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View Full Version : An absolutely pristine '25 F2



Scott Tichenor
Jan-23-2010, 5:23pm
My guitar playing friend Bill Crahan and I did a mini-concert this a.m. at Mass Street Music and Jim Baggett showed me his newest acquisition, a pristine 1925 F2 (http://www.massstreetmusic.com/store/show_item/3878-Gibson-1925-F-2-) that is just about frozen in time. A few minor marks here and there, but an absolutely astonishing piece, easily one of the cleanest of that vintage I've had the pleasure to hold. And it sounded fabulous. NFI - you have to marvel at an instrument in this condition that old.

Charlieshafer
Jan-23-2010, 5:31pm
Wowie! Is he selling or keeping?

Denny Gies
Jan-23-2010, 6:15pm
Beautiful and you don't see the word "pristine" used too much; right on.

BradKlein
Jan-23-2010, 6:55pm
Here's the store's site. (http://www.massstreetmusic.com/store/show_item/3878-Gibson-1925-F-2-) $7150.

It IS shocking, in a pleasing way, when one comes across a true 'time capsule' instrument. There is also great pleasure in one that shows it's age.

It's all good.

Scott. Did you play that 1929 L-5 guitar (http://www.massstreetmusic.com/store/show_item/3055-Gibson-1929-L-5) they have listed on the site? That's a pretty thing, too.

JeffD
Jan-23-2010, 8:52pm
I think the F2 is one of the most beautiful designed objects in the world.

Randy Smith
Jan-23-2010, 8:56pm
Scott, BK: Thanks much for posting the original pic and the site. What a beautiful instrument.

allenhopkins
Jan-23-2010, 9:00pm
What a lovely instrument! Yet, it also makes me think of the F-2's I've owned. The first one, which I bought probably about 1973, cost me $450. The 3-point I own now, which I bought around 1987 or so, cost me $1,500. Now this beautiful example is on sale for more than $7K. I make no judgments about what any particular instrument is "worth"; that's determined by the marketplace. But the sharp increase in price, is a testimonial to the veneration in which vintage Gibsons are held, and the limited supply vs. constantly increasing demand.

No wonder so many more people are building and selling quality mandolins, than when I first started playing mandolin about 40 years ago. The price increases have, as classic economic theory tells us, drawn more and more suppliers into the market. One reason for the wonderful choices that mandolin players have now, as opposed to what was around in 1970.

Charlieshafer
Jan-23-2010, 9:33pm
I Agree with Allen completely. The price doesn't bother me at all. I think that just represents the cream rising to the top over the years. Another object of lust on the Mass Street Music site is the D'Angelico scroll top two point. I think between the F2, the D'Angelico, and maybe a Bigsby electric, those three would cure my MAS for a good, er.., week or two.

Scott Tichenor
Jan-23-2010, 9:42pm
It's safe to assume most retail stores build in wiggle room on the price. Why sell it cheap so someone else can resell at a profit? Regarding the question about the guitar, didn't even see it. That mandolin is scary. When it comes out of the case you think it's a modern knock off. Then you look at it a few seconds and it dawns that it isn't. It's really in that territory of time capsule. The case's inner green was spectacular as well.

f5loar
Jan-23-2010, 11:05pm
No doubt this is a true discovery of beauty to any mandolin picker, however I'm having a problem with this being called a 1925 F2 from an 84XXX number and the headstock having a straight "The Gibson" vs. the normal slant angle seen on all other '25-'27 models of anything.
I think it needs some further comments from others like Sir Wolfe or Sir Dan to hone in on that date. But I will be the first to say I'm no expert on Gibson mandolin dating so I guess anything is possible. I am assuming the dealer has postive proof of the 1925 date with some sort of dated receipt or dated photo of the original owner holding up a dated 1925 newspaper beside the mandolin.

Gail Hester
Jan-24-2010, 1:57am
Incredible mandolin but I agree with Tom, the earliest would be late 1927 and my guess from here would be 1928.

danb
Jan-24-2010, 7:04am
Indeed, I'd be interested to see the stamp number.. faded numbers can be deceptive, even the good ones are pretty hard to read!

