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Thread: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

  1. #1
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    Hi Cafe members - Wondering if folks can share there thoughts on the 1981 Gibson F5L. I have a good opportunity to buy one, won't get a chance to play it as is often the case. Don't know who built/signed it, which factory it was built in and what the general collective opinion is about F5Ls from that year. Any input would be helpful. 80991081 is the serial number. Not sure what information is coded into that number that could be helpful. I attached a photo of the label that the gentleman sent me. I don't see a signature and it appears to be a generic label with Kalamazoo on it, but I think I read that in 1981 the F5Ls were built in Nashville. Thanks in advance.Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    I had one around that year, I think a 1980 a little story behind it, Dewey Farmer bought it new and hated it, the graduations were real thick I guess so he sent it to someone for a full re-graduation, I can't remember who but he signed the inside top.it wasn't Randy Wood I just can't remember. I know Wayne Benson owned it for a long time and it was pretty good one, Wayne could tell ya about it if ya can get in touch with him. I ended up getting rid of it to a guy named Ken who worked with Roger Siminoff. And Ken loved it, he pry still has it? I liked it but was spoiled with another Gibson so I didn't play her much. These were a line revamped by Roger but still not the same as the original F-5's from the golden era! I think the tops were all Sitka instead of Adirondack aka Red Spruce.

    No these were built in Kalamazoo at the old factory not Nashville.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    I had that one also ,I think it was Bob Shue who did the work to it ,it did sound good
    Danny
    Danny Clark

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  5. #4

    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    I like my 1980. the price will probably factor into how much you like the one you're looking at.
    Play it like you mean it.

  6. #5
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    Looks like I can acquire it for $3500, just for your reference as you guys offer your thoughts

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    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    Try to find out the exact sign date in 1981:Why?

    Because Roger Siminoff personally graduated the F5L tops from 78 thru mid 81 if memory serves me correctly.
    1994 Gibson F5L made by Bruce Weber's team


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  8. #7
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    I'm guessing that would be a good thing...

  9. #8
    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    Quote Originally Posted by EvanElk View Post
    I'm guessing that would be a good thing...
    Yup!

    FWIW: on the ones I've played the neck profiles/girth have been a little "clunky" for my taste; not a deal killer, just something to keep in mind.
    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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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    Serial number indicates a finish date of Apr. 9, 1981, the 81st instrument completed in Kalamazoo that year.

    Lots more info in this article, well worth a read:
    http://siminoff.net/cms/wp-content/u...of-the-F5L.pdf

    This seems to imply that Siminoff was involved in carving F5Ls until production left Kalamazoo entirely in 1983. You might want to see if you can confirm that.
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  11. #10
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    what great info Martin, thanks. I'm inclined to snatch up this instrument, but I'll see what info I can get. Bit of a leap of faith as it always is in buying instruments from afar

  12. #11
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    And a follow up reply to you guys - I just wrote to Roger Siminoff via his website on the off chance he might respond and got a very gracious reply in which he confirmed that he worked on the instrument I'm looking at. I didn't expect a reply at all...very cool

  13. #12

    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    The Siminoff article discussing the F5l production that's available in the cafe archives gives all the relevant info. Mine, 12/80 production, I confirmed with Roger that he had carved it. He is really great.

    And $3600 is a good price, imho.
    Play it like you mean it.

  14. #13
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    Thanks Bill - great article. I'm going to jump on it. Thanks all

  15. #14
    Registered User jan281969's Avatar
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    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    EvanElk I own an F-5l dated February. 12 1980 and love it.On a side note the one your thinking of getting does sound like a good purchase price cause you couldn't buy mine for that,ha.I also spoke to Mr. Siminoff and was delighted to find out he tap tuned my mandolin.Love to see a picture of the mandolin in question,here is mine.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    1980 Gibson F-5L

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    Well, I read the article again in its entirety, and what he actually says is "the increased demand for F-5Ls ... required me to carve boards well into 1980." It's hard to say how long after that his boards were being turned into finished mandolins, but if Roger is willing to confirm that he worked on a particular instrument, I'm sure you can take that confirmation to the bank. Congratulations and good luck with it!
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Donaldson Wood Thormahlen Andersen Old Wave Bacorn Yanuziello Fender National Gibson Franke Fuchs Aceto Three Hungry Pit Bulls

  17. #16
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    Sure - I'll add a photo to this thread when I receive it in a couple days!

  18. #17
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    Thanks. Roger confirmed by serial number that he carved the instrument I'm buying. Now that I have read all the threads folks have sent me here on the cafe, I see that Roger is very forthcoming and a total mensch and I shouldn't be surprised that he emailed me.

  19. #18

    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    I think the F5Ls Roger worked on sound awesome!
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

  20. #19
    Registered User Sergio Lara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    Here are some clips with my 1980 Gibson F-5L signed by Richard Doan on December 18, 1980.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V02ODwRHSQs

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI-bWDRoIpE

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpQUpehlwPI

    Enjoy and congrats on your new Gibson F-5L!

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  22. #20
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    cool!! I'm excited to get my hands on this thing!!

  23. #21
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    Beautiful playing Sergio! And your 1980 has awesome tone...

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  25. #22

    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    Wow, if it sounds anything like Sergio's you got yourself a steal.

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    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    Quote Originally Posted by bigskygirl View Post
    I think the F5Ls Roger worked on sound awesome!

    You should know.

  28. #24
    Registered User Sergio Lara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    Roger Siminoff and his team really worked hard to get as close to the original 20's Cremona brown sunburst finish color.

    Here are some pictures of my 1980 F-5L:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is one with my 1922 F-4:

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    And with my 1965 Fender:

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	160554

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  30. #25
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Info and Opinions about 1981 Gibson F5L

    Nice!

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