View Full Version : 1918 Gibson f4 - funky mirror dot in headstock

Jun-05-2009, 9:20pm
I recently purchased an f4 that has a small circular mirror dot set into the top of the headstock... I have not seen this before and wondering if someone put this there?? - I am considering removing and at least putting a piece of MOP to tie it in with the inlay.
Very strange.:confused:

I had read many threads about the vintage Gibsons and really never thought much about it until now... I can not believe the tone this instrument has. It physically rings and drips with smoothness. I can play chords that I have tried and tried to do, but with this they are actually manageable and I can see light at the end of the tunnel for accomplishing something.

The top has a big old crack repaired and has sunk from years of tension, but it plays and sounds like a dream....

Let me know what gives with the mirror dot and if I am supposed to leave alone.


Jun-05-2009, 10:27pm
People used to bore holes in the tops of all sorts of instruments so they could hang them on walls. I don't see the hole coming through to the back so I go to plan B. People, for whatever reason seemed to enjoy putting rhinestones and such on instruments as well, I'm thinking there has to be a reason like that for your mirror piece. I seriously doubt it came out of Gibson with that on it.

Jun-05-2009, 11:22pm
Some people even paint birds on their Gibsons:

Link to "Parrot Loar" (http://www.mandolinarchive.com/perl/show_mando.pl?2)

Jun-06-2009, 7:20am
Very nice F4! Were it mine, I would get rid of the dot and restore it to original, but it's a difficult task, and just any old repairperson won't do. Takes a good working knowledge of restoration and antiquing.

Jun-06-2009, 9:43am
The top sink can sometimes be a loose lateral brace, it's a common issue on the oval holed ones. The mirror isn't original, it might just be adhesive over the original veneer. The veneer itself is most likely pear wood with black paint, then varnish/shellac over it

Jun-06-2009, 11:38am
Could be a useful thing, especially if you eat just before the gig. You don't want to get up on stage with spinach stuck to your teeth.

Jake Wildwood
Jun-06-2009, 11:44am
...as if the headstock weren't loaded up enough already. ;)

Bob A
Jun-08-2009, 11:36am
My concern would be to deal with the top sinkage. No fun to have a beloved instrument self-destruct. As mentioned above, it's usually caused by a detached brace. My F4 had the brace partially detach, and the top started to dish. A quick trip to the luthier saved the mandolin.

If you like the mirror, leave it there. I'd avoid rhinestones, IMO they look tacky; but sequins, now, you could get the top totally covered in the little critters. You'd need an armrest, though, or you'd tend to lose forearm skin and bleed on the top.

Chris Keth
Jun-14-2009, 3:27pm
Personally, I'd leave the headstock inlay. It's a little piece of history, something that was cool way back when it was new.