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Thread: New to me 1907 Gibson A

  1. #1
    Registered User Aiki_Mando's Avatar
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    Default New to me 1907 Gibson A

    Hi all. I just purchased an old Gibson A from a gentleman who listed it in the classifieds. I am happy with it, but would like to run it by ya'll to double check its year of creation and such. I was told that it is a 1907/08. The finish is supposedly original and in remarkable shape. I was told that it sat in it's case for many years. There is some slight sinkage at the bridge, but it apparently has not moved for many years. I would like to find out what model it is, and any history at all. This is my first vintage Gibson, and I'm darn excited to have it! The number on the label reads no. 7958, but no model description. The link shows some pictures. Thanks in advance.

    http://instrumentstoo.com/Gibson_Mandolin_1907.html
    Big Muddy M-4
    1908 Gibson A

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to me 1907 Gibson A

    Looks about right for 1907. You should see if you can make out the factory order number (FON) stamped on the neck block inside the instrument. Look up both the serial and factory order numbers at mandolinarchive.com and you'll find photos of other Gibsons made around the same time as yours.

    This is probably a plain model A, since it has no body binding and no headstock inlay.

    The silkscreened "The Gibson" logo is unusual. Only a handful of Gibson mandolins around this period had silkscreened logos (most were inlaid).

    The bridge is not original to the instrument. It looks like a Gibson bridge, but it's from a few years later. The hole in the bridge is for the pin on the end of a floating pickguard, and this mandolin never had a floating pickguard.
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    Registered User Aiki_Mando's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to me 1907 Gibson A

    Thanks. Interesting about the bridge...that makes sense. The number on the headstock is 545. I'll look it up. I am confused by the double purfling around the sound hole...was that available on certain models?
    Big Muddy M-4
    1908 Gibson A

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    Registered User Aiki_Mando's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to me 1907 Gibson A

    Ahhh...I found photos of an 1907 Gibson model A with the double rings. Cool. Thanks again for the insight. Oh, was the action higher on these early Gibsons than people like it now a days? I am going to go have it setup to lower the action, but am curious as to whether people just liked the action higher in those days. Thanks.
    Big Muddy M-4
    1908 Gibson A

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to me 1907 Gibson A

    Height of action, I'd think, is more a matter of individual preference than of the fashion in any particular epoch. Have a luthier check it out (always a good idea when you buy a vintage instrument) and discuss your setup options with you.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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    Registered User Aiki_Mando's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to me 1907 Gibson A

    I'm on it, and thanks Martin.

    MM
    Big Muddy M-4
    1908 Gibson A

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    Default Re: New to me 1907 Gibson A

    I would question whether the finish has been oversprayed. It has way too much gloss and a lacquer look to it. It could be original and a lot of polish and reflection from the flash, but it certainly looks as if it has been oversprayed at the least. Color is original in appearance, but the rest has too much lacquer in appearance.
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  8. #8
    Registered User 8ch(pl)'s Avatar
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    Default Re: New to me 1907 Gibson A

    It is about right for 1907, the label, the pickguard point to that era. I would point out to you that the case is probably not original.

  9. #9
    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to me 1907 Gibson A

    Looks like a nice one Aiki,

    May have had some buffing/polish/spray on the top as it is pretty darn shiny.. a decent macro photo in-focus could tell us more. Usually the older varnishes get very small/fine mosaic-like crackles in the finish over time, though I have one from the same period with almost no signs of age as well.

    The case was originally with an Eastman mandolin. Nice one for it to rest in, sturdy & light.

    The silkscreened logo is something that was not used for very long- it's the older Gibson Logo that matches their earliest letterhead. i think it's way cool, it matches better with the style of the older ones to my eyes.

    I have a particular soft spot for the older ones, enjoy it!
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: New to me 1907 Gibson A

    I have a 1917 Gibson A-1 that looks very, very similar, although the pick guard clamps to the side and does not touch the top as the pick guard does on yours. I am pretty sure that it is from the era you suggested; there are websites that document many Gibson mandolin serial numbers; someone here can probably find it.

    Those (or at least my) round hole Gibson A from that era is a WONDERFUL instrument. The round hole (and secondarily, the mahogany back) means that the treble does not project forward as loudly as a good f-hole instrument, and it means that the treble has more sustain, ringing beautifully but not necessarily suitable for percussive bluegrass chops or some kinds of jazz.

    But what an under-rated, overlooked instrument for folk, including international, music, for some kinds of jazz, for blues, for fiddle tunes not played at 200 mph ! The sound is like rich gravy or dark melted chocolate, alone or blending wonderfully with guitars, banjos (gasp!), other double-stringed instruments, flutes, all kinds of music.

    Whether it is an original condition "antique" worth zillions or not, if you paid a reasonable price for it, you have a great instrument.

    (Of course my MAS is pushing me towards an f-hole, as an addition, but that's another story....)






    Quote Originally Posted by Aiki_Mando View Post
    Hi all. I just purchased an old Gibson A from a gentleman who listed it in the classifieds. I am happy with it, but would like to run it by ya'll to double check its year of creation and such. I was told that it is a 1907/08. The finish is supposedly original and in remarkable shape. I was told that it sat in it's case for many years. There is some slight sinkage at the bridge, but it apparently has not moved for many years. I would like to find out what model it is, and any history at all. This is my first vintage Gibson, and I'm darn excited to have it! The number on the label reads no. 7958, but no model description. The link shows some pictures. Thanks in advance.

    http://instrumentstoo.com/Gibson_Mandolin_1907.html

  11. #11
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    Default Re: New to me 1907 Gibson A

    Are you sure about the case not being original? Looks Civil War era to me....

  12. #12
    Registered User Aiki_Mando's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to me 1907 Gibson A

    It actually does have a very fine network of hairline "cracks" in the finish on the back, but even if over sprayed I don't mind. I can't believe I got suckered on the case!!!

    Just kidding. I do have the original case...it is useless as protection, being WAY busted up. It does however have loads of character, and I really enjoy seeing it. So far I love the sound. I was hesitant at first, having only my lovely Big Muddy to compare it to, but I think once the new strings settle in and the mando itself(I don't think it has been played much in awhile) opens up that it will be golden.
    Big Muddy M-4
    1908 Gibson A

  13. #13
    Registered User pfox14's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to me 1907 Gibson A

    Serial # dates to 1909, but the FON 545 dates to 1908, so I would guess late 1908. Mandolin definitely looks refinished to me. Way too glossy for this era.
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