Givens, Robert L.
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Givens, Robert L.
Mandolins, banjos, and acoustic guitars previously built between circa 1960 and 1992.
Luthier Robert L. Givens began building guitars, mandolins, and banjo necks in 1960. Shortly after high school, he moved to Nashville, TN where he partnered with dobro player Tut Taylor. The two of them bought the old Harmony guitar factory and began building instruments as a contractor for Baldwin. He built mandolins for Baldwin under the "Ode" trademark, but he also began building his own custom instruments at that time. This partnership didn't last very long, and soon, Givens had moved to Australia where he lived for several years and worked as a welder. After the Vietnam War, Givens moved back to the U.S. in the early 1970s. He eventually ended up in Northern Idaho, and in 1979 local luthier Steve Weill met Givens. Shortly thereafter, Weill started to work for Givens and became his only employee over all the years that he built instruments. Most Givens instruments were built during the 1980s and early 1990s, but Givens always remained an indedpent luthier. His mandolins became so popular that in order to continue working, he moved to a secret location, didn't list his telephone number, and only notified customers when their instruments were done. By the early 1990s, many people thought Givens was going to start mass producing his instruments. Unfortunately, Givens developed lymphatic cancer in the early 1990s and since he refused to see a doctor until it was too late, the cancer couldn't be treated. Givens became ill during late 1992, and in March 1993, he died at the age of 50.
Since Givens' death, his instruments have become very popular/collectible - especially his mandolins. Givens' mandolins are known for being very loud but they don't lose any tone the louder they get. His mandolins were also built very well. It is estimtaed that Givens built 700 mandolins, 200 guitars, and a few hundered banjo necks. Givens also built about 800 mandolins for Tut Taylor's GTR company early in his career.

From Blue Book Publications:


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