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Thread: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

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    Smile Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    I have a 1925 Gibson A4 snakehead mandolin that is missing the old "Guarantee" label. It has the serial number marked under where the label once was (as was Gibson's practice). It also has a Virzi label with serial number. (the Virzi was removed some time ago in the past).

    Question: For both originality and value sake, would any of you advise replacing the label. Either with a good reproduction? or if I found a label from the period?

    Or should I just leave it alone?

    Let me know what you think.

    Thanks, Frank
    email: abramstra@prodigy.net

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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    alone
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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    A replacement label should be marked as such if you put one in.
    Bill Snyder
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    Registered User Stephen Lind's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    if you have THE missing label
    re place it

    if not, what would be the point of putting a different label in it?

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    Musical Photo Junkie Chris Keth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    Call Gibson and ask them about it. I wouldn't be surprised if they would put a replacement label on if you sent it to them to have new repair work done on it. Perhaps, if you send them photos of the serial number as proof they would create you a label as they would use.

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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    When it comes time to sell, having a reproduction label might raise more dust than you can settle.Many buyers/sellers of vintage Gibson mandolins can easily identify a reproduction label.
    John Kasley
    Williamsburg, VA

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    Musical Photo Junkie Chris Keth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    Quote Originally Posted by jaka View Post
    When it comes time to sell, having a reproduction label might raise more dust than you can settle.Many buyers/sellers of vintage Gibson mandolins can easily identify a reproduction label.
    Which is why someone would want to clearly mark the repro label that it is a repro, which unfortunately would defeat the purpose.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    Having an identifiable reproduction label might call into question the authenticity of the instrument itself. And, since it's not relevant to the musical quality of the mandolin, why go to the trouble and expense of finding and affixing one? The only way that you would avoid the "repro" stigma, would be to have Gibson themselves put the label on.

    I have a Gibson GB-3 Mastertone guitar banjo with a reproduction 5-string neck by Bernie Lehmann. But I also have the original 6-string neck, and when (and if) I sell the instrument, I'll include the original neck so it can be put back to "authentic," assuming the new owner wants to do it.

    Restoring instruments to "original" condition, by finding and installing old tuners, tailpieces etc., is usually acceptable. But there are so many fakes around with repro labels, that using one of them can raise a red flag to the potential purchaser. And, as stated above, a clearly marked "repro" label defeats the purpose of restoration.
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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    Quote Originally Posted by PanaDP View Post
    Call Gibson and ask them about it. I wouldn't be surprised if they would put a replacement label on if you sent it to them to have new repair work done on it. Perhaps, if you send them photos of the serial number as proof they would create you a label as they would use.
    Take my word for it, Gibson wouldn't have a reproduction label for this mandolin.
    "bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"

    --Jim Garber

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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    I was hoping some of the Gibson gurus (danb, Darryl Wolfe, and all) would jump in here. The serial number is currently visible in pencil where the label once resided. I'm assuming there is a FON visible on the neck block inside. If you're trying to prove authenticity by adding a label you're defeating the purpose. In my eyes it won't add any value to the mandolin. It might make it look complete. If that's what you're going for then get over the mandolin archives and find a good shot of a label and have someone make one up. If it was me, I'd leave it. Marking the label as a reproduction would pretty much cheapen it.
    "bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"

    --Jim Garber

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    Musical Photo Junkie Chris Keth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Take my word for it, Gibson wouldn't have a reproduction label for this mandolin.
    So I guess Gibson doesn't do nice little things like that like Martin has been known to? I mentioned that because a friend of mine had Martin do a neck reset on an older martin guitar that had lost it's label and they put a very attractive new one on. It looks just like the old one was supposed to but apparently has some key difference that differentiates it from a real one. I don't know enough to tell the difference.

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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    Quote Originally Posted by PanaDP View Post
    So I guess Gibson doesn't do nice little things like that like Martin has been known to? I mentioned that because a friend of mine had Martin do a neck reset on an older martin guitar that had lost it's label and they put a very attractive new one on. It looks just like the old one was supposed to but apparently has some key difference that differentiates it from a real one. I don't know enough to tell the difference.
    You're talking about a label from 1925 from a company that is no longer in that same city. Martin didn't use paper labels, they stamped, used decals and burned their logo in. What they would give you may or may not be period correct. Gibson added logos to headstocks of repaired mandolins all the time. I had a 1932 F2 with a 60's label on the headstock because they renecked it.

