A mandolin owned by country legend BILL MONROE is at the centre of a messy dispute in Nashville, Tennessee, as the plucker's son and the foundation Monroe founded argue over who should own the instrument.

Monroe's son James is hoping to sell the Gibson F-5 model to the OHIO COUNTY INDUSTRIAL FOUNDATION in his father's native state, but members of the BILL MONROE FOUNDATION insist the mandolin should be theirs.

A deal between James Monroe and the foundation fell through in 2002 after the organisation failed to raise the $1.1 million (GBP611,000) required to buy the mandolin.

The new owners of the instrument will likely be determined during a trial, which is scheduled to begin next week (12JUL04) in Nashville.

Both foundations want to display the mandolin in their respective museums.

08/07/2004 09:09