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Thread: Gibson head luthiers

  1. #126
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Yes, I knew Sim and Michael signed the underside of some of the tops. I even signed a few, but usually shied away from it. As far as which dealer Jacks mandolin came from is hard to say. Records were a bit sketchy at that time. You may be able to call Gibson customer service and see if they can help you. It may be a lost cause, but it cost you nothing to try.
    Have a Great Day!
    Joe Vest

  2. #127

    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Dacraw54 Looks like a Rick signature.
    Rick Gembar
    " Practice every time you get a chance." - Bill Monroe

  3. #128

    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Is that a guess based on the signature or is Rick Gembar an actual person who worked at Gibson?

  4. #129
    Registered User slimt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Quote Originally Posted by Dacraw54 View Post
    Is that a guess based on the signature or is Rick Gembar an actual person who worked at Gibson?
    Bozeman had a actual Custom shop at the time.. and if Im not mistaken they were building Gibson Mandolins out of the old Flatiron Building in Belgrade Montana.. Ren Ferguson was part of Flatiron at the time prior to Heading up the Head Luthier posistion at Gibson Montana under Manager Larry English.. It went from Belgrade to Nashville.. I bet Ren would know a fair bit of who was Building those..

    a good friend of mind Bill Gonder did a artical about the whole ordeal.. he worked alond side of Ren and John , and Kevin and so on.

    .
    Gibson Flatiron is closing its mandolin plant in Belgrade and moving to Nashville, Tenn.

    The plant’s 32 employees were told Friday. All are being offered a job either in Nashville or with a sister plant, Gibson Guitar in Bozeman, said Bruce Weber, general manager of the mandolin plant.

    Gibson Flatiron opened on Frontage Road in Belgrade in April 1994. It and the guitar company are controlled from Gibson’s corporate headquarters in Nashville.

  5. #130

    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Rick was GM of the Gibson custom shop in 1994. He signed labels then.
    That is a real person.
    " Practice every time you get a chance." - Bill Monroe

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  7. #131
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Apparently he was let go by Gibson in 2017. Beloved by the Les Paul community. I just found a 1994 F5G label he signed.
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  8. #132
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    I'll update the list as the OP hasn't been on in quite a while.

    Lloyd Loar (1922-1924) *
    Stanley E. Rendell (1970-1975) *
    Carl Spinoso (1976) *
    Wilbur D. Fuller (1978) *
    Richard J. Doan (1978-1981) *
    Aaron Cowles (1978-1984) *
    Herman Meints (1979-1980) *
    Rick Brown (1980) *
    Marvin Lamb (1980) *
    Donald L. Doans (1981)
    Jerry Rowland (1981) *
    Jim Triggs (1986-1989)
    Greg Rich (1989)
    Steve P. Carlson (1986-1993) *
    Rick Gembar (1994)
    Bill Monroe (1991-1995) *
    Phil Brug (1993-1994) *
    Bruce D. Weber (1993-1997) *
    Bobby Osborne (1993-1996) *
    Larry Barnwell (1994-1995) *
    Paul Schneider (1997-1998) *
    Simeon C. Daley (1998-2001) *
    Charles Derrington (1987-2005) *
    Danny Roberts (2001-2005) *
    Doyle Lawson (2003?)
    Casey Q. Sullivan (2005-2007) *
    Ricky Skaggs (2007-2008)
    David W. Harvey (2007-2015) *
    Sam Bush (2012) *
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  9. #133

    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Thank you,MikeE.

    I read and re-read the names in the ongoing list of Gibson mandolin signers/head luthiers etc. Lots to read between-
    the-lines as the years rolled by.

    Two of my mandolins have three of the names;Steve P. Carlson,Bill Monroe,and Charles Derrington.
    Yes,I'm bragging.

    Helps me make up for poor playing abilities.

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  11. #134

    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Here is a name I have never seen on a Gibson label. Any idea who it is.


    Click image for larger version. 

