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Thread: Gibson head luthiers

  1. #1
    1966 F5 jochemgr's Avatar
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    Default Gibson head luthiers

    Can someone point me to who was in charge of Gibson Mandolins throughout the years? Not sure what the correct terminology is, would they be a head luthier or a foreman, or..? I mean the person who would have signed the label, although I understand they didn't sign them for a few decades (1950s-1970s?)

    Is there a list somewhere? I searched the cafe and the internet in general but am struggling to find much. I've got the Loar and Derrington years, but have huge gaps in my overview. I'm especially interested in the "middle years" between Loar and Derrington.

    Thanks
    Jochem

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    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    A few names come to mind, not sure if Roger Siminoff worked for Gibson or just consulted, Allen Jones (Glenn mandolin) was there, then left, now back but not in mandolin division, & Simeon (Sim) Daley before setting up his own shop in Nashville.
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    This comes up now and again. You have to dig to really find it.

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...ers-Signatures
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User trevor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Jim Triggs and Paul Schneider (Summit mandolins) worked there.. I don't know their positions.
    Trevor
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    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Mike,
    Thanks for digging for us.
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  9. #7

    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    I tried putting all that together, just the signers. It's a bit vague:

    Lloyd Loar (1923 - 1924)
    Stanley E. Rendell (1970 - 1973?)
    Arron Cowels (late 70s?)
    Steve Carlson (1983?-1995?)
    Dennis Balin (?)
    Phil Brug (199?)
    Larry Barnwell (199?)
    Bruce Weber (?)
    Charlie Derrington (2000 - 2004)
    Danny Roberts (2004 - 2005)
    Casey Sullivan (2005 - 2006)
    David Harvey (2008 -)

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    It would be good to note that nobody was signing labels after Lloyd left until decades later.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  13. #10

    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    True enough. I was going by this post:

    Quote Originally Posted by jim_n_virginia View Post
    I had a 1995 Gibson F5L that was signed by Steve Carlson
    http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...l=1#post697779

  14. #11
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Yeah, I get that but I'm thinking Steve knows when he left or at least he should know when he left. When I get some more time I'll see if I can find some more to firm up a few of the unknowns.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    My understanding is Steve Carlson started signing for Gibson in '87 (with exceptions) and left the company in '93, then Bruce Weber for the majority (with exceptions) until the move to Nashville and the founding of Weber etc. The exceptions being Brug, Barnwell and Balin.

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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Quote Originally Posted by OldSausage View Post
    I tried putting all that together, just the signers. It's a bit vague:

    Lloyd Loar (1923 - 1924)
    Stanley E. Rendell (1970 - 1973?)
    Arron Cowels (late 70s?)
    Steve Carlson (1983?-1995?)
    Dennis Balin (?)
    Phil Brug (199?)
    Larry Barnwell (199?)
    Bruce Weber (?)
    Charlie Derrington (2000 - 2004)
    Danny Roberts (2004 - 2005)
    Casey Sullivan (2005 - 2006)
    David Harvey (2008 -)
    One comment -- Danny Roberts was signing Gibson Ferns, Sams and Goldies in 2001 -- 2004 and maybe later.

    Also FYI -- from about 1969 until 1983 President of Gibson (part of the Norlin Company) signed a lot of Gibson F-5 and F-12 mandolins.
    Bernie
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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    I didn't know that Aaron Cowles signed in those "mid-late '70's". I do know that that when the "redesign" was in the works, Bill Halsey and Roger Siminoff were at Parsons St. quite a bit. So, Aaron's signature would have been "'75-'78?" Maybe a bit later. Always something to file in the mental attic!
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    1966 F5 jochemgr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Thanks all for the replies! It appears to be a very unclear area with many exceptions to the rule, like most things Gibson!

    Adding everything together from the different threads I come down to this

    Lloyd Loar (1923 - 1924)
    Julius Bellson (1925 - ?)
    Stanley E. Rendell (1970 - 1973?)
    Arron Cowels (late 70s?)
    Herman Meintz (? -1980 -?)
    Steve Carlson (1986-1993) Bozeman
    Jim Triggs (?)
    Dennis Balin (?) Bozeman
    Phil Brug (199?) Bozeman
    Larry Barnwell (1994 - 1995?) Bozeman
    Bruce Weber (1994? - 1997) Bozeman
    Charlie Derrington (2000 - 2004) Nashville
    Danny Roberts (2004 - 2005) (signing since 2001) Nashville
    Simeon Daley (?) Nashville
    Casey Sullivan (2005 - 2007)
    David Harvey (2008-)


    Roger Siminoff (?)
    Alan Jones (?)
    Helen Beausoleil (?)
    Paul Schneider (?)

