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Thread: construction detail on 1903 Gibson A

  1. #1
    wannabe mandolin wizzard bluesmandolinman's Avatar
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    Default construction detail on 1903 Gibson A

    Hey folks I need your knowledge on an early Gibson A model .

    I checked the mandolinarchive but there are only very few references available to compare things.

    I would like to understand if it is correct that on the very early models the necks were constructed from more than 1 piece. I just got a 1903 which to my eyes looks like the neck was repaired ( I have seen that type of repair before ). But than looking at the archive I found another A with 100% the same detail on the neck... which would indicate that it is indeed a construction detail and not a repair.

    This is the one from the archive next to mine
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    Thanks , René
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    Registered User G7MOF's Avatar
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    Default Re: construction detail on 1903 Gibson A

    That's an unusual headstock carving, Is it the original headstock, or is it a replacement from some damage done at some point?
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    Default Re: construction detail on 1903 Gibson A

    Quote Originally Posted by G7MOF View Post
    That's an unusual headstock carving, Is it the original headstock, or is it a replacement from some damage done at some point?
    I own that 1903 Gibson mandolin you are talking about. I don't have it in front of me right now but I believe it was constructed that way. The Gibson company was originally trying to follow Orville Gibson's plans to construct the entire back sides and neck out of one piece but I think they quickly realized that it was not really going to work on a large scale production. What's the serial number on yours?

    Phil

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    Mike Parks woodwizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: construction detail on 1903 Gibson A

    What is the 2371 stamped on the side of the peghead? Serial numbers I thought had 5 numbers ?
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    Default Re: construction detail on 1903 Gibson A

    It reads 2871. Very early on the serial number was also imprinted on the side of the headstock. It is thought that they started at 2500. Off the top of my head I don't think they reached a five digit serial number till around 1910.

    Phil

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    wannabe mandolin wizzard bluesmandolinman's Avatar
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    Default Re: construction detail on 1903 Gibson A

    Thanks Phil , mine is 2911 and also stamped on the side of the headstock.

    Still hoping to get some more input from peoples knowledge regarding this kind of neck construction.
    Darryl ? Dan ? Any advice is apreciated.

    Thanks,René
    Carl Martin - Everyday I have the Blues

    My gear : 1927 A0/Ajr , JM-11 , Fender 346 white XH

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    Registered User davidb1's Avatar
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    Default Re: construction detail on 1903 Gibson A

    I have a blackface A4 which has a similar style headstock/neck construction.My doesn't have the volute though.
    serial 4893 pencilled. fon no.268. Fleur de lis inlay and Handel tuners.

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    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: construction detail on 1903 Gibson A

    Well, this is out of my field of expertise. Dan should chime it. All the photos appear to be constructed that way to my eye
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    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
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    Default Re: construction detail on 1903 Gibson A

    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Wolfe View Post
    Well, this is out of my field of expertise. Dan should chime it. All the photos appear to be constructed that way to my eye
    Hmm, I don't have many examples from this period with good neck photos.

    From what I can see- 2526 doesn't appear to have that construction, nor does 2921. They do both seem to have The volute joined with a curved seam.

    We literally have so few this age that I would not be surprised to suddenly find another 2 that are identical to this one- they vary wildly at this early of an age.
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    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
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    Default Re: construction detail on 1903 Gibson A

    Here's one with the round seam showing the volute join a different way.. 2921

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    Default Re: construction detail on 1903 Gibson A

    It seems the F style mandolins from this same time period do not have the volute on the back of the headstock. I wonder why? I also own a Gibson guitar and harp guitar from 1903 and each of those have the volute.

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    Phil
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    wannabe mandolin wizzard bluesmandolinman's Avatar
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    Default Re: construction detail on 1903 Gibson A

    thanks everybody for the input.

    now that we see several examples of that type of curved seams in the neck ( different places but same type of seam ) we must assume that this indeed is an original kind of construction detail from the early days ( and not a repair as I mentioned in my first post )

    btw davidb1 could you please post a picture of your A4 showing the neck in detail, thanks !
    Carl Martin - Everyday I have the Blues

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  13. #13
    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
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    Default Re: construction detail on 1903 Gibson A

    If they did this to save wood, is there a corresponding scarf joint for the heel? Otherwise, I see no point in doing it at the neck.
    Bill

  14. #14
    wannabe mandolin wizzard bluesmandolinman's Avatar
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    Default Re: construction detail on 1903 Gibson A

    well "saving" woods may not be the only reason to do such things

    most probably the reason is more like "they used what they had when needed"... see the following examples of multiple piece headstocks found in the archive ( thanks Dan ! ), can this construction be explained by the intention to save wood ? it´s more likely that logistics where not perfectly set up in the early days of the company so a shortage of certain woods could be solved by using another piece of wood available at that moment...

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    Carl Martin - Everyday I have the Blues

    My gear : 1927 A0/Ajr , JM-11 , Fender 346 white XH

    www.bluesmandolin.de

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