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Thread: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

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    Default Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    Courtesy Joe Spann to the Cafe a few minutes ago. That first entry is Monroe's mandolin. Click image for enlarged version.

    Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

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    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    Now that´s a fun geek fact.

    So we may assume that this is the fabled repair entry that caused the longtime estrangement between BM and Gibson.

    As I remember it from my Bluegrass history class, BM sent off the mandolin for some repair (new frets etc.) but didn´t get the mandolin back in a timely fashion. When he got it back it sported a "makeover". That angered the father of bluegrass so much that he gouged out the Gibson logo and tried to scratch off the finish makeover. This incident took place when Sonny Osborne was in the band (around Sept. 1952).
    Olaf

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    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    Interesting indeed. So if they logged it in Nov. 29, 1951 and Sonny remembers him getting it back that would be at the earliest July, 1952 this would mean they kept for 8 months, possibly 9 months. Monroe was not the original owner, so it did not get preferred treatment, so 8 to 9 months sounds about right to me for that time for Gibson to do any type repair, major or minor. To Monroe that was a long time and he has been quoted saying they kept it way too long. Monroe would have used his 1945 Epiphone or the 1936 F7 during this time.

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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    Quote Originally Posted by f5loar View Post
    Interesting indeed. ... Monroe would have used his 1945 Epiphone or the 1936 F7 during this time.
    More geekery...

    We know that BM used an F-4 for the Big Mon, Monroe´s Hornpipe recordings in ... 1958 (did I get the date right?).

    Is there any "eye witness testimony" what BM used in the "estrangement repair time" in 1951. If so, who was it and what was reported which instrument BM used?

    Repeat question (out of lack of knowledge): What happened to the Epiphone and the F-7? Did BM sell them, if so when, to whom etc.?
    Olaf

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    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    Apart from the fact that Bill Monroe loved that mandolin, would fans have been disappointed to not see it at the time. One of the reasons Thile is great to see is seeing him play one of the Loars. But times and interests were different then. Or were they?

    ? Or were they?
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    Registered User Joe Spann's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    The Gibson shipping ledger shows the date that the mandolin was RETURNED to Monroe. Not the date it arrived at Gibson. It is reasonable to assume that the F-5 was at Gibson waiting to be repaired during most of the year 1951. Kendle Music Company was the Gibson dealer located in Nashville, Tennessee at that time.

    Joe Spann

    Quote Originally Posted by f5loar View Post
    Interesting indeed. So if they logged it in Nov. 29, 1951 and Sonny remembers him getting it back that would be at the earliest July, 1952 this would mean they kept for 8 months, possibly 9 months. Monroe was not the original owner, so it did not get preferred treatment, so 8 to 9 months sounds about right to me for that time for Gibson to do any type repair, major or minor. To Monroe that was a long time and he has been quoted saying they kept it way too long. Monroe would have used his 1945 Epiphone or the 1936 F7 during this time.

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    Exactly, this is a shipping ledger not a receiving log.
    This is kind of extreme geekery! I love it!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Spann View Post
    The Gibson shipping ledger shows the date that the mandolin was RETURNED to Monroe. Not the date it arrived at Gibson. It is reasonable to assume that the F-5 was at Gibson waiting to be repaired during most of the year 1951. Kendle Music Company was the Gibson dealer located in Nashville, Tennessee at that time.

    Joe Spann
    This image has been posted a few times on Mac's Bluegrass Era on Facebook and it is labeled "1949: BLUEGRASS BOYS: JACK THOMPSON, CHUBBY WISE, MAC WISEMAN, RUDY LYLE, WITH "THE GREAT BILL"". I have always questioned the date (literally) as Monroe's F5 isn't in the picture. Maybe, just maybe they kept it longer than 8 or 9 months.
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    Quote Originally Posted by David Lewis View Post
    Apart from the fact that Bill Monroe loved that mandolin, would fans have been disappointed to not see it at the time. One of the reasons Thile is great to see is seeing him play one of the Loars. But times and interests were different then. Or were they?

    ? Or were they?
    I doubt many fans would have known he wasn't playing his regular mandolin. More people heard him on the radio and on records than ever saw him in person.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    That's Monroe's 1936 F-7 in that photo Mike. I don't know where the Epiphone is but F5-Loar "Tom" and myself have talked about it and its in the wind or destroyed? Very neat info thanks to Joe S.

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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    I know what it is but in relationship to this conversation, if Bill wasn't using his F5 in 1949 then where was it? Maybe at Gibson awaiting repairs that didn't complete until it was shipped back in 1951. The other answer might be it just wasn't playable anymore at that time and needed to be repaired.

    That is assuming that picture was really taken in 1949.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    I’ve posted this before but it would be GREAT if the original shipping records could be made public.

    Phil

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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    The story I heard was it was returned with the heavy lacquer finish they would have been doing in 50-51 and thats why he scraped the finish off and gouged the name out.

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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Spann View Post
    The Gibson shipping ledger shows the date that the mandolin was RETURNED to Monroe. Not the date it arrived at Gibson. It is reasonable to assume that the F-5 was at Gibson waiting to be repaired during most of the year 1951. Kendle Music Company was the Gibson dealer located in Nashville, Tennessee at that time.

    Joe Spann
    okay, got it but that makes Sonny's story a bit "off" on the dates. You would think he did the self destruction to the F5 as soon as he got it back and not many months later. Or Sonny was not with Monroe in the band when he saw it happen as Sonny's first time in the band officially is July 1952.

