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Thread: David grismans and bill monroes loar

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    Dont know if this has been answered before, but I am just curious as to why David Grisman puts tape over the Gibson Logo on his Loar. And I am also curious as to why Bill Monore scraped the logo off of his headstock at one time.




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    Registered User Laurence Firth's Avatar
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    I don't know why David Grisman put tape of the Gibson Logo but Bill Monroe carved the Gibson logo out of his instrument when Gibson returned it from repair without fixing the busted scroll on the head stock (and maybe other issues).
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    How do you know these are Gibson's?
    I know why Frank's is there.



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    Thats a mighty ugly mandolin player. I bet he can't play a lick neither. I'm hopin I'm as good as he is when I'm 70 again, and I bet I will be in casin' I'm carnated. You know what that means right? Carnation? Thats when yous born 2000 years ago. I'm gonna have to eng you fellers some learnish.
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    The Dawg taped over his Gibson logo because as he said, you've come to listen to the music, not stare at the mandolin.

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    According to George Gruhn,when interviewed re.Bill Monroe's Mandolin on the ''Bill Monroe Father of Bluegrass'' DVD,he states that Bill Monroe broke off the peg head scroll & scraped the varnish of AFTER Gibson had 're-finished' the instrument,rather than Gibson not repairing the scroll. I think the Mandolin went to Gibson for a re-fret& Gibson mistakenly thought that they'd do Bill Monroe a favour by sprucing up the finish,much to his dismay ,
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    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    darn inlay keeps falling out of those old gibs*ns.

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    Quote Originally Posted by (saska @ Oct. 10 2007, 05:00)
    Bill Monroe broke off the peg head scroll & scraped the varnish of AFTER Gibson had 're-finished' the instrument,rather than Gibson not repairing the scroll.
    Other than the breaking of the scroll that is what I read as well. I always assumed that the scroll break was an accident but I could very well be wrong on that. If I recall they also hadn't done all of the work he wanted done on the mandolin and it angered him greatly.
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    I know for a fact that the reason the tape was used is they are all playing kentucky Km 1000 mandolins!

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    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Sounds like that Monroe fella had a bit of a temper

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    What about his mistress's temper? She did a lot worse than scrape off the finish and gouge out the name! WSM was no saint! Interesting, for sure.

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    I read last week in Bob Black's book on Monroe that the name was gouged out because Gibson was supposed to do a lot of work on the mandolin, kept it for several months, and then only did one of the many things. Just the opposite of the explanation above. They didn't refinish it.

    As for Wake Frankfield, above, he told me the green tape was there, if I remember correctly, because Gibson had promised to give him a mandolin a couple years ago, but haven't yet come through on that. (They haven't sent me one yet, either, but if they do, I'm going to cover up the Gibson with a tuner.)

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    I heard Frank covers his because *ibson sent him too many mandolins, like thousands of them, and he didn't have a place to put them all and they took up all the space in his fridge and it has just been low blood sugar making him do stuff like cove up his headstock.
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    Saska, From what I've heard and read, your explaination is correct. Sonny Osborne said he heard him backstage at a show with a broken piece of glass scraping the finish off. Mr. Monroe said something like, "Now maybe if it's not so pretty everyone won't want to touch it." I heard from George Gruhn that Mr. Monroe was angered that it took so long for Gibson to get his mandolin back to him, and when they finally did, they had done a "courtesy" touch up on the finish, which he did not like at all.

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    Gibson's standard fix all back then and really since Loar left was a quicky Lacquer overspray to shine it up a bit.
    I've seen jobs where they didn't even cover up the holes and oversprayed the labels inside.
    Don't forget Monroe was not the original owner of that Loar so I suspect there was a heafty repair bill to go along with all those things they didn't do too. You know it needed frets so how it escaped getting the new block inlay fingerboard is beyond me unless he told them don't touch the fingerboard. He probably expected it to be a freeby since he was an Opry star. There's usually a money issue involved when you start removing pearl names in protest.

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    <I read last week in Bob Black's book on Monroe that the name was gouged out because Gibson was supposed to do a lot of work on the mandolin, kept it for several months, and then only did one of the many things. Just the opposite of the explanation above. They didn't refinish it.>

    I have a live recording of Monroe in Vancouver in 1980 where he explains this and the story is the one related above.

