10 Questions for Dan Beimborn

By Mandolin Cafe
June 26, 2011 - 7:45 pm

Dan Beimborn - owner and administrator of the Mandolin Archive Dan Beimborn - owner and administrator of the Mandolin Archive

It's the winter of 1994 and I'm spending a Saturday attaching a 14.4K modem to my personal computer with the goal of paying my first visit to something called a web site. My lumbering Mosaic browser finally connects with the internet. I run a search for mandolin. A considerable delay ensues before displaying Alta Vista's search results and a link to The Mandolin Page, the first mandolin site on the web and the creation of Dan Beimborn.

I'm hooked.

A few years after launching the site, Dan moved on from his Milwaukee roots to Silicon Valley and entered the dot.com job market. We lost touch. Fast forward to 2002. The Cafe has been kicked off its third host for using too many server resources. No ISP will have us if a forum is involved and the income and expertise to run a dedicated server isn't in the cards. Time to throw in the towel, but in pops an email from Dan who I hadn't heard from in years offering his help. Soon we're up and running with no more than a few hours of down time in nearly ten years.

In addition to providing a remarkably fast and stable server environment and a lot of valuable web programming to the Mandolin Cafe, Dan's Mandolin Archive has become the single most academic landing spot for vintage mandolin geeks. His audience might include eye candy gawkers, builders looking to trace inlays and evaluate designs, amateur and professional researchers testing theories while checking serial and factory order numbers, or buyers and sellers checking past histories on some of the finest mandolins ever built. Few web sites in the stringed instrument world equal what he has cataloged, if any.

His talent has touched the Mandolin Cafe in a positive fashion in more ways than I can count. You won't think of that when you visit, but I think of it every day, and it's a story I'm happy to tell to anyone that will listen. In addition to being a great soul, Dan is also a world class mandolin player who favors Irish music and the influences of old-time American traditional music.

Our mutual fondness with chicken jokes, our online bitch sessions about — what guys that run web sites like to complain about — swapping links to eBay and places where mandolins are for sale, devising devious tricks that keep spammers off the site and daily instant messaging are a part of the time we spend together online. Meet the guy that makes the technical side of the Cafe really run and the first person I turn to when I need advice. I'm proud to call him my friend.

 — Scott Tichenor
     Mandolin Cafe

The Kilmoulis Jig/Alabama Rick's

Mandolin Cafe: You've been a part of the Mandolin Cafe staff for a long time and are fairly well known on the forum but most people know very little about your background. You have a day job with responsibilities that provide direct benefits our site's visitors. Tell us about your day job.

Dan Beimborn: I work as a Unix engineer for an investment company in London's financial district. For anyone wondering what the heck that means, Unix is an operating system like Windows, but older and primarily used for web servers, email servers, and that sort of thing. My job is fixing problems, analyzing performance, and helping programmers speed up computer programs that trade electronically on the stock exchanges. In the algorithmic trading world, a delay of 1/100th of a second can make a big difference to the bottom line, so we're constantly striving to do things efficiently. I sit at a desk with lots of monitors for 8-10 hours a day, and stare at text in little boxes while meaningfully furrowing my brow.

The Cafe web site and programming provides a nice contrast to some of the office world since I can always keep the design exactly how I like it. I can make our stuff run quickly without going through bureaucracy or compromises you sometimes get in a big office environment. I apply all of the same approaches I use at work, which is basically constant testing, measuring, tweaking, patching, and even rebuilding it from time to time. I've really enjoyed working on a lot of the behind-the-scenes that really makes the experience at the Cafe more fun. We have a bunch of unique and clever techniques to keep the site clear from spam, just to name one of them!

The Cafe server has some pretty impressive stats. On a 24-hour average we're sending out nearly 300KB per second, and during peak times we're in the 10MB second range. We've managed better up-time (server available without interruption) than Google Mail. Our web server is built on RedHat Linux with considerable tuning and tweaking. We also host the Mandolin Archive and a few small low-traffic sites for friends. We're a mix of heavily customized commercial software and our own programs and tweaks. We're ranked as "Very Fast" by alexa.com, with better performance than 81% of the internet. Not bad considering that the two of us are beating out an awful lot of eCommerce operations with global teams and six-figure+ budgets!

