12/01/2011

c.1922 Gibson F-2 Mandolin


Oh, what a killer mando this is -- and aside from a missing pickguard+bracket, 100% original.

I've always liked the look, feel, and sound of F-2s -- and when I was a beginning mando player I lusted after finding one quite heavily. I set that aside, however, due to the high cost of actually getting one.

So, while I've played a few earlier instruments (a couple from the 1900s and another from the teens) I've never got my hands on a Loar-period instrument (for those of you scratching your heads: that's Lloyd Loar, famous-o player/acoustic engineer responsible for the best of the best of Gibson instruments from the time).

And, of course, with my guard down, a local acquaintance-friend of mine calls me up and asks me if I might sell his for him... oh NO. Right out of the case, I knew it was going to be killer. Post-cleaning, light fret dress, and setup, it is killer.


While sonically these sound quite a bit like their oval-bodied cousins, the f-style oval-hole F-2s and F-4s just have something extra. This one sports a carved top (spruce), carved back (flamed birch in this case) and of course all-solid wood. The neck is mahogany with a center strip of contrasting hardwood (walnut?) and to be honest the sides look like birch to me (rather than maple).


Headstock scrolls were both clumsily reglued after breaking quite a long time ago and are sturdy but have some chip-out in the veneer and glue residue at the crack edges. I'm fairly certain that nickeled truss cover is original as it's "aged" just about exactly the same as the tailpiece and other hardware and is the right shape, too.


Original Gibson tailpiece -- no broken tabs under the cover, either.


Typical, beautifully-inlaid soundhole rosette. Also bound (in ivoroid) ebony fretboard with long extension. The finish is in great shape with weather check here and there and general use-wear but very nice overall. There's a bit of pickwear right below the treble side of the soundhole but it's hard to see.


Nice scroll -- side dots -- and curiously enough it looks like the 15th-fret dot was repositioned from the 14th fret at one point -- or maybe someone moved it and then moved it back? Either way there's a filled dot hole on the 14th fret right above the 15th dot.


Just a gorgeous thing. Nice dark red-brown to cherry-red sunburst, too. This looks slightly darker in person.







Original bone nut. The frets had some mild/medium wear that I took right out. They've still got tons of life in them yet, though.




Adjustable ebony bridge is in great shape.


Hard to see, but the only top crack is this super-tight (can't even wick glue into it) hairline at the lower joint of the point to the body. It's barely 1/2" long -- and stable.






Tuners are original.


Nice carving on the back of the scroll, too. Also note the finish blush/crackle on the back -- typical moisture/heat leavings probably either from rubbing up against someone's body or simple case storage.




The back is crack-free, and ah -- there you get to see the lovely flame!






Patent bridge.


Original end pin, too. Note (drop-filled) hairline crack at the intersection of the two higher tailpiece mount screw holes. It's stable.


And, of course, a somewhat beat-up but functional original case. Needs a handle, though!


In a little bit I'll be following up with a video of this instrument.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jake

The suspense is killing me. What's the asking price on the F2? And you're right - awesome mando.

Ben