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Thread: Gibson Master Models

  1. #1

    Default Gibson Master Models

    Hi. I am seeing adds for F5-G Master Model, F5-L Master Model. I thought there was only the F5 MM which is the top of the line for Gibson regular production mandos.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Gibson Master Models

    Gibson has often been very indiscriminate in their use of the term "master model."
    As a result, the term has appeared on the labels of many Gibson models.

  3. #3
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Master Models

    Former Gibson employee Charlie Derrington had this to say (https://www.mandozine.com/media/CGOW/derrington.html)

    "The reason all Gibson mandolins have the Master Model label is a bit cumbersome to explain. But I'll certainly give it a try.

    Gibson invented the F-5. The Master Model instruments originally included the H-5, L-5, F-5, and K-5. Of course the H-5 and K-5 were dropped from the line and the L-5 followed a different evolutionary path.

    I think what I'm trying to say is Gibson has a long history of producing the F-5 Master Model. The Loars were Master Models as were the Ferns of the 20s. Our high-end mandolins have a tradition of having that Master Model line label designation. It is historically correct to have that label in every F-5 style instrument we build. Really, would you be happy if your Fern didn't have the historically correct label?

    I know it is a bit confusing to have a Master Model line and a Master Model. But, that is the historically correct thing to do. I know there would have been much unhappiness with our customers and dealers if we didn't have the correct label in all of our mandolins and all of our mandolins trace their history back to one model. The alternative would be to have historically incorrect labels in all of our mandolins save one. I think it is quite easy to remember if you look on the label for the model designation (and not on the printed portion of the label) it will be quite easy to tell the difference. Also remember, unless I personally sign the upper label, it's not a Master Model.

    The only other alternative would be to produce only one model of mandolin which, I think we would all agree, wouldn't be feasible.

    Whew!! I hope that answer will suffice."

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  5. #4
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Master Models

    Charlie's explanation is as good as any I've seen over the years and it comes up every few years.

    Past threads
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
    --J. Garber

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Gibson Master Models

    Well, if I was heading up a big company, I might have chosen a different path.
    If it were me, I'd want to reserve an appellation like "Master Model" for the top of the line.

    But I'm just a small time self employed person whose business is winding down after a 30 year run. And I'm thinking I might be taking my Social Security sooner than I had originally planned.

    So what do I know?

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Gibson Master Models

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Well, if I was heading up a big company, I might have chosen a different path.
    If it were me, I'd want to reserve an appellation like "Master Model" for the top of the line.

    But I'm just a small time self employed person whose business is winding down after a 30 year run. And I'm thinking I might be taking my Social Security sooner than I had originally planned.

    So what do I know?
    Sorry to hear you've found yourself in this situation and I hope things pick up for you. As for what Gibson has done or will do in the future, that has been anyone's guess since the beginning.

    I have an F5G I bought back in 2005 and I kind of like that label so maybe I'm not the guy to call what they've done right or wrong.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
    --J. Garber

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    Default Re: Gibson Master Models

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    But I'm just a small time self employed person whose business is winding down after a 30 year run. And I'm thinking I might be taking my Social Security sooner than I had originally planned.

    You can still work while getting Social Security, it just take the pressure off to work all the time. It's not a cure all for a good business income, but does help. I took it about 10 years ago at 62, would have got more if I waited, but circumstances made it necessary.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: Gibson Master Models

    No worries. Thirty years is a pretty good run, the house is paid off, and business still may pick up.
    And there will be no need to file chapter 11 and install a new CEO.

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    Default Re: Gibson Master Models

    Well it gives you more time to play music, always looking for the positive.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: Gibson Master Models

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Well, if I was heading up a big company, I might have chosen a different path.
    If it were me, I'd want to reserve an appellation like "Master Model" for the top of the line.

    But I'm just a small time self employed person whose business is winding down after a 30 year run. And I'm thinking I might be taking my Social Security sooner than I had originally planned.

    So what do I know?

    Confusing at best and totally unnecessary.

    But the good news is that under Dave Harvey’s leadership, the Master Models are incredible mandolins.
    “Mandolin brands are a guide, not Gospel “
    - Data Nick

  12. #11
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Master Models

    I have a tenor lute with a "Master Model" label. Perhaps the "MM" got spread around more than a strict quality hierarchy would be expected to.
    Allen Hopkins
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    Default Re: Gibson Master Models

    Originally, the Master Model labels were reserved for the following then new models: F-5, H-5, K-5, the L-5 guitar, and the TL tenor lute. The mandolin family instruments and the guitar also got a signature label, the tenor lute did not.

    The original Master Model labels were not used on any other models. The designation and labels were dropped by around 1930 or so, and were not used again until many decades later.

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    Default Re: Gibson Master Models

    When the F5 was introduced along with the whole line of “Master Models”, Gibson was making a line of mandolins from entry level , thru many levels to a “master”. Having a line of top end products labeled “master “ made sense, today it doesn’t!

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  18. #14
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Gibson Master Models

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    When the F5 was introduced along with the whole line of “Master Models”, Gibson was making a line of mandolins from entry level , thru many levels to a “master”. Having a line of top end products labeled “master “ made sense, today it doesn’t!
    I guess when Gibson reintroduced the F-5L in 70's (look for the long article posted her on MC few years back about the reintroduction of F-5L) they again started using the master model label as back then it was their only mandolin model... so it was top of the line. But later started producing other models and kept the same label for all of them. When thay started the new "real" master model the confusion started.
    Adrian

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