Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 26 to 50 of 55

Thread: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

  1. #26
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Kalamazoo, MI.
    Posts
    6,814

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    This is a truly fascinating thread! The knowledge and research is incredible. But, the pervasive thing that continues is We will never know what was really going on, we can only speculate. I am constantly learning here!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  2. #27
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    2,620

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by danb View Post
    I've never seen a black top A2z or A2- label
    There is 74795 at Vintage Mandolin Headquarters:

    http://www.vintagemandolin.com/23gibsona2_74795.html

    And it sits in the archive adjacent to a long run of A2-z’s:

    http://www.mandolinarchive.com/perl/list_mandolins.pl
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2011 Passernig F5

  3. #28
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Posts
    2,134
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    All very interesting guys! I wondered why my Dec. 1st 24 F-5 has a 26 shipment date considering my FON is underneath the Loar label, It makes sense to me that dates signed were just that a day Lloyd signed for specific mandolins? Like Henry said I also find it hard to believe they finished all the two Feb 18th 24 batches at once to get labels or any other "batches" There are a few of only one batch date or a singular signed on a specific date so does that mean they were a specific ordered F-5? It makes sense that they were a slow sale and many hung around at the factory or shipped around to the various endorsers/music shops then maybe back to Kalamazoo they went. But someone with experience and the study time in can tell the ones that were built during the first few Loar F-5 years, with the more detailed carving and the finishes be it varnish for the ones sitting around then the lacquer for the newer or older builds that hung around before the finish was applied. Its all a good bit of fun mystery for us mandolin nuts that have or love the originals. It makes sense to me that maybe many were made during the 23-24 years and just not finished with a finish until a year or three after they were built? I think because back again to the Loar era carving, woods used, also hardware. I've talked with a few vintage Gibson mandolin experts and they agree with some of these thoughts. We have the Fern Loars that started before Lloyd left but became standard after he left but some of those 25's-26's have the Loar style carving and finish, so they pry started in late 23-24 to me anyway, the 27's stand out as most have the same type of lacquer waving/crackling but still have the most excellent carving, The early mid 28's still have the now gold plated Loar arrowhead tuners and tailpiece cover then they switch to the gold bump end tuners "worm over gear" and the gold plated tailpiece covers like the teens and 20's covers but with gold plating. I think those are the late 28's-30's. So whatever # system you use or go by as a reference I really believe each F-5 needs evaluated in hand before deciding on a date? For sure those with the 25-28 #'s or dates as they very well could've been Loars but were a bit late to get the signed label and adding a ton of $ to your mandolin because of that magical signature! Some post Loars are just as good, some may even be better than some Loar signed F-5's at a fraction of the cost? I know some people that would rather have a lacquer finished vintage F-5 rather than a Varnished Loar, they just like the lacquer sound better? Its all on what sound your looking for and remember all are a bit different and if you could get a killer 25-28 unsigned/fern that sounds and has aspects like a signed Loar for about less than half of what Loars are presently going for I'd say GREAT score! Its all in what one wants and we all perceive what we think is the best sound to our ears! Where one guy doesn't like the voice of an any batch 24 signed Loar but loves the lacquer sound on those later F-5's it sure can save you big bucks in the long run? Just some of my thoughts and don't think they're off the wall!

  4. The following members say thank you to William Smith for this post:


  5. #29

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    Speaking of Loar labels, could it be that Loar signed the last batch of labels before he left Gibson, and they were kept in a vault (or drawer) somewhere and applied, as needed, by someone other than Loar as mandolins became finished?

  6. #30
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Leer, Northern Germany
    Posts
    1,234

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    Speaking of Loar labels, could it be that Loar signed the last batch of labels before he left Gibson, and they were kept in a vault (or drawer) somewhere and applied, as needed, by someone other than Loar as mandolins became finished?
    That would mean he left in 1925 or later, which is not the (hi)story I remember.