Mandolin Cafe: Tell us about your fascination with and collecting of early Gibson 3-point mandolins, not the sort of thing we expect from remarkable Irish musicians.

L-R: Dan Beimborn's 3-Point Trio, SN 9211, 3640 and 9100

Dan Beimborn's 3-point collection

Photo credit: Dan Beimborn.

Dan Beimborn: Boy, this has been a very strong passion of mine for many years now. Most of our fellow mandolin fans will have seen these F-style mandolins with the extra body point below the scroll, but I was sure bitten by something when I was first exposed to them. They're similar to the later design, but seem to me even more captivating.

Dan Beimborn's 2006 CD, Torch and Fire, with his 1909 Gibson F4, serial number 9100 as the cover art. Click to purchase. Dan Beimborn's 2006 CD, Torch and Fire, with his 1909 Gibson F4, serial number 9100 as the cover art. Click to purchase.

Long before I had a decent mandolin, I read George Gruhn and Walter Carter's Acoustic Guitars and Other Fretted Instruments book. There's a beautifully inlaid 3-point F4 pictured in that book, which really lit the fuse for me. I've spent many long hours on the internet with my mouse hovering dangerously over the "bid" or "buy" links. I especially love the ones with the orange finish and torch inlay. Many nail-biting lost eBay auctions and "just missing that one" at dealers happened with me over about 6 years. I finally found my first 3-pointer at Gruhn Guitar, just after wrapping up a recording session in Nashville. That one was a 1904 F2 #3263, which I sold when I acquired my 3-point F4.

About these mandolins: Gibson started off with Orville's 3-point F4 design, which is quite a thing to behold. The scrolls are spherical, like a tennis ball with a cut-out to make the familiar curl. We've documented a couple of these at the Mandolin Archive. Orville was quite a designer. To my eye, it's very hard to pick a style or school or art/design that it even resembles. There is a deliberate asymmetry and organic aspect to them, the lines and curves really just have no other obvious design precedent. Orville sold his patents to the factory that would take his name, and by about 1903 they'd produced a few of their own, apparently starting with serial number 2500 or 2501.

The earliest factory 3-points have a "bulbous" look, like someone over-inflated them! The scrolls and top carving evolved pretty rapidly, in only about 5 years they were much flatter with a ridge carved on them to suggest the spherical appearance. I've got one 3-pointer from this period, it's a 1904/1905 F2 #3640. This one was beautifully restored by Jack Cowardin, who replaced the broken neck and cleaned up the finish to great degree. This was a "rescue" mandolin, I wanted to do what I could (by financing the work) to bring a beautiful old piece of history back to playing condition. One thing to note about this... it's likely the 1,140th instrument made at Gibson. Most of instruments they made were the cheaper A models, some were guitars, some were harp guitars, some were mandolas and mandocellos... so they can't have had much more than a few hundred F models built by this time. When they're this age or older, each one can have its own unique features, experiments, level of quality. It was a learning period for the young factory. Some of the old ones almost look like badly-executed copies of the real thing, they can be quite crude!

1904/1905 Gibson F2, serial number 3640

Recently restored by by Jack Cowardin. Previously housed in pieces for many years at Mass. Street Music in Lawrence, Kansas.

Dan Beimborn's Gibson F2 serial 3640

Photo credit: Dan Beimborn.

The Gibson factory evolved the design subtly after this one. Serials from about 3800-5500 are closer to uniform. They don't quite have that "prototype" feel any more. The inlaid pickguards from these are quite elaborate, they have a Victorian look to them. Some of these ones are quite remarkable. David Grisman has long played a gorgeous F4 from this period.

