Gibson Sam Bush Signature mandolinSteve Meier

Steve Meier of Lake Charles, Louisiana was the Grand Prize winner of the Gibson Original Acoustic Sam Bush Signature mandolin contest—a historic contest with a gorgeous prize at stake. More than 32,000 people visited the Gibson website to enter the random drawing to win the mandolin, designed and hand-signed by bluegrass legend Sam Bush. Upon hearing the news that he’d been selected as the winner of the mandolin, valued at $9,999.95, Meier couldn’t have been more thrilled.

“My mandolin arrived this weekend,” Meier said Monday. “It is awesome. The craftsmanship is unreal. I hate putting it back in its case.”

The mandolin that Meier received was personally inspected and signed by Bush, who first designed the model in 2000 to replicate his beloved 1937 Gibson F-5, which he fondly calls “Ole Hoss.” Distinguished by its larger neck, wider fingerboard, and broader spacing between the string-pairs, Bush’s mandolin is one of the finest in the industry. Today, he continues to personally oversee the production of each Sam Bush mandolin made at the Gibson facility in Nashville, Tennessee.

Sam Bush "blessing" Meiers' mandolin alongside "Ole Hoss"

“Every picker I’ve met who plays the Sam Bush Model says they love it,” Bush said recently. “It’s very flattering. Those years we took to make the instrument a reality were well spent.”

Sam Bush signing contest winner's mandolinMeier, for one, is enjoying the fruits of Bush’s labor. “I’ve been listening to Sam’s music a lot lately,” Meier says. “He is extremely talented. I’m looking forward to many years of continued enjoyment playing my mandolin.”

An accounts controller in the gaming industry, 43-year-old Meier has played guitar for a number of years, and was already the proud owner of a Gibson Les Paul, Gibson Thunderbird, and Epiphone acoustic. He also recently acquired a Gibson Flying V. But his new Gibson Sam Bush Signature mandolin seems to be first and foremost in his mind.

“I really enjoy playing it, and I’ve already learned a few chords,” he said. “I’ve always been a big Led Zeppelin fan. They used the mandolin a lot in their music so it was something I’ve been wanting to learn how to play for awhile. I’ve been to Gibson’s website where they have lessons, and I’ve looked at a few of those so I’m going to try to teach myself to play. I’m excited about it.”




Gibson Sam Bush Signature mandolin next to the original Ole Hoss