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Thread: Article: C.J. Lewandowski Talks Early Gibson Fern History

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    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
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    Default Article: C.J. Lewandowski Talks Early Gibson Fern History

    Last edited by Mandolin Cafe; Apr-30-2019 at 9:00am.

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Article: C.J. Lewandowski Talks Early Gibson Fern History

    Very nice demo CJ and hope to see another video! I'm very happy that I recommended and passed this Fern on to you. They are very special and as I knew you wanted one for awhile now and greatly appreciate these vintage F-5's, I know you'll enjoy this for years to come! I only passed on this Fern because of my recent purchase of my December 1st 24 F-5 Loar "the next # after Bobby Osborne's Loar!" Pretty sweet right there. Its the younger guys like us that have to keep these fine mandolins in play and remembrance so the history and appreciation will inspire the next younger generation to strive for the sounds/voice that I believe one can only get by these vintage F-5's. There are loads of great mandolins by spectacular builders but only so many 1920's and 1930's Gibson F-5's that have the so called "ancient tones"
    And just like your Fern that was "rediscovered" if your a mandolin geek like me one can look at the serial numbers that are known of Loar signed F-5s and the later Ferns and flowerpots to the late fluer-de-lis F-5's there are many still yet to be rediscovered! They are out there still and this Fern is a great example of that! One never knows till they come back out of the woodwork so to speak! Very nice mandolin indeed.

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    Registered User Steve Sorensen's Avatar
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    Good discussion.

    Steve

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    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    That’s a beauty! And it’s now in good hands

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    Registered User josh a's Avatar
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    Really enjoyed this video. Looking forward to more in the series! Thanks to all involved.

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    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    really interesting video! I believe this is the same mandolin that Jonathan McClanahan has been documenting the truss rod repair for on his Facebook page. Lots of cool up close stuff there.

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    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Very nice and informative video. I wonder who knows the story of why Gibson decided to drop the flower pot and go to the fern headstock in 1925? Was it just to signal the end of an era (the Loar era)? Possible as many suggest that from a sales point of view the F-5 was not a success story for the most part. So I suppose back in 1925 the "Loar era" did not look particularly memorable or notable?

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Hey Bernie there were quite a few Loar signed F-5's with the Fern inlay, most notably the March 31st 1924 batches but maybe the Peewee Lambert was the first and that was 1922, perhaps the prototype in the catalog? Maybe Gibson thought the fancy Fern was more appealing than the flowerpot? With Gibson in the 20's-30's I've learned throw what you may know out the window as they did loads of different things!

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    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Congrats again to you C. J., great find, and wonderful mandolin. (Love that pearl TR cover as a nod to dear old Bobby Osborne.)
    As for Fern Loars, neither 71628 (the Lambert F5) nor 71057 nor 73485 and perhaps not even 73755 are original Fern Loars, but were probably equipped with Fern inlays at some later date. As far as I can tell, real Fern Loars - Loar F5s starting out with Fern inlay, that is - were made no earlier than 1924.

    Bernie, the F5 was originally designed with a Fern inlay (interpreting the famous 1923 spec sheet, which called for the HS inlay "according to drawing", whereas other features were specified as "like F4"). Gibson apparently first used up all their flowerpot-inlaid head stock veneers before they started using the Fern pattern in 1924 and later in 1926. As far as I understand Spann's lists, no F5s at all were made in 1925, the earliest post Loar Fern accounted for being serial #81489 (FON 8223 or 8225), made in 1926 - which makes some sense, as there must have been plenty of F5s left on the shelves by the end of 1924.

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    Great interview CJ...very interesting! Congrats on the fern...its in good hands!

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    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Nice talk.

    I would have liked a statement of comparison towards other mandolins. C.J., you had an F-7 conversion (if Im not mistaken). If you still had it at the time of this video, I would have liked some music back to back with the fern. But maybe that is something for another video.