By the time 1909 rolled around, these 3-point mandolins were starting to really look a lot more like the teens 2-point versions. In fact, it's not too widely known, but this was a great period of innovation at Gibson. The neck angle of the early 3-points wasn't great. The tailpieces were really annoying to work with, the tone was a bit "tinny" on them, and the general quality of workmanship is much more variable and haphazard. By 1909 Gibson had improved the tailpiece base to have individual hooks (better for string changing), necks and body joints were strengthened with dovetailed blocks similar to violins, the first raised pickguards were introduced, and the bridges were also improved and raised up to improve both intonation and tone. The innovation and playability of these late 3-pointers certainly helped them sell so many during the boom years of the mandolin craze.

So, I've had a 1909 F4, Serial #9100 for a few years now. This is the one I wrote an article about for Fretboard Journal. To me it's the ultimate achievement in the 3-point F4s, beautiful orange finish, flamey maple on the back, and my all-time favorite musical instrument inlay on the peghead. This particular one looks to have been made as a custom piece as it has a silver monogrammed tailpiece, and unusually fine woods. Both the back and the top are made from single pieces, and the quality of the carving and binding is exceptional. It also has wonderful tone like the best of the early 1910-1912 F4s. It's a beautiful mandolin. I was very lucky to spot the classified ad pop up on the Cafe while I was actually working on the programming code for the classified ads themselves! I purchased this one from builder Troy Harris. There are some very nice mandolins coming out of his shop. Troy did a near-invisible repair to the very tip of the peg-head overlay where it had been bumped and shattered a bit of the veneer into a tiny jigsaw puzzle.

1909 Gibson F4, serial number 9100

Dan Beimborn's Gibson serial number 9100

Photo credit: Dan Beimborn.

Dan's observations on Gibson F4 #9100's peghead

There is a funny thing about this particular F4 that has been seen on all sorts of old Gibsons. In some of the photos you can see that the torch inlay is missing 2 of the 7 flames in the inlay. When I received it, I noticed that they were in fact there, but just underneath the top layer of black finish on the peghead. In this case, I decided to reveal them by carefully scraping off the finish that was covering them. The same was true of the binding at the large peghead scroll. Quite a bit of that was still covered by the India ink/shellac mixture.

This example is a good illustration of how we think the pegheads were made. We know that the inlay arrived at Gibson from an outside source, and arrived at the factory already installed into a veneer sheet. A few unused blanks have turned up on eBay and in private collections. The veneers appear to be pearwood at the top, and holly on the substrate. Pear is quite soft and works well with the equivalent of an exacto knife. You can cut out little "windows" in the wood for each piece of inlay and insert them into it. Glued to a harder backing layer of holly, the pearl and pearwood "frame" is held in place. A bit of black color was rubbed into the pearwood at this point too. It does a nice job of hiding gaps between the inlay and the frame. This technique matches the very fancy furniture inlays of the time done with marquetry knives, a cut-out window to hold the pieces of wood or pearl inlay, which could be glued onto the top of the piece of furniture.

So, once Gibson had the inlay sheet, they'd fit it to the peghead. You can see the marks from locating pins on most any mandolin peghead if you look closely. Those pins would keep the the sheet in the right place while it was glued on. Next, we think it was cut to shape (possibly at the same time the contours of the peghead were cut), then bound. This process explains the poorly placed inlay mandolins we sometimes see — tuner posts going through pearl, the logo too low, etc. Next, a layer of blackened shellac was put over the entire peghead. This would shine up to the lovely jet black color you see on them when they are completed. The inlay was then meticulously scraped clean, and finally a clear coat of shellac on top would add a smooth shine to the whole piece. This gives the old Gibsons that patina over the years, the finish itself can wear and chip from string ends and it reveals the stained pearwood beneath. The shellac also yellows a bit over time, so you can see the snowy white pearl inlay on the scraped flames on this one compared to the golden appearance of the rest of the peghead.