  7. #31
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Posts
    2,134
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    I think Loar signed what he signed until he was terminated from Gibson, the ones that were finished already are what we call the unsigned Loars as they are all but "Loar" except the signature, some with the Virzi and some without and have the same FON as say the Dec.1st batch. There was more than likely quite a few in the white waiting for the finish with the Fern like the March 31st 24 batch but Loar left so they never got the sig. or the time consuming Varnish they got the new quicker Lacquer finish and gold hardware, all with the same spacing as Loar F-5's and then when the Loar era stuff was gone "22-24" they maybe made to order perhaps but when they went to worm over gear tuners the inlays were already in and some spaced correct while some the tuners were drilled through the fern inlays? So were some bodies and necks already built from the earlier years than in say late 28-29? Ah the Mystery!

  8. #32
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Leer, Northern Germany
    Posts
    1,234

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    Not quite, I‘m afraid. The first post Loar Ferns seem different from the Fern Loars, and they have 1926 FONs (according to Spann), which would point to a real 1926 batch. But it seems fact that the holes for the tuners were, indeed, drilled just prior to shipping.

  9. The following members say thank you to Hendrik Ahrend for this post:


  10. #33
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Nashville
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    It's never safe to assume anything when it comes to Gibson, so we need to keep in mind the actual evidence. We have serial numbers, we have the dated Loar labels, we have FONS and we have the actual instruments.

    We actually do NOT have ship dates. I have yet to see any image from a shipping ledger or any other Gibson shipping document from the 1920s. I would welcome any evidence that I'm wrong here. In any case, the ship date only puts a last-possible end-date on production.

    The only thing it's safe to assume is that serial numbers were assigned some time after the FONs. Otherwise there wold be no need for two numbering systems. Felix's chart of A-2Z numbers supports that theory, as it indicates that specs related to the building process follow the FONs chronologically, but the tuners - a spec associated with final assembly - follow the serial numbers.

    I think the dates and numbers on Loar-signed labels are the least reliable of any of the evidence at hand. In a modern-day parallel, when I was working at Gibson in the 1990s, I went to Jim Hutchins to ask him about a Super 400 with a label that he had signed and dated. Hutch had a hand in building that guitar, but he said the label really didn't mean anything except that he did sign the label on that day. Periodically, he said, someone came to him with a stack of labels to sign and date. The guitars that went with the labels were nowhere around, and they could have been at any stage of production. At that time, in regular production, Gibsons were numbered at the neckfit station,. When the neck went into the body, i.e., when the neck and body became a guitar, it was assigned a number. For production tracking it's likely that Hutch signed those labels well in advance of final inspection.

    With that in mind, it's not farfetched to imagine that on Feb. 18, 1924, someone at Gibson said, "We have a bunch of F-5s in the pipeline. If Lloyd is in today, tell him we need some labels." And six weeks later, on Mar. 31, "Tell Lloyd we need more labels... A lot more." That seems to me a more likely scenario than 46 F-5s coming through final inspection on Feb. 18, and 62 Style 5 instruments all being finished on Mar. 31.

    I would say that Loar's labels provide only an approximate date when an F-5 might have been finished. If that's true, then it raises the question of when exactly did Loar leave Gibson. His last label was Dec. 31. Did someone say, "Hey, Lloyd, I know it's New Year's Eve and your last day, but we have an L-5 that needs a label." Or did he hang around Gibson for a few more months? If so, what did he do in that time?

    As often happens, this sort of discussion raises more questions that it answers.

  11. The Following 10 Users Say Thank You to walter carter For This Useful Post:


  12. #34
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Kalamazoo, MI.
    Posts
    6,814

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    Mr. Carter’s opening sentence is maybe one of the most true statements ever uttered!
    And face it folks, we all know that the only predictable action from the company in those days was...unpredictability!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  13. #35
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    15,690

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    Probably, the people working at Gibson back then, had no idea that a century later, a large number of instrument geeks would care about their numbering system, the relationship between batch-control "factory order numbers" and serial numbers, or the exact date a particular label was glued into a mandolin, and then shipped out.

