• 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 9 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 !!!,
    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 -