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Thread: Gibson F-5L from '78-'82 Serial numbers and information.

  1. #1
    Registered User Sergio Lara's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Gibson F-5L from '78-'82 Serial numbers and information.

    With the great R. Siminoff article on the Gibson F-5L story and after talking to Roger a couple of days ago, he suggested I start this thread to gather information and a new serial number list for Gibson F-5Ls built from 1978 to 1982 made in Kalamazoo, Michigan before the Montana period.

    So I will start with mine:

    Gibson F-5L "Fern"

    Serial number: 83520051

    Label signed by Richard Doan on December 18, 1980.

    Notes: Dark sunburst similar to a '24 Loar, very balanced volume, great small neck, gold hardware and tuners with pearl buttons, oblong case with green interior.

    I have owned it since 1988 and it is my main mandolin.

    Serge Lara

  2. #2
    Registered User Sergio Lara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F-5L from '78-'82 Serial numbers and information.

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    Here is my 1980 Gibson F-5L

    Serial number: 83520051

  3. #3
    Registered User Sergio Lara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F-5L from '78-'82 Serial numbers and information.

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    More photos of # 83520051

  4. #4
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F-5L from '78-'82 Serial numbers and information.

    Beautiful mandolin Serge! I added this comment to bump this thread back up. With the large membership on this Cafe it is surprising to me that a few more have not added to your registry list -- they must be "out there". Roger noted in his article that Gibson mandolin sales did spike up after introduction of the F5-L.
    Your mandolin is certainly a beauty and seeing it becomes even more significant once you realize how important those mandolins were to the eventual re-introduction of the Gibson master models a decade or so later.
    I'll be Roger has a record of how many tops and backs he carved but I'll also bet it is something he cannot comment on publicly. Gibson has a thing about keeping sales volumes classified -- for some reason.
    Bernie
    ____
    Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.

  5. #5
    Registered User tin ben dur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F-5L from '78-'82 Serial numbers and information.

    Thats a nice mando. I would like one from the era.
    07 KM 1000

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Gibson F-5L from '78-'82 Serial numbers and information.

    Hi Sergio,

    I was back rereading my favorite article "The F-5L Mandolin - A turning point in the history of Gibson's acoustic string instruments" by Roger Siminoff, and came across your post about serial numbers. These early F-5L's are very special instruments with a balanced tone, plenty of bite, and very well built. To me, it's the best mandolin I've ever played or owned.

    Our instruments appear to have been on the bench at the same time.

    Here's mine:

    Gibson F5-L "Fern

    Serial number: 83010077 (October 27, 1980)

    Label signed by Richard Doan on December 12, 1980

    Notes: Dark sunburst, original gold hardware, original tailpiece, pickguard, and tuners with pearl buttons; oblong case with red interior. Newer Cumberland Acoustics bridge 2020 (original in case), scooped fingerboard 2020, new frets 2020.

    I bought it in 1990 from the original owner, who bought it new from Elderly. I kept it until 1997 and traded it off, something I instantly regretted... and spent the last 23 years trying to get it back, which I did in January 2020! It had traded hands only once during that time and is in the same excellent condition it was when I let it go. It is very special to me, one I could never forget. I won't be trading it off again!!

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  7. #7
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F-5L from '78-'82 Serial numbers and information.

    Gibson F5L Serial no. 71568197 proto type signed by Arron Cowles on June 20, 1978. Given to Bill Monroe in 1980

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  9. #8
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F-5L from '78-'82 Serial numbers and information.

    Pictured here is my F5-L from '81 and my Fern from '06. The F5L sn is 80501049, signed by Rich Brown, April 6, '81.
    The F5-L darker finish looks more Loarish to me. I also favor the F5-L.
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    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

  10. #9
    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F-5L from '78-'82 Serial numbers and information.

    I believe this model really got on track with the Steve Carlson signed models... made for Gibson by Flatiron ( or maybe Gibson had already bought Flatiron when SC was signing them).

  11. #10

    Default Re: Gibson F-5L from '78-'82 Serial numbers and information.

    I have a 1991 F-5 L Master Model signed by Steve Carlson Ser # 2479099 Made in Bozman MT

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