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Thread: Fern?

  1. #1
    Every day is a gift. Sheila Lagrand's Avatar
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    Default Fern?

    I'll happily reveal my ignorance in order to dispel it: what does it mean to say a mandolin is a "Fern?"
    Now, what was I after when I wandered in here?

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fern?

    Ha!
    Yes, That would be confusing to those who don't know.
    When the F5 was introduced the peghead inlay was the "flower pot". Later, some of them had a different inlay with sort of leaf-like frilly shapes, and the inlay was referred to as the fern inlay. All mandolins with Loar's signature on the label are called "Loars" because of that signature, even the ones with fern inlays. Those relatively rare mandolins with both a signature and a fern inlay are sometimes called fern Loars.
    After Lloyd Loar left the building and there were no longer Loar-signed labels inside of F5, the fern inlay remained and such a mandolin came to be known a "fern".
    There are some F5 mandolins that were in production before ol' Lloyd left them behind and didn't sign their labels and those are often called "unsigned Loar" mandolins. That has always been a funny contradiction of terms to me, but... what do I know!?

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Fern?

    This refers to the peg head inlay on a mandolin, typically an F-5. Early Gibson F-5's either had a Fern or a Flower Pot - someone far more tech savvy than me can probably post pictures.

    (looks like we were typing at the same time...)

    Kirk

  5. #4
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fern?

    And today the Gibson Fern is kind of their standard model. Has been since its reintroduction around 1980-ish.

    Another distinguishing difference is that Ferns (vintage and new) are typically Sitka topped with a lacquer finish. The Loars and today’s Master Models are Adirondack topped with a varnish finish.
    Last edited by sgarrity; Apr-09-2021 at 3:28pm.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Fern?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheila Lagrand View Post
    I'll happily reveal my ignorance in order to dispel it:
    Well put. I'm going to have to borrow that one!

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  8. #6
    Every day is a gift. Sheila Lagrand's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fern?

    Thank you, John.
    Now, what was I after when I wandered in here?

    Phoebe, my 2021 Collings MT
    Fiona, My 2021 GSMonroe Guitar-Bodied Octave Resonator Mandolin
    Charlotte, my 2016 Eastman MDO 305
    Giuliana, my 2002 Hans Schuster 505 Violin
    Rich, my 1959 Husband

  9. #7
    Every day is a gift. Sheila Lagrand's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fern?

    Thanks, Kirk.

    - - - Updated - - -

    And thank you, Shaun.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by fishermike View Post
    Well put. I'm going to have to borrow that one!
    You're welcome to it.
    Now, what was I after when I wandered in here?

    Phoebe, my 2021 Collings MT
    Fiona, My 2021 GSMonroe Guitar-Bodied Octave Resonator Mandolin
    Charlotte, my 2016 Eastman MDO 305
    Giuliana, my 2002 Hans Schuster 505 Violin
    Rich, my 1959 Husband

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    Miked 

  11. #8
    Every day is a gift. Sheila Lagrand's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fern?

    Another question for the Fern-Explication Team: I have on a few occasions (I've been reading lots of ads lately) seen the non-Gibson mandolins described as Fern. From what I've learned from your responses, I take it this is a misuse of the label?
    Now, what was I after when I wandered in here?

    Phoebe, my 2021 Collings MT
    Fiona, My 2021 GSMonroe Guitar-Bodied Octave Resonator Mandolin
    Charlotte, my 2016 Eastman MDO 305
    Giuliana, my 2002 Hans Schuster 505 Violin
    Rich, my 1959 Husband

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    Default Re: Fern?

    It means we'll have Fern Fern Fern til her daddy takes her T-bird away!
    Bren

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  14. #10
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    Default Re: Fern?

    Also, I guess (e.g) a Weber Fern has both the fern inlay and is saying that it's built on the same principles?
    Bren

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fern?

    & Fern 'fiddle heads' are the Original scroll of Nature.. forest asparagus any one?

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  18. #12
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fern?

    Here are my 2 Ferns although technically the one on the left is an F5-L ('81) and the one on the right is a Fern ('06). According to Joe Vest, formerly of Gibson, " In 2003 the designation of F5L was discontinued to keep the current Fern from being confused with it".
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  20. #13
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fern?

    It's doubtful that anyone here would remember this one. I Think I posted pictures of it back in the early part of this century when I finished it. Serial # 007.
    (My sense of humor slips right past a lot of people. I sometimes say my jokes go under people's heads.)
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fern?

    John Hamlett: that is a real fern inlay! Kudos!

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    Default Re: Fern?

    That is a great fern indeed! And from 1970!

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  26. #16
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    Default Re: Fern?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheila Lagrand View Post
    I'll happily reveal my ignorance in order to dispel it...
    This really is a wonderful little quip. I'll be borrowing it myself.
    ...

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  28. #17
    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fern?

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    It's doubtful that anyone here would remember this one. I Think I posted pictures of it back in the early part of this century when I finished it. Serial # 007.
    (My sense of humor slips right past a lot of people. I sometimes say my jokes go under people's heads.)
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Looks like Asplenium platyneuron!

    D.H.

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  30. #18
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fern?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hicks View Post
    Looks like Asplenium platyneuron!

    D.H.
    Could be, but it also might be a composite. I went around my old place in Virginia with a camera snapping pictures of ferns, then mixed and matched in Photoshop to create the image.

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  32. #19
    Every day is a gift. Sheila Lagrand's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fern?

    Thanks, Caleb. I make my living with words. . . .
    Now, what was I after when I wandered in here?

    Phoebe, my 2021 Collings MT
    Fiona, My 2021 GSMonroe Guitar-Bodied Octave Resonator Mandolin
    Charlotte, my 2016 Eastman MDO 305
    Giuliana, my 2002 Hans Schuster 505 Violin
    Rich, my 1959 Husband

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    Caleb 

  34. #20
    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fern?

    The name Fern is used to describe Mandolins with a Fern on the Headstock.
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  36. #21
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    Default Re: Fern?

    i think this is considered a "fern" inlay on this headstock of this Weber. I have no idea how similar or dis-similar it may be compared to the Gibson, assuming that it is indeed a fern style inlay(i am not versed in all the different inlay style patterns-i either like or dislike something).

    Click image for larger version. 

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  38. #22
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fern?

    I don't think the owner of this mandolin would object to me posting this picture. This is reported to be the first "fern", so at the very least it is the first known fern.
    (I took some pictures when it was in the shop for some minor repairs and maintenance.)
    So, this is the Gibson fern inlay.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  40. #23
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fern?

    It means that it thrives in damp, shaded forests
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  42. #24
    Every day is a gift. Sheila Lagrand's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fern?

    Quote Originally Posted by EvanElk View Post
    It means that it thrives in damp, shaded forests
    Those characteristics would be handy for an Oregonian mandolin. . . .
    Now, what was I after when I wandered in here?

    Phoebe, my 2021 Collings MT
    Fiona, My 2021 GSMonroe Guitar-Bodied Octave Resonator Mandolin
    Charlotte, my 2016 Eastman MDO 305
    Giuliana, my 2002 Hans Schuster 505 Violin
    Rich, my 1959 Husband

  43. #25
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fern?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheila Lagrand View Post
    Those characteristics would be handy for an Oregonian mandolin. . . .
    Yes, every spring we have to scrape the moss off our mandolins...
    1998 John Sullivan A5
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