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Loretta Callahan
Jun-19-2013, 8:08pm
103582103583I couldn't be happier with the mandolin I purchased from a delightful cafe member here who heard me whining about needing a louder mandolin. ( Thank you, John) Her name is Brenda Lee Gibby, 'cause she's little, not flashy, but has a big voice. Her original tuners keep her in tune and the intonation is spot, I mean spot ... on.

Don't post much lately because I'm too busy practicing. She's irresistible and beckons me to learn yet another tune or practice technique and scales.

Got her right before I went into the hospital (a first) and couldn't play her for the first 2.5 weeks after she arrived. My reward for getting well quickly was to be able to play her.

I took her to my Irish session class (I'm the only mandolin player), and even the fiddle, box and whistle players took note and asked me to introduce her.

michaelcj
Jun-19-2013, 8:12pm
Very nice! I recently picked up 1918 A2 and have similarly bonded... no nicknames though.

Enjoy

Mike

dusty miller
Jun-19-2013, 8:28pm
Really cool.

Loretta Callahan
Jun-19-2013, 11:41pm
Forgot to mention, she's a 1923 model. Something about the sound of that old wood ... makes for good bonding. She came with the name Gibby, Michael, but wanted a few more handles. Would love to see some pictures if you have any.

michaelcj
Jun-19-2013, 11:52pm
Not only the sound but don't they smell good too!!??

bigbendhiker
Jun-20-2013, 6:58am
Very nice! I really like the color and the aged finish of your "new" mandolin.

Good to hear you healed quickly and got back to playing.

Jake Wildwood
Jun-20-2013, 8:13am
I'm always surprised by these. Really good mandos. Here's one I setup for a customer in recent memory:

http://antebelluminstruments.blogspot.com/2012/07/c1922-gibson-jr-carved-top-mandolin.html

houseworker
Jun-20-2013, 10:47am
It's a beautiful looking mandolin. I love all the old Gibson oval holes.

Levi
Jun-20-2013, 10:57am
I'd take that over my Asian F-5 copy any day.

Jim Garber
Jun-20-2013, 10:59am
Forgot to mention, she's a 1923 model.

Interesting... not that it really matters but I have a 23 and it has the snakeheadstock. Are you sure it is 23?

Loretta Callahan
Jun-20-2013, 2:00pm
Thanks all!

Yes, Jim ... apparently (been schooled by those in the know) Gibson didn't put their name on the headstock for Juniors that year (and some others) ... as it's their most basic model ... no frufru. What's left of the Gibson label is visible on the inside says: Gib .... Man .... S either O or 6. There's also a little sticker that shows it was repaired 9/3/76 by Kenneth Byron Ratcliff in Moorehead, KY. It's also been refinished to match the original look.

My session teacher was able to give me the skinny just by glancing at it. The previous owner passed on tons of good info about her as well.

What I really love, besides the sound, is how well she stays tuned. More time to play, less time tuning. I still adore my Muddy M4 and now have a good second mandolin for myself and for visitors and family to play. Life's pretty good!


Interesting... not that it really matters but I have a 23 and it has the snakeheadstock. Are you sure it is 23?

MikeEdgerton
Jun-20-2013, 3:26pm
Loretta, is there a number stamped on the neck block? Look inside the sound hole towards the neck.

Ivyguitar
Jun-20-2013, 4:02pm
I bet this guy did the repairs...
http://www.silverangelmandolins.com/index.html

Paging Kentuckyken

Charles E.
Jun-20-2013, 5:15pm
"Brenda Lee Gibby", I love it. Play her in good health and reflect on how many have played her since 1923.

Loretta Callahan
Jun-20-2013, 11:36pm
The number looks like 11933 ... not totally sure about the first "1" .... or any numbers that might come before it, as the finish has covered them perhaps.


Loretta, is there a number stamped on the neck block? Look inside the sound hole towards the neck.

GKWilson
Jun-21-2013, 12:18am
Congrats Loretta. Glad to see you have a great mandolin.
Gary

houseworker
Jun-21-2013, 12:54am
The number looks like 11933 ... not totally sure about the first "1" .... or any numbers that might come before it, as the finish has covered them perhaps.

Definitely 1923 then.

Bertram Henze
Jun-21-2013, 4:12am
:disbelief: I first thought it was painted blue, but that's probably just a reflection of the Oregon sky...

Martin Jonas
Jun-21-2013, 5:44am
Very nice! I have a very similar Ajr, serial number #68884 which places it either very late 1921 or early 1922. Paddlehead, like yours. My understanding was that Gibson switched the Ajr to snakehead at some stage in early 1922, i.e. shortly after mine was made, and only switched back to paddlehead in 1924. Of course, this being Gibson there is no reason to expect absolute consistency especially for their budget Jr line, and they may well have used a spare old paddle headstock in 1923 for yours.

