• The Charlie Derrington Interview

    Charlie Derrington InterviewFebruary 25, 1986 shortly after Bill Monroe was reunited with his July 9, 1923 Lloyd Loar signed Gibson F-5 mandolin (serial #73987) post-repair, photojournalist Scott Wright and Dave Higgs captured the following Charlie Derrington interview at the Gibson factory where the work on the mandolin was performed.

    As with other videos from the Scott Wright collection, this is the first public viewing and due to the important historical nature of the video it has been left intact as filmed that day.

    Lifelong bluegrass musicians and fans of Monroe's music, Higgs and Wright, both Denver based, were in Nashville to capture the events surrounding the return of Monroe's mandolin. Their efforts included over an hour of video.

    From the audio we know the interview was conducted shortly after the presentation of the mandolin.

    Of special note near the end of the video is work being performed on the second of Monroe's mandolins, serial #72214, dated February 26, 1923. Both instruments were vandalized November 13, 1985.



    While Monroe's July 9, 1923 mandolin is on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (see our feature article from 2010 with an interview with Mick Buck, museum curatorial director), the second mandolin's whereabouts is not known to the general public.



    The Story of Monroe's Gouged Headstock

    Unrelated to the Derrington Interview, but of interest to the history sorrounding Bill Monroe's mandolin, the following audio segment is Monroe talking about acquiring his famous mandolin and subsequent relationship with Gibson over the years when the headplate was replaced. Thanks to Bruce Harvie and the Mandolin Archive for the audio.



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    Comments 24 Comments
    1. Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
      Mandolin Cafe -
      Charlie heard saying Darryl Wolfe's name near the 16:16 mark!
    1. danb's Avatar
      danb -
      We miss you Charlie. Great stuff Scott, it really helps understand how it all came to be, how he felt about it, his energy, and what it meant to him to get a chance to work on "the mandolin".
    1. Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
      Darryl Wolfe -
      Great stuff..great find Scott...thank-you

      I could not quite understand what he was saying with my name, but believe it to be about my Loar being a few numbers away. At that given time, there were only 8 side bound July 9 Loars known and mine and Bills were the only ones remotely near Nashville

      The four mandolin photos in background are of his 81250 "unsigned Loar"
    1. DataNick's Avatar
      DataNick -
      Muchas Gracias Senor Scott!

      Also puts to bed the fact that Charlie D. DID build F5-L mandolins at Gibson, as reflected by my friend's Charlie Derrington signed 1987 F-5L.
    1. Bill McCall's Avatar
      Bill McCall -
      Very cool.

      thanks so much
    1. Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
      Ivan Kelsall -
      It's amazing to realise that Charlie was only 31 years old when he carried out this repair. To hold the position, & to have the responsibilities that he had at the Gibson Co.,he must have been one hell of a luthier - which he proved in spades in carrying out what must have been one of the most difficult instrument repairs ever at that time.

      I picked up on the term he used in describing the wood on BM's mandolin - ''brittle''. Was he meaning that it was certainly ''drier than most others'' ?. That's how i've always thought of the tone of BM's 'Loar' - dry,& i love it !!!,
      Ivan
    1. Timbofood's Avatar
      Timbofood -
      Lots of fun! Thanks Scott!
    1. MikeZito's Avatar
      MikeZito -
      Fascinating piece of history - thank you for bringing it to us!
    1. Mark Gunter's Avatar
      Mark Gunter -
      Awesome
    1. Will Kimble's Avatar
      Will Kimble -
      Chill bumps... Thanks Scott, miss you Charlie!
    1. CES's Avatar
      CES -
      Too cool! So glad we have the opportunity to see this...thanks, Scott!
    1. Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
      Ivan Kelsall -
      From it's appearance,it looks as though Bill Monroe's second mandolin was even more badly damaged than his main one !.
      It took me a half hour to get up the nerve to put 'model railroad spikes' in a banjo neck one time (5th string spikes) - faced with what Charlie had in front of him,i'd have collapsed !.
    1. bluegrasser78's Avatar
      bluegrasser78 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
      From it's appearance,it looks as though Bill Monroe's second mandolin was even more badly damaged than his main one !.
      It took me a half hour to get up the nerve to put 'model railroad spikes' in a banjo neck one time (5th string spikes) - faced with what Charlie had in front of him,i'd have collapsed !.
      I hear ya he was faced with a monumental restoration job, this would be me well heck most all of us Did Charlie ever get the "other Loar" fixed and where is that one? I've heard stolen/destroyed etc....
      Great interview wished I could make out what was being said on some of it, shops are loud..
    1. bluegrasser78's Avatar
      bluegrasser78 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Wolfe View Post
      Great stuff..great find Scott...thank-you

      I could not quite understand what he was saying with my name, but believe it to be about my Loar being a few numbers away. At that given time, there were only 8 side bound July 9 Loars known and mine and Bills were the only ones remotely near Nashville

      The four mandolin photos in background are of his 81250 "unsigned Loar"
      Hey Darryl 81250 was Derringtons at one point right? That is one great sounding mandolin..I think my friend Brian Aldridge has that one, he did a youtube video of that and a 34 F-7 comparison and well after the video needless to say I bought the 34 F-7 from him- really good even with the short neck. She's getting a long F-5 scale maple neck with the replica 7 inlays on a radiused ebony board on her now from Randy Wood. Can't hardly wait. I love them convert jobs
    1. JEStanek's Avatar
      JEStanek -
      Charlie is dearly lost to our community. I would say he's up there as an important a figure to the mandolin world as Loar and Monroe. That's just opinion and feeling and not meant to be hyperbole. His contributions here on this forum were considerable and thoughtful.

      Jamie
    1. MikeEdgerton's Avatar
      MikeEdgerton -
      Quote Originally Posted by bluegrasser78 View Post
      ... Did Charlie ever get the "other Loar" fixed and where is that one? I've heard stolen/destroyed etc.... Great interview wished I could make out what was being said on some of it, shops are loud..
      As far as I know it too as delivered to Monroe. Its whereabouts is currently unknown, well unknown to most of us, maybe somebody knows where it is but they don't seem to be talking.
    1. OlDanTucker's Avatar
      OlDanTucker -
      Why does it say "This Video does not exist". Evidently many others seem to think it does. Am I not looking in the right place?
    1. Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
      Mandolin Cafe -
      Quote Originally Posted by OlDanTucker View Post
      Why does it say "This Video does not exist". Evidently many others seem to think it does. Am I not looking in the right place?
      We assure you it's being watched right here on the Cafe.

      Can you see this version of it on the Vimeo site? https://vimeo.com/217228811

      To my knowledge this is not a Flash required video so that should not be the issue. Suggest you try on another device. We can see it on our iPhone 6 purchased in 2015 just fine.
    1. bluegrasser78's Avatar
      bluegrasser78 -
      Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
      As far as I know it too as delivered to Monroe. Its whereabouts is currently unknown, well unknown to most of us, maybe somebody knows where it is but they don't seem to be talking.
      Understandable, if one owned it you'd pry have people/collectors coming virtually out of the "woodwork" there's my pun for the day! I also heard it was stolen from Bill's son James? Kinda too bad that one and even Monroe's ole' faithful, I mean that's sitting in a glass case at the CMHOF. It was neat to see it when I was there in 2011 on a Honeymoon trip but, it should be played and loved, IMO
    1. OlDanTucker's Avatar
      OlDanTucker -
      Yes, Vimeo works. And it works on my iphone too.
      Maybe someone in IT is taking issue with watching bluegrass videos on my work computer...
      Thanks!