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Thread: Monroe Signature F5s

  1. #1
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    Default Monroe Signature F5s

    What is the story on these mandolins? I've played just one (not this one) but it also one of the better sounding Gibson F5s that I've played. (I realize that tag is on many ads in classifieds)

    Were they a special build beyond signature?

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/95423#95423

  2. #2

    Default Re: Monroe Signature F5s

    I am interested also.... there were 200 built. But you see them for sale regularly, I think you could find 15-20 for sale right now. Were the bought as investment thinking they would go up in price, owners are just getting older or were they not that great to justify the price and the original owners have moved on?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Monroe Signature F5s

    I have seen some finished in lacquer and some in varnish. Most seemed to be over priced IMO. Hopefully someone who knows more that myself will chime in.

    Charles Johnson has #70 and he is asking $9,500.00

    http://www.vintagemandolin.com/93gib...oe70of200.html

  4. #4

    Default Re: Monroe Signature F5s

    The specs were meant to be consistent with the original, including the case. A typical Carlson signed F-5L from the late 80's or early 90's runs about 6,000 - 8,000 depending on condition, and can go higher if there's provenance (Charlie Collins 86' at Carter Vintage). Typically limited edition pieces bring a higher price as a collector's item and I've seen the Monroe items bring anywhere from $8,000 - $11,000. Since Bill's son recently licensed several makers in China to do reproductions of his instrument, the relative uniqueness of these has been negatively affected... I'm seeing many more available, and few moving quickly at the current pricepoints. Once lowered to the 8,000-9,000 range, they do sell. Quality and tone vary across the production, so you're best to play it for yourself before investing that kind of money.

    To be honest, if you were going to spend 8-10K, there are likely more playable instruments with better tone that will hold value or appreciate. A Collings MF5-V, or an Ellis F-5, are two of a long list in that range, especially if used.

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    Default Re: Monroe Signature F5s

    If you believe all of the hype....I read years ago where the F-5L was made to the exact specs of the original Loars, later I heard Gibson say that the Master Models was the exact specs of a Loar and now they claim the Monroe model is made to the exact spec of his Loar, so who and what do you believe? I am sure all of those mandolins were great sounding but do we really need the hype about them for years to come....Just my opinion...

    Willie

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    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Signature F5s

    Quote Originally Posted by dschonbrun View Post
    ...Since Bill's son recently licensed several makers in China to do reproductions of his instrument, the relative uniqueness of these has been negatively affected...
    dschonbrun,

    Do you have any more info on this?


    To the OP,

    Here's more links to threads on this topic that you can check out...Monroe Model

    I've always thought that the Montana produced Monroe model was essentially the same period F5L with the flower pot inlay instead of the fern, and a label with Mr. Monroe's signature, and a spirit varnish finish vs. lacquer on some of them...the collectibility is in the signature, not the build/tonal quality/characteristics of the instrument. You can get a lot better bang for the buck by just getting a Montana F5L if that's what you want.
    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
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    Default Re: Monroe Signature F5s

    Quote Originally Posted by dschonbrun View Post
    The specs were meant to be consistent with the original...
    There are two of those Monroes that sport Red Spruce tops...some of the first trees of that species I cut up...
    Not sure what #s, but they apparently did get made...

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  11. #8
    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Signature F5s

    To the OP,

    AFAIK the Monroe Model specs would be consistent to the Montana Gibson F5L specs as noted below except for the aforementioned headstock inlay and finish.