The tuner bushings caught my eye, they're wider than I've recalled seeing. Beautiful condition no doubt, it's a very rare pleasure to see a super clean vintage piece, let alone a trus rod F mandolin with apparent curly maple under brown finish. Those can sound *monstrously* wonderful.

Hans
Jan-24-2010, 7:32am
Agree with Gail and Tom, that is one cockeyed logo. Doesn't look that pristine to me. Guess the price on my F4 just went up...:grin:

MANDOLINMYSTER
Jan-24-2010, 10:42am
The tuner bushings caught my eye, they're wider than I've recalled seeing. .[/QUOTE]

I noticed that also.

wsugai
Jan-24-2010, 11:42am
Here's the store's site. (http://www.massstreetmusic.com/store/show_item/3878-Gibson-1925-F-2-) $7150.

It IS shocking, in a pleasing way, when one comes across a true 'time capsule' instrument. There is also great pleasure in one that shows it's age.

It's all good.

Scott. Did you play that 1929 L-5 guitar (http://www.massstreetmusic.com/store/show_item/3055-Gibson-1929-L-5) they have listed on the site? That's a pretty thing, too.


Wow! $10,500 for a block inlay 16" L-5. Lawrence Wexer have a couple at $7,500 and $8,500, though it's hard to say whether these are comparable just from descriptions. That means that the earlier dot inlay versions would be really up there by now.

f5loar
Jan-24-2010, 9:20pm
I just looked at the '29 L5. A '29 without a "The" in the Gibson logo and block inlay starting at the first fret? You got to be kinding? How are they dating these vintage pieces of Gibson history? They don't give the serial no. of this L5 but if it dates it to '29 then it's been factory redone in the mid 30's. The L5 would have to be at least a '36 which really does change the price from a '29. Same as a '28 F2 vs. a '25 F2 price. I thought the guys up there were pros at selling vintage. Sounds like they need to hangout at the cafe for awhile to learn some things. :grin:

barney 59
Jan-24-2010, 10:05pm
$450 in 1973 is $7000 today. I bought 46 acres worth of W.Va. back then for $2500. Money doesn't buy much these days. I have been seeing good but not perfect F2's in the $3,000 range lately and being sold by people who do know the market. Old and pristine really does add quite a bit of value. That is hard to get.

allenhopkins
Jan-24-2010, 11:53pm
$450 in 1973 is $7000 today.

According to this inflation calculator, (http://www.westegg.com/inflation/infl.cgi) $450 in 1973 is $2,157.49 today, not $7,000. I think it's pretty clear that prices on vintage Gibson mandolins have increased well beyond inflation. Not the only area where that's true: my 1972 Dodge Dart cost less than $2,500, while my 2006 Honda Element was over $17K. But I digress...

And, of course, YMMV. I think the absolutely beautiful condition of the F-2 in question contributes to the premium price being asked. Still glad I did most of my "vintage" buying over 20 years ago.

Gail Hester
Jan-25-2010, 3:30am
I know I've got a 1928 F2 around here somewhere. I'm going to go find it and put it in a better case.:))

grassrootphilosopher
Jan-25-2010, 7:55am
My guitar playing friend Bill Crahan and I did a mini-concert this a.m. at Mass Street Music and Jim Baggett showed me his newest acquisition, a pristine 1925 F2... And it sounded fabulous.

What... and no soundclip/video.... ;)

wsugai
Jan-25-2010, 11:16am
I just looked at the '29 L5. A '29 without a "The" in the Gibson logo and block inlay starting at the first fret? You got to be kinding? How are they dating these vintage pieces of Gibson history? They don't give the serial no. of this L5 but if it dates it to '29 then it's been factory redone in the mid 30's. The L5 would have to be at least a '36 which really does change the price from a '29. Same as a '28 F2 vs. a '25 F2 price. I thought the guys up there were pros at selling vintage. Sounds like they need to hangout at the cafe for awhile to learn some things. :grin:

Did Gibson keep records that were this precise back in the 1920s timeframe? If so, are they publicly accessible?

Darryl Wolfe
Jan-25-2010, 11:47am
This whole deal fits into my theory that the post Loar mandolin serial number assumptions are skewed some. I believe the 84xxx numbers that we once called 1926 could easily be 1928 or 9 now

This instrument has wide tuner bushings, very splayed out tuners and several other later 20's queues

f5loar
Jan-25-2010, 2:23pm
That is IF it is an 84XXX number. They aren't sure. Looks like they would give the FON too. While the tuners are not right for '25 it's the straight across "The Gibson" that stands out to me first. From there you see other things don't fit for '25 either. Same for the '29 L5. With no "The" it stands out up front and center it's not a '29.