Back to the "missing inlay" now. It seems that every so often at the factory, someone got lazy. I recall Frank Ford calling this "Monday morning 8 a.m. inlay," the joke being not enough coffee, back to work laziness, or perhaps a hangover from the weekend. You can spot this detail on many instruments. There are Loars "missing" part of the flowerpot, missing petals on "the flower," etc. A cross-section of the layers of peghead overlay shows up in the truss rod pocket of any of these old mandolins that have one (see example below).

Truss rod pocket

For me, the design of the F models from around serial 8100-10000 are the very best of both worlds. You'll get 3-point F2s and F4s that have excellent tone and playability, along with all the anachronistic bling of the pineapple tailpieces, a pickguard with two clamps, Orville's face staring at you from the sound-hole, and all the 3-pointy goodness. I've always preferred the look of the 3-pointers, so to have that along with the great playability and tone is just wonderful.

Finally, as I type this, F2 #9211 1909/1910 has just arrived through the postal system. I reckon this one will end up getting a lot of daily play. I tend to baby #9100 as it's in such fantastic condition. I really don't want to risk a ding or a scratch from taking that one out to sessions, but I plan to get an awful lot of mileage out of #9211!

I probably won't hold on to #3640 for too much longer, I feel too much like a hoarder if they aren't being played.

1909 Gibson F4, serial number 9100

Dan Beimborn's Gibson serial number 9100

Photo credit: Dan Beimborn.

Mandolin Cafe: Your Mandolin Archive played a role in Joe Spann's new book on Gibson serial and FON numbers. We understand you've already changed some of the dates of the instruments listed there so that they match up with his book.

Dan Beimborn: Joe's book is very impressive. There's great research and hard work behind it. I particularly appreciate the scholarship of it. He's very meticulously researched and documented many things, which he shares in a way that sparks many ideas for taking the research further.

You are correct that I recently added some programming to the Archive so I could display Joe's shipping dates for each instrument. We've had recent discussions regarding some new evidence too, and have already made a small adjustment to the chart.

I'm really hoping to find more examples of old sales contracts, receipts, and dated ephemera from Gibson that will help us narrow down shipping dates even more, especially for the 1902-1910 range. There are only a handful of instruments that have these things with them, and they are often discarded when the instruments change hands.

I've generally shied away from making too many conclusions from the evidence I've collected at the Mandolin Archive, but as the coverage and data improves I think we'll learn more new things about these instruments and how/when they were made.

Mandolin Cafe: He had some nice things to say about the Archive in his audio interview with Fretboard Journal. Did you have any kind of contact with him prior to learning about the book?

Dan Beimborn: Yes, I was very pleased to hear that the information I had online was helpful to his book project. We didn't speak before the news of his book reached the Cafe, but we have traded several emails and a few phone conversations since then!

We spoke to Joe Spann, author of Spann's Guide To Gibson 1902-1941 to get his input:

Spann's Guide To Gibson 1902-1941

The Mandolin Archive is important because it represents a compiled record of almost 4,000 pre-war Gibson instruments, of which many were in-hand descriptions by knowledgeable submitters. Very few individuals would have the opportunity in one lifetime to inspect that many musical instruments of any kind. I used the Mandolin Archive extensively during the research phase of writing "Spann's Guide to Gibson 1902-1941." Because Dan's database records both Factory Order Numbers and Serial Numbers for hundreds of instruments, it provided an absolutely independent confirmation of what I was being told in eyewitness interviews.

I had been told that Factory Order Numbers (FONs) were a function of the Accounting department (used for tracking costs) and that they were pre-assigned to proposed batches of instruments just prior to the start of production. Other interviews revealed that Serial Numbers were basically a warranty/repair function and that they were not assigned until just prior to shipping. So, I theorized that we should find Gibson instruments bearing identical FONs, but spread out over a broad range of Serial Numbers. This is because Gibson would produce a large batch of identical instruments under one FON, but then individual instruments from that batch might sit around for long periods of time in inventory before they received a Serial Number and were shipped. This is where Dan's database at The Mandolin Archive came into play. If you inspect the data, you will see that my theory is strongly supported.

