Everyone A Gibsonite

Promotional photo for 1921 Gibson Mandolin Company "Catalog M". Ivers Mandolin Orchestra/Adams Plectrum Society, Adams, Massechusetts.

Members I can identify: Center Middle Row: Joseph Ivers, Orchestra leader, Gibson Mandolin Company Agent,and my Great Grandfather, Center Left Holding a Gibson F-4 Mary Ivers-Bassette, my Great Grandmother, Back Row from left: Leonore Ivers-Carmel, my Great Aunt, George Ivers, my Grandfather, Sitting in front, white dress, Doris Ivers-Hueston, my Great Aunt.

Page 21 Gibson Mandolin Catalog M: See right side second photo from bottom

Page 21 Gibson Mandolin Catalog M: See right side second photo from bottom
I recently discovered that this photo of my Great grandfather's Mandolin Orchestra appears on page 21 of the Gibson "M" catalog, published in 1921, confirming my theory that he (Joseph L. Ivers) was a Gibson "teacher-agent" or dealer, and that this photo was part of the "Everyone a Gibsonite" marketing campaign. Some of these instruments are still owned and played by Ivers family members. For example, my father Robert Ivers still plays the 1914 F4 in the center played by my Great Grandmother Mary Ivers in this photo. He also owns a 1921 H2 Mandola, no doubt pictured brand spanking new somewhere in this photo. I would love to try to contact other family members to see where some of these other instruments ended up.

Water Color "Grandfather's Mandolin" by Robert Ivers of Gibson F-4 #24532

Water Color "Grandfather's Mandolin" by Robert Ivers of Gibson F-4 #24532
Water Color Of My Great Grand Father's F4 painted by my Father, Robert Ivers. Look !!!!!!! Notice unintended ghost image of my Great Grandfather Joseph Ivers in upper left !

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sounding Board Salesman Magazine

I found this publication very interesting. It's from 1920, and a was published by The Gibson Mandolin Company as a sales tool for Gibson agents like Joseph Ivers, my Great Grandfather. Evidently The Sounding Board Salesman came out a few times a year to keep Gibson Agents motivated and in the loop. Reading this provides some pretty interesting insight into how the Gibson Mandolin Company sold and distributed instruments through "agents" and the Mandolin Orchestras they formed throughout the world. Here's two of several goofy cartoon's that appear in this issue of the Magazine, Illustrating the company's difficulty in 1919 in keeping up with demand from the sales agents for product. Note the F-Style Male head and A-Style Female head:

Special Thanks to the Mandolin Archive for posting very readable scans of this interesting publication in their Documents section. http://www.mandolinarchive.com/documents/1920_sounding_board_salesman/cover.html

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Turn To Take Care Of a Family Heirloom

Well, it’s official. I'm now the 4th generation  “Ivers” to own the 1914 Gibson F4 Master Model Serial # 24532 pictured and documented all over this web-log.  All I can say is that it's truly an honor and a privilege to take my turn as the caretaker of this beautiful instrument.
My wife and I spent last weekend celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in Chautauqua, NY (I'd marry you all over again my love!) On our second day there, we drove to Big Flats, NY for the day to have lunch with my parents.
After a delicious home cooked meal, my wife spent some time helping my Mother with a computer issue, and my Dad, said to me "Come on let’s go look at that F4, I want you to take it back to Florida with you."   Wow!  I guess I knew I would end up with it eventually, but it's really a thrill to be able to enjoy it sooner than I thought. When my dad handed it to me, I didn’t really know what to say or do, so I tuned it, and gave it back to him to take one last ride on it. He sight read a few tunes from an American Song Book collection, and then it was my turn.

First Impressions Of The F4

It plays easily, really sounds big and deep, and the sustain is amazing. The frets closer to the head stock are a little worn, but the action is really nice and low (adjustable bridge added in 1921). The colors in the “Flowerpot” head stock inlay are beautiful and change with every angle.  For some reason it felt really light weight to me, like I thought it was bigger and heavier when I had last held it as child.  And this might sound weird, but one of the first things I noticed, and am still amazed by, is how great it smells!   I had one of those crystal clear flashbacks to when I was a child and smelled the old wood of that mandolin.  It was old then and even older now, and still has a very distinct woody aroma. Very cool smell! 

