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Serial Number
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Gibson F5 Mandolin #83233


manufacture date (traditional estimates)
1928 shipment date, according to Spann's Guide to Gibson
Mandolin, Style F5
Serial 83233
Factory Order number: 8231


The "A. J. Polin" mandolin, fern, a significant historical instrument based upon Mr. Rinzler's achievements.

From Christian Seguret:

Ralph Rinzler bought the mandolin for 350 dollars in 1963 (those were happy days!) , from a retired person living near Chicago. He was still playing with the Greenbriar Boys at the time, but most of all was startting to become Bill Monroe's manager. Between 1963 and 1965 Monroe used this Fern at every single show in addition to his famed Loar (even the shows that Rinzler did not attend), cross-tuned, to play Get Up John. Bill Keith, who was playing banjo with him at the time, told me he was the one in charge of tuning the mandolin before every show!

Monroe stopped using it when he got a new F-5 from Gibson that he used for that purpose (the one he donated to the Country Music Hall Of Fame). He used the Fern again in the 90's to record the video for Homespun tapes, again to play Get Up John. Ralph Rinzler also used this mandolin on many recordings, and played it exclusively until he passed away in 1994. The mandolin is in excellent condition, the finish has weathered as you can tell, and has a few scratches on it. With Original red-lined rectangular case, all hardware is original, except the pickguard holding clip. The frets have been removed on the fingerboard extension. Nut is not original. The tone is outstanding.


Categories this instrument is a member of

  • Played by a well-known musician


From Darryl Wolfe.
Darryl Wolfe's F5 Journal is the authoritative work on the subject of Loar-signed and later Gibson mandolins

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