As an example, let's look at A-4 (Serial Number 45011) which is in Dan's database and A-4 (Serial Number 54154) which is a mandolin I personally observed. The two mandolins are identical in construction and both of them bear the FON 11121. So they were constructed in the same batch, at the same time, early in 1918. But their Serial Numbers are over 9,000 numbers apart! The first one (#45011) would have shipped very early in 1918, in fact almost as soon as it was completed. But the other one (#54154) hung around the factory in inventory until about mid-year 1919 before being shipped. An A-4 mandolin was relatively expensive, so one could theorize that a high purchase price was what delayed the "deployment" of this particular instrument... or perhaps the advent of our participation in World War I... or the Influenza epidemic of 1918. Who knows? This same scenario probably explains the "unsigned Loar" phenomenon as well.

Dan's Mandolin Archive contains many other confirmations of this type in the data, so it continues to be of great value to all Gibson scholars.

—  Joe Spann
     Spann's Guide To Gibson 1902-1941

Mandolin Cafe: The Archive is coming up on 8 years since launch. Where do submissions come from and what are your future plans for the site?

Mandolin Archive, launched October 15, 2003 Mandolin Archive, launched October 15, 2003

Dan Beimborn: I started the Archive with Darryl Wolfe's F5 Journal. It was his "Loar Picture of the Day" forum thread that got me interested in collecting these images and descriptions in the first place. His notes and memory are just fantastic — we'd know a lot less about vintage F5 mandolins without him. Darryl has always kept fantastic notes, and has collaborated with a number of people over the years. Tom Isenhour also has an enormous collection of F5 serial numbers and photos. He and Darryl keep their records in sync. Tom also has a fantastic collection of paperwork and memorabilia. He's a walking encyclopedia of Bluegrass history.

The list of institutional contributors is a real who's who in the mandolin world: Stan Werbin of Elderly Instruments, Frank Ford of Gryphon Strings, Stan Jay of Mandolin Brothers, Charles Johnson of Mandolin World Headquarters, Lowell Levinger of Player's Vintage Instruments, Sandy Munro, Lynn Dudenbostel, Steve Gilchrist, Mike Kemnitzer, George Gruhn & Walter Carter, Roger Siminoff, our departed friend Charlie Derrington, Dexter Johnson, Laurence Wexer, John Bernunzio, Andre Larson at the National Music Museum, Intermountain Guitar & Banjo, Mass St. Music, Skinner Inc., Tony Williamson, the list goes on and on. I can't thank them enough for helping out my efforts at the site.

Many individuals contact us by email. Sometimes listings on eBay or the Cafe catch our eye. Unfortunately, I sometimes (now included!) have a huge backlog of entries to add. I apologize heartily to our submitters if I'm slow, I always try to keep up! I've always appreciated the chance to hear the stories of the instruments. So many grandfathers and grandmothers, immigrants, instruments lost in poker games in the trenches of World War I, and so on. We've uncovered several Loars, a huge number of new details and patterns, and learned an awful lot in the process.

For the future? I'd like to keep on adding instruments, improve the searching and visuals a bit, and make the data a little easier to find. I'm hoping we find at least 4 dozen more Loars in the next couple years too. I mean to do a big push on adding details to the 1902-1911 period as well and hope to get a chance soon to go on photo trips to visit some folks with nice collections.

Mandolin Cafe: You're active in the London Irish session scene. Tell us about spots you frequent and the make-up of some of your favorite sessions. And of course, we always like hearing if mandolins are making their way into these settings.

Dan Beimborn's 2002 release, Shatter The Calm. Click to purchase. Dan Beimborn's 2002 release, Shatter The Calm. Click to purchase.

Dan Beimborn: There are quite a few mandolin players in town and the bluegrass scene is lively. There are a surprising number of vintage F5s in town. Loars, ferns, etc. Enough to keep my vintage fetish lively and current! I've met some really interesting people here through shared mandolin interests, and it seems the supply is always being topped up with new ones. Almost every music shop has at least a few mandolins on the wall. We're really quite spoiled over here.

