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  1. Bernie Daniel
    Bernie Daniel
    As the owner of a 2002 Fern (Danny Roberts) I approve of the group avatar!!
  2. Mike Snyder
    Mike Snyder
    2005 F5G, although I'm more an old-time picker, I love the "Gibson" sound and am working on some Monroe.
  3. lenf12
    I'm a long time Gibson owner. I bought my 1916 F-4 in 1975 and still have it. Also currently in the arsenal is a 1956 F-12 that Randy Wood re-voiced last year. I wish I still owned the Weber signed 1996 F-5G that was a killer mandolin but oh well. I just love all Gibson mandolins.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL
  4. Jim Murton
    Jim Murton
    2005 Bush model signed by danny roberts.This baby even makes me sound good....
  5. Mike Snyder
    Mike Snyder
    '05 was a good year. Yep.
  6. woodwizard
    Love those Gibsons! All of em! I have an "06 Goldrush but just added a beautiful all original 1919 A4 to the family. Finally got me an oldtime oval to play.
  7. Mike Snyder
    Mike Snyder
    I'm green with envy, wizard. I'd love an oval. When I'm with the fiddle / dulcimer crowd, I just pick lightly. An F5 and a heavy pick can be a bit much for old-time.
  8. woodwizard
    Thanks Mike, I'm so happy! Life is good! I'll try to post some pics. She's a beauty. IMHO
  9. Tony Sz
    Tony Sz
    I have a 96 F5-G (Weber signed) that isn't my main mandolin, but it has such a beautiful resonant voice, that I don't want to part with it. I've never had the extension scooped, but probably should. Then it would be a real contender for my #1 spot. I had an 88 F5-L (Carlson signed). Sold the 88, but not the F5-G.
  10. Bernie Daniel
    Bernie Daniel
    Hey lenf12,

    I have a 1952 F-12 that sent to Georgia for the Randy Wood treatment also -- he did the top, back and tone bars. From the outside you can't even tell he opened it up.

    I thought it made a big difference in the volume of the instrument. How did yours turn out?
  11. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey
    F-12s ... a favorite topic! I have a '51 my kid took away to college. Figured that was cheaper than having it surgically removed from his hands. Very sweet playing but nada in the volume department. I've considered the Randy Wood thing.

    I recently acquired a '21 A and am mulling sending it off to Big Joe for some work. Frets are worn, the fingerboard might need rehab, the tuners are shot, it wasn't playable at all with the original bridge, and there's a small, stable crack in the back. Other than that, it's perfect!

    Any thoughts on where the line is between playability and blasphemy with updating an old mandolin? I definitely want to take it to gigs and play it.
  12. Mike Snyder
    Mike Snyder
    I don't own vintage, so it's easy for me to say. Big Joe will know where that line lays. Tone and playability would come before historic preservation, to my mind. I hope to have mine worn out by the time I slip this mortal veil. Call Joe, I'm sure he will give you his honest opinion.
  13. Bernie Daniel
    Bernie Daniel
    IMO there are three kinds of mandolins: collectors, players, and wall-hangers

    Your Gibson is certainly NOT a wall-hanger and probably, from the description will never be a collector piece sooooooooooooooo --- so yeah if you want to play it I'd say you are well within proper mandolin "etiquette" to make whatever tasteful modification
    you need to in order to maximize its playability. IMO
  14. journeybear
    I think any repair necessary to allow you to play an instrument the way you want is fine. Instruments were made to me played (yes, I rhyme, from time to time), not hang on a wall and that's all. They acquired antique value much later in their lives.

    That said, you would not believe the amount of hand-wringing I had to go through to have tailpin endjacks installed on my instruments - but it had to be done so I could play gigs without worrying about signal cutout. It was an obvious and necessary decision, and only required - please stop now if you are squeamish - drilling a small hole where the strap button is. But I don't see the point in having one instrument to play out and one instrument to play at home. You want to play your best instrument at gigs so you can make the best music you can, and also so people can hear what a good mandolin sounds like. Music is made to be heard as well as made.
  15. Tony Sz
    Tony Sz
    "But I don't see the point in having one instrument to play out and one instrument to play at home."
    Kind of like buying an expensive umbrella and not wanting to let it get wet....
  16. woodwizard
    I agree with you Bernie on the 3 kinds of mando's except I would add that a collector can be a player too. Atleast my A4 is going to be both.
  17. Bernie Daniel
    Bernie Daniel
    Definately -- and some become collectables whether they want to be or not like Loar-signed mandolins.
  18. hank
    Hi all, That's one beautiful A4 wizard. You bought my fantasy.
  19. woodwizard
    Thanks Hank. That's amazing that you own a Gibson Goldrush and even have Blohm Handle buttons on it just like my Goldrush. AND you're from Arkansas! Cool.
  20. Jim Murton
    Jim Murton
    Anyone know whats up with the sam bush model with the fern inlay that was posted in the fourms a few months back?someone mentioned there would more info.If I overlooked it sorry.
  21. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey
    Just bought an Adam Steffey! Should have it Monday.
  22. jim_n_virginia
    Played a 1995 Steve Carlson signed Fern for years until I sold it and bought a 2002 Danny Roberts signed Fern from Herschel Sizemore in Roanoke last year.

    It looked exactly like my old Fern but the sound was just so much better due to an unusually thin finish on it.

