“The most famous mandolin in the world is Bill Monroe’s Gibson F5, signed by Lloyd Loar on July the 9th, 1923. Lloyd Loar signed a few other mandolins on that day which I am blessed to own one of these. Only if it passed his inspection in quality and great sound, would he sign it.

I brought mine with me to Gainesville, Georgia, last night for a concert with Kentucky Thunder and I worked him real hard. It’s amazing how these old instruments still sound great after all these years.

Happy birthday to all the July 9, 1923 mandolins—thank God you’re still around! You’re a real piece of American history, hand made by talented luthiers at the Gibson factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Gibson is still making the F5 Master Model Mandolin in the same spirit as they were making them in the early 20’s, but now in Nashville, not Kalamazoo. Thank you Mr. Monroe for playing a Gibson F5 mandolin. If you hadn’t have, who knows what we’d all be playing. We’re playing it because of you.” — Ricky Skaggs

photo credit: Russell Carson