11/11/2016

1995 Gibson A-5L Carved-top Mandolin





A silver lining in the purchase of Flatiron by Gibson was that the experience of said company was infused into Gibson's own instruments. This 1995 A-5L "Master Model" has a Bruce Weber-signed label and it's, well, a superlative instrument with a decidedly-vintage bent. It's tonebar-braced, well-built, has a longer 14" scale length, and a punchy, dry, dishing-it-out "bluegrass" tone.

Work for a customer on this one included a fret level/dress (it had a slight "hump" at the neck joint), a bit of bridge modification for farther travel of the adjustable saddle, and general cleaning and setup. It, of course, plays on the dot and feels excellent. The neck, however, isn't very "vintage" in rear-sculpt that it's got a slim C-shape to it rather than a V.


There's not a crack on it and the sunburst is gleaming through that gloss finish.


Nice inlay at the headstock, too, no? The nut and tuner buttons are actual pearl.


The long fretboard extension looks grand but, for my playing style, interrupts a bit. The pickguard is also great-looking but I'd probably yank it off for my own style of play, too.

The board and bridge are, of course, ebony. The back and sides are solid, flamed maple and the top is carved, solid spruce.














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