October 30 Trivia Question

This Contest is Closed
The winner is Todd Evans


In the world of electric guitars, the current rage is a brand-new instrument that has been “distressed” at the factory to look old and used. This development seems to have migrated from “antiqued” furniture to musical instruments. Roughly-used iconic rock ‘n’ roll guitars have inspired brand-new models that look just awful.

Here is a Fender Custom Shop “Heavy Relic” Telecaster for example.

Concerning bluegrass instruments (mandolins, banjos, guitars and Dobros™) which of the following statements is correct?

A. This simply isn’t done with bluegrass instruments. Signs of “age” have to be earned the real way.
B. Gibson offers a “distressed” Dobro ™
C. Gibson offers a “distressed” Mastertone banjo
D. Martin offers “distressed” D28 and D18 guitars
E. Gibson offers a “distressed” F5 Master Model mandolin
F. B&C
G. D&E


Additional Bowden Comments

Thanks to all the contestants, we have lovely parting gifts for you, including the Home Game. And congratulations to our dogged first-time winner!

The answer was indeed G, which include D&E. Gibson has been cranking out a handful of “distressed” Master Model F5 mandolins for around 15+ years. There’s also a distressed “Ricky Skaggs” version. Last year they announced they were going to make 3 tributes to Bill Monroe’s original Lloyd Loar F-5; one in original format (with intact peghead and pickguard, “lightly” used; one in the famous 1950s/1960s format with broken peghead with “Gibson” gouged out and no pickguard; and then finally in the “as restored” condition with the peghead fixed by the finish nearly completely gone from the body. Inaugural of each would go to a museum, then more would be offered for sale.

CF Martin put a toe in the water a couple of years ago with “lightly aged” D 18s and D28s. They take perfectly good brand new vintage-repro guitars and then staff members “relic” them by hand. One thing I’ve noticed after seeing a bunch of them for sale, all the aging/distressing/relic-ing looks identical on all of them! I guess they have a blueprint. They look mighty nice to me.

Gibson no longer makes banjos (imagine that!), and never offered a “distressed” model.

Gibson owns the Dobro trademark, but Andy Bing confirmed my suspicion that Gibson no longer offers Dobro resonator guitars. Instead, their resonator guitars are now badged Epiphone and come from Asia.

Dick Bowden

Dick Bowden recently retired after a 45 year career in the paper industry, and moved from Connecticut to Big Indian NY (Ulster County) where he ekes out a precarious existence as a groundskeeper. Dick has been performing bluegrass music on banjo and guitar since 1966 in his home state of Maine, throughout New England, and internationally with The Case Brothers - Martin & Gibson. He has performed for HVBA with the Old Time Bluegrass Singers, and also sent in a squadron of Dick Bowden's Flying Circus. Most recently Dick has played Dobro (tm) with the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band. Dick has written many articles for Bluegrass Unlimited, Bluegrass Today, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass magazine) and HVBA.

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