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Article: C.J. Lewandowski Talks Early Gibson Fern History

    Quote Originally Posted by grassrootphilosopher View Post
    Nice talk.

    I would have liked a statement of comparison towards other mandolins. C.J., you had an F-7 conversion (if Im not mistaken). If you still had it at the time of this video, I would have liked some music back to back with the fern. But maybe that is something for another video.
    I believe CJ told me he sold his 34 F-7 conversion? "Great Mandolins!"
    By the way I know you wanted to hear video comparisons of my F-7's and Loar and old Fern among others, I just haven't had the time with everything that is going on in my world etc...But I'll add to that thread I started on them at some point "I promise!" It just may be awhile as life and family or family life can get in the way of projects!
    Last edited by William Smith; May-02-2019 at 5:57am.

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    Part II of this ready. Won't publish this week but certainly within the next 2-3 weeks. Interesting!

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    rock in rle Paul Statman's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Article: C.J. Lewandowski Talks Early Gibson Fern History

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandolin Cafe View Post
    Part II of this ready. Won't publish this week but certainly within the next 2-3 weeks. Interesting!

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    Default Re: Article: C.J. Lewandowski Talks Early Gibson Fern History

    Quote Originally Posted by grassrootphilosopher View Post
    Nice talk.

    I would have liked a statement of comparison towards other mandolins. C.J., you had an F-7 conversion (if Im not mistaken). If you still had it at the time of this video, I would have liked some music back to back with the fern. But maybe that is something for another video.
    That would be a great subject for another video. I'm also curious about the McClanahan C.J. was so enthusiastic about not so very long ago. Apples to Oranges I suppose, but a comparison there would be interesting too.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

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    Default Re: Article: C.J. Lewandowski Talks Early Gibson Fern History

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    I believe CJ told me he sold his 34 F-7 conversion? "Great Mandolins!"
    By the way I know you wanted to hear video comparisons of my F-7's and Loar and old Fern among others, I just haven't had the time with everything that is going on in my world etc...But I'll add to that thread I started on them at some point "I promise!" It just may be awhile as life and family or family life can get in the way of projects!
    Unfortunately, I dont have the F-7 anymore

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    Default Re: Article: C.J. Lewandowski Talks Early Gibson Fern History

    Quote Originally Posted by FLATROCK HILL View Post
    That would be a great subject for another video. I'm also curious about the McClanahan C.J. was so enthusiastic about not so very long ago. Apples to Oranges I suppose, but a comparison there would be interesting too.
    Im still enthusiastic about my McClanahan. That mandolin is incredible, but in a different way. It would be neat to do a comparison. Would you rather me talk and play, just play? Maybe play the same tune on both mandolins?

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    Default Re: Article: C.J. Lewandowski Talks Early Gibson Fern History

    I would love to hear the same tune on those two mandolins.

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    Default Re: Article: C.J. Lewandowski Talks Early Gibson Fern History

    Quote Originally Posted by MonFlavor View Post
    Im still enthusiastic about my McClanahan. That mandolin is incredible, but in a different way. It would be neat to do a comparison. Would you rather me talk and play, just play? Maybe play the same tune on both mandolins?
    Thanks C.J. I enjoyed that 'Fern' video. I also enjoyed the video you recorded when you received your McClanahan Trinity model a few years ago. That thing sounded very impressive in that clip as well as subsequent recordings.

    In this recent 'Fern' video you say... "As you can see, I have a lot of good mandolins" (just before the 09:20 mark). You gesture to your right but with the stationary camera angle, we don't see those mandolins. I wondered if the McClanahan was one of the ones you were referring to.

    I just thought a comparison of the two might be interesting (to me anyway) even knowing beforehand that they each have different strengths etc. As for how to do the comparison video... your easy going matter-of-fact style of talking and playing works just fine for me.

    Thanks again. Love the stuff you do with the Po' Ramblin' Boys!

    Clark
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

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    Part 2 of this series set to publish tomorrow morning.

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