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Mandolin Cafe

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Q. Who operates this web site?
A. The site design and concept was the idea by Dan Beimborn with input and financial support from Scott Tichenor of the Mandolin Cafe.

Server setup, maintenance, programming and technical components are all created by Dan, and graphic design was done by his wife Elena Beimborn

Q. What is the purpose of this web site?
A. The purpose of this web site is to document both in writing and with images the wide variety of mandolin family products produced by the Gibson Corporation through the years. Initially the focus of this collection is the time between 1900 and 1945, but this will gradually increase in range as the collection matures. Over the past few years we've witnessed important vintage Gibson related information appear and subsequently disappear from various message boards and listservs. This repository provides a place to permanently document some of that valued information for future reference with the added benefit of providing visual records and documentation of serial numbers, instrument features, etc.
Q. Is this database limited to Gibson? What about Lyon & Healy, John Monteleone, Mike Kemnitzer, Stephen Gilchrist and my neighbor down the road who has built 25 mandolins?
A. We started out in 2003 with a focus on the "golden age" of Gibson, 1900-1945. In recent years, we have added Nugget & Wiens mandolins. We have started work on adding more builders to the site, including Stephen Gilchrist as of February 2010. What's next- we're not really prepared to say, but it's safe to say that ultimately other long-term well-known builders might be included.

The database model is such that informational areas for different builders can be spun off separately without incurring a complete redesign. Within the design and concept plans were made to scale the project to include significant amounts of information that can be easily added and accessed from the web.

Q. I have an instrument that could be listed here. How do I go about getting it added?
A. New instruments can be added starting from this page. The minimum amount of information we need to add a record for a vintage Gibson mandolin are the serial number and model (70255 A4, for example).

If you are able to email pictures to us, either to use in the listing or to help us verify the model designation etc, that helps even more. Mandolins with unusual stories, famous owners, or high quality photos are especially sought after, but we really are interested in tracking every instrument we can.

Another piece of information we collect is the "Stamp number" or "Factory Order Number" (FON). This stamp indicates the "Batch" the mandolin was made in, and can be viewed with a small mirror looking up from the inside of mandolin towards the peghead.

There will soon be a submissions guide here, as well as a form to enter your information.

Q. Id like to support this web site. How can I do so?
A. To support the programming and ongoing maintenance efforts, We invite you to check out Dan Beimborn's Mandolin CDs featuring several vintage Gibson mandolins. Buying these CDs is a nice way to say "Thank you", and you get something new to listen to in the bargain.
Q. Can I use this resource to store images of instruments I wish to sell?
A. This resource has been created as an informational collection/archive and our intent is to keep financial motives from influencing and altering descriptions and impressions of historical instruments. Were aware that instruments listed here will change ownership but wish to prevent this from becoming a seller's service or classifieds ads web site.
Q. Im looking to buy an authentic Gibson mandolin. Does being listed in the Gibson collection guarantee the authenticity of the instrument?
A. Being listed in the collection does not authenticate or add value to an instrument. Buyers need to exercise the same caution and diligence in transactions involving instruments listed here and anywhere else where they are purchased. This is truly a community collection so there is no one owner of these instruments. The owners of the site do not make any claims of authenticity nor are they liable or responsible for transactions involving instruments contained within the collection unless they are selling the instrument themselves.
Q. Did you copy these images from other web sites? How come all the images can't be enlarged?
A. Most of the images used on this web site are attributed to contributors who have given us explicit permission to use them. In some cases, we have collected images from sources such as eBay, and have either lost contact information or have been unable to contact the people who took the photographs. In these cases, we show only small, reduced quality images to avoid infringing anyone's copyright.

If you spot an image that you've taken, and you'd either like to be credited or have the image removed from the archive, please contact us. We never knowingly include an image against the photographer's wishes, and we'll be happy to pull the images down from the site if you own them and don't want them displayed!

In some cases, to preserve the anonymity of the owners, images are credited to either the mandolin archive or the F5 Journal. This does not mean that we are the photographers in all cases, only that the true source wishes to remain anonymous. If you have any questions about the owner of a specifc image, please contact us!