    I'm always impressed by firms like C F Martin, or Wheatstone in England, that kept detailed, accurate and reliable production and serialization records (not that any are totally unambiguous or mistake-free). That other companies may be comparatively slapdash should come as no surprise. Maybe Gibson would have hired a company historian, if they'd known how interested "future generations" would be. Or maybe not; you can hear one of the company brass saying, "What difference does it make, anyway?"
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  14. The following members say thank you to allenhopkins for this post:


  15. #36
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Leer, Northern Germany
    Posts
    1,234

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by walter carter View Post
    It's never safe to assume anything when it comes to Gibson, so we need to keep in mind the actual evidence. We have serial numbers, we have the dated Loar labels, we have FONS and we have the actual instruments.

    We actually do NOT have ship dates.

    As often happens, this sort of discussion raises more questions that it answers.
    Would that be something like a final statement on the matter? Hardly. (I'm glad some of us gave it a "thanks", none an "amen".) Shall we better not assume anything and better not at all have "this sort of discussion" about Gibson's production scenario? I'm sure Walter would be the first to admit that there's nothing wrong with assumptions as long as they are marked as such ("IMHO", "I believe", "I assume" &c.)
    Walter certainly meant something to the effect of "I know that I know nothing", derived from Plato's account of Socrates, "the Socratic paradox". Socrates begins all wisdom with wondering, thus one must begin with admitting one's ignorance.

    I'm sure glad and thankful that people like Darryl Wolfe, Joe Spann and several others do assume things, have a hypothesis and keep searching for and interpreting evidence, even though more questions arise. And we certainly do have a better picture now than 20 years back.
    So how about more questions? Which is so much fun in this community; here we go: If there are no ship dates, what may be the "shipping information" that Joe Spann is referring to e. g. on page 69? (Joe, you out there?) His list of FONs doesn't seem, as if he made it up. Joe admits to the tables not being all-inclusive, but seems quite confident about the general reliability.

  16. #37
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    aiken, sc
    Posts
    5,948

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    I agree with everything Walter Carter posted Several others here have made good points also.

    I would like to touch something that was also posted and relay my thoughts. Here is my theory, and evidence supports it. Try to draw a mental picture

    There is some sort of carbon copy tablet with pre-printed numbers in a corner. Just like an old school check register or purchase order tablet.

    --Somebody in a suit tells the shop foreman that we a run of 12 F5 mandolins
    --The next set of carbon pages in that book is numbered 11985
    --The foreman fill out the pertinent quantity and style information with any specific notes and distributes say two carbon copies to the work force via section supervisors or head carver etc.
    --The foreman retains the original
    --The 11985 FON number is stamped on parts as the are produced in order to keep things straight. The paper copy may even be taped to a cart with the parts in it
    --Now as the instruments become a single homogenous entity (an asset), with a neck in it, the serial numbers are assigned and written in the instrument by hand. Those serial numbers are also written on the original held by the foreman. No label is in the instrument

    --Now here is the catch. They really only need 8 F5's. And they know there are going to be bad parts and a few mishaps in construction. So 2 of them do not get bound and finished, and 2 others have a flaw and not assembled completely, and hence did not get a serial number. The 8 proceed through binding and finishing and are shipped with same FON and consecutive serial numbers

    --The other 2 are bound and shipped to meet another order and retain the FON and the consecutive serial number, but they look a bit different

    --The other 2 are finished years later with a different FON and a different serial number, but man, that thing has every carving nuance of a Loar and becomes Bobby Osbornes fern

    This seems to be the way Gibson did things up until some critical point in 1924 or 25 (maybe). This coincides with Walters information about significant layoffs, looming bankruptcy, management changes and the departure of Lloyd

    At this critical point, they quit carving new parts and use up all those leftovers from decades of crap laying on shelves to avoid going bankrupt. They build only as necessary and not on speculative sales. They invented new models to use said parts also (tenor lute, A2z)

    They fixed and repaired instruments with flaws.

