View Full Version : Exceptional Gibson A-9

Nov-17-2003, 9:52am
I went into a music store the other day and while my buddy was buying a bass I decided to kill some time and try out a new A-9 they had just recieved. This one was killer!!
Mind you I have played many A-9's, A-5's, F-9's, F-5's,
Gilchrists, Loars, Ferns,.......have owned Webers, Givens,
Randy Woods, Gibsons, Tuckers, etc. and I could not believe
my ears. I had to take it outside to make sure it wasn't the room. So I went home and got the cash up and bought it.
I am in tone nirvana. http://mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif
David Blackmon

Nov-17-2003, 10:00am
Congrats. Welcome to the club. I feel the same way about mine.

Nov-17-2003, 10:16am
Yeah, I've had a lot of mandolins on my doorstep over the last 3 years, but the A-9 I have now is as good as anything I've heard, and is especially awesome for the price. It's got the woody, loud tone I like for bluegrass, but it's very good for other styles, too. I don't want to get into a pi$$ing match about what's best, but I think for around $1000 it's EASILY the best I've owned and played for a solid American made mandolin. Does it have issues? A few for some people, but none for me. It's the real deal.

Nov-17-2003, 10:19am
Enjoy...... http://mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Nov-17-2003, 10:20am

Your story confirms once again the advice given by so many members-- lay hands on as many instruments as you can and buy based on the characteristics of the specific example rather them by make and model. Tone can vary dramatically!

This can be tough to do unless you're blessed to live near the few shops in the world that carry a wide selection, or you can travel to them.

Congratulations on achieving tone nirvana!


Nov-17-2003, 10:24am
Oh yeah. #Dale sold it to me. #He's a great guy, and great dealer, even if we do disagree on mandolins. # # http://mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

Nov-17-2003, 11:27am
Hey Fiddler59. That's a pretty strong endorsement coming from a musician of your caliber. Goes to show you can't judge an instrument by its' dots.

Nov-19-2003, 1:44am
After reading all this, I'm having the shakes of MAS again. What can I take ?

Nov-19-2003, 3:12am
Hi all

I'm just back from my weekly BlueGrass jam - always takes awhile to wind down from it . . . !

Small world!! At the jam a woman showed up with her new mandolin (3 days ago) - a GIBSON A-9!!!

I only played it briefly, but it didn't leap out at me . . . have to try it more next week.

She moved up from a Washburn - at any rate, her move was majorly UPWARD! She said she paid $1150 US - I'm thinking maybe that wasn't such a great deal on an A-9 monetarily.

Feedback please - And I won't reveal anything UNSAVORY to her if there is such feedback - she's loving her new axe and it's inspiring her to W A Y more creative breaks!


Nov-19-2003, 3:41am
Let me repeat, I have played MANY A-9 - F-5MM from the Derrington era and this one was exceptional.
David Blackmon
P.S. 1150 is about average for a new A-9 http://mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/cool.gif

Nov-19-2003, 4:35am
Fiddler--Did you notice that much variance between A-9's that you played? Do you think the set-up felt different between the mandos? I've played two, at different dealers and found them to be consistant. They sounded great to me. I'm a big believer in the miracles of good set-up by a trained luthier.
You know the line "don't try this at home!"
--Fred http://mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Nov-19-2003, 6:10am
All A-9 I've played were very good. The setup was consistent (not my cup of tea but good). The setup on this one was no different, but since I do my own setup this was not an issue. The tone was just killer on this particular one.
David Blackmon

Nov-19-2003, 7:24am
Fiddler--This is cool. Did you learn the set-up part yourself?
I believe it can make a world of difference. What strings are you going to run on the A-9?

Nov-19-2003, 7:27am
congrats on your purchase. i've played 3 different A9s, and they all sounded different to me, could've been the acoustics of the rooms, but i don't think so. one thing that was constant, however, was the playability- for my little fingers, the neck and fretboard played like a dream. congrats again.

Nov-19-2003, 8:55am
I've been playing for 32 yrs. and also have worked with several great luthiers. Setup for me goes something like this. Nut low as possible w/o buzz. .003-.005 relief in neck strung to tension. 1/16 @12th fret E and 5/64 @ 12th fret G. Position the bridge where all strings intonate as close as possible with 12th fret harmonic.

Nov-19-2003, 8:56am
I also like EXP 74's on this mando.

Nov-19-2003, 1:45pm
fiddler59 , welcome to the club. I love mine for all the things you state.

Nov-19-2003, 1:55pm
Ditto for me yoods. Mine turns heads wherever it goes. It must be the mando because usually people just turn away when I play....(too much italian music at bluegrass jams)

I usually get asked if it is a really old instrument.

Jan-09-2004, 9:48am
I have joined the A-9 club as of Christmas http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

I have to say, I LOVE IT!! I prefer A models over F's because I like the simple designs but the sound of this one is amazing to me. Of course my dream would be to have a Nugget A like Tim O'Brien played with Hot Rize but that will have to wait until I pick the correct lottery ticket.

Frank Russell
Feb-17-2004, 10:55am
I just got an A9 last week. While I agree with Dale that it would have been nice to have some fretboard markers, even cheapies, I haven't noticed much trouble playing without them. Mine is darker than some I've seen, with the usual funky cut on the nut. The good news is, I got it for a damn good price, and it has tone and volume to spare. This little thing wakes up more every day. My only concern is that I haven't played my Absaroka once since it came. I have a question for you folks: When did Gibson start to make the A9, and how do you read the serial #? Is it the same as listed on the Gibson site? Thanks, Frank Russell