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Thread: Acoustic Engineer

  1. #1
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    Default Acoustic Engineer

    I noticed a Gibson mandolin for sale in the classified that said it was signed by Danny Roberts, Acoustic Engineer. I had never thought about it, but my F-5 DMM is also signed by Danny as "Acoustic Engineer". I know Dave Harvey is now head of the mandolin department at Gibson and guess he is signing the mandolins as "Acoustic Engineer". Does anyone know if either Dave or Danny are engineers?
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    Almost all labels signed by anyone at Gibson since Lloyd Loar are signed with that title. It's pretty meaningless and an obvious nod to history.

    This thread lists everyone that we have been able to find over the years that signed a label. In many cases there are pictures of the signature somewhere in the thread on a label.

    I'm sure it was more marketing than anything else when Gibson first used the title.
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Jan-22-2020 at 3:48pm.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    There are remarkably few rules about who can call themselves an engineer. As long as they do not get involved in designing boilers or certain types of structural design calculations involving danger to lives or property, my neighbors pet duck can call themselves an engineer. It is kind of strange. People who would be embarrassed to refer to themselves as a doctor, a lawyer, nurse or teacher without proper schooling are fine with claiming to be an engineer.

    My rant for today.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    I have several certificates in the computer industry that declare me an engineer. I will list the certifications when necessary but I'm no engineer. I get it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    Good explanations guys, but the reason I asked is that a number of years ago I was working in the state of Tennessee as a "golf course architect". I got a call from the state licensing board (or similar agency) and asked if I was a registered architect. I explained to the nice lady that I was not an "architect, nor claimed to be one (although I have a degree in architecture), but a "golf course" architect and did not design vertical structures. After 45 minutes of "discussion", she let me know in no uncertain terms using the term "architect" with any adjective is a violation of the law. I had to change my letterhead to Golf Course Designer. I just wondered if the same is true using the term "engineer".
    Linksmaker

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    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    I think it's like calling yourself a "sandwich artist"...

    Kirk

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    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    Differentiates from "electrical engineer," in that you don't have to plug him/her in.
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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlM View Post
    There are remarkably few rules about who can call themselves an engineer. As long as they do not get involved in designing boilers or certain types of structural design calculations involving danger to lives or property, my neighbors pet duck can call themselves an engineer. It is kind of strange. People who would be embarrassed to refer to themselves as a doctor, a lawyer, nurse or teacher without proper schooling are fine with claiming to be an engineer.

    My rant for today.
    I'm a folklorist, who studied hard for a couple of decades, attended numerous lectures by experts in the subject, read and was examined on a great many books and essays, went through three days of examinations on virtually all aspects of folklore, did fieldwork, and wrote, then defended, a PhD thesis before a panel of six doctors of folklore. I now call myself a folklorist, as can any person who has a hobbyist's interest in folklore. The same is true of historians. Sigh. Anyone engineers want to joins us for a beer and a rant?
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    Six months ago I couldn't spell 'engineer' and now I are one.

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    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    I tell people the only criteria for being a golf course architect is getting someone to hire you! In a way that is true, as there have been some great golf course designers whose initial chosen profession was anything but golf course design. Alister McKenzie, the architect of the Augusta National was a surgeon for the British Army and also became a camouflage expert.

    However, I was just curious if using the term engineer in the state of Tennessee carried the same restrictions (or registration requirements) as using the term architect, regardless of the type of engineer or architect.
    Linksmaker

  12. #11

    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    I don't think anyone is claiming to be an engineer in this case. It is merely a job title that comes with the job. And, looks like it has been grandfathered in, due to tradition.

    Sometimes in place of a pay hike, we get a title as a form of promotion, which......

    And then, we've all heard of custodial engineers......

  13. #12

    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    And then, we've all heard of custodial engineers......
    Or CFO.. Chief Foodprep Operator...

  14. #13

    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    Quote Originally Posted by Links View Post
    I tell people the only criteria for being a golf course architect is getting someone to hire you! In a way that is true, as there have been some great golf course designers whose initial chosen profession was anything but golf course design. Alister McKenzie, the architect of the Augusta National was a surgeon for the British Army and also became a camouflage expert.

