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Thread: Montana Gibson Mandolin Specifications

  1. #51
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana Gibson Mandolin Specifications

    Thanks, Nick, for pointing that out.
    No doubt, I first mentioned the "bolted-on" neck in this here thread, mea culpa! Got the term from that Charlie Derrington (mandozine) interview, they compared "bolted-on" and "compound dovetail". I carelessly thought of the Montana Gibsons. "Tenon-mortise with bolt" sure is more appropriate. Sorry for any confusion.
    I've seen quite a few of those Montana Gibsons, but never saw one with a failed neck joint. I'm curious, does any of you know of neck joint problems?

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  3. #52

    Default Re: Montana Gibson Mandolin Specifications

    Nope, not me. Have a '91 Gibson F Carlson signed and neck is perfect.

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  5. #53
    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana Gibson Mandolin Specifications

    Henry,

    I always value and learn a lot from your posts!

    Knock on wood so far with my 94' F5L...no neck joint problems. A friend of mine just picked up a 1993 F5G, I think Weber signed....killer mando!
    1994 Gibson F5L made by Bruce Weber's team


    "Mandolin brands are a guide, not gospel! I don't drink koolaid and that Emperor is naked!"
    "If you wanna get soul Baby, you gots to get the scroll..."
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  7. #54
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana Gibson Mandolin Specifications

    Quote Originally Posted by DataNick View Post
    Henry,

    I always value and learn a lot from your posts!

    Knock on wood so far with my 94' F5L...no neck joint problems. A friend of mine just picked up a 1993 F5G, I think Weber signed....killer mando!
    Not to add any confusion to this thread but I once talked to Bruce Weber about this (maybe 4 -5 years ago) in a conversation about my Weber octave I happened to ask him if the neck joint in a Weber was the same as those in the original Flatirons. As I recall he said "they are very similar" - -then explained that he had made some slight changes that he considered improvements on the original "tenon-mortise with bolt" Flatiron design. He also mentioned that at the time of that conversation that Weber had not seen a case of neck joint failure with one of their mandolins. I'd say that is further evidence that this design is more or less "bullet proof".
    Bernie
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    Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.

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  9. #55

    Default Re: Montana Gibson Mandolin Specifications

    Very interesting info about the Gibsons made in Montana. Based on past posts, it seems like the Gibson employees after the move from Bozeman to Nashville were trying very hard to distinguish their mandolins from the previous ones by claiming their strict adherence to Loar specs. But based on what Steve Carlson said about the use of Derrington's Loar as a model, it appears that the only feature that was more authentic was the dovetail neck joint.

    Being a Flatiron owner, I am curious on how the carved top Flatirons were designed and how they might have differed from Loar specs. Did Steve Carlson shed any light on the development of the Flatirons?

  10. #56

    Default Re: Montana Gibson Mandolin Specifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Daniel View Post
    Not to add any confusion to this thread but I once talked to Bruce Weber about this (maybe 4 -5 years ago) in a conversation about my Weber octave I happened to ask him if the neck joint in a Weber was the same as those in the original Flatirons. As I recall he said "they are very similar" - -then explained that he had made some slight changes that he considered improvements on the original "tenon-mortise with bolt" Flatiron design. He also mentioned that at the time of that conversation that Weber had not seen a case of neck joint failure with one of their mandolins. I'd say that is further evidence that this design is more or less "bullet proof".
    And they must have a high level of confidence in that design per their (Weber's) instructions to owners re truss-rod adjustment.

    Been a while since I've read it, but as I recall they encourage owners to maintain a flat fingerboard (zero relief) by cranking the truss-rod when necessary. And not to be concerned about a little popping and cracking noises.

  11. #57
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana Gibson Mandolin Specifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Martin View Post
    Very interesting info about the Gibsons made in Montana. Based on past posts, it seems like the Gibson employees after the move from Bozeman to Nashville were trying very hard to distinguish their mandolins from the previous ones by claiming their strict adherence to Loar specs. But based on what Steve Carlson said about the use of Derrington's Loar as a model, it appears that the only feature that was more authentic was the dovetail neck joint.