    This is how Virzis got into early 23 Loars, gold parts got on a Jul 23 Loar, overspray was used to quick shine a shop handled instrument and worm over tuners got onto certain instruments seemingly too early

    And then and only then did serial numbers start making their way into the instrument closer to the ship date as Spann says. This was the change in business model

    Back to that original FON tablet. That sheet became a record of what was built, where the parts went and was used to back engineer what it cost them to build what. There is specific evidence that Gibson tracked every penny to establish prices

    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
    www.f5journal.com

  17. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Darryl Wolfe For This Useful Post:


  18. #38
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Kalamazoo, MI.
    Posts
    6,814

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    That strikes me as a completely plausible scenario! The carbonpaper ledger is a real memory bumper!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  19. #39
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Nashville
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Wolfe View Post

    This seems to be the way Gibson did things up until some critical point in 1924 or 25 (maybe).
    Lewis Williams, the g.m. who was a founding partner and the man who brought Loar in, was a music teacher and an evangelical salesman. Guy Hart, who became g.m.after Williams (and after an interim manager who left within a year), was an accountant. That's probably all that needs to be said to explain changes in Gibson's business practices. But to elaborate a little, Williams' grand plan - a new line of mandolins as well as a new line of banjos designed by Loar - had failed. I'm not sure that Hart had a plan - certainly not a grand one - other than to keep a closer eye on the bottom line. Gibson's business and production practices had to change. I think Darryl's date is right on the money.

  20. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to walter carter For This Useful Post:


  21. #40
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Leer, Northern Germany
    Posts
    1,234

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Wolfe View Post
    --Somebody in a suit tells the shop foreman that we a run of 12 F5 mandolins
    --The next set of carbon pages in that book is numbered 11985
    --The foreman fill out the pertinent quantity and style information with any specific notes and distributes say two carbon copies to the work force via section supervisors or head carver etc.
    --The foreman retains the original
    --The 11985 FON number is stamped on parts as the are produced in order to keep things straight. The paper copy may even be taped to a cart with the parts in it
    --Now as the instruments become a single homogenous entity (an asset), with a neck in it, the serial numbers are assigned and written in the instrument by hand. Those serial numbers are also written on the original held by the foreman. No label is in the instrument

    --Now here is the catch. They really only need 8 F5's. And they know there are going to be bad parts and a few mishaps in construction. So 2 of them do not get bound and finished, and 2 others have a flaw and not assembled completely, and hence did not get a serial number. The 8 proceed through binding and finishing and are shipped with same FON and consecutive serial numbers
    I agree, that may well be what happened, and it really makes sense.
    Please forgive my persistency, but I still cannot understand, why this could not have happened in late 1923, as Joe Spann's list suggest.

  22. #41

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    This is fascinating. Glad we have so many Gibson historians around.

  23. #42
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    aiken, sc
    Posts
    5,948

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by Hendrik Ahrend View Post
    I agree, that may well be what happened, and it really makes sense.
    Please forgive my persistency, but I still cannot understand, why this could not have happened in late 1923, as Joe Spann's list suggest.
    Because, in my mind, we would not have all the multiple batches of Loar signed instruments throughout 1924. There were over 200 Loar signed Style 5 instruments signed off at various dates in 1924. I also cannot fathom that they were all started in 23, yet Loar signed labels numerous times. Somewhere in early '24 they would have simply ceased finishing these out and he would have never needed to sign the later labels
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
    www.f5journal.com

  24. #43
    Epiphonist Masterbilt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Switzerland
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    I updated my table about A2-z models - now including also example without known FON. See attachment. (The approx S/N year is according to Spann).

    This table seems to confirm that:

    - A finished group/batch of the same model received a range of consecutive serial numbers. See second column - the groups are highlighted in light/dark grey.

