8/07/2015

1918 Gibson A Carved-top Mandolin




Nothing like a simple Gibson A pumpkin-top! A friend of mine owns this and it was in for a fret level/dress, slight bridge fitting, and a K&K Twin Spot pickup install. I also put a new bone nut on. It plays spot-on, has that sweet, rich, sustained A-style tone (very open), and is in fantastic structural condition without any cracks or top sink. It's actually amazing as this friend of mine can be pretty rough on his gear.

The only original hardware on it is the tailpiece (sans cover), but let's not have that get us down. The pickguard actually isn't missing but has been removed to both open up the tone and cut down on random rattle (they look beautiful but can be a pain).



I love the pumpkin color. It's not as orange as some can be but would look lovely with a face painted on it, no? I kid.


Ebony headstock veneer and ebony board...




This is actually one of those ebony bridges with a Fishman pickup element embedded in it. These pickups sound across-the-board terrible so I simply clipped the wiring coming off of it and fit it a little better to the top. Better than buying a new bridge!

Hilariously enough, the bridge had been setup with the topper on backwards for its previous service life.





Don't get me started on gold tuners for a standard A... but my buddy likes them... so fair enough!





I install pickups on mandos like this right through the tailpiece. The endpin hole actually fits the jack's "nozzle" perfectly and so the only alteration needed is drilling the 1/2" hole behind the tailpiece to fit the barrel of the jack. Plus... you still get to use that bit as a strap hanger.


The 42xxx serial places this one at 1918, I believe.

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