing through in about the same place. He plays so aggressively that he just cuts into the top. I kid him by telling him he needs to switch to a metal National resonator.

Jillian

f5loar
Jun-29-2009, 11:08am
Doesn't Mike Marshall's '24 Loar show the same type wear with bare wood? No doubt if this one did not have the excessive wear it would have sold several times over at $33K. However if it didn't have that wear it would be much more so it's been adjusted for the excessive wear.
I've seen prewar D28s with this much excessive wear go for more money then this and this is a very rare era for the F5. There are ways to repair/seal/stain bare wood and still keep the mandolin all original. Install a replica pickguard to cover up the repaired area and you would never notice it.

Bernie Daniel
Jun-29-2009, 6:04pm
f5loar: No doubt if this one did not have the excessive wear it would have sold several times over at $33K. However if it didn't have that wear it would be much more so it's been adjusted for the excessive wear.


Well that is surprising to hear. I would have thought that while indeed rare -- that the 40's F-5 would be comparable to the 30's versions and not necessarily at the top of the heap for sound (e.g., Bush's mandolin before it was worked over).

I guess you are thinking a collector would like to have it even if its not in excellent shape. But yeah a pick guard would be nice -- too bad the original owner didn't think that way!!

I'm wondering are the early 1940's the only time Gibson put anything but a Flowerpot or a Fern on an F-5. It sure looks strange to see that Fluer on there.

f5loar
Jun-29-2009, 7:46pm
I have a late '41 with a flowerpot. Only one found in the 40's and also have "Gibson" logo at slant vs. being straight across like Hoss. It's photos are in the archives. Their sound is there own distinct sound. The most famous 40's F5 I can think of is Barry Mitterholfs. He has always gotten nice tone out of his. The worst sounding '40's F5 was probably Lester Flatt's he used in recordings with Charlie Monroe. Sam's '37 has been reworked so much it no longer has that late 30's sound. Apollon's '37 F5 still in original condition is a great sounding mandolin. Not Loar sound but great sound. You can hear it on some of his old mini movie clips. I can think of a few more pros that used late 30's/early 40's F5s and they did just fine.

Bernie Daniel
Jun-30-2009, 7:22am
Thanks for the interesting perspective on these rare birds.

I do not know what it sounds like but it has mojo and cache up to here. If I had it I would have the open wood on the front carefully restained with correct water based dyes and perhaps lightly sealed with nitro -- then I'd buy a proper Gibson period pick guard and install it!

On the neck I would do like I did with a '52 F-12 I used to have.

On this mandolin someone had sanded off the finish on the back of the neck also. So I just restained the open wood with a combination of brown, black, and reddish-brown water based dyes until it nearly exactly matched the sections of the neck that still had finished wood -- this way you get the benfit of the wood feel and unless you look pretty close you do not know the finish is off.

Zigeuner
Jul-01-2009, 8:00pm
Thanks for the interesting perspective on these rare birds.

I do not know what it sounds like but it has mojo and cache up to here. If I had it I would have the open wood on the front carefully restained with correct water based dyes and perhaps lightly sealed with nitro -- then I'd buy a proper Gibson period pick guard and install it!

On the neck I would do like I did with a '52 F-12 I used to have.

On this mandolin someone had sanded off the finish on the back of the neck also. So I just restained the open wood with a combination of brown, black, and reddish-brown water based dyes until it nearly exactly matched the sections of the neck that still had finished wood -- this way you get the benfit of the wood feel and unless you look pretty close you do not know the finish is off.

That would certainly be an excellent way to repair it. I don't doubt that it could be repaired, especially if an OEM style pickguard could be installed.

I'm still skeptical that the damage is natural. It's just much too clean, forgetting other evidence. I have probably been watching too many CSI shows DISH Network, though. LOL.

It would be a nice instrument to own and play, even with the damage, yet at that price, I would have to have a much more perfect example. $30K is still a lot of jack in my household.....

Bernie Daniel
Jul-04-2009, 10:34am
Zigeuner: It would be a nice instrument to own and play, even with the damage, yet at that price, I would have to have a much more perfect example. $30K is still a lot of jack in my household.....

I agree with you -- - but it all depends on what floats your boat I guess.

Several in this string expressed a fondness for that mandolin and f5loar pointed out somethings about 1940's Gibsons F-5's that I did not know -- though I knew they were rare.