The Irish session I go to changes venues every so often, but lately it's a Tuesday night at the Ship in Wandsworth town, right next to the Thames. The Ship is a great big pub with a fantastic landlord (who joins in and sings from time to time), and it's a very well-run jam. The talent level in London is astronomical — we're often playing with folks who live in the city and tour globally. Anyone who has done this game for a couple years knows that a session can be variable. Sometimes you get that magical push over the hump into pure joy where the tunes just come out like magic. That kind of chemistry is hard to come by, and this group of folks here in town can get there with astonishing regularity.

London is well stocked with Uilleann pipers extraordinaire, great Irish tenor banjo players, and also fantastic fiddlers and singers. Many also play the mandolin. We've had a few sessions where all 8 people present had some kind of mandolin with them as well. It's a great way to frighten the banjo players!

Mandolin Cafe: You've also made a hobby out of collecting various Gibson catalogs, early paper work and factory documents and other like materials in your research. What's missing from your collection that you'd like to obtain?

Dan Beimborn: Right now I'd love to get my hands on more scans or actual copies of original dated receipts, sales contracts, letterhead, things that help date pieces of ephemera or individual instruments. Joe Spann ad I have been looking at the serial number charts, and we're both doing what we can to find more evidence to improve and fine-tune them. I have most of the catalogs, but any examples that contain stamped dates etc., are wonderful to see. It seems that late in a catalog run, the factory would sometimes stamp in corrections to the price list, etc., with a dated stamp. These are quite helpful to us in our research!

Another one I'm always looking for is the Sounding Board or Sounding Board Salesman magazine. These were trade journals for the sales agents Gibson used. Often they contain lavish detail on new models, maintenance tips, etc.

Sales receipt for 83841

From the Mandolin Archive collection. See larger original version.

83841 sales receipt

Mandolin Cafe: Darryl Wolfe once commented that you like to take pictures with a level of detail not visible to the naked eye.

Dan Beimborn: I had a lot of fun experimenting with my Macro lens when I first got it. It's good at catching details as small as the compound eyes on a moth (another hobby I have is photographing insects!). I've taken some extreme close-ups of tuner plate stampings, Handel tuner buttons, etc. Some other fun has been photographing labels and manipulating the photos in software to increase contrast to help make out faded serial numbers and so forth. Occasionally, when I get a chance, it's photos of disassembled instruments or instruments undergoing repair. The best part about doing this on a web site is you can decide not to do much editing. I usually post all the photos I have as big as I can.

Not too surprisingly, I get a lot of viewers who are building or repairing instruments. I can usually find a pretty good photo showing some detail in original condition to aid in restoration or building modern copies.

1909 Gibson F4, serial number 9100 Handel tuner detail

9100 Handel tuner detail

Photo credit: Dan Beimborn.

Lloyd Loar signature from serial number 76547

Loar 76547 signature

Photo credit: Dan Beimborn.

Tuner gear detail for 1904 F2, serial number 3263

Tuner gear detail for 1904 F2, serial number 3263

Photo credit: Dan Beimborn.

Mandolin Cafe: You've taken many photos that appear in the Archive. What is your choice of camera equipment for a typical photo shoot?

Dan Beimborn: I haven't checked the stats in a while — it's a bit of a surprisingly large number nowadays. I have around ten thousand instrument photos on my own hard drives. According to the Archive database, 1,011 of the 10,394 images displayed are photos I've taken myself. That's from 4,451 instruments listed across all the different collections.

My photography techniques have evolved as I learned a bit more of what I was doing. Nowadays it's Canon 7D with a couple different lenses, usually my mandolin photos are using a Sigma 50m Macro lens. I use a Manfrotto tripod with a joystick-grip style tripod head. Most of the photos are also using the remote/cable release, and nowadays mostly manual settings and RAW mode. I prefer to shoot outside on a slightly cloudy or overcast day, it's the world's best source of diffuse light. My outdoor shots use a circular polarizing filter to cut down on the distracting highlights.

