View Full Version : Repairs/Setup Work & Originality

Jeff Hoelter
Mar-05-2006, 11:07pm
Heya folks,

#So I now have two vintage Gibsons - both supposedly in "all-original" condition. #I haven't had either for too long, but I need some advice. #One seems to have had the frets dressed down a few times and there's not much left on em - still doesn't need new frets but with some regular playing would soon. #The other has decent frets but could use a little setup work - nut or bridge could be lowered a tad, and of course would eventually need new frets.

#Can frets be replaced and it still considered "all-original"? #To me, frets, nuts, and to some extent bridges are "replaceable" parts, but what is the consensus? #My main f-hole mandolin gets a setup done once a year or so - a fret dress or replacement (including new nut). #Can this be done to vintage mandolins?

#And, the kicker - one of these is an A Jr with an ebony nut - are those still done today?


Mar-05-2006, 11:29pm
A true "all original" instrument hasn't been played.
Or has been played very little, so that there is no noticable fret wear, or any other wear. You can't have one of those and use it. That's "mint condition".
An instrument can have all of it's original parts, though worn, but that isn't mint condition.

I agree that frets, nuts, bridge saddles, even fingerboards, are wear surfaces and need to be replaced eventually if the instrument is to be played.
There is much room for discussion and differing opinions about whether some number of instruments should be kept in "original" condition for a historic record. I think I'd have a hard time, ethically, putting an actual mint condition "vintage" instrument to use, but if there is already fret wear and other wear, I wouldn't worry about replacing frets, nut, and such.

Basically, an instrument has to be a player or not. You can't play a totally "all original" instrument and keep it "all original".

You can still get an ebony nut, but I don't know of anyone offering them as standard new equipment on mandolins.