4/28/2011

c.1917 Gibson Alrite Style D Mandolin





All hail the fancy pancake! Pan-a-cake! Yum.

This is the upgrade model, made for "one year only" in 1917, of the plain-Jane "Army/Navy" style pancake-shaped mandolin made by Gibson for the "doughboys" of WWI. This is the classier civilian version, complete with top binding, fancy marquetry purfling, an ebony fretboard, pickguard, etc. etc.

This mandolin is 100% original, and now after a fret dress, setup, crack repairs on top and back, and the addition of a (tiny) brace just below the soundhole (serves as cleat, and anti-top-sink brace), it plays and sounds wonderful as well.

A keeper!

Top is solid spruce with "v" bracing, back and sides are solid birch, neck looks like plain mahogany or cedar and the fretboard and bridge are ebony. This has a nicely compensated bridge as well and the long 13 7/8" Gibson scale length, which pumps out plenty of volume and pure clean tone.


Ebony nut, ferrules for the tuners are a nice touch.


Flatwound strings give this instrument more "spring" in feel and a warmer bottom end. With regular-wound strings it had much more bark and bite but didn't have the sweet crisp lows for tremolo.


Amazingly, the pickguard has survived intact.



Gotta love that purfling!


Cloud tailpiece.



Compensated bridge.


Bound on the top edge only.



Tuners in good order.






Clamp for the pickguard.



Big old crack on the back, repaired.

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