Darryl Wolfe
Jan-25-2010, 2:33pm
Let's not forget they silk screened The Gibson straight across starting in '24

Scott Tichenor
Jan-25-2010, 2:48pm
Received an email from this this a.m. saying they had the date wrong. It's 1927 they now say. I'm headed by to take a less distracted look at it today and to pass on some of that info to Dan. And remember, this isn't eBay, and no one is selling it under a hijacked account, so there's no need to--in Jethro's words--get all lathered up if you ain't gonna shave. :)

Mark Walker
Jan-25-2010, 3:45pm
Regardless of if we give or take a few years (possibly) on the actual date, it still caused drool on my keyboard! :)

Seriously, that's a beautiful piece of history. They pop up once in a while. I wrote Dan Beimborn a few years ago with an 'entry level' Snakehead (#82096) a cousin of mine was shown by one of his plumbing clients. Turns out the old lady had received it from her father when she was a small child, noodled with it for a few years and into the attic it went until like 2007. I snapped some pictures of it and sent them to Dan and Darryl Wolfe. Nothing like this F2, but still a cool piece of history! :)

wsugai
Jan-25-2010, 4:28pm
That is IF it is an 84XXX number. They aren't sure. Looks like they would give the FON too. While the tuners are not right for '25 it's the straight across "The Gibson" that stands out to me first. From there you see other things don't fit for '25 either. Same for the '29 L5. With no "The" it stands out up front and center it's not a '29.

FYI, the 1929 L-5 for sale at Lawrence Wexer has "The Gibson" straight across on the headstock and the block inlay starting at the third fret. A companion 1932 L-5 has "Gibson" straight across on the headstock and the block inlay starting at the first fret.

Jim Garber
Jan-25-2010, 5:38pm
Hmmmm... this certainly does look like a lovely instrument, but i guess that pristine would not equal mint, when describing condition. I see some dings around the scroll, some scratches on the back and lots of tarnish on the tailpiece. IMHO the price is way over the top for an F2, but the proof is in the playing, of course.

hank
Jan-26-2010, 12:01am
Here's a nice maple backed 29 marked down at Mandolin Brothers. $4595.00

http://www.mandoweb.com/Item.aspx?ItemID=807

f5loar
Jan-26-2010, 10:31am
Humm.. a '29 F2 with an 89XXX number with straight "The Gibson" looking just like the '25 F2 also with straight "The Gibson". There is the possiblity the neck was broke on the '25 in 1929 and Gibson replaced the neck under factory warrenty free of charge. 80 years later who would detact a factory repair job?

Darryl Wolfe
Jan-26-2010, 11:05am
I'm still completely over all of this factory repair and factory refinish stuff. Yes it happened on a few. But, by and large Gibson mandolins looked consistent to their serial numbers ONLY when Gibson was making a ton of mandolins. After 1924 they were not making a ton of mandolins and what you got was what you got. Brand new, but not necessarily identical to the one before it or after it. However, you will not get a 1929 inlay in 1925. You may get a 1925 mandolin in 1929 though.

Goodin
Jan-26-2010, 11:53am
I think that price is reasonable for a near mint example. Geez, I don't want to tell all you naysayers what I paid for my 1924 F-2 w/ virzi!

zombywoof
Jan-26-2010, 8:56pm
New guy here.

I love Jim and he does get some outrageously nice instruments in. Nah, he ain't bashful about his prices but he has always treated me well.

I did not see the F2 but I did take a turn with the Gibson L5. If I could ever make peace with an f-hole archtop that just might be the one. Punchy and quick with a real nice midrange. But in the end, just not woody and fat sounding enough so I figure I will just stick with my 1930s Kay Krafts.

pickinNgrinnin
Jan-27-2010, 12:31am
I was at Mass Street last Friday picking up a repair and checking out a sweet A-1 that was in the shop. During a visit with owner Jim Baggett, he showed me this F2 and yes, it's incredible. Nice figuring on the back side. The top is very clean. Even the case is in great shape. I picked a few notes on it and this one really sings. Just an incredible example of an F2. Just beautiful!

wsugai
Jan-27-2010, 12:15pm
I did not see the F2 but I did take a turn with the Gibson L5. If I could ever make peace with an f-hole archtop that just might be the one. Punchy and quick with a real nice midrange. But in the end, just not woody and fat sounding enough so I figure I will just stick with my 1930s Kay Krafts.