    I just recently had all the frets replaced with stainless steel large banjo frets and had an excellent set up done along with scooping out the florida and MAN does my mandolin play the way I want it to play.

    This mandolin is the best I have ever had and just a joy to play!
  23. Bernie Daniel
    Bernie Daniel
    Jim -- I also have a 2002 Danny Roberts signed Fern and I swear it is an absolute tone monster.

    I say this because I am NEVER overly impressed or blown away by the volume or tone of any mandolin that I pick up now just because I am used to this Fern -- I just do not know if if is possible make a significantly better mandolin than this one happens to be - maybe some hyperbole here but -- its really is a very good mandolin.

    I am thinking that there was a special mix of luthiers in house during that period, and/or perhaps a supply of some exceptional tonewoods in the house?

    But for sure they were turning out some killer mandolins in the time period. Ditto my 2002 A-9 -- it is also a monster almost indistinguishable in sound from the Fern.

    The only complaint I have on the Fern is the finish is wearing a bit at the place I put my left thumb. I'll send you a PM this evening I'd like to compare serial numbers with you.
  24. Tony Sz
    Tony Sz
    What # Steffey are you getting? I have #13 and I think it's a fantastic instrument. I play other mandos, but I keep going back to the Steffey. It's my kind of mando!
  25. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey
    Hi, Tony. My Steffey is No. 38, signed by Danny Roberts. Can't wait to get it!
  26. jim_n_virginia
    Bernie I know what you mean by measuring all other mandolins by what our instruments sound like. I borrowed a Brentrup A style from cwilson on the board the other day to play at a jam because mine was across town and while it is a nice mandolin and beautiful to look at it sounded like a cigar box with rubber band strings compared to my Fern!
  27. Bernie Daniel
    Bernie Daniel
    Yeah Gibson really does make a heck of a mandolin now. When I first got on to the Cafe I was amazed at the latent hostility to the Gibson name by some.

    I used to get upset by it -- now I just consider the source and smile.

    Sure the Gibson company has done some dumb things and they have not always treated their loyal customers well -- but they still have the great tradition and history and, as well, we all know about individuals like Danny Roberts, Dave Harvey, Big Joe, and of course Charlie Derrington and many other (not to insult by leaving out any names) who go out of their way for you.

    When you know there is folks like this in the mandolin part of Gibson it makes ownership all the more sweet. I have a link to history in my hands when I take down my Gibson mandolins that no other brand has it -- simple as that.
  28. hank
    Scott, Great Snakehead A. You guys are killing me. How does her tone compare with your Blond F4 or was it an F2? Is the difference in tone sweetness, volume or bass? Response, sustain?
  29. Mike Bromley
    Mike Bromley
    My F9 has entered road warrior status...the top decided to crack along the glue joint from the tailblock to right under the bridge, requiring humidification, cleats & glue to repair. Hasn't affected the tone. That tone. Gibbies all sound similar, but different, to my ear. The good ones produce it with so little effort.
  30. Bernie Daniel
    Bernie Daniel
    mike: My F9 has entered road warrior status...the top decided to crack along the glue joint from the tailblock to right under the bridge, requiring humidification, cleats & glue to repair. Hasn't affected the tone.

    Sorry to hear that!

    Do you have any idea what caused it -- maybe it was the dry air this winter?

    Did you do the repair yourself? If so how on earth do you position and secure the clets for gluing though an f-hole?!
  31. Mike Bromley
    Mike Bromley
    Bernie, my house is 45-50% RH. I think I may have left the case lying flat on my heated floor one evening, warming the instrument to its yield point. I later move the case and didn't clue in, but I think that's what set the ball rolling. It actually popped as I was playing it. I heard a klunky 'pop' and looked down, seeing the wood edge exposed ever so slightly. The strings were immediately loosened.

    The repair was undertaken by Charles Shifflett of High River, Alberta. I understand he manipulated the cleats into position using a mirror and some kind of patience, rather than using a ball end guitar string through a tiny hole along the seam to pull it into place.

    I'm still in Iraq after leaving the instrument with Charles before departure.
  32. Mike Bromley
    Mike Bromley
    Duplicate post...removed.
  33. Tom Mullen
    Tom Mullen
    I have a 94 F5 L signed by Larry Barnwell, but owned and setup by Charlie D. It is a HOSS!
  34. Mike Snyder
    Mike Snyder
    '94/'95 were very good years at Gibson.
  35. lenf12
    Hi Bernie and Mike,

    Sorry to post such a late response. I think the $600 it cost to have Randy Wood re-voice my F-12 was some of the best investment in tone that I've ever made in a mandolin. It did sound somewhat louder when I got it back but Randy advised that it was essentially a brand new top and would require a good 12 to 18 months to really open up and develop its voice. Obviously, he was correct. He also said that it would sound like Sammy's "Hoss" and he was right as well. I've had the mando back for exactly a year and I get compliments on its tone all the time, so I am happy for the most part.

    My current thinking is that the rather thick lacquer oversprayed finish could be thinned down with some careful sanding with 600 grit wet/dry paper so as not to affect the stained sunburst. After that, I could micro-mesh some shine back into it. That might make it a bit louder still. I haven't done any of this yet but it could happen or maybe it should just go back to Randy for a complete re-fin and varnish finish. I certainly wouldn't mind if it looked a bit more like "Hoss".

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL
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