    Being a Flatiron owner, I am curious on how the carved top Flatirons were designed and how they might have differed from Loar specs. Did Steve Carlson shed any light on the development of the Flatirons?
    Steve, rest assured and stay content with your Flatiron.
    "Loar specs" is rather vague to begin with, since all Loars differ to some degree. That said, neither the Montana F5 nor the Nashville version is really close to Loar specs, not even the DMM. They all may be fine mandos, but no finger board width (at the 20th fret), no body scroll pattern, hardly a neck set is very loarish.

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  13. #58
    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana Gibson Mandolin Specifications

    I am posting the Charlie Derrington interview video that Scott has shared with the mandolin community here in this thread as a ready reference that answers obviously and by inference a lot of questions on the whole Gibson-Flatiron-Derrington-Carlson dynamics that were in play.

    1. Charlie D. states in the interview that he was hired in Aug 1984 to be "all things mandolin" at Gibson during the transition period from Kalamazoo to Nashville, and that he was the self described "Mandolin Man". He was not only in charge of repair & warranty work but also was tasked with "building" new F-5L mandolins, of which he said because of his various duties it took him about 2.5 months to build one and get it out the door.

    2. Charlie D. also states that currently (Feb 86') there was a substantial backlog of new F-5L mandolins ordered that were yet to be built. We know from Jim Triggs accounts on his website that he (Triggs) started at Gibson in Sept 86' in huge measure to specifically build new Gibson F-5L mandolins. This hire was at Charlie D's request and Henry J. approved of it.

    Think of what's going on here: because of the Monroe repair, Charlie D. has huge cred in the company, Gibson has bigtime visibility, bluegrass is becoming more and more popular, with new bands starting up and hence the demand for new F5 mandolins and Gibson can't keep up. from Henry J's perspective as a new owner, he's concerned primarily with guitars, and just wants somebody to deal with this mandolin thing to keep it out of his hair.

    3. F5-L production during this time with Triggs primarily building them was according to Steve Carlson about 2/month with still a tremendous backlog. Enter the much publicized events referenced previoulsy in this thread and others of NAMM 87' and the eventual Flatiron deal later that year.

    4. The result of the Flatiron deal is that now Gibson has a complete luthiery production force dedicated to mandolins, and pumping them out like crazy. Steve Carlson has his own ideas about how an F5 should be built, and Charlie D. believes in a strict adherence to Loar principles. Add to this dichotomy that Bruce Weber is hired on at this time, learns the mandolin luthiery trade at the feet of Steve Carlson and that would certainly figure into his own decision to start Weber mandolins years later.

    5. After the Flatiron acquisition, Steve Carlson is given full reign by Henry J. who obviously feels his mandolin "problem" is now solved, but this leaves Charlie D. on the outside looking in and certainly led to him leaving Gibson to start Guitars & Gear in Nashville.

    Last edited by Mandolin Cafe; Jul-03-2019 at 1:27pm. Reason: correcting video embedding
    1994 Gibson F5L made by Bruce Weber's team


    "Mandolin brands are a guide, not gospel! I don't drink koolaid and that Emperor is naked!"
    "If you wanna get soul Baby, you gots to get the scroll..."
    "I would rather play music anyday for the beggar, the thief, and the fool!"
    "Perfection is not attainable; but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence" Vince Lombardi
    Playing Style: RockMonRoll Desperado Bluegrass Desperado YT Channel

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    Default Re: Montana Gibson Mandolin Specifications

    (New to this forum...)

    I recently bought a 1994 Gibson F5g. I was thinking about replacing the tailpiece with a James Tailpiece and was wondering whether the original tailpiece was silver or nickel. It seems to be nickel but I could not find a definitive answer from this forum. Anybody knows for sure?

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  15. #60
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana Gibson Mandolin Specifications

    AFAIK only the Monroe F5 and very few custom F5s had silver plated metal parts. I'm quite sure the F5g tail pieces were nickel plated or even from solid nickel/"German" silver like the '20s examples, not sure about the latter.

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