But as I mentioned earlier I really can't imagine this old mandolin, no matter how cool it looks, matching up to a new DMM in tone and projection so that is where my money would go and I would not have to part with $30K either

Hubert Angaiak
Jul-04-2009, 2:14pm
In my opinion, I really don't understand the distressed fave. Maybe it has to do with the pre-faded pre-torn jean pants. There are also road-worn electric guitars, another name for distressed. I love my mandos and take care of them. I can almost recall when a nick occurred... so each "mishap" has a story to it... scar stories. Then of course I avoid all sorts of possible mishaps and try my best to keep them as "mint" as possible. Maybe I'm missing the point about distressed gear, so the attraction here goes over my head, if it was distressed. Yeah.. would love to distress somebody's gear if they paid me... Sorry if I offend anyone out there.

allenhopkins
Jul-04-2009, 3:14pm
No offense. The topic has been discussed many times. There's a clear difference of opinion between those who see distressing as a phony attempt to add "mojo" to a new instrument, and those who really like the "vintage" look and feel that the Distressed Master Model F-5's, in particular, are superior instruments. I think it's more a matter of taste than anything. Personally, I (a) feel that it's sort of "posing" to have what appears to be an old, well-played instrument with an interesting history, when in fact it just came in a box from Musician's Friend, and (b) am perfectly capable of putting wear on a new instrument myself, thank you!

Why anyone would artificially distress an early '40's F-5 is pretty unclear to me. Given the variance among instruments, and the fact that the '42 has 65+ years of being played, it's quite possible it might blow away many new DMM's. But you can't tell that from looking at a pic on eBay, and $33K is a helluva lot of money with which to take a chance. With its age and relative rarity, the '42 has all the "mojo" it needs without scraping the finish off. The fad for distressed instruments is pretty recent; doubt that someone in the '50's would say, "This ten-year-old F-5 would look 'way cooler if I took it down to bare wood where the pickguard used to be."

Gibson (and Fender, and now, I think, Weber) wouldn't be selling distressed instruments at a premium price if there weren't a market for them. I personally think it's silly, but there are customers with serious money who don't, and more power to the sellers and the buyers, I say. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to find a ball-peen hammer and go distress my Honda.

Zigeuner
Jul-04-2009, 7:28pm
No offense. The topic has been discussed many times. There's a clear difference of opinion between those who see distressing as a phony attempt to add "mojo" to a new instrument, and those who really like the "vintage" look and feel that the Distressed Master Model F-5's, in particular, are superior instruments. I think it's more a matter of taste than anything. Personally, I (a) feel that it's sort of "posing" to have what appears to be an old, well-played instrument with an interesting history, when in fact it just came in a box from Musician's Friend, and (b) am perfectly capable of putting wear on a new instrument myself, thank you!

Why anyone would artificially distress an early '40's F-5 is pretty unclear to me. Given the variance among instruments, and the fact that the '42 has 65+ years of being played, it's quite possible it might blow away many new DMM's. But you can't tell that from looking at a pic on eBay, and $33K is a helluva lot of money with which to take a chance. With its age and relative rarity, the '42 has all the "mojo" it needs without scraping the finish off. The fad for distressed instruments is pretty recent; doubt that someone in the '50's would say, "This ten-year-old F-5 would look 'way cooler if I took it down to bare wood where the pickguard used to be."

Gibson (and Fender, and now, I think, Weber) wouldn't be selling distressed instruments at a premium price if there weren't a market for them. I personally think it's silly, but there are customers with serious money who don't, and more power to the sellers and the buyers, I say. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to find a ball-peen hammer and go distress my Honda.



Your point here pretty well sums it up. Any instrument that old will undergo its own natural aging process with little assistance from the owner.

For example, when I got my 1949 F-12 from my uncle's estate in the 1980's, it was literally unplayed, in the case with the original Gibson hanging tag. The finish had already started that natural Gibson crazing progression that comes from the mere passage of time. I didn't have to do anything at all.

Since then, it's got a few mnior pick scratches on the pickguard, though none on the top and the crazing has gotten a little more obvious. That's plenty good enough for me. In any case, it will just have to do.

Bernie Daniel
Jul-04-2009, 10:15pm
Zigeuner: For example, when I got my 1949 F-12 from my uncle's estate in the 1980's, it was literally unplayed, in the case with the original Gibson hanging tag. The finish had already started that natural Gibson crazing progression that comes from the mere passage of time. I didn't have to do anything at all.


Boy I'd love to hear that '49 mandolin - have you posted any videos or or mp3's of it?

I was really surpised that the first two years of F-12 production after the WWII shut down Gibson was making them with the slim headstock and the fingerboard resting on the top -- like an F-4/F-5.

Starting in 1951 they raised the fingerboard a bit and started using that "fat" peghead. I just sold a 1952 F-12 that had that.

How does your F-12 sound? Also I guess you know that Bob Osborne started off with a 1949 F-12 (someone tried to selling it for $40K on eBay which of course did not sell -- that is 0pretty high) a couple of years ago.