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    '02 Gibson master model #70327 02-01-02
    '25 Gibson A-4 Snakehead #82626
    '06 Hicks #1 and #2 F-5 still not done

    Gibson F-5 Master Model Registry

  12. #135
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    It looks to me to read Jeff Allen, which is apparently the name of a Gibson USA General Manager:

    https://www.lespaulforum.com/slubart...e/supreme.html

    I'm wondering if it's the same Jeff Allen who has managed Martin's Custom Shop.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
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  13. #136
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Adding Jeff Allen.

    Lloyd Loar (1922-1924) *
    Stanley E. Rendell (1970-1975) *
    Carl Spinoso (1976) *
    Wilbur D. Fuller (1978) *
    Richard J. Doan (1978-1981) *
    Aaron Cowles (1978-1984) *
    Herman Meints (1979-1980) *
    Rick Brown (1980) *
    Marvin Lamb (1980) *
    Donald L. Doans (1981)
    Jerry Rowland (1981) *
    Jim Triggs (1986-1989)
    Greg Rich (1989)
    Steve P. Carlson (1986-1993) *
    Rick Gembar (1994)
    Bill Monroe (1991-1995) *
    Phil Brug (1993-1994) *
    Bruce D. Weber (1993-1997) *
    Bobby Osborne (1993-1996) *
    Larry Barnwell (1994-1995) *
    Paul Schneider (1997-1998) *
    Jeff Allen (2000) *
    Simeon C. Daley (1998-2001) *
    Charles Derrington (1987-2005) *
    Danny Roberts (2001-2005) *
    Doyle Lawson (2003?)
    Casey Q. Sullivan (2005-2007) *
    Ricky Skaggs (2007-2008)
    David W. Harvey (2007-2015) *
    Sam Bush (2012) *

    * Denotes there is a picture of the label in this thread
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  14. #137
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    This has recently surfaced. An A-5G from Montana with three signatures on the label. In the interest of maintaining this history the label is below. The signatures appear to be Neal Klemmer, Helen Beausoleil, and Jean Swan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Apr-15-2019 at 11:05am.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  15. #138
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    The new list would be:

    Lloyd Loar (1922-1924) *
    Stanley E. Rendell (1970-1975) *
    Carl Spinoso (1976) *
    Wilbur D. Fuller (1978) *
    Richard J. Doan (1978-1981) *
    Aaron Cowles (1978-1984) *
    Herman Meints (1979-1980) *
    Rick Brown (1980) *
    Marvin Lamb (1980) *
    Donald L. Doans (1981)
    Jerry Rowland (1981) *
    Jim Triggs (1986-1989)
    Greg Rich (1989)
    Steve P. Carlson (1986-1993) *
    Rick Gembar (1994)
    Bill Monroe (1991-1995) *
    Phil Brug (1993-1994) *
    Neal Klemmer, Helen Beausoleil, and Jean Swan (all signed the same label) (1996) *
    Bruce D. Weber (1993-1997) *
    Bobby Osborne (1993-1996) *
    Larry Barnwell (1994-1995) *
    Paul Schneider (1997-1998) *
    Jeff Allen (2000) *
    Simeon C. Daley (1998-2001) *
    Charles Derrington (1987-2005) *
    Danny Roberts (2001-2005) *
    Doyle Lawson (2003?)
    Casey Q. Sullivan (2005-2007) *
    Ricky Skaggs (2007-2008)
    David W. Harvey (2007-2015) *
    Sam Bush (2012) *

    * Denotes there is a picture of the label in this thread
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  17. #139
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    This has recently surfaced. An A-5G from Montana with three signatures on the label. In the interest of maintaining this history the label is below. The signatures appear to be Neal Klemmer, Helen Beausoleil, and Jean Swan.
    Was looking for something and saw this...in his Gibson/Flatiron Division years Bruce started teams of builders who built models from start to finish (except finish : ) and they got to sign them when proficient. People could also build their own instrument on their off hours for cost of materials. The mandos moved to Nashville before the whole thing really got into high gear. Helen is a long time builder, and still around.