Mandolin Cafe: We understand you might have a new recording in mind. In closing, what's on your musical plate these days?

Dan Beimborn: These days I've been playing a fair bit of mandola, working that sound into what I do at sessions has been a lot of fun. It's nice middle voice in the backing line, usually complimentary to a guitar or bouzouki. I'm still primarily reaching for the mandolin when I play for enjoyment, and most of the stuff I'm working on that is new is in the American Old-Timey or Bluegrass instrumental realms. The main goal is to generate a really nice foot-tapper. I've been working on a couple sets with a really fine traditional singer in London, and also have some sets planned with a couple of pretty well-known mandolin players in Nashville.

Additional information

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Reader Comments

June 27, 2011 12:43 PM
Awesome interview. Thanks to Dan for all of his hard work on the Mandolin Archive; a truly unique resource. And thanks for all the work involved in hosting the Mandolin Cafe. I really like the close up photography.
John McGann
June 27, 2011 02:57 PM
Excellent stuff! Dan is a great player and a man of many talents!
Ted Eschliman
June 27, 2011 03:19 PM
Talk about your unsung hero, Dan is the man. Wife and I had the privilege of dinner with him last time I was in London. An exceptional human being.

Except for that chicken thing.
Jonathan James
June 28, 2011 08:18 AM
Nice interview, Scott and thanks Dan for all of your tireless contributions to our mando universe. I also appreciate the Archive and its expansion to include Gilchrist, Wiens instruments beyond Gibsons. Thanks again!
June 28, 2011 08:54 AM
What a great read! Fascinating to learn so much about the wizard behind the curtain at the Mandolin Cafe and the Mandolin Archive. I had no idea he is American by birth, and I felt a bit of nationalist pride. We are very fortunate to have someone with his estimable talents, knowledge, insight, and dedication devoting himself to these resources.

From time to time I think of submitting my instruments to the Archive for inclusion in the collection. I doubt my plain A is worthy, though it's a good player, but hopefully my 1916 H-2 mandola is.

There was a point early on when I saw the cover of Dan's CD, with this wording on the link: "Dan Beimborn's 2006 CD, Torch and Fire, with his 1909 Gibson F4, serial number 9100 as the cover art. Click to purchase." For the briefest moment my mind fooled me into thinking I could purchase the MANDOLIN ...
June 28, 2011 09:10 AM
Quote from journeybear: From time to time I think of submitting my instruments to the Archive for inclusion in the collection. I doubt my plain A is worthy, though it's a good player, but hopefully my 1916 H-2 mandola is. End Quote

Journeybear- we like to record all of the models, anything with a serial number (and hopefully a FON!) will get a listing! Again, I'm a bit behind *cough* on some submissions, but my intention is indeed to get them all in!
June 28, 2011 10:00 AM
I think three pointers are among the most beautiful mandolins in the world, and those pictured above are stunning.
June 28, 2011 11:16 AM
I should also have mentioned that 3640 is a wide-body. 9211 is about 1" less wide at the widest point!
Mike Romkey
June 29, 2011 04:00 PM
Great interview! Thanks.
Eddie Sheehy
June 30, 2011 12:17 PM
I have a 1909 A4, a 1913 K2, a 1917 H1. How do I get them into the archive?
June 30, 2011 12:40 PM
Hello Eddie, drop me a note with the details (and some pictures if you have them!) to

info2 at mandolinarchive.com

July 01, 2011 03:29 PM
the photos are striking...... pegheads beautiful, thanks so much for sharing. It makes me want one!
Mandolin Cafe
June 26, 2018 10:37 AM
Noting the anniversary of this fine interview published in 2011.
Mandolin Cafe
June 26, 2019 07:08 AM
Noting today's anniversary of this feature interview. Just paid a couple of days visit to Dan on his houseboat near London while on vacation a few weeks back. Way too much fun smile.
William Smith
June 26, 2019 07:36 AM
Great article/interview! I need to get with the program and submit a handful of old Gibson's I have that aren't in the archive!
Rush Burkhardt
June 26, 2019 07:57 AM
Envious of your time with Dan, Scott! I'd have at least 10 questions for him!