Zigeuner
Jul-06-2009, 11:12am
Boy I'd love to hear that '49 mandolin - have you posted any videos or or mp3's of it?

I was really surpised that the first two years of F-12 production after the WWII shut down Gibson was making them with the slim headstock and the fingerboard resting on the top -- like an F-4/F-5.

Starting in 1951 they raised the fingerboard a bit and started using that "fat" peghead. I just sold a 1952 F-12 that had that.

How does your F-12 sound? Also I guess you know that Bob Osborne started off with a 1949 F-12 (someone tried to selling it for $40K on eBay which of course did not sell -- that is 0pretty high) a couple of years ago.

Well, I'm not a pro player but within my limitations, I'd say that it sounds rather nice. It has opened up a great deal with the playing that I've done. My Uncle was a fairly good mandolinist but he mostly played a 1917 A-3 which I also received. It is a wonderful instrument. I understand that he received the '49 F-12 as a gift from a friend back in the day. I've posted pictures of both of them in the past but Here's another one of the F-12.

I think $40K would be a very high price for an F-12 given the desire of most collectors and players for the F-5's and other models with the raised fingerboard and more bling. Mine won't be for sale in any case.

http://i144.photobucket.com/albums/r188/gnm109/F-12Pictures001-1.jpg

Bernie Daniel
Jul-07-2009, 12:22am
Amazing! I just saw the '42 Gibson F-5 that is the topic of this thread being played in Karl Shiflett's band Big Country. It was on the Cumberland Highlander's show on RFD TV. It was the same one with the script "Gibson", the fluer and the wear on the top.

I came into it last and miss the band introductions. Also since David Long is his mando player now (and that was not David) I don't know who this man was or when it was recorded.

Two things. It is a GREAT sounding mandolin and when this guy would chop it was right over the big wear spot.

Gathright Customs
Jul-11-2009, 9:18pm
the mandolin player for carl on the highlanders was randy lindley from the houston tx area.i know randy and that is the mandolin and yes it is as real asit gets

D C Blood
Jul-11-2009, 9:38pm
Well...I can guarantee that he will never borrow my mandolin for a set!!!

Gathright Customs
Jul-11-2009, 9:55pm
the wear was not put there by randy it was like that when he got it

Bernie Daniel
Jul-13-2009, 6:11am
Gathright Customs: the wear was not put there by randy it was like that when he got it

Thanks for confirming that John!

I was pretty surprised seeing it since this thread was going on at the time. I am not familiar with Mr. Lindley but he was getting a great sound out of that mandolin.

As it is not a crime to wear the finish off a mandolin I was wondering who did and more how he/she did it? If you know that is.

It is a raised fingerboard right? I don't even leave marks on my pickguard -- how someone's pick could be hitting wood a half inch below that is hard to imagine.

Since the wood is scraped right up to the fretboard I get the idea some of the damage must have come from the upstroke as well? Strange.

jim_n_virginia
Jul-13-2009, 6:08pm
ACKKK! The headstock scroll has been broken and glued back on! DANG IT! And I was going to buy it! Not now though

broken scroll = lost mojo :grin:

grassrootphilosopher
Jul-14-2009, 4:54am
As it is for sale by Fullerīs Vintage Guitars you may notice that they are presumably a little bit on the pricey side. A 40ies F 5 would go for about 45.000 USD if it wouldnīt have the headstock crack, the missing pickguard, the replaced parts (whatever they are), the speed neck and the amount of wear. I find that the amount of wear takes of the least part off the price.

For the guys out there that might consider a DMM, you might be astonished how different a vintage axe might sound. Thereīs just something to it that speaks to you. Call it carrying power, tone and whatnot. New instruments just do not have it even though they may come close.

So for about thirtythousand this mandolin should make a pro picker happy.

Bernie Daniel
Jul-14-2009, 5:48am
For the guys out there that might consider a DMM, you might be astonished how different a vintage axe might sound. Thereīs just something to it that speaks to you. Call it carrying power, tone and whatnot. New instruments just do not have it even though they may come close.


I just traded away a nice sounding '52 F-12 to a pretty well known mandolin player it will be interesting to see what he does with it. It did sound good and yes these older Gibsons do sound different from the newer ones. In my ear they tend to be deeper, darker, and more husky sounding. Its personal preference.

But I think the thing that makes that 1942 so pricey is mostly its rarity not its sound? Although like I said the three tunes I heard in play on TV the other day sound great. And it has looks to kill for.

That must have been one of the last F-models made before the Kalamazoo plant shut down due to the war effort and they did not restart making F-models until 1949. So it is a pretty rare creature.