9/20/2013

c.1935 Gibson-made Cromwell Archtop Mandolin


The factory order number inside the treble f-hole dates this right to 1935. This makes it a fairly early Cromwell-branded instrument and it carries the distinctive inlaid stripe down the center of the rosewood fretboard that most Cromwells tend to have. It's a press-arched rather than carved-top Gibson-made instrument which places it in the realm of their Kalamazoo-branded in-house models.

Still, this has a good, husky, bluegrass tone with volume to spare. It's sort of an A-50 sound but with a little less sweetness overall. It's barkier and more brash which is actually a lot of fun...!

I worked on this for a customer: it needed a fret level/dress, the bridge needed to be unglued from the top and fit a little better (shame on you, prior owner), and it needed a cleaning, new tuners, and a setup as well. Despite a hair of relief in the neck it "plays like a Gibson" -- meaning, well.


There's a repaired hairline crack near the bass f-hole (past work). This has a solid spruce top and solid mahogany back, sides, and neck. The board and bridge are both Brazilian rosewood. Top and back are bound in creamy celluloid... snazzy looker!


Ebony nut is original.


I love the deco-style stripe!


Due to the neck's slight relief I set this up with a little lighter gauges than what were on it (it was rocking 40w-11) to keep it "in spec" for years to come.



The mahogany makes a nice-looking back.



My parts bin supplies freebie solutions to many problems... this came in with some god-awful cheap Chinese tuners that were installed the wrong way around so I sifted through my bin, and hey presto, 18:1 old Japanese tuners surfaced with buttons to match the binding!




So, yeah, I love me them old Gib 2nd lines... you know it. I'd be proud to hang this one on my wall.

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