maybelle carter

Instruments paid for with fraudulent money

Nashville, TN (October 1, 2007) – The future is uncertain for Mother Maybelle Carter’s 1928 Gibson L-5 archtop guitar and Bill Monroe’s 1923 Gibson F-5 Master model mandolin. Both instruments are at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville but the money that got them there appears to have been sorely misrepresented by a man who died in an apparent suicide last week.

It’s hard to argue there are two stringed instruments more important to country and bluegrass. Mother Maybelle was popularizing her thumb technique in the late ‘20s with the Carter Family’s rural songs that became the backbone of country music. She bought her L-5 in 1927 and played it throughout the remainder of her career. Bill Monroe is the father of Bluegrass, literally, having pioneered the genre with his Kentucky band, the Blue Grass Boys, from which the fast picking style of roots music was named. He had a particular love for the F-5 he bought in 1943 and would use it almost exclusively until 1985 when it was nearly destroyed by vandals. It underwent a painstaking restoration that took four months. Considering the seminal roles country and bluegrass played in the evolution of American popular music, these instruments are considered invaluable relics of American history.

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