Doyle Lawson presented with Bill Monroe mandolin replica

David Harvey presents Doyle Lawson with a Bill Monroe Hall of Fame Gibson F5 – photo by Styx Hicks

When Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver played their final show at Nashville’s Station Inn on November 27, David Harvey with Gibson Mandolins was on hand to make a special presentation.

Harvey honored Doyle for 60 years of performing bluegrass music professionally, and 20 years as an endorser and representative for Gibson, with his very own Bill Monroe Hall of Fame Gibson F5 mandolin. These are painstaking replicas of Monroe’s mandolin as it sits today in the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, with all the wear from hard playing, and the exact specifications of Bill’s 1923 Loar-signed F5. A completely hand made instrument, it is only the seventh such built by the Gibson custom shop, with an estimated value around $25,000. The labels in these instruments were signed by Bill Monroe years ago when they made a special Master Model for him while he was still living.

David also presented Doyle with a mandolin back signed by all the luthiers and craftspeople at the Custom Shop, a tradition for those who retire from the shop going back many years at Gibson. Lawson is retiring from regular touring with his band at the end of 2021.

Here is video of the actual presentation.

Couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

When we spoke with David this afternoon, he shared just how much he admires Doyle, both personally and professionally, and that his feelings are shared by everyone at the company. His suggestion to present this mandolin to Lawson as an expression of Gibson’s gratitude for years of loyalty and appreciation was immediately embraced by management, enthusiastically so.

Harvey shared a copy of this draft of the remarks he made at the presentation…

Tonight we honor Doyle Lawson…

I think back 50 years ago, I was ONLY 3 years old…seeing this man for the first time with the Award Winning Country Gentleman, and what an impression it made on me. I tried to learn all your licks from the record! You still inspire every listener and mandolin player today!

I thought a lot about what I would say tonight, and your contributions are immeasurable, your career is so vast, and you have done it all with excellence and professionalism. What do I mention…what do I leave out? I can’t begin to summarize your legacy.

We all know your music has been a benchmark in quality, and your records have been a soundtrack of our lives. One thing that stands out to me is how many careers you have launched. What knowledge and instruction you have handed down to all in your study.

In addition to the Country Gentleman, let’s not forget the Bluegrass Holiday record, all the Bluegrass Album Band recordings, and every Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver album must be on our desert island playlist. I think I can speak for all that this body of music is timeless.

Doyle, in honor of your more than 60 year career, it is my pleasure to present this signed mandolin back from the Gibson Custom Shop. This is a long standing tradition at Gibson Custom when someone retires. These signatures are the Gibson Custom Shop Management, the Mandolin Department, and the old timers that represent over 250 years of instrument building experience.

Finally, on behalf of Gibson Original Acoustic Instruments and the Custom Shop, I am proud to present you with The Gibson Hall of Fame Bill Monroe F-5 mandolin.
I am proud to call you friend and personally want to thank you for your gifts of music.

Vince Gill was also on hand Saturday evening to honor and introduce Doyle, and he even made an appearance with the band later in the evening.

Here is video of the first instrument tap Doyle offered up on his new instrument, his version of Pike County Breakdown, played very much in the Monroe style. Before they start you can hear Harvey joke with Lawson telling him not to scratch it.

Vince joined the band on stage to do the Osborne Brothers’ classic, Making Plans.

What a marvelous night for bluegrass music in Nashville. Many congratulations to Doyle Lawson for this honor.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.