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Thread: Shopgoodwill F5 Gibson???

  1. #1
    Registered User Brad Grafton's Avatar
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    Default Shopgoodwill F5 Gibson???

    The Gibson, handwritten inside "made by J. Cummings, March 1, 1983".

    Intriguing to say the least. Was their an engineer named Cummings?

    https://www.shopgoodwill.com/Item/119910667
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    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shopgoodwill F5 Gibson???

    I don’t believe that’s a Gibson.
    Play it like you mean it

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    Default Re: Shopgoodwill F5 Gibson???

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    I don’t believe that’s a Gibson.
    +1 If it's a Gibson whoever cut the scroll must have had a 3 martini lunch. And was joined by whoever did the binding.
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    Default Re: Shopgoodwill F5 Gibson???

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Grafton View Post
    The Gibson, handwritten inside "made by J. Cummings, March 1, 1983".

    Intriguing to say the least. Was their an engineer named Cummings?

    https://www.shopgoodwill.com/Item/119910667
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    Default Re: Shopgoodwill F5 Gibson???

    The instrument itself makes no claim to be anything to do with Gibson. In the UK, this form of construction would be known as “shed-work”. (i.e. made by some bloke in a shed.)

  7. #6
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shopgoodwill F5 Gibson???

    Quite a few luthiers -- of varying degrees of skill -- made "F-5 copies" or "Gibson copies" over the past 50 years. It used to be common to put "Gibson" logos on them, despite the obvious trademark violations. I owned one of these, briefly, back in the 1970's. Despite many references to such builders being sued by Gibson, there doesn't seem to have been a spate of legal actions; however, it's become much more common for luthiers to put their own names on Gibson-type instruments they build.

    So instruments show up that are described as "Gibsons," despite their lack of the standard Gibson label inside, serial and factory-order numbers, etc. -- and despite the fact that the work-person-ship obviously doesn't measure up to Gibson's standards, or even to generally accepted levels for any such instrument.

    It will remain a puzzle to me, as it has for years, as to why Gibson didn't take steps to protect its rights to build scroll-and-points "F-model" mandolins, more than a century ago. They certainly introduced the design, which is basically a distinctive ornamental silhouette, not clearly tied to acoustic quality. Since then, Gibson has sued certain other builders to protect their "open book" guitar headstock design, and the shape of their truss rod covers -- much less distinctive features than the F-model shape.

    Well, that horse is long out of the barn, and thousands of F-model mandolins are made by a variety of manufacturers every year, with no compensation to Gibson for having originated the F-model, and for decades being the only company making them. Perhaps their lawyers told them, when other companies started building F-models, that they'd waited too long to take protective action. Dunno...but given the company's recurring financial issues, it would surely be beneficial to have the exclusive rights to the F-model mandolin.
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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shopgoodwill F5 Gibson???

    That all rings true, in my mind, especially about the location of the horse relative to the barn. Gibson should have done something about copyright or trademark for the design ages ago, when it was introduced - or even before. At this point, if they were to initiate some sort of suit, I'm pretty sure the only participants in any legal proceedings would be the lawyers.

    As to this example, I daresay I have never seen a headstock on one such "Gibson" which did not even attempt the minimal of a black veneer, or even lacquer or paint. I've never seen that. (No examples, please!) And it's odd how the grain is different on the back of the headstock - so does that mean the top is a veneer? I will give the builder some props for putting the sets of tuning machines parallel to each other; the conventional approach is to place them roughly parallel to the sides of the headstock. That seems, ah ... innovative.
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    Default Re: Shopgoodwill F5 Gibson???

    When this instrument was built, it was a common practice for hand-builders to put the Gibson logo on the head. Most of them, including Mr. Cummings, put their own name on a label visible through the sound hole. At the time, they thought that enough to clarify that the instruments were not built by Gibson.

    Gibson was still owned by Norlin. They were making only a handful of mandolins. Many of those were of inferior quality, few dealers were ordering them, and Gibson wasn't complaining.

    Nobody was asked to cease and desist or threatened with law suits until Henry Juszkiewicz Dave Berryman, and Gary Zebrowski bought the company in 1986. Then, Gibson started to threaten and sue just about everyone they could, not only when they had legitimate cause, but also when they had no legal cause that would hold any water. The current owners are pursuing a similar policy.

  11. #9

    Default Re: Shopgoodwill F5 Gibson???

    the knuckle-rash on this thing tells me that somebody loved it. It might sound great.

  12. #10
    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shopgoodwill F5 Gibson???

    It's been well played. It looks to have a speed neck. But not a Gibson for certain.
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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shopgoodwill F5 Gibson???

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kammerzell View Post
    It's been well played. It looks to have a speed neck. But not a Gibson for certain.
    It's been played a lot, and hard. I'm not so sure it's been played well.

    Then again, that finish ... It's not up to Gibson's standards, and thus probably less resistant to pick damage etc. Might not take all that much to get it into this shape.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    The instrument itself makes no claim to be anything to do with Gibson.
    No, not in so many words. It's the seller's say-so. With nothing to back it up.

    I don't even see where it says this: The Gibson, handwritten inside "made by J. Cummings, March 1, 1983"
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  14. #12
    Registered User Brad Grafton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shopgoodwill F5 Gibson???

    OK here is another one that popped up on Shopgoodwill.com. Pretty sure it is the real deal but needs some Luthier Lovin'.

    https://www.shopgoodwill.com/Item/120077914
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    Default Re: Shopgoodwill F5 Gibson???

    A caveat to anyone who thinks they might want to buy that and have it fixed up:
    The cost of the repairs will approach or exceed the value of the repaired instrument if the work is competently done.
    This one fits in the category of a good instrument for somebody who is learning the craft to hone their skills . . . if it doesn't go too much higher.

  16. #14

    Default Re: Shopgoodwill F5 Gibson???

    I'd love to see someone competent fix it up and play it, but I bet it'll be parted out. The hardware is worth a fair bit.

  17. #15
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shopgoodwill F5 Gibson???

    Poor thing! She was once a beauty. Now see what happens when you don't take care of your prized possession. I make it a 1907. So sad to see this.

    I'm pretty new to the shopgoodwill auction dealio. I'm guessing these are items donated to a local Goodwill, which then tries to maximize their profit potential. So they put up for auction items that they figure will command a higher price than if they put it up for sale at their store. Plus they know it will sell, if someone bids on it, instead of there being the chance it will just collect dust on the shelf. Is that more or less it?
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  18. #16

    Default Re: Shopgoodwill F5 Gibson???

    I think you're right, journeybear. It's pretty risky for the buyer, as the descriptions vary in quality and the photos are invariably awful. Also, stringed instruments pretty often fetch silly prices, close to what you'd pay for retail. All in a good cause, though--at least that's what I've told myself a couple times!

  19. #17
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shopgoodwill F5 Gibson???

    "..... a distinctive ornamental silhouette, not clearly tied to acoustic quality......"

    'Best comment I've read here in years!

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