    Top: Sitka Spruce
    Sides/Back: Maple
    Neck: Maple
    Neck Joint: Tenon-Mortise with bolt
    Headblock/Tailblock: Mahagony
    Nut: Mother of Pearl (MOP)
    Fingerboard: Ebony and flat, with MOP position dots and elevated extension
    Bridge: Two piece ebony
    Binding: white-black-white grained ivoroid.
    Tuners: Schaller with their original large diameter bushings, gold-plaited
    with pearloid buttons
    Headstock Inlay:"The Gibson" inlay seemed somewhat large, and the script (a late '20s open style as on recent Ferns) not an accurate copy of older scripts
    Finish: Cremona style lacquer
    Endpin: Ebony
    Bracing: parallel
    Tuned sound chambers
    Tailpiece: 20's style gold plaited
    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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    Registered User mandobassman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Signature F5s

    I am familiar with 2 of the Monroe signature mandolins. Both belonged to people I knew when I lived in Houston back in the late '90s. One was owned by Craig Coleman of the Coleman Brothers and, although I never had a chance to play it myself, I remember it being a very nice sounding mandolin. Not outstanding or anything to go crazy over but nice. The other was owned by a friend that I played in a band with. I played it pretty frequently and even recorded a couple of tunes on it. I have to say that it was a really average mandolin. At the time I owned a 1984 Kentucky KM-850 and, for the most part, I actually liked the Kentucky better. The Gibson Monroe was a tad louder but there wasn't really that much difference in tone. In fact I recorded a CD and used my Kentucky on all but 2 tunes and, several years later, was listening to the CD and honestly could not remember or tell by listening which mandolin I used the Monroe on. Not that it was a bad sounding mandolin, but for the $8500 that it cost in 1994(?), it wasn't really any better than my $400 Kentucky.
    I have heard that they were pretty inconsistent. Some were very good and some were average.
    Larry Hunsberger

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    Registered User jan281969's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Signature F5s

    How would the BOLT-ON neck effect the sound/feel of the instrument,------Negs/Pos'------??????(thats not loar specs)
    1980 Gibson F-5L

  16. #11
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    Default Re: Monroe Signature F5s

    Quote Originally Posted by jan281969 View Post
    How would the BOLT-ON neck effect the sound/feel of the instrument,------Negs/Pos'------??????(thats not loar specs)
    Sssssh! Not BOLT-ON but Mortise-Tenon with bolt(screw)....you'll raise the ire of ˇpapá gordo with that characterization...LOL!

    Some say there's a tonal difference, some say no difference; some say there are neck joint failures with the mortise-tenon, some say there are not...
    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

  17. #12

    Default Re: Monroe Signature F5s

    I played one for years and have had a couple of others ,I think they were really good at that time and then when the Master Model came out in the early 2000,s it sorta stole the show of high end modern Gibsons
    Danny Clark

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    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Signature F5s

    I played a couple of those Monroe Models a while back and found them both superior to all other ca. 10 Montana F5s I played, two of these I owned BTW.
    The typical technical features on those Monroe Models are:
    flower pot
    silver plated metal parts, Schallers w/ real MOP knops
    side binding, I believe single bound head stock
    no pick guard
    special case
    spirit varnish for half of the batch

    As mentioned above, real Loars are way different in many respects.

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  21. #14

    Default Re: Monroe Signature F5s

    Quote Originally Posted by Danny Clark View Post
    I played one for years and have had a couple of others ,I think they were really good at that time and then when the Master Model came out in the early 2000,s it sorta stole the show of high end modern Gibsons
    I have a Monroe mandolin story. Back in the early 90's I used to drive my son back to school in Amherst Ma. on Monday mornings then go to the music store in town, Fine Fretted Instruments I think it was called, it may still be there. Great store incredible selection of new and used guitars, mandolins banjos Martins, Gibsons, Flatirons, Tippins, it was heaven and the staff was very friendly. They had a Monroe Gibson that was as good a mandolin as I've ever played. #140 for $5000.00. The owner said this was the fifth one he had, the first sold for $3000, the next three $4000 and now it was 5000. Well, I couldn't swing the price and then one week I came in and it was gone. The young lady said Oh that mandolin you liked was sold last week, did I know a mandolin player named David Grisman? He was playing a gig in the area, came in, liked it too and bought it. Oh well, at least my taste in mandolins has been affirmed by the Dawg himself.

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