Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bill Monroe's Gibson F5 peghead (the real story)

I spoke with Bill about the mandolin quite a bit when I worked with him and even more when I was working for Gibson.

While shooting the photographs for the 1989 Gibson poster and laying the groundwork for the Bill Monroe Model Mandolin, I asked Bill about breaking the scroll off the peghead.
I had always assumed that he broke it off when he scraped the finish off the mandolin but Bill said no that was not the case and that the it accidentally got knocked loose and it was held on by the plastic (binding). It got to buzzing so he pulled it off and intended to have I think it glued back.
He said that Benny Martins brother Gene and Ira Louvin was about the only two that worked on instruments around town back then. He said he carried the little "Knob" in his suit coat pocket for a long time but when he sent the coat to the cleaners it got gone and he just forgot about it.

While speaking about digging the Gibson out of the peg head I suggested that I could cut a script Gibson from Mother of Pearl and put it back if he wanted too, then he said jokingly that he had thought at times that he should have "Thing" put up there.

Its a real shame to me that Billy Grammer talked Bill into letting Gibson repair the peg head. That battle scared peg head was the symbol of Blue Grass to many of us. Kind of like fixing the "Liberty Bell" and making it good as new.

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