    However, I was just curious if using the term engineer in the state of Tennessee carried the same restrictions (or registration requirements) as using the term architect, regardless of the type of engineer or architect.
    In most states, if you advertise yourself as an engineer in private practice you can get yourself in trouble. In other words if you start your own engineering firm freelancing and advertise it that way. Similarly if you design structures that are subject to code regulations or boilers.

    If you work for a manufacturer of a product there is usually a manufactured product exemption that exempts engineers from PE certification or virtually any educational requirements unless there are specific code requirement for PE certification as with boilers and some lifting devices. This would be the case with Gibson. Of course when that happened with Lloyd Loar it was at a time when professional regulation was in its infancy and even medicine and law were a lot more open.

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    And how does Casey Jones fit into the discussion?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Come all you rounders, if you wanna hear
    The story 'bout a brave engineer.
    Casey Jones was the rounder's name,
    On a 68 wheeler, boys, he won his fame.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    Well, I do have the certificates. Those certificates and a few dollars will get me a Happy Meal at many McDonald's restaurants.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  18. #16

    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    In my field, engineers were the ones that sized, rated and recomend components for the designer (me) to use. Yes, and they were the ones with certificates and degrees. While i was educated, years ago, my position was undoubtedly so because of my years of knowledge of the product specifically. I retired. Maybe the engineers are still there? I have no idea.

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    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    Duh! It never dawned on me that I could look it up! Here is what I found. This is from the state of Tennessee code.

    (c) A person is construed to practice or offer to practice engineering, architecture or landscape architecture who, by verbal claim, sign, advertisement, letterhead, card or in any other way, represents that person to be an architect, engineer or landscape architect, with or without qualifying adjective, or through the use of some other title implies that the person is an architect, engineer or landscape architect.

    Of course it doesn't mention "mandolin label"! 🤓🙂
    Linksmaker

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    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    It's certainly different in different jurisdictions. For instance, in Canada engineering is a provincially regulated profession. To become a licensed professional engineer one must graduate from an accredited engineering degree program, work between two and four years supervised as an Engineer-in-Training and then write a set of professional exams before being granted a "P.Eng" designation. It's a serious process, minimum six years from start to finish, often longer.

    Of course that doesn't really prevent anyone else from calling themselves any kind of engineer they like (sanitation engineer, etc) but it does prohibit anyone who hasn't earned the P.Eng designation from offering or carrying out any work requiring a professional engineer's approval.

    Enjoy!
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    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Bohnen View Post
    It's certainly different in different jurisdictions. For instance, in Canada engineering is a provincially regulated profession. To become a licensed professional engineer one must graduate from an accredited engineering degree program, work between two and four years supervised as an Engineer-in-Training and then write a set of professional exams before being granted a "P.Eng" designation. It's a serious process, minimum six years from start to finish, often longer.

    Of course that doesn't really prevent anyone else from calling themselves any kind of engineer they like (sanitation engineer, etc) but it does prohibit anyone who hasn't earned the P.Eng designation from offering or carrying out any work requiring a professional engineer's approval.

    Enjoy!
    Excellent point Aaron. I think the point here though is not that someone is practicing engineering who is not educated, trained, and taken the professional exam. I think it is the fact that a person uses the title _______ engineer is by definition claiming to be an engineer. I don't think it matters whether he is practicing engineering or not, but just using the name. I never claimed to be practicing architecture when I used the title Golf Course Architect in Tennessee, although it was never questioned in any other state that I practiced in. As a matter of fact in a number of states, including Florida and California we were specifically exempted from having to be registered and licensed.
    Linksmaker

  22. #20
    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    And how does Casey Jones fit into the discussion?

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	220px-Casey_Jones.jpg 
Views:	2 
Size:	13.3 KB 
ID:	183104

    Come all you rounders, if you wanna hear
    The story 'bout a brave engineer.
    Casey Jones was the rounder's name,
    On a 68 wheeler, boys, he won his fame.

