PDA

View Full Version : Blonde/natural top paddle peghead A4?



Charles Johnson
Sep-03-2010, 10:23pm
I have seen natural tops in models A, A1, and A3, snakehead A2 and A4s, and F4 but never an A4 paddle head. Makes sense that they might have made one. Anyone know of one?
Thanks,
Charles

Ken Waltham
Sep-05-2010, 7:06am
I never have, Charles. Seems to me we saw one A4 snakehead on here that was natural, but, I am suspicious of a refin on that one. I do not, however, remember it clearly at this point.
There are some 3 point F2's in natural, are there not? But, I can think of no "modern" F2 that is natural.....

Charles Johnson
Sep-05-2010, 10:09pm
Thanks Ken. I do remember a snakehead A4 in blonde but not a paddle head. I figured if it existed someone on here would have seen one.
Best regards,
Charles

danb
Sep-06-2010, 5:08am
I never have, Charles. Seems to me we saw one A4 snakehead on here that was natural, but, I am suspicious of a refin on that one. I do not, however, remember it clearly at this point.
There are some 3 point F2's in natural, are there not? But, I can think of no "modern" F2 that is natural.....

I don't think there were any natural finish 3 pointers, but you do certainly see both black and orange topped F2s from Gibson 1902-1910 range. They didn't seem to come up with the red finish or sunburst until the a few years after the first 2-point models came along in the teens.

Often the orange color is described as "blonde", though the a2zs etc seem to have a very light yellow color (that can age a bit darker from sun damage, I presume?). To get that "pumpkin" color I think you need to start with an orange stain, just like you see in the center of some sunbursts.. though to get the A2z color I suspect it's just a light yellow stain.

I remember that A4 too and I was convinced it was a refin from the pictures. I don't immediately recall the serial, perhaps it's with many of them in my numerous to-do folders for the archive !

danb
Sep-06-2010, 5:10am
I should add- never say never with vintage Gibsons. Someone somewhere could easily have ordered a variant finish. We have left-handed 2 and 3-point F4s.. a single octave mandolin from the earliest years, a single 3-point mandocello, a harp guitar with a radiused fretboard and virzi, a white-face F2, one original 4-course 12-string A4, one original 5-course 10-string F4, some 3-pointers refinished in sunburst in the teens.. at this point even an original bright green finish 10-string F4 wouldn't seem impossible :)

Ken Waltham
Sep-11-2010, 12:49pm
True enough, but, we don't know of any at this point. But, I agree.
I owned an F4 with a raised fingerboard ala F5. I have never seen or heard of another. 1927 model year.
So, who knows?
I may well have been thinking of what you are referring to as 'orange", Dan.

Charles Johnson
Sep-15-2010, 9:27pm
Ken, I have two F4s with raised fingerboards, both 1940. Both have flowerpot headstock inlay, one has a traditional fingerboard and the other has a F7 board with the Lucas inlays. I think I used to own another with the F7 peg head inlay.

Dan is correct that many "one offs" exist. I have an original finish 1914 black top A3.

I'm guilty as well of interchanging "blonde", "orange", "pumpkin top" and "natural" to describe a light colored top. I think these were originally an unstained top where the varnish has darkened. I have seen everything from a very light yellow (actually the natural wood color) on a really clean 1920's instrument to a dark pumpkin orange, almost brown.

I offer the observation that older Martin guitars had a natural top finish (except for the bursts, of course) and I have have owned a few that were dark pumpkin. I think its a combination of age, UV exposure, dirt and grime and cigarette smoke.

Charles

danb
Sep-19-2010, 3:01am
Agreed completely Charles, the finishes definitely age with a yellowish/golden hue.

This photo shows an example of how much even a very clean example can yellow- note the exposed bits of silver wire in the inlay on the top left vs the "golden" color of the others, and also compare the scraped flames on the torch with the ones with the yellow finish still over them.

62750


In this case, the flames on the torch were originally left covered with black paint/ink at the factory (a fairly common "mistake", even seen on a few loars), and I decided to have them scraped clean to better show off the original design.

I think there is a little yellow color in an a2z that can age quite a bit darker over time. The lightest/cleanest ones I've seen still show yellow tint. One assumption I've made is that the peghead logo ages at roughly the same speed as the body, and mucking about in photoshop to shift colors until the peghead is snowy white again still leaves the Z's showing a yellow tint.