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    Quote Originally Posted by (mandolirius @ Oct. 10 2007, 15:36)
    <I read last week in Bob Black's book on Monroe that the name was gouged out because Gibson was supposed to do a lot of work on the mandolin, kept it for several months, and then only did one of the many things. Just the opposite of the explanation above. They didn't refinish it.>

    I have a live recording of Monroe in Vancouver in 1980 where he explains this and the story is the one related above.
    The one in the quote or the one about the unwanted refinish? Sorry to be dense, but I can read it both ways...
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    How I remember the story going about Bill's mandolin is that he took a saw to the peghead, used his pocket knife to pry out the Gibson inlay, and used something like a piece of glass to scrape off the finish to keep anyone from walking off with his mandolin. I want to say I saw one of his old band mates telling the story in the "Story of Bill Monroe" dvd.
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    I'm sorry if this has been said, but I don't have the time to read the whole post. I'm a good friend of Frank's and he taped over his Gibson headstock after Gibson failed to deliver on a promise to build him a custom F5. They've been telling him they're going to do for several years now...but he keeps being passed over. Consequently, he decided he'd given them enough free advertising. From what Frank said, Grisman did it to his as a way to "protest" what the company had done and continues to do to Frank. Take it as you will.

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    I can speak on a couple of these issues. I have seen Monroe's loar very close and Charlie had rebuilt it. If there had been any refinish work, it was not much. I personally don't think it was lacquered. He was mad about the work that was/was not done but that was many, many years before we got it.

    Frank was not promised a mandolin. We tried to work with him to get him one, but it never came to pass. Much of this had to do with changing management at OAI and Frank not wanting what was offered. Why Grisman is covering his is beyond me. He was doing that before the Frank thing was even in the works. Gibson even tried to work with David, but they just could not get all the terms worked out. Who knows, it could happen some day. I just would not hold my breathe.
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    I do not believe that Bill Monroe deliberately broke the scroll off the peg head; I read he carried it in his pocket for some time intending to have it re-attached, but finally it got lost.
    He did scrape "Gibson" out in a very deliberate statement of protest, tho.

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    <The one in the quote or the one about the unwanted refinish? Sorry to be dense, but I can read it both ways...>

    You're right, that wasn't perfectly clear. I meant the one in the quote where he says they kept if for a long time and didn't do most of what he wanted. I should add that he went on to say that he'd had a full reconciliation with Gibson, that they'd treated him well and everything was fine between them.

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    Monroe's Loar it is believed came in a shape case or at least that is what he carried it in until Tut Taylor gave him the famous "King of Bluegrass" Gibson oblong case in 1963. Since it was a used Loar many years later it may have been a replacement red stripe Gibson shape case.
    Those shape cases even today can cause the top scroll to break if they suffer a slight drop. UPS has broken a many top F scrolls) Monroe kept sticking it back on and it kept coming back off and then he lost it.
    Photographs show it was missing as early as 1946 or about a year after he got it. Another cause it could have broken off is he ran his chord strap through that top scroll slot. It helped to raise the mandolin up to the high one mic at the Opry and other shows. This was before he found out you could also run the strap through the big scroll in the body(he started doing that around 1953). Anyway so we know the scroll was gone or broken by the time he sent it to Gibson.
    Now if he and this is speculation since neither Monroe nor Gibson's stories jive on this, but if he sent it back for that long list of repairs and he had lost the top scroll by then he would have expected Gibson to make another one and they didn't or he sent the scroll with it to be reattached and they didn't make it last and when it fell off again he got ill towards those repairs. Gibson's account says they did refinish it and as I said it was probably that lacquer overspray(this being around late 1951 and getting it back in mid 1952) Now if Sonny was there when the finish was scrapped it came several months later during Sonny's first time in the BGBoys in July, 1952. Like the crack in the liberty bell, the missing top scroll on Monroe's Loar is considered the classic Monroe look.

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    Geoff Clarkson squirrelabama's Avatar
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    Maybe it's along the same lines as Kurt Cobain's T-shirt he donned ont the core of Rolling Stone (that looked like it was inked in Sharpie) that stated "Corporate Rock S**ks" [I]
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    Registered User Tim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (David Hanson @ Oct. 10 2007, 02:45)
    The Dawg taped over his Gibson logo because as he said, you've come to listen to the music, not stare at the mandolin.
    I'm sure he's not concerned over too many opinions here on the cafe but why should that stop me from offering mine. #

    As long as he gets paid, why should he care if I want to listen or look at the headstock?

    If the instrument isn't part of the package, why is he trying to sell us those Tone Poem cds where the gimmick is different instruments on each track with the same musician?
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