    I don't know about then, but today, Engineers on trains are Federally licensed, the last time I looked that up.
    I have worked in similar fields over the years. I was in the Merchant Marine for 28 years and at the point I retired I was Licensed by the US Coast Guard to serve in the capacity of "Chief Engineer, Steam and Motor Vessels of Unlimited Horsepower." However I was not a degreed engineer. I never attended any university. I did go thru a 3.5 year apprenticeship. Most of the exams I took as I raised my license grade over the years were given over a 3 to 3.5 day period. So it isn't something they give away either.
    I still have an active license issue by the State of Maryland, for Power and Machinery plants as 1st Grade Stationary Engineer, Unlimited Horsepower. Again, it took no degree to get that either. Just another apprenticeship. The apprenticeship was not as lengthy nor was the exam. Of course this type of "Engineer's" License came from the word "Engine" which just like Casey Jones is what we primarily operate. But unless I'm on the job I'd never call myself an Engineer nor would I tell anyone I was.
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  24. #21
    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    I see Dave Harvey's signature on mine, but can't find the "Acoustic Engineer" title anywhere?
    I stand corrected. It's in small print (or I need new glasses) right underneath Dave's signature.
    Last edited by Bill Kammerzell; Jan-23-2020 at 12:00am.
    Gibson Custom Shop F5G Wide Nut (2010) Dave Harvey
    Collings MF (2016)
    Breedlove Quartz (2001)

    Hohner and Seydel Harmonicas (various keys)

    "Heck, Jimmy Martin don't even believe in Santy Claus!"

  25. #22
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    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    Indeed! I think the issue at stake is how the name and work go together. If you look you can find employers seeking "Acoustic Engineers" but those positions are generally intended for licensed professional engineers specializing in the field of acoustic isolation and control, noise abatement, etc. A former mechanical engineering student of mine went on to an interesting career in this field actually - he has been involved in the design of several concert halls and performance venues, noise control for architecture and industry, etc.

    On the Gibson labels it's probably historical more than anything. Officially speaking, despite his extensive training in music and obvious expertise, LL might have been in at least a grey area with the title "Acoustic Engineer" today.

    Thankfully it was a less legalistic time back then and started a nice tradition. My last Gibson mandolin had Dave Harvey's signature with "Acoustic Engineer" underneath it!

    Enjoy!
    Gavin Baird F4 & F5
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    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    But of course it is a great honor to be one of a relatively small collection of people who have signed their name on a Gibson mandolin label as "Acoustic Engineer". The necessary prerequisites needed to be one of those people are significant.

  27. #24
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    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    Quote Originally Posted by Hudmister View Post
    But of course it is a great honor to be one of a relatively small collection of people who have signed their name on a Gibson mandolin label as "Acoustic Engineer". The necessary prerequisites needed to be one of those people are significant.
    Yeah, that's not necessarily true, there was a period where they just asked somebody to sign it. The link I listed in the second message of this thread has some interesting information about how they determined who would sign the label for many years.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Acoustic Engineer

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Bohnen View Post
    Indeed! I think the issue at stake is how the name and work go together. If you look you can find employers seeking "Acoustic Engineers" but those positions are generally intended for licensed professional engineers specializing in the field of acoustic isolation and control, noise abatement, etc. A former mechanical engineering student of mine went on to an interesting career in this field actually - he has been involved in the design of several concert halls and performance venues, noise control for architecture and industry, etc.

    On the Gibson labels it's probably historical more than anything. Officially speaking, despite his extensive training in music and obvious expertise, LL might have been in at least a grey area with the title "Acoustic Engineer" today.

    Thankfully it was a less legalistic time back then and started a nice tradition. My last Gibson mandolin had Dave Harvey's signature with "Acoustic Engineer" underneath it!

    Enjoy!
    Thanks Aaron. That is exactly the sort of thing I was talking about. An acoustic or acoustical engineer is a "real" engineer and not just a made up title. I think, as you mentioned, mechanical engineers and maybe some other disciplines, can specialize in acoustical engineering. Of course practicing these trades require licenses in every state. I would guess most states have reciprocal agreements.

    I have never looked at a Dave Harvey mandolin and did not know if the labels signed by him include "Acoustic Engineer". Neither do I know Dave Harvey and have any idea what qualifications he has as an acoustic engineer. Same with any others who have signed Gibson labels.
    Linksmaker

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