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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    New information about the famous "botched" Gibson repairs was found in the new Tom Ewing book on Monroe released last Sept. It seems this shipping ledger from Joe Spann is for a previous repair Gibson had done before the botched job. Monroe had said he would return the F5 to Gibson about once a year, mostly for new fingerboards. Monroe was rather harsh on the frets and even with hard ebony would wear grooves into the fingerboard. Gibson has always felt it was easier to replace the entire fingerboard than to replace each fret after re-surfacing the fingerboard (remember the famous "bow-tie" fingerboard being put on Earl's Granada and also Sonny Osborne's first prewar 3). The time Gibson botched the repair and a feud of sorts started was when the neck was broke off and it needed other things done to it like new tuners, fingerboard and at the request of Monroe a new refinish. This was in May, 1952. According to Ewing it was returned around August, 1952, but by Sonny Osborne's memory of the actual scraping of the finish, it was done by July, 1952 and dated photos and studio recordings prove this date. This means Gibson only kept the mandolin almost 3 months and not 4 months as previously reported. So he gets the mandolin back and was "aggravated" with the repair job Gibson had done. They basically had only put the neck back in and oversprayed it with lacquer (another common repair practice at Gibson during this era). So out comes the penknife to remove the precious Gibson pearl logo and then later he would use a piece of broken glass to scrape off the overspray finish. But as fate would have it, the little riff didn't last long because one year later Monroe would put a pack of boxed strings under the neck area of a shape case and force it to close, causing the neck to loosen again. So it goes back to Gibson again in August, 1953. Monroe would continue to ship the mandolin back every year or so to get a new fingerboard and in Nov. 1958, again it would be returned. When it was not being shipped to Gibson for repairs, Monroe would turn to Nashville friends Ira Louvin and Gene Martin (Benny Martin's brother) who had instrument shops in their homes to perform minor repairs on the F5. By the late 60's luthier Randy Wood would do all repairs on the mandolin until 1980 when Monroe and the Gibson Co. , finally became best of friends until he died in 1996.

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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    Thanks F5TOM, Your a wealth of great old knowledge perhaps you should write a book-I'd buy it!

    Look at the handful of Loar F-5's that got the 50's treatment! Some L-5's also, many other's also!

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    Well Tom, that may have shortened the reading of Mr. Ewing’s book by a few pages but, I doubt it!
    It is really amazing to have the wide knowledge from members who “Were there” or at least alive when some of these things happened and were observant enough to either manage to keep a mental note or write it down to keep some of the chronology in reasonable order.
    There is surely some powerful information in Tom Ewing’s book but, it starts out equally dry. At least for me.
    Great research, unbelievably well footnoted!
    Has it been adopted by ETSU as a textbook yet?
    Timothy F. Lewis
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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    Thanks F5TOM, Your a wealth of great old knowledge perhaps you should write a book-I'd buy it!

    Look at the handful of Loar F-5's that got the 50's treatment! Some L-5's also, many other's also!
    With Monroe having had the F5 sent back for so many replacement fingerboards, I would say he let them know up front don't put them ugly as block inlays in mine cause that ain't no part of nothin' on a mandolin. Otherwise Monroe's F5 would have sported a full block inlay fingerboard. This new information also brings into question the seller of the "holy grail" fingerboard that was salvaged from a Randy Wood trash can claiming to be the original '23 fingerboard. NOT! That was only one of dozens put on it. Gibson even admitted when the did the 1980 headstock repair/redo it also got a new fingerboard at that time as it needed it. One can only image how rough the Big Mon was on those fingerboards to wear them slap out in a year's time.

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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    Yep I always thought that board "ain't no part of nothin'" for what 75G!

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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    Yep I always thought that board "ain't no part of nothin'" for what 75G!
    Makes that original '23 headstock overlay look like a steal at $37K.

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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    I know Monroe didn't like em but I love the look of the pearl blocks on the old 30's-50's F-5's!

    For sure with the 30's darker sprayed on burst, I think it has some class, I love the looks of my 34 Fern with Blocks! As soon as I get my 58 F-5 back from R.Wood as its getting the treatment and a much needed neck replacement -I'm going to pull a Monroe and scrape off that pesky 1/2 inch thick lacquer-LoL, maybe I'll use a pen knife for purposely nostalgia reasons, well maybe just some real fine steel wool or fine grit wet sanding as not to get into the finish but that'll be another thread to hear builders recommendations! I'm sure it'll sound great when he's done but even better when that lacquer is gone!
    Last edited by William Smith; Sep-05-2019 at 5:39am.

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    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    Quote Originally Posted by f5loar View Post
    This new information also brings into question the seller of the "holy grail" fingerboard that was salvaged from a Randy Wood trash can claiming to be the original '23 fingerboard. NOT! That was only one of dozens put on it. Gibson even admitted when the did the 1980 headstock repair/redo it also got a new fingerboard at that time as it needed it. One can only image how rough the Big Mon was on those fingerboards to wear them slap out in a year's time.
    I still find it interesting that all of Monroe's fingerboards, including that "holy grail", look, indeed, quite like 1923 until the early 70s (if I remember correctly), when R. Wood installed his version. The later replacements didn't look loarish either.

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    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    This is the original fingerboard. All the album covers during this period have the original board, and are post Gibson working on the mando
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    This picture is from about 1972. This is not the original fingerboard. The frets are not in the correct position compared to the "Florida Curves". The frets are supposed to line up exactly with the 90 degree turn of the binding and the little point on the binding.

    With all due respect, Gibson today still messes this detail up.

    My mind is fuzzy, but I am pretty sure Randy Wood reset the neck and made this fingerboard when he was on 2nd Ave in Nashville. And did the little brown putty spot on the top. Photo by Frank Ray

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Shipping Ledger - November 29, 1951

    This is how the frets are supposed to line up
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