You know, I have one of these things (L-5) and I completely agree with you that when it comes to tone, they sure don't sound like your typical Martin flat top, that's for sure. On the other hand, they were designed to resonate in a much narrower range than flat tops, so I guess it's to be expected.

The thing that I still can't quite get over is how hard I have to whomp on it to get volume out of that box. An experienced jazz player once explained to me that it's hard to get that soundboard to flex, but you can drive it a lot harder before it begins to break up. And that, apparently, is what you need to cut through the horns in the orchestra setting that this guitar was intended to be played in.

So, most of the time I play an L-50, which is so much easier to get sound out of, but not quite the professional's instrument that the L-5 is. My $0.02 on the matter.

Jim Garber
Jan-27-2010, 12:34pm
I have a 1928 L-5 and it is a beautiful sounding guitar. I haven't tried playing the @%#* out of it to see how loud it goes. Actually the original intent of the L-5 as well as the f-5 was to improve on plectrum orchestras, tho by the late twenties I would think the jazz groups were more like it. By the mid 30s tho Gibson needed to make a larger box and there is wonderful volume you can get from one of those. I fooled around with a '38 or '39 one one time and it sang and played loudly and sweetly.

zombywoof
Jan-27-2010, 12:39pm
You know, I have one of these things (L-5) and I completely agree with you that when it comes to tone, they sure don't sound like your typical Martin flat top, that's for sure. On the other hand, they were designed to resonate in a much narrower range than flat tops, so I guess it's to be expected.

Amen, Bro. As I said, I have tried out more Gibson and Epi f-hole archtops than I can recall but have never been able to settle down with one. I have yet to find one that has the dry and woody sound and crackling edge that say my old Gibson SJ has. Not an issue of "good" or "bad" - just of personal taste.

For me, those little round soundhole archtops seem to do the trick. I own a couple of mid-1930s Kay Krafts, my favorite being a K-2 (the other is a Model B "Venetian") which has the punchy sound and saturated mids of a good archtop but also the woody and fat sound of a flattop. It is also it is an absolutely wicked little slide guitar. Loud enough to scare the Hellhound off your trail. Not bad for a guitar that wyhen new cost three times less than Gibson's least expensive archtop. El Cheapo Chic at its finest.

Jim Garber
Jan-27-2010, 1:54pm
One of my other favorite archtop guitars is a roundhole 1934 Epiphone Spartan. I think vintage Epiphones are among the sleepers of archtops. Great sound with more sustain than the std f-hole model but still cutting and to the point.

Sorry for helping to derail this discussion about the F2.

wsugai
Jan-29-2010, 11:45am
I have a 1928 L-5 and it is a beautiful sounding guitar. I haven't tried playing the @%#* out of it to see how loud it goes. Actually the original intent of the L-5 as well as the f-5 was to improve on plectrum orchestras, tho by the late twenties I would think the jazz groups were more like it. By the mid 30s tho Gibson needed to make a larger box and there is wonderful volume you can get from one of those. I fooled around with a '38 or '39 one one time and it sang and played loudly and sweetly.

Coincidence! I finally got around to checking out the SN of my L-5 against one of the online SN lists the other night and the list indicates that it was also built in 1928. I always thought that the block inlay models started in mid-1929, but I guess not.

I've owned a couple of later model 17" cutaway L-5's and I didn't think that they played any easier than my old 16", but they were both very pretty (and much heavier!). I've also owned three L-50's in my time (early 50's, 1962, and late 50's) and, in my opinion, they all played almost as easily as an electric and had a very nice response (for an f-hole archtop).

Also discovered that my Dawg pick (which is such a clunker for mando) is just the thing for whomping on that L-5. My apologies for topic drift here ...

pickinNgrinnin
Jan-29-2010, 1:11pm
Wow, this thread has run off the tracks.:disbelief: