View Full Version : Teens F4 Binding Details

Jul-22-2005, 1:24am
Here's a close-up of my 1914 F4 Blackface. Note the horizontal binding between the black/red areas on the right of the fingerboard, and the lack of such binding on the left.

(Or, if you prefer, note that they bothered to leave a little red patch on the top left.)

A cool little detail... which looks just right from a distance.


Jul-22-2005, 3:24am
Funny how it's asymmetrical! That piece is an interesting vestige from the old hollow-neck design. Looking at a friend's very early hollow-neck mandola, you can see the original reason that piece existed as part of the neck:

What you are seeing here are the three pieces that make up the instrument. Note, no "sides" as a separate piece.. the top & back were thick and carved a bit like 2 skillets glued together. The neck had "flares" going out on the side that would stabilize it a bit. Note that the piece for the back also makes up the bottom half of the neck heel..


Jul-22-2005, 3:25am
From the top now, you can see the familiar "Ears" up there..


Jul-22-2005, 3:26am
That neck/body join on the old-timer there would eventually shrink down to the modern size, and a block would fill it in for strength & stability. I've always wondered why those "Ears" were retained, seems it'd be easier to just carve the top that way instead of chopping it flat up there and adding another part. Any builders care to comment?

Jul-22-2005, 3:29am
Here's a picture Darryl took of a snakehead undergoing restoration.. The ears and the binding show up here. I wonder, did it become a way to more easily cut the dovetail perhaps?

The stripe that appears on this one above the dovetail is the bit that covers the truss rod channel, by the way..


Darryl Wolfe
Jul-22-2005, 10:24am
I'm willing to bet there is binding on the left. It's under the finish..and you can see a little piece of it where it meets the side binding

Chris Baird
Jul-22-2005, 10:50am
Here is a shot showing "something" there. It would be a pain to not have binding there as you'd have to build a "step" into both the riser block and the top due to one side having binding and the other not.

Jul-22-2005, 11:48am
seems it'd be easier to just carve the top that way instead of chopping it flat up there and adding another part. Any builders care to comment?
Dan, can you rephrase that? I'm not sure I understand exactly what you mean.

Jul-22-2005, 12:25pm
Darryl, you could be right (as usual). Looking at it closely, it seems there might just be something under the finish. I'll take it outside for a closer look and new photo.

But if they weren't going to scrape off the binding, why would they bother leaving the tiny red patch above it? Why not just carry the black all the way up? Did someone just forget to scrape it off? (I'm certainly not going to do it now... it's not MY job!)

Regardless, it looks great.

Jul-22-2005, 5:02pm
The new photo is inconclusive, but I imagine Darryl is right. There's probably binding under there.

Looking at other teens F4 blackfaces in the archives, some of them have the little red area up top like mine, and others are finished black all the way up on the scroll side. Yet another Gibson inconsistency. But one thing that is consistent, is that none of them (that I've seen) show the horizontal binding like on the right side. And to me that makes sense, as a T-intersection of binding would look awkward and detract from the clean lines of the scroll.

So... if you're making a copy of a teens F4 Blackface, would you leave a tiny red patch at the top of the scroll side, or make it black all the way up?


Jul-22-2005, 5:14pm
Yep, even in that pic you can see what seems to be the dark stain over the fretboard binding, right down next to the top. How would you get that off?? Alcohol?? Better be careful !!! But then if It is original then you probably shouldn't do ANYTHING.

Tom C
Jul-22-2005, 6:40pm
What about the lack of binding continuing up the right side?
I bet the binding was too short to make it all the way up so they cut it short and made it horizontal.

Tim Conroy
Jul-22-2005, 9:28pm

Is it just the angle of the photograph, or is the action on that mandola really that sky-high?

Jul-23-2005, 12:36am

Wow, thanks for pointing that out. On close inspection, I found there were SEVERAL of those bizarre discolorations on the side of my fingerboard. And it gets even weirder, as my other mandolins have them too. I think maybe they're cigarette burns. Alcohol didn't work -- no matter how much I drank! So I'm painting White-Out on them instead.


Jul-23-2005, 4:03am
Is it just the angle of the photograph, or is the action on that mandola really that sky-high?
As a kite.. Not much to keep that neck from bowing..

Ken Waltham
Jul-23-2005, 7:19pm
I don't think there is a binding line on the bass side of any F4's or F2's.
I am no builder to go into the why, but, it's not there.

Jul-24-2005, 9:57am
I agree with Ken, there is no binding on the bass side of any of the F2/F4 I have seen.