Having, over the years, passed on several opportunities to own LL's, for various reasons, I have finally achieved my goal of purchasing a Lloyd period Gibson. So...maybe not one LL paid much attention to... an A-Jr. (snake-head).

I've not found a great deal of information about the Jrs. I've also struggled to clearly make out the identifying numbers. Best I can tell, the serial number is 70050 and the FON 11165. (both the numbers on the block and the label are obscured by age and wear. The numbers don't seem to jibe with the reading I've done! They are somewhat in conflict, as 70050 would put it one number past Dan's own Jr. (a 1922 - didn't know snake-head's were produced that early). The FON (which, on inspection) is a bit clearer, shows no relatives other than a virzi-H5 [mandola] from 1924)

Anything information I could glean would be gratefully received. Once I get it straightened-out, I'd be honored to have it listed in the journal, should it deserve it!

Thanks! Rush
William Smith
June 26, 2019 08:47 AM
Hey Rush, Yes it deserves mentioned in the archive-all old Gibson's that are found should be IMHO! I have a handful that I need to get sent in!
June 26, 2019 09:41 AM
Hello Rush- I'd still go 1922 (ship date) for 70050. The FON looks like you could be right in the middle of Ajrs with similar serials.. here's a sampling (note lots of incomplete data!)

| serial | fon | year | model |
| 64629 | 11420 | 1921 | Ajr |
| 65174 | 11425 | NULL | Ajr |
| 66380 | 11425 | 1921 | Ajr |
| 70049 | 11648 | 1922 | Ajr |
| 70660 | 11634 | 1922 | Ajr |
| 71561 | 11761 | NULL | Ajr |
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| 76581 | 11051 | NULL | Ajr |
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| 76940 | 11943.A | NULL | Ajr |
| 77031 | 11185A | 1924 | Ajr |
| 77454 | 8038 | 1924 | Ajr |
| 77547 | 11191.A | NULL | Ajr |
| 77695 | 12098 | 1924 | Ajr |
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| 78190 | 11231 | NULL | Ajr |
| 79285 | 8092 | 1924 | Ajr |
| 79439 | 8153 | NULL | Ajr |
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| 80270 | 8405 | NULL | Ajr |
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| 80830 | 8559 | 1925 | Ajr |
| 80849 | 8559 | NULL | Ajr |
| 81763 | 8712 | 1925 | Ajr |
| 83156 | 8296 | 1926 | Ajr |
| 84037 | 9210 | NULL | Ajr |
| 84916 | 9240 | 1927 | Ajr |
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Mandolin Cafe
June 26, 2020 08:25 AM
Noting the anniversary of this interview.
Mandolin Cafe
June 26, 2021 06:25 AM
Noting the anniversary of this feature interview.
Dagger Gordon
June 26, 2021 08:02 AM
Don't seem to hear much from Dan these days.

Hi there, man.
Mandolin Cafe
June 26, 2021 09:36 AM
Quote from Dagger Gordon: Don't seem to hear much from Dan these days.

Hi there, man. End Quote

He's busy furrowing his brow at computer screens and doing unspeakable things in a smoker to chickens and pork.
June 26, 2021 03:44 PM
Quote from Mandolin Cafe: He's busy furrowing his brow at computer screens and doing unspeakable things in a smoker to chickens and pork. End Quote

10 years...

Just as long as DB stays safe and in good health, keeps up his photographic skills, his musical chops and does his Lloyd Loar geekery, were fine. There might even come the time when I'll try to meet him to try out his nice 2007 F-5 style mandolin... (he posted here it would be ok).

This thread shows how the time flies.

And... Dagger, my man, you're no slouch either. Though your music is a cousin twice removed from my stuff, I really dig your playing.