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Thread: Monroe's mandolin smashed to bits

  1. #1

    Default Monroe's mandolin smashed to bits

    Is it true Bill Monroe's legendary F5 was truly smashed to bits by fire place poker then restored, and became the holy grail of the sound so many seek?

    If so, I think the luthier who restored it should be a houshold name as well. This story stretches credulity

  2. #2
    Registered User Bill Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: smashed to bits

    Around here his name is well known. Charlie Derrington. Unfortunatle Mr. Derrington (who graciously shared his knowledge around here) was killed by a drunk driver just over 2 years ago.
    As far as stretching credulity the restoration is pretty well documented and there are even some pictures of the mandolin prior to restoration, during and after somewhere around here.
    Bill Snyder

  3. #3
    Registered User mando.player's Avatar
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    Default Re: smashed to bits

    I think you have the order wrong

    Bill played a Loar and it became his signature sound. Hence this holy grail status. THEN it was smashed to bits with a fire place poker. As to the person who restored the mandolin, I think that was Charlie Derrington of Gibson.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: smashed to bits

    Yes I see the proble with the order of events as I had posted. I just read it was in @ 500 pieces. Seems like it suffered a worse fate than Humpty Dumpty.

  5. #5
    Jason Wicklund DryBones's Avatar
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    Default Re: smashed to bits

    Humpty Dumpty had it worse. He couldn't be put back together again. Charlie Derrington must not have lived around there!
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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: smashed to bits

    The story is true with plenty of added scandalous facts (the mandolin was allegedly smashed by a jealous lover of Mr. Monroe's). Truth is, Charlie Derrington did piece together not one but two of Bill's damaged mandolins and sorted out the bits and made it all right.


    Charlie and an article about him.

    Mandolin Archive of Dan Biemborn who has photos of Bill's Mandolin prior to and after the smashing and one during the restoration.

    Here's a thread with more info.

    Jamie

    PS. I never knew Charlie, I sure wish I did. The stories Jim Triggs has on his site are a hoot. The mandolin world is worse off without him.
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: smashed to bits

    "Is it true Bill Monroe's legendary F5 was truly smashed to bits by fire place poker..."

    Yeah, that's where the term "opening up" comes from!

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  9. #8
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: smashed to bits

    It's hard to believe it's been that long since Charlie left us.
    I've never seen a picture of all of the documented work on Bill's loar. I have the Fret's issue that has some photos. Does anyone recall a photo of the inside of the soundboard afer restoration. I would love to see how Charlie strengthened the damage.
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

  10. #9

    Default Re: smashed to bits

    from the backside
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  11. #10
    Phylum Octochordata Mike Bromley's Avatar
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    Default Re: smashed to bits

    THAT picture is simply horrid. I can't imagine how Mon must have felt...
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  12. #11

    Default Re: smashed to bits

    "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned / Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned."
    William Congreve
    But Amsterdam was always good for grieving
    And London never fails to leave me blue
    And Paris never was my kinda town
    So I walked around with the Ft. Worth Blues

  13. #12
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: smashed to bits

    This is why I don't have a fireplace in my house.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: smashed to bits

    No monkey business, no firepokey business.

    Words to live by.

    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

    + Give Blood, Save a Life +

  16. #14
    iii mandolin Geoff B's Avatar
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    Default Re: smashed to bits

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flynn View Post
    "Is it true Bill Monroe's legendary F5 was truly smashed to bits by fire place poker..."

    Yeah, that's where the term "opening up" comes from!

    Yeah, the opening up comes after BREAKING IT IN.

  17. #15
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: smashed to bits

    Maybe she thought he loved that mandolin more than he loved her.

    Maybe she was right.

  18. #16

    Default Re: smashed to bits

    My wife said: "If you play that tune one more time, I'm going to leave you..."
    God, I'm going to miss her.....
    But Amsterdam was always good for grieving
    And London never fails to leave me blue
    And Paris never was my kinda town
    So I walked around with the Ft. Worth Blues

  19. #17

    Default Re: smashed to bits

    that "monroe damage" thread was one of the best i've ever read - whoever smashed those mandolins up was (is) a psychopath.

    i'm also amazed that charlie derrington - or anyone - would have been able to assemble the splintered pieces of the sound board together to produce a sound satisfactory to a professional musician like bill monroe - or anyone! makes you wonder if "solid wood" sound board has any meaning.

  20. #18
    Registered User jim_n_virginia's Avatar
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    Default Re: smashed to bits

    I'm listening to my Traylor Parker and the Propane Tank's CD right now

    And also it was great that Charlie actually took the time to come on the Cafe Forum regularly and posted often.

  21. #19
    Registered User fredfrank's Avatar
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    Default Re: smashed to bits

    another view:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by fredfrank; Sep-21-2008 at 7:07pm.

  22. #20

    Default Re: smashed to bits


  23. #21
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    Default Re: smashed to bits

    Charlie had infinite patience when it came to painstaking details on a repair. He knew more about mandolins and instrument repair than anyone I've ever met, and I've met a lot. In my humble, unbiased opinion , he was the greatest luthier of his time. I have seen him work for hours on one 1/4 inch spot just to be sure it was perfect when he was finished. His ability to focus and the patience to work on something of that nature were beyond normal.

    It is hard to believe he has been gone so long. The world of stringed instruments has lost a GIANT when Charlie passed!
    Have a Great Day!
    Joe Vest

  24. #22
    Jason Wicklund DryBones's Avatar
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    Default Re: smashed to bits

    Is the Traylor Parker CD's on iTunes the same Traylor Parker? Sneakin' Suspicion and Walkin' Papers?
    Jason

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  25. #23
    BUSTER BROWN
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    Exclamation Re: smashed to bits

    Good lord how did that happen?
    BUSTER BROWN

  26. #24
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: smashed to bits

    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Brown View Post
    Good lord how did that happen?
    Read this thread.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  27. #25
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    Default Re: smashed to bits

    CD was definitely the man! And a nicer fellow you could not meet. He had a way of making you feel like you were the most important person in the world. I cherish the special pickguard he built for me from scratch. Even though I don't use it, I'll always have it.

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