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The Loar According to Derrington - Charlie Derrington, Acoustic Engineer by Paul Thompson

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The Loar According to Derrington - Charlie Derrington, Acoustic Engineer by 

The Loar According To Derrington Gallery

This magnificent mandolin was signed by, in my honest opinion, the most influential mandolin maker of our era. Sadly Charlie is not with us now, but he left us a legacy of some of the best mandolins ever made.

For those who are not aware of mandolins. In the early part of the 20th century an acoustic engineer named Lloyd Loar joined Gibson, yes the same Gibson that makes some of the best electric guitars, banjos, resophonic guitars (dobro guitars). Lloyd Loar perfected what Orville Gibson started with taking the European round-backed mandolin and re-designing it with similar construction techniques and the same timbers as the best violins. The epitome of the Gibson mandolin, which has been copied by thousands of mandolin makers ever since, was the 1923 Gibson Master Model mandolin.

In the latter part of the 20th, and early 21st century, a very talented luthier named Charlie Derrington joined Gibson. Charlie first came to notoriety when he restored the 1923 Gibson Master Model mandolin of Bill Monroe, the father of Bluegrass Music. Bill’s mandolin was almost demolished by a vandal who broke into his home and smashed two of his mandolins into hundreds of very small pieces. Charlie Derrington, in an example of his great craftsmanship and a labour of love, painstakingly restored Bill Monroe’s mandolin to playability. Not only playable, but to deliver an astonishingly brilliant tone and volume.

Charlie went on to oversee Gibson recover its premiere place as the world’s leading mandolin maker. Of all the mandolins made during the Derrington era, Charlie personally signed about 80. I have the very great privelidge to be the owner of one of the best examples of musical craftsmanship. I have played some of the world’s best mandolins including a 1923 Lloyd Loar, and owned other mandolins including a Gilchrist Model 5 and a Gibson F5 fern. I have played for nearly 35 years, known the best that is on offer, and it is the mandolin I play every day.

I hope Charlie is in heaven and is aware of the legacy he has left. Thank you Charlie Derrington.

Please visit my gallery “The Loar According To Derrington” on pBase for further photographic examples of this wonderful instrument.

Lloyd Loar
Mandolin Archive
Gibson History of the Early Years
Roger Siminoff gives the Loar Background
Wikipedia on Lloyd Loar

Charlie Derrington
Charlie Derrington Blog
Charlie playing a Lloyd Loar – Charlie playing a Lloyd Loar
Ricky Skaggs playing a Gibson Master Model – Ricky Skaggs plays a Gibson F5 Master Model


  • Mandosd
    Mandosdabout 5 years ago

    I would be interested puchasing a calendar or 2 if there are any still available. I am Susan Derrington, Charlie’s widow, and never knew these items were available. Please e-mail me at with any information regarding this product. Thank you

  • Hi Susan, Your money is no good here. :-) Just email me your address and I will send you two 2010 calendars. This mandolin of Charlie’s gives me so much pleasure. It is my main instrument. I have previously played a Gibson F5L and a Gilchrist Model 5 and I have to say, this F5 overseen and signed by your late husband is the best. I will email you. Regards Paul

    You may also be interested in seeing my other gallery featuring this mandolin at *"":htt... *

    – Paul Thompson

  • Mandosd
    Mandosdover 4 years ago

    Paul, Susan Derrington here, I never received the 2010 calendars and I was wondering if you were going to put out 2011 calendars this year. Please let me know as I would love to purchase several for Christmas presents. Thank you for honoring Charlie with such lovely photos. I look forward to hearing from you. Cordially, Susan

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