    - Before SN 75xxx, the FONs more or less correlate with the SNs - numbers going up in parallel. But then suddenly lower FONs start to appear in finished groups (which still have consecutive SNs): For example bodies stamped with FON 11919 (ivoroid soundhole ring) - as seen first in SN 74056-74106 - appear again in the SN range 77961-78968. I guess that's when they obviously stopped building new parts for a while, and used up some unfinished ones (with lower FON) still lying around. As pointed out by Darryl.

    Felix

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	A2Z_SN_FON_list.jpg 
Views:	19 
Size:	455.3 KB 
ID:	175695
    '23 A2-Z / '31 Adelphi / '32 F2 / '02 F5 Sam Bush
    Visit NY Epi Reg – The Unofficial New York Epiphone Registry

  25. The following members say thank you to Masterbilt for this post:


  26. #44
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Leer, Northern Germany
    Posts
    1,234

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by Masterbilt View Post
    I updated my table about A2-z models - now including also example without known FON. See attachment. (The approx S/N year is according to Spann).

    This table seems to confirm that:

    - A finished group/batch of the same model received a range of consecutive serial numbers. See second column - the groups are highlighted in light/dark grey.

    - Before SN 75xxx, the FONs more or less correlate with the SNs - numbers going up in parallel. But then suddenly lower FONs start to appear in finished groups (which still have consecutive SNs): For example bodies stamped with FON 11919 (ivoroid soundhole ring) - as seen first in SN 74056-74106 - appear again in the SN range 77961-78968. I guess that's when they obviously stopped building new parts for a while, and used up some unfinished ones (with lower FON) still lying around. As pointed out by Darryl.

    Felix

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	A2Z_SN_FON_list.jpg 
Views:	19 
Size:	455.3 KB 
ID:	175695
    I find it interesting that all of those A2-z mandos were apparently built in 1923, except for #78974, which was built in 1924 - according to Spann. (#78977 remains uncertain.) A2-z #74987 was shipped in 1923, but - according to its FON 11991 - made after Loar #75325 (signed early '24), #79835 (signed Dec. '24) and the "unsigned" F5s (shipped early '25), their FONs being 11965 and 11985 respectively. Spann's list clearly points to 1923.

    What about Loar-signed H5 mandola #74871, signed on January 7th 1924? The serial number, however, points to late 1923. Joe Spann mentions that Style 5 serial numbers were reserved in advance and - as far as I understand it - are not a reliable indicator of the shipping date, which makes sense to me.

    My point being, are Joe Spann's lists - both the serial numbers and the FONs - reliable or rather not? I believe they are.

  27. #45
    Epiphonist Masterbilt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Switzerland
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by Hendrik Ahrend View Post
    I find it interesting that all of those A2-z mandos were apparently built in 1923, except for #78974, which was built in 1924 - according to Spann. (#78977 remains uncertain.) A2-z #74987 was shipped in 1923, but - according to its FON 11991 - made after Loar #75325 (signed early '24), #79835 (signed Dec. '24) and the "unsigned" F5s (shipped early '25), their FONs being 11965 and 11985 respectively. Spann's list clearly points to 1923.

    What about Loar-signed H5 mandola #74871, signed on January 7th 1924? The serial number, however, points to late 1923. Joe Spann mentions that Style 5 serial numbers were reserved in advance and - as far as I understand it - are not a reliable indicator of the shipping date, which makes sense to me.

    My point being, are Joe Spann's lists - both the serial numbers and the FONs - reliable or rather not? I believe they are.
    I don't believe all those A2-z were completed in 1923. I think what we see after serial number 75xxx is many parts/unfinished instruments stamped with an earlier FON being assembled/finished later (receiving a higher serial number, later tuners, etc). I imagine: When having enough A2-z on order, they completed another series (receiving consecutive serial numbers) using up unfinished bodies with all kind of older FONs.

