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Thread: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

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    Bluegrass Mayhem marbelizer's Avatar
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    Default 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    I'm looking for info on luthiers who worked for Gibson during '95 and earlier. The luthier who signed my mando had poor handwriting and it's hard to make out the letters of the signature.

    The first name might be Ray or Paul the last name begins with B, Bru... maybe? Anyone have knowledge of this era of Gibson builders?

    I've been combing through classifieds and google without much luck.

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    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    Post a photo of the label, that will make it easier.

  3. #3

    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    I am headed out the door so cant right now. If you have not tried the search function you might. I seem to remember this topic being discussed.

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    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    Guessing Phil Brug?

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    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    Take a look at the list on the last pages of this thread and see if it looks like the signature on your mandolin. This list is one of the great features of the cafe started by one member and contributed to by many.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Bluegrass Mayhem marbelizer's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    I've been off line for awhile. Here's a photo of the signature.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    Larry barnwell
    Danny Clark

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    Bluegrass Mayhem marbelizer's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    It looks like Phil Brug is the most likely.

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    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    That's Larry Barnwell's signature. Here's another one.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    That's Larry Barnwell's signature. Here's another one.
    Yes, thank you! Both you and Danny Clark affirm it's Barnwell. Your photo link is extra confirmation. I really appreciate you guys clearing this up for me. Many thanks.

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    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    My 94' F5L is also signed by Larry Barnwell on Dec 12, 1994.

    Bruce Weber personally told me at NAMM a couple of years ago that Mr. Barnwell had administrative oversight, but it was Bruce himself and his team that built my mandolin, and yours most likely has the same provenance in the nature of its build.

    BTW: if F-5V is the model designation on the Gibson Master Model label, then you also indeed have a fairly rare model, a varnished F5L made in Bozeman. Pics would be nice if you could post a few!
    Last edited by DataNick; Feb-21-2017 at 4:18am.
    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: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    I'll be offline for awhile. I'll post photos later. It might be a day or so before I get them posted. I don't see many f-5v on line and I figured they might not have made many.

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    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    I have never figured out why anyone would want to sign anything with writing that can`t be read....a lot of sports stars do it as well as mandolin signers...If it was me I would want people to be able to read my name on something that is as good as an F5v...Just my opinion and that doesn`t account for very much...

  19. #14

    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie Poole View Post
    I have never figured out why anyone would want to sign anything with writing that can`t be read....a lot of sports stars do it as well as mandolin signers...If it was me I would want people to be able to read my name on something that is as good as an F5v...Just my opinion and that doesn`t account for very much...
    Doctors?

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    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    My 1996 F - 5V was signed by Bruce Weber.
    If you're going to Wintergrass - I'll be there with it. Be good to compare mandos.

    Kirk

    - - - Updated - - -

    My 1996 F - 5V was signed by Bruce Weber.
    If you're going to Wintergrass - I'll be there with it. Be good to compare mandos.

    Kirk

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    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    Quote Originally Posted by DataNick View Post
    My 94' F5L is also signed by Larry Barnwell on Dec 12, 1994.

    Bruce Weber personally told me at NAMM a couple of years ago that Mr. Barnwell had administrative oversight, but it was Bruce himself and his team that built my mandolin, and yours most likely has the same provenance in the nature of its build.

    BTW: if F-5V is the model designation on the Gibson Master Model label, then you also indeed have a fairly rare model, a varnished F5L made in Bozeman. Pics would be nice if you could post a few!
    Here are some pics Mr. Data and who ever else is interested.
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    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    Quote Originally Posted by tiltman View Post
    My 1996 F - 5V was signed by Bruce Weber.
    If you're going to Wintergrass - I'll be there with it. Be good to compare mandos.

    Kirk

    - - - Updated - - -

    My 1996 F - 5V was signed by Bruce Weber.
    If you're going to Wintergrass - I'll be there with it. Be good to compare mandos.

    Kirk
    I'm such a work-a-holic I never make it down there. I know I should just chuck it all and get my ass to Wintergrass. If I do I'll keep an eye out for ya.

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    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    marbelizer,

    Your mando is a fine example of a Bozeman Gibson, condition looks great and vintage.

    Weber's team built some good'uns, yours appears to be one of them!
    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: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    From Nick - " Weber's team built some good'uns.....".Mmmmmm ! - it makes one wonder just how much Weber is in those Gibson mandolins & how much Gibson is in Bruce Weber's own mandolins !. IMHO,there must be 'some' cross fertilization. It would be nice to have a tone comparison between a good 'Weber' Gibson & one of Bruce's own builds to hear what any ''differences'' might be.

    Marbelizer's Gibson looks terrific !!. That's a Gibson mandolin 'style' i'd love to own myself. However,i'll have to ''make do'' with it's ''cousin'',
    Ivan
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Ivan Kelsall; Feb-23-2017 at 2:50am.
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

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    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    Quote Originally Posted by DataNick View Post
    marbelizer,

    Your mando is a fine example of a Bozeman Gibson, condition looks great and vintage.