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  19. #140
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Added a new year for Carl Spinoso. The new list is:

    Lloyd Loar (1922-1924) *
    Stanley E. Rendell (1970-1975) *
    Carl Spinoso (1976-1977) *
    Wilbur D. Fuller (1978) *
    Richard J. Doan (1978-1981) *
    Aaron Cowles (1978-1984) *
    Herman Meints (1979-1980) *
    Rick Brown (1980) *
    Marvin Lamb (1980) *
    Donald L. Doans (1981)
    Jerry Rowland (1981) *
    Jim Triggs (1986-1989)
    Greg Rich (1989)
    Steve P. Carlson (1986-1993) *
    Rick Gembar (1994)
    Bill Monroe (1991-1995) *
    Phil Brug (1993-1994) *
    Neal Klemmer, Helen Beausoleil, and Jean Swan (all signed the same label) (1996) *
    Bruce D. Weber (1993-1997) *
    Bobby Osborne (1993-1996) *
    Larry Barnwell (1994-1995) *
    Paul Schneider (1997-1998) *
    Jeff Allen (2000) *
    Simeon C. Daley (1998-2001) *
    Charles Derrington (1987-2005) *
    Danny Roberts (2001-2005) *
    Doyle Lawson (2003?)
    Casey Q. Sullivan (2005-2007) *
    Ricky Skaggs (2007-2008)
    David W. Harvey (2007-2015) *
    Sam Bush (2012) *

    * Denotes there is a picture of the label in this thread
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  20. #141
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Added a new year for Carl Spinoso. The new list is:

    Lloyd Loar (1922-1924) *
    Stanley E. Rendell (1970-1975) *
    Carl Spinoso (1976-1977) *
    Wilbur D. Fuller (1978) *
    Richard J. Doan (1978-1981) *
    Aaron Cowles (1978-1984) *
    Herman Meints (1979-1980) *
    Rick Brown (1980) *
    Marvin Lamb (1980) *
    Donald L. Doans (1981)
    Jerry Rowland (1981) *
    Jim Triggs (1986-1989)
    Greg Rich (1989)
    Steve P. Carlson (1986-1993) *
    Rick Gembar (1994)
    Bill Monroe (1991-1995) *
    Phil Brug (1993-1994) *
    Neal Klemmer, Helen Beausoleil, and Jean Swan (all signed the same label) (1996) *
    Bruce D. Weber (1993-1997) *
    Bobby Osborne (1993-1996) *
    Larry Barnwell (1994-1995) *
    Paul Schneider (1997-1998) *
    Jeff Allen (2000) *
    Simeon C. Daley (1998-2001) *
    Charles Derrington (1987-2005) *
    Danny Roberts (2001-2005) *
    Doyle Lawson (2003?)
    Casey Q. Sullivan (2005-2007) *
    Ricky Skaggs (2007-2008)
    David W. Harvey (2007-2015) *
    Sam Bush (2012) *

    * Denotes there is a picture of the label in this thread
    Maybe the date range for David Harvey should be updated?
    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.

  21. #142
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Updated to reflect David Harvey's continued activities.

    Lloyd Loar (1922-1924) *
    Stanley E. Rendell (1970-1975) *
    Carl Spinoso (1976-1977) *
    Wilbur D. Fuller (1978) *
    Richard J. Doan (1978-1981) *
    Aaron Cowles (1978-1984) *
    Herman Meints (1979-1980) *
    Rick Brown (1980) *
    Marvin Lamb (1980) *
    Donald L. Doans (1981)
    Jerry Rowland (1981) *
    Jim Triggs (1986-1989)
    Greg Rich (1989)
    Steve P. Carlson (1986-1993) *
    Rick Gembar (1994)
    Bill Monroe (1991-1995) *
    Phil Brug (1993-1994) *
    Neal Klemmer, Helen Beausoleil, and Jean Swan (all signed the same label) (1996) *
    Bruce D. Weber (1993-1997) *
    Bobby Osborne (1993-1996) *
    Larry Barnwell (1994-1995) *
    Paul Schneider (1997-1998) *
    Jeff Allen (2000) *
    Simeon C. Daley (1998-2001) *
    Charles Derrington (1987-2005) *
    Danny Roberts (2001-2005) *
    Doyle Lawson (2003?)
    Casey Q. Sullivan (2005-2007) *
    Ricky Skaggs (2007-2008)
    David W. Harvey (2007-2019) *
    Sam Bush (2012) *

