4/03/2014

c.1917 Gibson A-style Carved-top Mandolin




I don't see too many Gibson As in as good shape as this one is in -- usually they're pretty worse for wear from a century of getting played hard. This one is owned locally and it was in the shop for a fret level/dress, hairline crack repair/cleat, and setup (which included shimming up the bridge a little).

It plays great, has a tone that's remarkably on the "clear/bell like" side of the equation (I'm used to these old As being a bit more tubby), and looks snazzy in its simple brown finish, too. If you're playing old time or folkie sorts of music, these oval-hole As are just great. They won't hang in for bluegrass, but practically everything else sounds excellent on them.



All the hardware is original though this is missing its pickguard.


Bone nut, ebony board.


The frets leveled and dressed nicely and the neck is dead straight.


The hairline crack I repaired is to the side of the board on the treble side... it's been cleated and back-filled a little bit as it was narrow on the rear and wider-open up top. Typical dryness crack.


I had to add a "foot" to this bridge. If I'd had a spare ebony adjustable bridge on hand I might've suggested using one of them, instead, as I fully expect this top to swell a bit in summer vs. where it's at right now.



The birch on the back and sides has a bit of curl. I'm actually pretty surprised that this Gibson has survived so long with only the top dryness crack to show for it.




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