    Felix
    '23 A2-Z / '31 Adelphi / '32 F2 / '02 F5 Sam Bush
    Visit NY Epi Reg – The Unofficial New York Epiphone Registry

  28. #46
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Leer, Northern Germany
    Posts
    1,234

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by Masterbilt View Post
    I don't believe all those A2-z were completed in 1923. I think what we see after serial number 75xxx is many parts/unfinished instruments stamped with an earlier FON being assembled/finished later (receiving a higher serial number, later tuners, etc). I imagine: When having enough A2-z on order, they completed another series (receiving consecutive serial numbers) using up unfinished bodies with all kind of older FONs.

    Felix
    This would make make sense, if Gibson started building instruments and left them on the shelves in various stages of completion. And in the case of the A2-z it would make extra sense, since it has been argued that the A2-z bodies started out as A3s, which were equipped with slender necks with snake heads.
    On the other hand, Spann, in the chapter on Back Inventory (pg. 189), mentions: "multiple eye witness accounts indicate that this practice resulted in "extra" instruments, which were kept in stock at the factory, sometimes for many years." And, "when an order reached the factory floor (...) the order would be slightly "overbuilt", which resulted in "hundreds of completed instruments of all types and models sitting around in the racks", according to a witness who worked there in 1938-40. Nowhere it says "instrument parts".

    Now, in October 1923, when Gibson faced a real financial disaster, Harry Ferris started working for Gibson and - according to Walter Carter - put an end to over production, as so much cash was tied up in those instruments in the racks. Apparently Ferris introduced production budgeting, older parts were used up &c. (At least for the time being, in the light the a. m. 1938 account.) Back in October '23 the shelves apparently were full of overbuilt complete instruments.

  29. The following members say thank you to Hendrik Ahrend for this post:


  30. #47

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    Would someone please explain what the "heart" of the discussion is all about? I seem to be missing something. I assume it is because Spann's "new" information challenges, rather than enhances the old accepted info in the Gruhn/Carter guides? I thought mostly people liked the Spann info.

    Namely:
    1. Why would one argue one way or the other in this discussion? Is there a hidden agenda that I am missing? Why such strong opinions? Isn't the goal finding the truth?
    2. Does it affect vintage instrument values?
    3. Is the discussion driven by Loar details/knowledge/value that I am not privileged to?
    4. Does it mean certain Loar instruments are "newer" than we thought? (regardless of the signed and dated label)

    I love the discussion, but I am confused, to be honest.

  31. #48
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Leer, Northern Germany
    Posts
    1,234

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    Would someone please explain what the "heart" of the discussion is all about? I seem to be missing something. I assume it is because Spann's "new" information challenges, rather than enhances the old accepted info in the Gruhn/Carter guides? I thought mostly people liked the Spann info.

    Namely:
    1. Why would one argue one way or the other in this discussion? Is there a hidden agenda that I am missing? Why such strong opinions? Isn't the goal finding the truth?
    2. Does it affect vintage instrument values?
    3. Is the discussion driven by Loar details/knowledge/value that I am not privileged to?
    4. Does it mean certain Loar instruments are "newer" than we thought? (regardless of the signed and dated label)

    I love the discussion, but I am confused, to be honest.
    I'm interested in Gibson mandolins, Gibson serial numbers and their meaning and possible interpretationm, and I find this discussion fascinating. How did Gibson go about production, numbering and labelling their instruments? If it affects the value of an instrument, it's secondary to me. For years, many a 1926-29 Gibson mandolin for sale was advertised as "just after Loar left", "his hands were probably on it" or something to that effect, in an attempt to raise the value.
    So some mandolins are newer than we thought, others may be older (a few Loars actually - IMHO), which stands and falls with the reliability of Joe Spann's publication, which, for the first time, finally offered serial number and FON lists, plus plausible interpretation.
    Prior to that, it was anybody's guess as to when a Gibson mandolin was made ("traditional estimates", as the MA calls it; and of course, there were earlier attempts at ser.# interpretation). The Loars have signature dates, so that seemed easy, although the manufacturing date was still unclear.