Four Generations Of Beautiful Tone

I've played it every day since we returned home to South Florida, and man, it is truly amazing to gaze at the 1921 photo with my Great Grandmother Ivers playing the same mandolin I now hold in my hands.  My Great Grandfather, Joseph Ivers, the mandolin orchestra leader and Gibson Mandolin Company “agent” purchased it new in 1916, and he and my Great Grandmother Mary Bassett Ivers played it.  For sure my Grandfather George Ivers played it, then my Father, Robert Ivers played it, and now I'm playing it. Since I don't have children, I guess it’s never too early to try to get one or more of my sister’s  three daughters interested in the mandolin, so one day I can pass it along to a fifth generation.

Enhanced by Zemanta

It's My Obligation To Carry On The Tradition

I feel a little unworthy, as I am not as proficient or as good as I should be for my age, actually playing the mandolin.  I'm not sure why it took me so long to start playing mandolin, given my family history but I'm 49, and only started playing 6 years ago. I had been thinking for years I should learn, and finally in 2004, while vacationing in the Asheville, NC area, I bought a Weber Sweet Pea, at a cool store in Brevard, NC.   Since that day I've been preparing to own and play the F4. 

The Sweet Pea is great, I’ve taken it with me all over the world, but my wife thought I should have something better.  So, for a Christmas present a few years ago, she got me a Morgan Monroe MMS 5; an F Style, that really sounds and plays great. That's when I really started to enjoy playing mandolin.  Since then, it’s been a slow but very rewarding process teaching myself to play by ear.
Today I'm really grateful, even as a novice, to have enough playing time under my belt to be able to enjoy the sound and feel of this awesome 1916 Gibson F4 Master Model.  It's beyond my wildest dreams, and I'm humbled and excited about learning and playing it in the future. 

Put Down That Gibson F4 Mandolin And Hold Your Great Grandson, or Yes Little Baby, Some Day You Will Play the Mandolin

Thanks to my Great Grandparents, my Grandparents, my Great Aunt Doris Ivers- Houston, for taking such good care of the mandolin for all these years.  And of course, thanks to my father for his care of the instrument, and providing the inspiration for me to want learn to play the mandolin.  And last but not least, special thanks to my wife for her encouragement, and putting up with what may not always sound like music.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Early Gibson Mandolin Company Trade Advertisement

Gibson Mandolin Company trade publication advertisement targeting the Mandolin Orchestra Leader or Teacher. The Mandolin Orchestra "Everyone a Gibsonite" campaign was the primary retail channel for selling Gibson mandolins and mandolin family instruments during the teens and early twenties.  More evidence here that women were a big part of the marketing campaign. Check out the outfits.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Proper Musical Balance

This is an interesting point of view on the instrumentation for Fretted Instrument Groups. I found this document folded into the middle of an old piece of Mandolin Orchestra sheet music from the teens. Not sure who published this, or who's recommendations for "Proper Musical Balance" these are. Could be from Gibson, but I'm not sure of the source. I do know that it probably dates from the teen's, based on the age of the sheet music it was stored with.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Summer Strummers 2010 Line Line Up

I recently had the opportunity to pass through The Chautauqua Institute (Chautauqua, NY) working as a Guitar Tech for Dion, and got the chance to spend a few hours with my parents, and my sister and her family who live there each summer. I had a great visit, and had time during my Dion work day to change strings on my father's acoustic/electric Fender mandolin. I missed a Summer Strummers performance by one day, but I did get a photo of this summer's line up. My father, pictured lower left, has been playing a Fender mandolin  instead of the 1916 Gibson F-4  (pictured to the right) because Summer Strummers  gig requires a mandolin he can plug into an amp. Good looking group, would love to hear the Saw.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Summer Strummers

Here's a picture of my father, Robert Ivers, playing the same F-4 my great grandmother is holding in the 1921 Gibson Catalog photo. The group is the Summer Strummers, who perform each summer at the Chautauqua Institute, in Chautauqua N.Y.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cover Art From Gibson Catalog M 1921

Cover of the Gibson Mandolin Company Catalog M, 1921 in which the Ivers Mandolin Orchestra photo appears on page 21.