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Thread: Monteleone F5 -#4 - 'The Gibson'. 1970s

  1. #1
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    Jan 2013
    Woods Hole, MA

    Default Monteleone F5 -#4 - 'The Gibson'. 1970s

    I have one of the very first mandolins that John Monteleone made back in the 70's. Long before he became famous. I bought it in my twenties, gigged with it and then came babies and mortgages and I have babied since.

    It is one of the original 8 that have 'The Gibson' on the headstock. This is what I think I know about it.

    John Monteleone was working at Mandolin Brothers in the repair shop. A 1923/24 Lloyd Loar F5 came in for repair and John studied it and copied all the dimensions while is was apart. Mandolin Brothers asked if he could make a copy. The first 8 he made had The Gibson on the headstock and tailpiece. Starting with #9 I believe, from these forums, that he started putting 'Monteleone' on the headstock. He made quite a few of those before evolving on to the GA.

    I believe #1 was never sold. Aside from mine, I believe there are six others with The Gibson on them. I am only the second owner. Carl from Holyoke, MA bought it from Mandolin Brothers and then convinced me to buy it, during a jam session, only a few months later.

    This mandolin sounds like no other. It plays tender, it plays hard, it sounds as clear as a bell. Better than my Gilchrist and my Gibson Gold Rush, or any other mandolin I have ever played. My luthier told me to never sell it. But, it is time to sell part of the collection. We do not own these instruments; we are only caretakers for part of their lifetime.

    1. Does anybody have any information about this series of mandolins?
    2. Do you know where the other 6 are?
    3. Is there a registry of Montelone mandolins?
    4. Any idea what is worth today? I bought it with four months rent money back in the 70's. My girlfriend was pissed!

    Any information you have would be greatly appreciated.

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    Gilchrist 5 (2006)
    Monteleone F5 (70's)
    Kentucky Dawg (80's)
    Gibson F5 Goldrush (2014)
    Acker F5 (70's)
    Martin D35 Brazilian - 1969

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  3. #2
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Southeast Tennessee

    Default Re: Monteleone F5 -#4 - 'The Gibson'. 1970s

    Monteleone mandolins are typically being listed for $20,000 +/-, depending on the condition and who is selling it.
    Does the instrument have Monteleone's name or signature anywhere inside? If there is not a label, he may have signed the top or back. A light and a mirror might be necessary.

    If there is no evidence of a name or a signature, a letter of authenticity may be necessary. I believe that Mr. Monteleone is still alive. If you can locate him, it would be best to get the letter from him. If that's not do-able, I would contact George Gruhn in Nashville-- an authentication from him would probably be accepted more widely than one from just about anyone else. He can also consign the instrument if you wish. If that is not practical, Jim Bollman, former owner of The Music Emporium, still lives in Massachusetts and can probably recognize Monteleone's workmanship and provide a letter.

  4. #3
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Nov 2003

    Default Re: Monteleone F5 -#4 - 'The Gibson'. 1970s

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    ...I believe that Mr. Monteleone is still alive...
    Still alive and still building.
    Here is the contact page from his website.

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  6. #4
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    Asheville, NC

    Default Re: Monteleone F5 -#4 - 'The Gibson'. 1970s

    It is an easy drive over to Long Island; go visit John.

    Great guy, a workshop that is a living museum, and you never know who will stop by for a visit, plus there is a great local pizza shop just a few blocks away.

  7. #5
    Registered User
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    Feb 2013
    Charlottesville, VA

    Default Re: Monteleone F5 -#4 - 'The Gibson'. 1970s

    Very cool pics there! I have #6, made in 1976, but it’s not a Loar F5 copy, it’s a 2 point with a unique ‘moccasin’ style headstock. John told me it was the prototype for his Baby Grand model. It’s missing its tailpiece cover, which i would love to replace….if anyone has an early Monteleone with a Gibson style tailpiece, but with ‘Monteleone’ engraved on it, which mine apparently did, I’d love a photo so I can have one made to match.


  8. #6
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    Jan 2013
    Woods Hole, MA

    Default Re: Monteleone F5 -#4 - 'The Gibson'. 1970s

    Thanks. It is signed by John. Label.

  9. #7
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Westchester, NY

    Default Re: Monteleone F5 -#4 - 'The Gibson'. 1970s

    I have seen a few of these Gibson copies, at least one at a guitar show in Long Island many years ago. John made and occasionally still makes exceptional instruments but I don't know of the fans of Loar F-5s would prefer their particular tone as compared to other more bluegrassy sounding ones I love the tones of many of the Monteleones I have played but I am not a bluegrass player.

    This certainly has some history to it but I am not sure it would be valued much more than later ones. Probably best way to find out would be to try to sell it or consult with some of the retail shops like The Music Emporium (probably closest to you) or Retrofret in Brooklyn, NY and see how they would value it. More than likely they might even have some buyers on their want lists who would be interested should you want to sell it.

    Or ask John...

    My Stream on Soundcloud
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  10. #8
    Registered User
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    Sep 2002
    North Carolina

    Default Re: Monteleone F5 -#4 - 'The Gibson'. 1970s

    Has a price been decided on?

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