Gibson (used, 2000) F5L "Fern" Mandolin

Tag No 58-9857 Used

#00412050, signed by Charles Derrington on April 12, 2000, in excellent condition with original rectangular hard shell case.

The late Charlie Derrington was Gibson’s senior member of the mandolin division, and he was a hero to many because it was he who fully restored the induplicable July 9, 1923 Lloyd Loar F-5 mandolin that was owned at the time by the Father-of-Bluegrass, Mr. Bill Monroe.  For those who don’t know what had happened to the Lloyd Loar signed instrument (upon which this is based, which is what the “L” stands for), an article by Edward Morris in CMT News says:  “. . .  One of Monroe's paramours became angry at him and smashed the mandolin into splinters with a fireplace poker, [Vince] Gill continued. "So I called [Monroe] and said, 'Doesn't look like you're feeding her right, boy.' Fortunately, a Gibson craftsman, Charles Derrington, was able to repair the instrument by gluing the 500 or so fragments together -- and without diminishing the sound quality.”  Charlie was a genius.

This is the traditional top-of-the-regular-line Gibson F-5 mandolin, called a “Fern” because it has a huge complex hairy fern inlay in colorful abalone on its scrolly, pointed headstock shaped overlay.  Said headstock is bound in grained ivoroid, black and ivoroid.  Said ‘stock proffers a “The Gibson” pearl inlaid script headstock logo. The headstock also welcomes the black, plastic, dignified bell-shaped truss rod cover. The top, back and fingerboard are bordered in ivoroid-black-ivoroid; and said fingerboard has a long cantilevered extension hosting 9 partial frets.  The replaced bridge is ebony, carved, adjustable and two-piece; the tailpin is also ebony.  Tuners are high quality (possibly Schaller), gold-plated with floral relief decoration and pearloid buttons.  The slide-on tailpiece cover is plated in burnished gold, filigreed around its frontal border and etched “The Gibson” with a flourish above and below.   Its twin f-holes are traditional in shape and unbound.  The maple wood on the two-piece back and one-piece neck is flamed and figured to the max, the neck being tiger all the way across and the back being a three-dimensional chiaroscuro of light and dark brown and sunburst orange.    The pickguard replicates the Loarian original, as true as you can do, being deliciously dark prewar style faux tortoise shell in color and bordered in crème-black-crème – and so is the accompanying thrice-bordered L-bracket, which is dark fake tortoise as well.  

There is a singular indication of having been played visible on the treble side where something (maybe car keys) has left an indentation, a few tiny dings and impressions.  A small seam separation was repaired under the tailpiece - this is now tight and solid and cleated underneath.  Overall, other than the car key impressions, the replaced ebony bridge and the cleated seam, this mandolin would be considered “near mint plus” condition.   Not only is it beautiful but we must tell you that this very 8-stringed Florentine fantasy has been played by renowned local mandolinist Steve Mitkowski, of The Flying Mitkowskis, who has pronounced it “one of the best sounding and easiest playing F-5L Fern mandolins I have ever played.”  There is some suspicion that part of the reason the mandolin sounds like “a million dollahs” (and it really does) is because it was made under the watchful eye and experienced hand of Charlie Derrington, (1955 – 2006) who is considered to have been one of the most influential mandolin craftspersons of the late 20th and early 21st century.   

Our Discount Price is $6,181.00 and Our Cash Discount Price is $5,995.00.

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