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View Full Version : When did Gibson stop making mandolas? Mandocellos?



jerrymartin
Mar-12-2010, 9:22am
I'm curious as to when the market(s) finally petered out for them. ~o)

Jerry M.

allenhopkins
Mar-12-2010, 10:20am
According to information on this Vintage Guitars website, (http://home.provide.net/~cfh/gibson8.html#k1) the last Gibson mandola model was the H-0, discontinued in 1943, the same year that the K-1 mandocello was discontinued.

Darryl Wolfe
Mar-12-2010, 10:38am
Intermountain has this mandola that they call 1938. I believe that is close. This is the "newest" vintage mandola I have ever seen

Oggy
Mar-12-2010, 10:47am
I have a Gibson mandola made in 2004...

It's a prototype. Never came to production. Kind of unique, eh?

Ray(T)
Mar-12-2010, 11:11am
I remember Pete Rowan touring with a Gibson "F" style Mandola quite a few years ago. Didn't look that old. Custom order??

Darryl Wolfe
Mar-12-2010, 11:46am
Peter Rowan has an unsigned Loar era serialized H5 Mandola with essentially 50's finish and parts. There is some likelyhood that it was originally sold that way

Jim Garber
Mar-12-2010, 12:08pm
I have a 1937 mandocello, The neck is quite thin like a guitar, so my theory was that it was made custom order with a guitar neck.

Big Joe
Mar-16-2010, 10:51am
There were a very few Mandola's built in Montana with the Gibson name. I know someone who has one and would love to have it. I love mandolas! His is an F model.

Knucklehead
Apr-13-2010, 4:00am
I have one of the Gibson H-5s built in Montana in 1990 by Steve Carlson. Gruhn had a couple on his list in the early '90s and they sold very quickly. I don't know how many were built, I've heard around six all in a single batch, there is very little info available.
It's a great sounding mandola, and very well built; it's opened up nicely in the last few years.

I've read that Steve Carlson has a good reputation as a builder. I've often wondered whether he built any scroll mandocellos like the K4 while he was making these few H5s.

RustyPickup
Apr-13-2010, 5:33am
I have one of the Gibson H-5s built in Montana in 1990 by Steve Carlson. Gruhn had a couple on his list in the early '90s and they sold very quickly. I don't know how many were built, I've heard around six all in a single batch, there is very little info available.
It's a great sounding mandola, and very well built; it's opened up nicely in the last few years.

I've read that Steve Carlson has a good reputation as a builder. I've often wondered whether he built any scroll mandocellos like the K4 while he was making these few H5s.


I also have Carlson H5 mandola (Jan. 7, 1991), and it is really sweet. I heard there were only two or three made, but surely there must have been more. Regardless, I would love to know if he made any K4s, or if anyone made any post-war K4s.

Knucklehead
Apr-14-2010, 8:14pm
I also have Carlson H5 mandola (Jan. 7, 1991), and it is really sweet. I heard there were only two or three made, but surely there must have been more. Regardless, I would love to know if he made any K4s, or if anyone made any post-war K4s.

Mine is dated January 22nd,1990. I guess the only one with answers is Steve Carlson.

Big Joe
Apr-14-2010, 9:09pm
I know of one other mandola and it was pretty good as well. I would have loved to have it, but that did not happen. I have heard a rumor they may try another mandola soon. It would be nice to see them re-enter that market.

Bernie Daniel
Apr-14-2010, 9:35pm
I have a 1937 mandocello, The neck is quite thin like a guitar, so my theory was that it was made custom order with a guitar neck.

Interesting! I have a 1936 K-1 (black) -- what do you mean by thin neck? Shallow I guess?

For sure the neck on my '36 is more guitar shaped overall than the 1907 K-1 that I used to have.

The nut is 1.5" wide on the '36 model and the body is also pretty deep (out 3.5") compared to the older model as I recall was closer to 3".

As I recall though I think the old '07 K-1 was pretty easy to play on.

Knucklehead
Apr-16-2010, 1:04pm
I know of one other mandola and it was pretty good as well. I would have loved to have it, but that did not happen. I have heard a rumor they may try another mandola soon. It would be nice to see them re-enter that market.

Big Joe.....Do you know the completion date of that H-5? The one that I own is lacquer finished, I remember Dexter Johnson at Carmel Music had one of the Carlson H-5s for sale which was finished in varnish, this was about five years ago. I'd like to find out more on these instruments, but don't know if Steve Carlson is still there. I've spoken with a couple of the managers at Gibson Bozeman, and aside from saying that these Carlson H-5s are rare they didn't have any further info.

Hal Jeanes
Apr-25-2010, 2:01pm
I have great interest in the portion of this thread that concerns the Gibson H-5s made during the Steve Carlson era. I purchased one of the prototypes, that had been to the NAMM show, from George Gruhn in 1989. It is dated June 12, 1989. This is a great instrument that I have played for years in a variety of styles from Classical to Bluegrass. In the early 1990s I used it during performances with Charley Rappaport, Bob Knysz, and Rick Taylor in the Atlanta Mandolin Society Orchestra as well as the MandoLoar Quartet. I am posting photos and hope the others, that have one of these fine instruments, will share photos of theirs as well. The late Charlie Derrington told me that there were no more than 10 of these mandolas made; maybe less. Enjoy the photos!

sgarrity
Apr-25-2010, 2:22pm
That is a beautiful H5!

Big Joe
Apr-26-2010, 7:10am
The one I know of in Nashville is lacquer. I don't know the exact date. It has been a while since I have seen it. We had discussed stripping the lacquer and finishing it in varnish but never did. I was not aware any were done in varnish, and if there were, it would have been the same varnish as the Monroe models used. This was a spirit varnish and quite different from the finish used in Nashville on the MM's.

Steve Carlson has not been with Gibson for many years. He left well before Gibson moved production to Nashville in the late 90's. I understand he is making CNC machines. He is an interesting person to say the least and he certainly developed a product that was needed at that time. He helped bring Gibson mandolins back to the forefront of the mandolin community.

Knucklehead
Apr-26-2010, 4:31pm
Those are nice pics of the prototype. Here are a few of the January 22nd, 1990 H-5 Mandola.
http://images.lilypix.com/albums/userpics/10012/normal_apr26_014.JPG
http://images.lilypix.com/albums/userpics/10012/normal_apr26_015.JPG
http://images.lilypix.com/albums/userpics/10012/normal_apr26_013.JPG
http://images.lilypix.com/albums/userpics/10012/normal_apr26_012.JPG
http://images.lilypix.com/albums/userpics/10012/normal_apr26_011.JPG

sgarrity
Apr-26-2010, 6:30pm
Those H5s are beautiful! What's the scale length on them?

Knucklehead
Apr-26-2010, 7:27pm
17.5"

Knucklehead
Apr-27-2010, 11:08pm
correction: 17"

RustyPickup
Apr-28-2010, 4:40am
Here are some photos of the Jan. 7, 1991, H5 ...

Hal Jeanes
Apr-28-2010, 8:05am
Thanks for posting your photos, Knucklehead and RustyPickup.

Knucklehead
May-03-2010, 10:11am
I'm glad that pictures have been posted on these Steve Carlson H-5s; very interesting so far. I've got to think that there are a few more out there. Gruhn Guitars had 3 or 4 listed in their inventory fliers back in the 1992 - 1995 period. They were all priced around $5K, and sold out in about a week. Thanks for the info and pics.