    All necessary Loar knowledge is available from the MA (thanks to Darryl Wolfe and Dan Beinborn), Joe Spann ("Guide...") and Walter Carter (100 Years..."); no secrets.

  32. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Hendrik Ahrend For This Useful Post:


  33. #49
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Nashville
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by Hendrik Ahrend View Post

    Now, in October 1923, when Gibson faced a real financial disaster, Harry Ferris started working for Gibson and - according to Walter Carter - put an end to over production, as so much cash was tied up in those instruments in the racks. Apparently Ferris introduced production budgeting, older parts were used up &c. (At least for the time being, in the light the a. m. 1938 account.) Back in October '23 the shelves apparently were full of overbuilt complete instruments.
    We know from Ferris's report to Gibson's board of manager in 1924 (just before he was fired) that he was able to increase sales and profits. It's a reasonable assumption - but an assumption nevertheless - to say anything specific about how he accomplished that. What I wrote (in Gibson: 100 Years of an American Icon) was that in a statement to stockholders a week after Ferris was hired, he said "There has been no coordination between and seemingly no understanding of the relation between production, sales and financing." In his only annual report to the stockholders, dated Feb. 15, 1924, he laid out plans that included: "Follow a production budget with a carefully planned schedule of purchases in order to maintain uninterrupted production." He also planned to increase efficiency by reorganizing the production management team and by firing inefficient workers.

    I think this further reinforces the general conclusion that we all seem to be heading to - that a change in the sales/ordering/production process occurred in and around 1924. To answer Jeff's question, I think the heart of the discussion is that we're looking for a window into Gibson production processes so we can figure out exactly when these mandolins were made.
    Last edited by walter carter; Mar-30-2019 at 7:48pm.

  34. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to walter carter For This Useful Post:


  35. #50
    Epiphonist Masterbilt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Switzerland
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: Gibson Teens Serial Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by Hendrik Ahrend View Post
    This would make make sense, if Gibson started building instruments and left them on the shelves in various stages of completion. And in the case of the A2-z it would make extra sense, since it has been argued that the A2-z bodies started out as A3s, which were equipped with slender necks with snake heads.
    On the other hand, Spann, in the chapter on Back Inventory (pg. 189), mentions: "multiple eye witness accounts indicate that this practice resulted in "extra" instruments, which were kept in stock at the factory, sometimes for many years." And, "when an order reached the factory floor (...) the order would be slightly "overbuilt", which resulted in "hundreds of completed instruments of all types and models sitting around in the racks", according to a witness who worked there in 1938-40. Nowhere it says "instrument parts".

    Now, in October 1923, when Gibson faced a real financial disaster, Harry Ferris started working for Gibson and - according to Walter Carter - put an end to over production, as so much cash was tied up in those instruments in the racks. Apparently Ferris introduced production budgeting, older parts were used up &c. (At least for the time being, in the light the a. m. 1938 account.) Back in October '23 the shelves apparently were full of overbuilt complete instruments.
    What the data in my A2-z SN/FON table shows: While some items with FON 11919 (for example) got a serial number in the 740xx range, others with the same FON received a serial number in a 776xx or 789xx range, and shipped with different (later) tuners.

    This seems to suggest that some instruments of factory order 11919 were not set-up and sold with the first ones, but obviously lying around until finally being set-up as part of another A2-z group several thousand serial numbers later.

    However we can only speculate about the stage of completion of those "left-over" 11919 items - possible that they were standing in a rack pretty ready, waiting to be set-up with label and hardware...?

    Felix
    '23 A2-Z / '31 Adelphi / '32 F2 / '02 F5 Sam Bush
    Visit NY Epi Reg – The Unofficial New York Epiphone Registry

  36. The following members say thank you to Masterbilt for this post:


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •