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Thread: 1996 Gibson A-5G with 3 signatures on the label

  1. #1
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    Default 1996 Gibson A-5G with 3 signatures on the label

    Hi,

    I wanted to post this to follow up on some older threads about the various luthiers signing Gibsons in Bozeman in the 1990s. My friend has a 7/29/1996 A-5G (likely to be posted for sale soon in the Classifieds) with a 3-signature label. Based on other threads, the names appear to be Neal Klemmer, Helen Beausoleil, and Jean Swan. I've not seen previous references to Jean Swan on the Cafe or other previous threads about this topic, so I thought I'd post a picture and see if anyone has any input. Here's the label:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Relevant older threads:

    Label with 2 signatures

    Gibson/Flatiron Luthier Signatures

    Found a reference to Jean Swan in an old ad for a Flatiron Performer A on a different website, but no other info. Ms. Beausoleil is now building with Steve Carlson at Zeta violins, so I sent her a message, too. But I thought all you good mando geeks here would appreciate a little further discussion on this topic, so feel free to weigh in with opinions, etc. More interesting mandolin stuff!
    ~ Willieee

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  3. #2
    vintagemandolin.com Charles Johnson's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1996 Gibson A-5G with 3 signatures on the label

    According to a discussion I had with Bruce Weber some time ago, the Bozeman MT plant went to a team system of building mandolins in the late 1990s. Not sure if all or just some of the mandolins were built this way.

  4. #3
    Bridger Products
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    Default Re: 1996 Gibson A-5G with 3 signatures on the label

    Helen Beausoleil is amazing and a great person to work with. One of those unknown luthier/builders who have the skills and experience to make a great instrument.

    She started with Steve Carlson in the 1980’s and I think that she actually trained Bruce Weber when he started working for Steve. She also worked at Gibson/Flatiron (in the “F” & custom group) and Weber.

    If you ever see a picture of hands doing something on a new mandolin build, they are probably hers. She could break a piece of glass to just the right curve and hand scrape/finish the shape of a perfect scroll in about 10 minutes... When Weber was sold, she went back to work for Steve Carlson.

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: 1996 Gibson A-5G with 3 signatures on the label

    Following up on my own post here --

    I emailed Helen Beausoleil (now at Zeta Violins), inquiring about Jean Swan. Helen replied, saying that Jean Swan was a final sander for Flatiron/Gibson mandolins at the Belgrade facility, and she may have had some violin experience before that. So that rounds out the identities of the three folks who signed the label posted above. Thanks to Charles and Vern for their responses.
    ~ Willieee

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