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View Full Version : Gibson A-1, ca. 1910



byrdwash
Jul-19-2010, 7:22am
I recently acquired one of these from a relative and had it checked out by a luthier who said it has some neck warp and sinkage - but nothing extreme. He did a basic tune-up, lowering the action a little - as much as possible according to him - but not enough for me - I didn't really notice a difference. Do you think the "as much as possiible" is becaue of the neck warp? Just looking at is, I think it could come down another 1/32". I asked if it could be retro-fitted with an adjustable bridge but he said it would have to be custom made and too costly. Is that true? I'm still not clear on whether he tried sanding down the current one at all - I thnk he just moved it around. Clearly, this particular luthier felt he had done all he could and was done with it. I'm a fiddler, but new to mandolin and was hoping to have this be a little more playable, since it has a nice sound. It was suggested that I get a cheap mandolin with light action to learn on and then come back to this one - a possibility, I suppose. I currently have GHS A250 and am thinking of trying the A240 set. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

F-2 Dave
Jul-19-2010, 8:12am
Doesn't seem like it should be too hard to get your action down 1/32". Play what you got. Keep experimenting with it, you'll find the combination that works for you. Also, it wouldn't hurt to consult with a different luthier.

Randy Smith
Jul-19-2010, 9:27am
Yes, do check with a second luthier, one who's had some experience with older mandolins. Assuming the action can be lowered a bit more, keep playing the A-1. Hopefully the warpage and sinkage won't advance. If they don't and if your mandolin remains fairly easy to play and tunes well, you should be ok. If either matter becomes a problem, then you might have a decision to make. Given the mandolin's condiiton, at least trying the 240s makes sense.

mrmando
Jul-19-2010, 9:37am
It's certainly not true that an adjustable bridge would have to be custom made. Here (http://www.cumberlandacoustic.com/id2.html) is just one of many options for a ready-made bridge. The luthier would need to sand down the base of the bridge to fit the instrument, and cut the string slots.

Rob Gerety
Jul-29-2010, 5:01am
I have an A4. Your story sounds very familiar. Might want to contact me off line. Might be the same fellow I worked with? I ended up having an adjustable bridge (Randy Wood) installed. It worked well. Sounds great. Makes the instrument more user friendly. Be sure to save ALL old parts. Also, if the neck has a little twist that is affecting playability that can usually be dealt with - and while your at it consider some modern frets. I recommend you take the time and spend the money to get that thing really playable. They are a true joy when they are set up the way you like. Also, check the transverse brace just south of the sound hole to be sure it is solidly affixed all along its length. It is very common for that brace to be loose. It could be that the neck warp makes it hard to get the action low. But again, that is usually repairable. Sounds to me like you might want to get a referral to someone for a second opinion.