    You can buy any martin or Gibson decal or inlay you want someplace on the web. You can buy Gibson paper labels, although I've never seen these, I'm sure someone has them. You don't have to go to Martin or Gibson to get that stuff.

    The label the OP is talking about looks similar to this one.

    "bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"

    --Jim Garber

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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    A little off track but heres my favorite label.. SUPERIOR TO ALL OTHERS.. now that's confidence 1902 style..
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    Registered User Stephen Lind's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    Quote Originally Posted by PanaDP View Post
    I don't know enough to tell the difference.
    uhhhh.....
    gee, i wonder why Gibson doesn't do this kind of thing?

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    Musical Photo Junkie Chris Keth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Lind View Post
    uhhhh.....
    gee, i wonder why Gibson doesn't do this kind of thing?
    Apparently the whole point of my post was entirely lost. Everyone seemed to miss the part about marking the new label as a reproduction or making it look slightly different in a way widely known, like we do with all of the visual signals on bank notes.

    Anyway, not to be insulting but anyone in the position to buy a valuable old mandolin had better know a lot more about them than I do. I've been playing the mandolin for all of a week or two. If someone buying a valuable old instrument knows as much as I do, they're asking to be ripped off.

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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    Quote Originally Posted by PanaDP View Post
    ...If someone buying a valuable old instrument knows as much as I do, they're asking to be ripped off.
    It shouldn't be that way but it sometimes is. There are threads weekly in the eBay section about fake Gibsons on eBay that have Gibson headstock decals (sometimes inlaid logos) and Gibson labels inside on cheap Pacrim mandolins. Every day someplace somebody is buying an instrument that has been relabeled. Know what you're buying.
    "bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"

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    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    I wouldn't do it, for all the above stated reasons. The only person that would feel better about it is you. Everyone else will find it questionable.
    Chronic MAS

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    Smile Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    Thanks for the great response. I've read and considered each one.
    Someone has been kind enough to send me a label, but I'm going to have to think twice before I put it on.

    One reason is the apparent prevalence of fake Gibsons. (I was unaware of this, but saw a fake Martin D-18 Guitar in a pawn shop a few weeks ago, so I guess they must be doing fake Gibson Mandolins as well).

    Years from now, someone might look at the mandolin and pronounce it as a fake. (based on a replaced label).

    I collect vintage instruments, ie: Guitars, Ukuleles, Banjos etc.
    One of the first things one looks at (unless it is some of the Martin Guitars) is the label.

    Anyone familiar with old Gibson Mandolins would clearly see that there is enough indicia (my five dollar word for the day) to show that the one I have is clearly authentic.

    I guess that putting a label on is kind of like polishing an old penny. You get a pretty penny, but you lose collector value.

    Thanks again for the great response, Frank

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    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    My two cents, replace it. I have done several. I hope the one someone sent you is of good quality, or better yet "one of mine".
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
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    Registered User Stephen Lind's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Wolfe View Post
    My two cents, replace it. I have done several. I hope the one someone sent you is of good quality, or better yet "one of mine".
    shows how much i know
    i defer to Mr. Wolfe

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    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    You can even spill a little coffee on it and tear the edge if you want. Granted, this is a personal mandolin of mine. The paper is also much darker and period correct than this photo indicates. My little rubber stamps from Staples to do the "Mandolin" and "A" are not ready yet, but earlier ones were handwritten. So, the moral of the story here is that it makes much more sense once you have done it rather than the pre-action pros and cons. What if your tailpiece cover were missing?
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    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
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    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    This look just did not get it for me (same mandolin)
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    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Wolfe View Post
    ...What if your tailpiece cover were missing?
    That makes sense.
    "bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"

    --Jim Garber

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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    i love the taste of crow in the morning

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    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacing Missing Labels/ Advisable Or Not?

    There's really no crow eating here. The should I or shouldn't I makes perfect sense and it is a personal choice on whether to replace something as significant as a label. However, a replaced label is never going to cause a homemade mandolin to be passed as a Gibson, nor will it significantly affect the value of a real one (including a Loar). It's really similar to why I make pickguards and bridges. To make things worse, I actually bought a supposedly original bridge off of Ebay. It turned out to be one of my own creations. Things can get fuzzy enough that it does not really matter after some time passes. As long as the instrument IS what it IS, we need to try to keep them as original or looking as original as we can.
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
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