In 1922, Lloyd Loar's design of the Gibson F-5 mandolin fundamentally defined the design of the modern mandolin and fundamentally transformed the mandolin's role in American music. Sporting the iconic 2-point F-style design, the F-5 was Gibson's first mandolin with parallel top braces, 1-piece Maple neck, longneck design, and fingerboard raised off of the top. The tone the F-5 produces was every bit as revolutionary as the design, inspiring generations of mandolin players. The final Loar-era F-5 mandolins each feature a gorgeous and unmistakable "Fern" peghead inlay.
Since the Lloyd Loar era, Gibson has produced many impressive recreations of these "Golden Age" instruments. Just like in the '20s, each of these mandolins is signed by Gibson's head acoustic engineer who oversees and coordinates their meticulous construction from start to finish.
This Gibson F-5L Fern was signed by Charlie Derrington on January 28, 2000. Charlie developed his reputation for a vast knowledge and strong command of fine mandolins in 1985 when he was tasked with rebuilding Bill Monroe's fabled F-5, and he led Gibson's Original Acoustic Instrument Division from 1999 to 2004. According to many Gibson historians, Charlie was responsible for the finest instruments Gibson produced since Loar in the '20s. Charlie was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident in 2006, and since then, mandolins he signed have gained near legendary status. As soon as you try one, you'll find all of the lofty accolades are well, well deserved.
This 2000 Gibson F-5L is a faithful recreation of the circa-'24 "Fern" F-5. Since 1978, F-5s with Ferns have been given the "F-5L" designation in honor of Lloyd Loar. This mandolins is in excellent condition, but it has been played extensively without a pickguard, so there is a lot of wear and some missing finish underneath the pickguiard (see photos). This mandolin has also been "speed necked," and the stripped feel of the neck lends smooth playability all across the fingerboard. Its tone is thick, robust, and throaty, but it still packs gorgeous delicacy and tons of subtlety. With this mandolin in your hands, it's hard to imagine a better, more well-rounded mandolin. This 2000 Gibson F-5L mandolin includes a non-original deluxe case from Ameritage.