    * Denotes there is a picture of the label in this thread
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  23. #143

    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Hello Mandolin Cafe Forum,

    Well looks like I am a bit late to the party since the
    the last post was a year and a half ago, but
    I just found this recently and find it fascinating.
    Mostly because about a year ago a
    Gibson 5-AG was acquired for
    $1750 from Fiddler's Green Music Shop
    in Lockhart Tx, (used to be in Austin).
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Gibson mandolin built
    December 17 1990
    by Steve P. Carlson
    Gibson Master Model A-5G
    number 0117129
    Gibson Inc Boseman MT USA



    Before that I had my starter mando,
    a Kay mandolin, which was acquired on Craig's List
    in a swap for a Hughes and Kettner Tube Rotosphere (Digital Leslie)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p76UNOX9CVU
    I think I got gypped because the Rotosphere was worth about
    $200 and the Kay was worth about $150. Subsequent research
    revealed that the only thing that was Kay about the starter mando
    was the logo on the tail piece. And that it probably was from a flood
    of low end mandos from Japan and Korea in the folk music craze
    in the 60's and 70's The Asian manufacturers bought loads
    of Kay tail pieces and slapped them on
    less expensive instruments as marketing bate. The Kay is very pretty with some
    nice inlay and it is about a half an inch thicker than any other mando
    I have ever seen. This makes the Kay a little deeper and louder
    than most mandos. But a chord or double stop played at the nut
    is in tune but played above, say, above the tenth fret, is sour and out of tune.

    The move to the 5-AG from the Kay was a huge jump in sound
    and playability. Some trepidation was experienced because the
    Gibson was purchased sight unseen from Lockhart to Dallas.
    But a friend, Gerald Jones, who is something of a legend
    in the Dallas acoustical music scene, said that Fiddler Green is
    a righteous group that would stand by their sales.

    Particularly interesting is the list of 33 luthiers which
    includes Bill Monroe (certainly an interesting coincidence,
    like a guy named Willie Nelson working at the Martin guitar shop),
    Ricky Scaggs and Sam Bush.

    Also to have Steve P. Carlson join the thread was very cool.
    The mandolin players that have been met at acoustic and
    bluegrass jams in Dallas speak of Mr. Carlson in reverent tones.

    This a ton of good information.

    Thanks.

    Allen Pitts
    Dallas Texas

  24. #144
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Allen...
    I've not reviewed the six pages of this post so I'm not sure if this was mentioned before but... during the time Stan Rendell was Gibson president from around 1968 or 1969 to around 1973. He looked down his nose at Gibson's mandolin business - not believing they were worthy instruments - and because of that he thought it would be fun if various folks - NOT the mandolin builders - signed the mandolin labels! @#$!. Carl Spinoso followed Stan as President and he didn't know better so the everyone-can-sign-one fiasco continued. Tom Fedders was plant manager (not President) - he came out of the furniture business and really didn't understand the stringed instrument business, and didn't know what a mandolin was let alone care who signed one. Steve Carlson rightfully signed instruments because his company - Flatiron - had an arrangement with Gibson to build Gibson mandolins during the period when Gibson was moving from Kalamazoo to Nashville (1984-1985). Actually, I think the move started in 1983. After a few years, the deal soured for Steve (very much more of Gibson's doing than Steve's doing!!!) and around 1987 mandolins were being made back at Gibson, but in Nashville - and eventually under Charlie Derrington's watchful eye. The primary mandolin builders at Gibson Kalamazoo during the everyone-can-sign-one period were Aaron Cowles, Dick Doan, and Wilbur Fuller - and they were the real builders and were good, sensitive, caring, and focused luthiers!
    R

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  26. #145
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Allen's post and my previous response triggered some memories and I wanted to share them to shed a bit more light on the relevance of mandolin production at Gibson Kalamazoo.

