View Full Version : Gibson A-00 value

Apr-08-2016, 6:31pm
I noticed an ad for this mandolin on Craigslist. It was at a nearby pawn shop, so I stopped in to see it. Turns out they have also tried it twice on eBay and here is the recent listing:http://www.ebay.com/itm/1930-1940-Gibson-Mandolin-A-00-/231897015198 It has expired so you'll have to scroll down to see it.

It looks a bit rougher in person than in the photos, but there is one thing that concerns me. If you look closely you'll see a chip in the top next to the G strings. It actually goes into the wood, but not all the way through. It is otherwise free of cracks and other serious problems.

So is that chip a show stopper? Is it easily repaired? And if I just play the thing without fixing it will it get worse or less repairable? It's a pretty fresh chip. I wouldn't be surprised if some customer did it after it was already in their possession.

The instrument plays very well and sounds really sweet to my ears. I'm not totally hung up on it, but I wouldn't mind owning it.

I've read around the net about the A-00 over the last couple of days and it appears that their price is probably ridiculous. I also know that pawnshops pay a small fraction of their asking price, so there might be room for a super low offer. I couldn't pay more than $700 even if it was worth that, but I've read a lot of postings where people got theirs for $600 to $650 and they probably didn't have a chipped top.

This is a 1936 flat backed A-00. I've read that they converted to carved backs in 1937.

What would you offer, given the few photos and brief description I've given?

Thanks, --Brian

Apr-09-2016, 9:47am
I think the chip in the top is merely cosmetic and of no real concern. You could drop fill it with lacquer or super glue if it bothers you. In my opinion, your valuation of $600 to $700 is much closer to reality. The seller has optimistically priced the mandolin at double that ($1499 starting bid) which is way too much for a flat back, even for a Gibson. It is a nice vintage piece though and the Gibson name may eventually attract a less discerning (more money than experience) buyer. There's a reason why he got 0 bids on that auction. If it gets relisted, I'd sit back and just watch it for awhile.

Len B.
Clearwater, FL

Apr-09-2016, 3:52pm
The chip is into the wood, not just through the finish. Are you talking about filling the whole divot with lacquer or were you thinking it was just a finish chip? (There are lots of finish blemishes, but they don't bother me.)

I'm sure it can be patched with some spruce, but I'm not sure it would be worth doing. I could patch the wood myself, I suppose, but I really won't have time for the next year or so. Probably wouldn't be any worse than it is now, but I couldn't match the finish.

Like I said, I like the instrument, but it won't upset me to pass on it, either. I understand the BGPD would disapprove because of the flat back, but I don't play much bluegrass and it did sound very nice with the music I do play. My current mandolin is a Big Muddy, which I am mostly happy with. But I've been thinking I'd like to get one with more of an arch-top sound. Maybe I'll wait to see if they relist and fail again, then offer $500. It is a very nice, clean store and they seem very nice, but they are a pawn shop, so I'm sure they paid well under the actual value for it.

Apr-09-2016, 3:54pm
Oh, I do have one other question. The frets seem to be in very good shape, no noticeable wear, etc. But they are lower and wider than the ones on my Big Muddy and other new mandolins I've played. It played well, but I was just wondering if these lower, wider frets were normal back then or what.

Apr-09-2016, 4:30pm
My guess was it was refreted sometime in it's life, usually mandolin frets were small narrow frets.

William Smith
Apr-09-2016, 5:31pm
Sounds to me they want way toomuch, I wouldn't worry about cosmetic junk, I never have as long as it sounds good. That A you should get cheap, look around on GBASE and other dealer sites and that'll give ya an idea of what they go for but being a flat back and I think those had a pressed top they aint worth too much, I'd spend 400-500 bucks on her no more! You can get some real good carved top and back A F-hole models, normal body and or the wide bell shaped long scale bodied A-50's for well under a G! I'd look around, I'vebought and swaped up to 15 of all these different kind of Gibsons and believe it or not some sounded real good! I had 2 1935 A-50's with elevated boards that sounded just about as good as some F-7's i've owned. Do some homework my friend and best O"luck

They wanted way too much for that flat back model, I bought one like it off evil bay 8 years ago with a carved back for maybe 400 bucks, took it apart, regraduated it and put a A-5 scale length neck on her with a little "help from Lou Stiver" and the result was a geat sounding mandolin! She's out there somewhere hopefully being loved!