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  20. #16
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Another question is : Were all of those people acoustic engineers and checked every mandolin to make sure it sounded like they wanted, or exactly what was the reason for signing labels? Probably just approving the craftsmanship....

    Willie

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    & 1922 and Before?
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  22. #18
    1966 F5 jochemgr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    & 1922 and Before?
    Orville Gibson (1900 - 1910)
    Not sure who was between Gibson and Loar.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Quote Originally Posted by jochemgr View Post
    Orville Gibson (1900 - 1910)
    According to Roger Siminoff, there is some doubt of Orville Gibson having much of a role at the factory at all:

    Beyond the sale of his patent, Orville’s contribution to the Gibson Company in the following few years is unclear, but it does appear that there was question about the quantity and quality of time he spent at the plant. Within a short period after the foundation of the company, the Board passed a motion that “O. H. Gibson be paid only for the actual time he works for the Company.” After that time, the records do not clearly indicate whether he was a full-time employee, a consultant, or just an occasional visitor to the factory.
    Jim

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  24. #20
    1966 F5 jochemgr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Interesting about Orville! Did he sign labels at all or did they just mention his name? I based it on the top tab on Mandolinarchive.com which says "Orville label 1900-1910".

    Just found these two:
    1981 Jerry Rowland - See Elderly current stock F-5L
    1986 Jim Triggs - See Carter Vintage current stock F-5

    That brings my rough list list to:
    Orville Gibson (1900 - 1910)
    Lloyd Loar (1923 - 1924)
    Julius Bellson (1925 - ?)
    Stanley E. Rendell (1970 - 1973?)
    Arron Cowels (late 70s?)
    Herman Meintz (1980)
    Jerry Rowland (1981)
    Roger Siminoff (?)
    Jim Triggs (1986 - ?)
    Steve Carlson (1986-1993) Bozeman
    Dennis Balin (?) Bozeman
    Phil Brug (199?) Bozeman
    Larry Barnwell (1994 - 1995?) Bozeman
    Bruce Weber (1994? - 1997) Bozeman
    Charlie Derrington (2000 - 2004) Nashville
    Danny Roberts (2004 - 2005) (signing since 2001) Nashville
    Simeon Daley (?) Nashville
    Casey Sullivan (2005 - 2007)
    David Harvey (2008-)


    Alan Jones (?)
    Helen Beausoleil (?)
    Paul Schneider (?)

  25. #21
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    The Orville label refers to labels that had his picture on them. Labels weren't signed before Loar as far as I know. Jim Triggs should be in the Builder's database, drop him an e-mail and he might be able to clear up the dates for you. Roger Siminoff was never a Gibson employee, he was a consultant, I doubt he signed any labels. You could e-mail him as well from his website. I still don't think Allen Jones signed any Gibson mandolins. He did work for Gibson pre-flood building. Prior to that he was building his own Glenn brand mandolins. I know Helen signed Flatirons, I don't know if she ever signed Gibsons. I believe she is still working for Weber, she could probably be contacted as well. Sim Daley is an e-mail away as well.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  27. #22
    Registered User David Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    I just got a call from "Picker's Supply" in Fredericksburg, Va. They took in a signed 1998 F5-G with a signed label. I will be going Saturday to take a look at it and might be able to fill in one of the mystery signers from 1998-2000.
    "A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to leave alone."

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  29. #23
    1966 F5 jochemgr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Probably signed by Derrington, I just found another '98 that was signed by him. (http://mandoweb.com/Instruments/Gibs...gton-1998/2476) Looks like he started signing in 1998. Please let me know though, especially if not signed by him.

    Thanks Mike for your additional information, much appreciated. I will look up their emails and share what I get back!
    Last edited by jochemgr; Oct-30-2014 at 6:03pm.

  30. #24
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Orville was the "Guy", without him this site may not even exist. The question I see here is not anything about "Head Luthier" but how many "Acoustical Engineers" had any credence?
    Lloyd Loar was an anomaly wasn't he? I am not saying it's a "Bogus" title but, how many other factories had them?
    Head Luthier is something else entirely, isn't it?
    What accreditation does one need to wear that mantle?
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  31. #25
    1966 F5 jochemgr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    My assumption at the beginning of the thread was that there would be a person in charge of building Gibson Mandolins who is signing the labels. As it turned out that is the case sometimes, but definitely not always. It looks like Triggs and Carlson were signing labels at the same time and so were Derrington and Roberts. The job titles have changed throughout the years, which makes sense.

    So I guess my question now is more three-fold:
    - Who was in charge of Gibson Mandolins over the years?
    - Did they sign labels?
    - Did anyone else sign labels during these years?

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