    The "original" Gibson building was a three-story structure built in 1917. Over the years, several additions were made with the last expansion in the early 1960s to a total of about 120,000 square feet, I think. In addition to office space, the new buildings featured several streamlined production lines for solid body, semi-hollow body, acoustic guitars. The production line in the main plant was a showpiece. But the original building wasn't always part of the "ten-cent tour" - it housed a prototype/R&D shop, a few offices, the parts department (under the watchful eye of Wanda Montgomery), the tool crib, a steam bending room (where one guy rolled all the banjo rims and steam-bent the mandolin ribs, one two banjo production benches (I don't remember for sure), and three workspaces for the mandolin luthiers. So, while the mandolin soundboards, backboards, and necks were carved in the main plant, all mandolin construction was done in the original building. Bear in mind that mandolin sales prior to 1978 were meager at best. They really didn't make a dent in the company's sales reports So, while mandolins were clearly part of Gibson's heritage, it's little wonder how letting anyone who happened to walk in the front door sign a label.

    R

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  28. #146
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Quote Originally Posted by AllenPitts View Post
    ...Particularly interesting is the list of 33 luthiers which includes Bill Monroe (certainly an interesting coincidence, like a guy named Willie Nelson working at the Martin guitar shop), Ricky Scaggs and Sam Bush

    If you go through the entire thread it kind of morphed and ended up really being a list of people that signed Gibson labels and has nothing to do with "Head Luthiers". Lloyd Loar never had that title at Gibson and you'll note that he starts the list. The title was left intact so that people looking for this thread could find it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  29. #147
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    It looks to me to read Jeff Allen, which is apparently the name of a Gibson USA General Manager:

    https://www.lespaulforum.com/slubart...e/supreme.html

    I'm wondering if it's the same Jeff Allen who has managed Martin's Custom Shop.
    As usual, the more information that comes to light about Gibson, the more questions are raised. I can tie up a couple of loose ends.

    Jeff Allen was indeed GM of Gibson USA, and he is the same Jeff Allen who now works for Martin.

    Rick Gembar is a real person. He came to Gibson in late 1993 to be GM of the Custom Shop when it became a standalone division. He held the position for 23 years.

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  31. #148
    Mandolin Production Head dhmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    I started signing Gibson mandolins in 2007 and I continue to do so!

    David Harvey

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  33. #149
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Yeah, we should probably take that end date out of the list. Updated to remove the David Harvey end date.

    Updated to reflect David Harvey's continued activities.

    Lloyd Loar (1922-1924) *
    Stanley E. Rendell (1970-1975) *
    Carl Spinoso (1976-1977) *
    Wilbur D. Fuller (1978) *
    Richard J. Doan (1978-1981) *
    Aaron Cowles (1978-1984) *
    Herman Meints (1979-1980) *
    Rick Brown (1980) *
    Marvin Lamb (1980) *
    Donald L. Doans (1981)
    Jerry Rowland (1981) *
    Jim Triggs (1986-1989)
    Greg Rich (1989)
    Steve P. Carlson (1986-1993) *
    Rick Gembar (1994)
    Bill Monroe (1991-1995) *
    Phil Brug (1993-1994) *
    Neal Klemmer, Helen Beausoleil, and Jean Swan (all signed the same label) (1996) *
    Bruce D. Weber (1993-1997) *
    Bobby Osborne (1993-1996) *
    Larry Barnwell (1994-1995) *
    Paul Schneider (1997-1998) *
    Jeff Allen (2000) *
    Simeon C. Daley (1998-2001) *
    Charles Derrington (1987-2005) *
    Danny Roberts (2001-2005) *
    Doyle Lawson (2003?)
    Casey Q. Sullivan (2005-2007) *
    Ricky Skaggs (2007-2008)
    David W. Harvey (2007-Present) *
    Sam Bush (2012) *

    * Denotes there is a picture of the label in this thread
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  34. #150
    Fingertips of leather
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    Default Re: Gibson head luthiers

    Jerry Rowland 1980, in 83380065, if I understand the numbering correctly.
    Play it like you mean it

    Not all the clams are at the beach

    Arrow G
    Clark 2 point
    Ratliff CountryBoy A
    00-21 (voiced by Eldon Stutzman)

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