    Weber's team built some good'uns, yours appears to be one of them!
    Absolutely, note the single bound head stock coming with a Fern inlay. Should be quite rare.

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    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    From Nick - " Weber's team built some good'uns.....".Mmmmmm ! - it makes one wonder just how much Weber is in those Gibson mandolins & how much Gibson is in Bruce Weber's own mandolins !. IMHO,there must be 'some' cross fertilization. It would be nice to have a tone comparison between a good 'Weber' Gibson & one of Bruce's own builds to hear what any ''differences'' might be...
    Hey Ivan,

    I detailed the particulars about all of this in another thread Montana Gibson Mandolin Specifications

    Here is an excerpt for reference:
    "After meeting Mr. Bruce Weber at NAMM last week, he obliged me by clarifying this whole situation. From the man himself who was head luthier there in Bozeman for a substantial amount of time this is what he says was the case:

    Gibson mandolins were built to "Gibson" spec as detailed by Jim Triggs who personally went up to Bozeman and instructed the staff there. Mr. Weber also said the carving graduations were completely different between Gibson mandolins and Flatiron mandolins produced at that time in that facility. He also said he was glad that they were, because he felt they should be separate/different.

    So according to Mr. Weber (no better reference than him) Montana Gibsons were produced per "Gibson" spec and were completely different from Flatiron mandolins."

    On a side note, Steve Carlson told me that they used Charlie Derrington's Loar as a prototype for measurements, etc. Another tidbit of info: so Jim Triggs instructs the Flatiron luthiers on how to carve a Gibson scroll...guess who taught Jim Triggs to carve a Gibson scroll? Charlie Derrington!


    You should also realize that when Bruce Weber started Sound To Earth, he had to acquire his own jigs, fixtures, tooling, etc. and I'm sure that while relying on memory, that there must have been substantial differences from what he was using at Gibson.

    The Weber influence on Bozeman Gibsons is the production methodology used and the skill of those who did the carving/graduations, and his own attention to detail. But make no mistake about it; they were Gibson mandolins, even in usage of the mortise & tenon neck joint, as that was what Roger Siminoff continued from existing methodology in 1978, and Charlie Derrington and Jim Triggs had continued in the mandolins they were building from 1985-88.
    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: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    Hi Nick - You've explained exactly what i've always thought - Bruce & the guys built to ''Gibson specifications'' in Montana. I've personally only played 2 Gibson mandolins,my friend & fellow UK Cafe member,Tony Pearce's 'Sam Bush' which is superb,& a Bruce Weber signed Gibson F5L which was one of the very worst sounding mandolins i've ever played. I will qualify that remark by saying that the mandolin might not have been 'as it should be' ie. set up,decent strings etc.,but it was dire !!!. The Czech. guy who owned it played my Weber & i almost had to fight to get it back.

    It does pose the question that if Gibson mandolins are supposed to be 'the tone' to aim for,why then did Bruce build differently for the 'Flatirons' & eventually his own builds ?. While agreeing with Nick's remarks about Bruce 'relying on memory',i'm pretty sure that he might have made notes re. the Gibson graduations for his own reference.

    Anyway - that's almost beside the point & i for one am glad that most mandolins makes sound 'different',one from another. It would be hellishly boring if they all sounded exactly alike,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

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    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    ...It does pose the question that if Gibson mandolins are supposed to be 'the tone' to aim for,why then did Bruce build differently for the 'Flatirons' & eventually his own builds ?. While agreeing with Nick's remarks about Bruce 'relying on memory',i'm pretty sure that he might have made notes re. the Gibson graduations for his own reference...
    Hey Ivan,

    I think the short answer to your question per my in person observation of Bruce Weber's pride in the Flatiron brand, is that maybe he never felt that there was one preferatory tonal sound to aim for. Flatirons from Bozeman, and in particular before the Gibson purchase, have their own vibe, feel, and distinct characteristics of neck profile, angle, tone, etc. I talked to Mary Weber via email and asked about a Loar reproduction possibility from Weber, and the indication I got was that was not something they were particularly interested in. I think Bruce Weber has his own ideas and beliefs about how mandolins should be constructed and he built instruments with his own personal aims in mind. I like his results personally!
    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: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    Quote Originally Posted by DataNick View Post
    I like his results personally!
    I do too Nick, having owned a '96 Weber signed F-5G that is still the best sounding mandolin I've ever owned.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

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    Default Re: 1995 Gibson F-5V Fern Bozeman (Luthier?)

    I will mention one thing here - it's something that i posted in a thread a while back. I mentioned that i've played a friend's Gibson 'Sam Bush' mandolin & i really liked it. It was only after thinking of it's tone for a while afterwards, that i realised that my Weber "Fern", after the initial brightness of the DR trebles has subsided,sounds very much like it indeed. I actually thought the same thing at the time i played it,immediately after playing my Weber. So,maybe some of Bruce's offerings ain't too far away from 'some' Gibsons tonally - i like mine,but i'd love a nice Gibson simply because 'it's what Bill played' - the connection with Bill Monroe & Bluegrass will always be there for me,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

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