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 !

Monday, December 29, 2014

Archival References To J L Ivers' Mandolin Orchestra activities from The North Adams Transcript

I came across a few old newspaper stories from the North Adams Transcript that provide interesting details about my great grandfather JL Ivers, in general, and specifically about his mandolin orchestra activities. It's my firm belief, that J L Ivers was above all a business man, and much of his mandolin orchestra leadership, and music teaching efforts were motivated by his desire to move or sell Gibson Mandolin and Guitar Company Instruments. Its pretty clear that Gibson saw music teachers and orchestra leaders as an important part of their marketing and sales strategy in the teens and into the early 20's. The articles I'm posting here are all from the late teens into the late 1920s from the North Adams Transcript, which was the paper of record in Adams Massachusetts where my great grandfather was a plant supervisor at the Renfrew Textile Manufacturing Company.

He seems to have been very active in the community, organizing baseball and bowling leagues, in addition to all of his music teaching, performing, and orchestra leadership.

This first clip is a reference to my great grandfather's appointment to a new position at the Renfrew Manufacturing company. The clip is from 1919, and he had just moved from Lawrence, Mass. where he also had been a mill supervisor.

There are Gibson mandolins that we know were owned by J L Ivers dating as far back as 1914, so it's possible he had a relationship with Gibson and may have organized orchestras in Lawrence too, before he moved to Adams and took this position in 1919.  

The next clip is a reference to joint venture if you will, between my great grandfather and the YMCA to promote a "musical organization" Most likely a teaching effort, to build a student base, and of course sell more instruments! 

I'll post more of these in the future, 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Must read story on the Oregon Mandolin Orchestra

Good story here about the Oregon Mandolin Orchestra, and nice YouTube clip

Link to Story from Oregonmusicnews.com

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sound Clips From 100 Year Old F4

Here's a couple of sound clips from 100 year old Gibson F-4 # 24532
Indirect recording from internal mic in a Samsung digital camera, pick: home made; punched out of a hotel room key card, D'addario J-74 strings.

Here's another. Sorry about the low light, but it's about the sound not the look!

Monday, June 30, 2014

F4 Mandolin and H2 Mandola Appraised at Antiques Roadshow Austin,TX Tour Stop

My wife and I got away last weekend and visited Austin, TX. We had a great time walking around 6th street and downtown, and enjoyed poking around the funky shops and restaurants in the South Congress neighborhood. The main reason we chose Austin for a weekend get away was a pair of  tickets we won in a lottery to a PBS taping of The Antiques Roadshow at the Austin Convention Center.
I took with me, my Great Grandfather's 1914 F4 Mandolin, and the 1921 H2 Mandola.
The appraisers at the musical instrument table were very generous with their time, and I really enjoyed their expert opinions and insight on the instruments. The appraisers I spoke with were: James Baggett from Mass Street Music, in Lawrence KS. http://massstreetmusic.com/
and Frederick Oster from Vintage Instruments Inc. In Philladelphia, PS, http://vintage-instruments.com/

It was a thrill for me to show them these instruments, and I shared with them the J.L Ivers "Everyone a Gibsonite" Mandolin Orchestra photo taken for and published in the 1921 Gibson catalog, where both of these instruments are pictured being played by my ancestors. I also brought along some newspaper clips I recently dug up related to my Great Grandfather's mandolin marketing activities in the teens and twenties. (I'll post some of these clips soon.)

I've had a pretty good idea of the monetary value of these instruments watching similar items over the years on Ebay, and plenty of time logged on to the Mandolin Cafe website classifieds, and Vintage Instrument forum.  http://www.mandolincafe.com/

However, this was the first time any professional vintage instrument dealer has ever looked over and played these family heirlooms. The appraisal values were higher than I would have thought, so that was nice. Of course, as these are family heirlooms, and as long as I am looking after them, they will never be sold. I'm just the current caretaker, and get to enjoy playing them and sharing them with others, until eventually my sister's kids will end up with them.

Here's a few things I learned: The adjustable bridge, on the 1914 F4, while not original to this instrument, is in fact an early Gibson adjustable bridge. The 1914 F4 would have shipped with a fixed bridge, since the patent and introduction of the adjustable bridge wasn't until after 1921. Sometime after 1921 a fixed bridge on the F4 was replaced with the adjustable bridge on the instrument today.  On the other hand, the bridge on the 1921 H2 Mandola is fixed, and does appear to be original, even though right around the manufacture date for this instrument, Gibson was making and shipping instruments with adjustable bridges. This particular instrument may well have been made with and shipped with older parts stock including the fixed bridge. It was also pointed out  that The 1914 F4 sports the decorative "Handel" tuners, and I learned, that not long after this one was made they stopped using these awesome looking tuners.

I also learned that the original case for the H2 Mandola has some value, and will I continue to wonder what ever happened to the original case for the F4.  Of course I will also always wonder about all the other instruments pictured in the 1921 catalog photo, and where they may have ended up. Sold by my Great Grandfather I would assume!

It was cool to share these instruments with true industry experts, and hear what they had to say about their condition and value. Overall, very cool experience.

Friday, May 30, 2014

More on the New York Mandolin Orchestra

Click this link for great sound cloud clips of the New York Mandolin Orchestra.


Try this link for the New York Times Article:


Must Must Read: Great Story About The New York Mandolin Orchestra

Notice the standard "Everyone a Gibsonite" photo set up: All instruments & headstocks visible, men in dark suits, women in all white dresses. Nice mix of A and F Models in his one.




Monday, April 14, 2014

Cool Old Photo of My Dad, Me, and My Great Grandfather's 1914 Gibson F4

I was visiting my parents recently, and came across this cool old photo. The photo was probably taken by my mom in 1963, so I was maybe around 2 years old?  Here's me on my favorite horse, rocking out to my dad playing the Gibson F4 !!!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

1921 H2 Still Looks and Sounds Great

My Dad recently gave me a family owned 1921 Gibson H2 model mandola. This is the same mandola that's well documented on this blog, purchased from Gibson by my great grandfather. Once an important part of the rich mandolin orchestra sound in the early 1920's, this mandola, 93 years later, still has strong low end tone, clear highs and mids, and really great sustain. Very comfortable to play with a thick v shaped neck, it's both a challenge and a nice change of pace from playing a mandolin. Here's sound clip sample.This clip is an indirect recording from the internal mic on a Samsung digital camera , using a Tortex heavy pick with medium to heavy D'addario mandola strings.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Special Memory Captured In a Painting

My wife recently commissioned a painting with a talented friend and accomplished painter Roger Sherman. She wanted a painting inspired by a picture she took a few years back on the day my father gave me my great grandfather's 1914 Gibson F4. It was a special moment in time, and is now captured perfectly in this beautiful painting by Roger.