9/11/2014

c.1920 Gibson A-2 Carved-top Mandolin




This is a customer's instrument that was in for a fretboard level/planing, refret, and setup. The neck through the fretboard extension showed that "usual Gibson U" relief that sanded out right quick. At the same time I reglued the main brace below the soundhole (its wings were coming undone) and fit the bridge a bit better to the top. Judging from the 1960s shipping form in the case this mando went back to Gibson for some work around then.

I'm guessing it was Gibson who oversprayed the whole thing with a thin coat of finish and also installed a second brace (right under the bridge) in the instrument. Curious, huh? I'm betting the top was sunk. It hardly matters because this thing sings with a pretty thunderous clear tone even with the volume-sapping pickguard installed and a lighter set of strings (10s) installed.


I've always liked the dark brown finish and double-ring rosette on these old A-2s. It's a nice look.


I was able to reuse the original bone nut fairly unmolested.


This has a rosewood board and after leveling, sanding, and polishing as well as the refret it feels like a new instrument, more or less. The celluloid binding on the board needed to come down a little bit and was a tiny bit scary to work on (it's starting to get brittle) but the outcome was just fine.



The bridge is also rosewood.




Back and sides are dark-stained curly birch...


...while the neck is 2-piece mahogany.








The original case is still with it, too!

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