The finish on your looks very pristine and even, presumably the 1976 refinish. Mine is much more battered but plays like butter. I think the Ajr models always had one-piece non-adjustable bridges which also doubled as one of the supports for the pickguard, so the adjustable bridge on yours is likely to be a replacement, presumably also during the 1976 repairs.

An old Ajr is just about the best value out there in vintage instruments, so you got a great catch there! I love the tone and playability of mine.

Martin

MikeEdgerton
Jun-21-2013, 5:56am
The number looks like 11933 ... not totally sure about the first "1" .... or any numbers that might come before it, as the finish has covered them perhaps.

That number is the Factory Order Number or FON as they are commonly called. It's a better way to date the instrument than the serial number due too Gibson convoluted serial numbering. They reused some FON's as well but it's a bit easier to decipher those. Joe Spann wrote a book that is not totally complete but complete enough to get close on most instruments of the era. If indeed your A Jr has the number 11933 then that FON, although not listed, falls between a batch of A-1 mandolins (11932) and a batch of A-2z (11934) that were built in 1923. The A Jr was introduced in 1919 and discontinued in 1927. I don't see any FON's that could possibly make this another year in that time span. Again, this is assuming that you have that number right. Assuming that it is, in 1923 they went to the snakehead shaped headstock according to Gruhn. I would guess that yours was produced early in the year and that they used up any necks that they had left from the previous production year to build it. Any well run factory would use up the all parts they could. It's also possible that they had an order from someone that wanted the paddlehead headstock. Nice mandolin.

Loretta Callahan
Jun-22-2013, 2:46pm
Once again, I learn a ton of good stuff here on the cafe from its members. Double checked the FON, Jim, and it's definitely 11933. The info here confirms what the seller told me. Yes, Martin, I'm finding out that this Gibson Jr is an incredible value. Was depressed that I couldn't afford a Collings, or the like, but no more. Can't imagine wanting another mandolin at this point. If I get another instrument, I'll be headed to the dark side: tenor banjo.

Well, Bertram, I cheated on the pics. I posted the photos from the seller. So, it's those blue Texas skies that gives Brenda Lee her blue tinge. We don't get many blue skies here in Oregon these days. Rumors have it that's it's now summer. Coulda fooled me. ;)

Loretta Callahan
Jun-22-2013, 2:48pm
Gorgeous, Jake!


I'm always surprised by these. Really good mandos. Here's one I setup for a customer in recent memory:

http://antebelluminstruments.blogspot.com/2012/07/c1922-gibson-jr-carved-top-mandolin.html

liestman
Jun-22-2013, 9:10pm
Here is wishing you many hours of happy picking, Loretta. I will try to send some of our blue skies your way!

P.S. Gibward ('21 A Jr), misses his little sister Brenda Lee Gibby!

Michael Bridges
Jun-23-2013, 7:21am
Loretta, Brenda Lee, is a beauty! Congrats on a great catch on that one, I know you're gonna have a lot of happy years with her.

Jim Garber
Jun-23-2013, 3:44pm
Very interesting... I just checked the FON on my snakehead Ajr (heretofore and forever unnamed) and it checks out as 1925 not 1923 as I supposed. Perhaps the snakeheads for the Juniors were used later than the regular line? Does anyone know about that?


Ah, I get it. I thought mine was a '23 but the archive has it as this:


1924 (Loar Period) manufacture date (traditional estimates)
1925 shipment date, according to Spann's Guide to Gibson
Mandolin, Style Ajr

JeffD
Jun-23-2013, 5:12pm
Loretta I am very happy for you. Its one of the biggest joys of this whole mandolife to acquire an instrument that does exactly what you want it to do.

GKWilson
Jun-23-2013, 10:14pm
Loretta. I brought that beautiful Saturday sunshine to you.
But, it started raining as I left today. Sorry, had to go.
Gary

Loretta Callahan
Jun-25-2013, 1:44am
Thanks, John! I'm so glad you had the patience to help me buy Brenda Lee Gibby. Perhaps Gibward and Brenda Lee can meet someday .. or at least Skype a tune together!

Thanks for all the blue sky wishes. Yet another day of liquid sunshine here in Puddletown.


Here is wishing you many hours of happy picking, Loretta. I will try to send some of our blue skies your way!

P.S. Gibward ('21 A Jr), misses his little sister Brenda Lee Gibby!

:)


Loretta. I brought that beautiful Saturday sunshine to you.
But, it started raining as I left today. Sorry, had to go.
Gary

Thanks, Gary .... that's how it goes here in the NW!

MikeEdgerton
Jun-25-2013, 10:22am
Very interesting... I just checked the FON on my snakehead Ajr (heretofore and forever unnamed) and it checks out as 1925 not 1923 as I supposed. Perhaps the snakeheads for the Juniors were used later than the regular line? Does anyone know about that?


Ah, I get it. I thought mine was a '23 but the archive has it as this:

Gruhn says 1923 for the introduction of the Snakehead on the A Jr and Joe Spann's book has changed the date on quite a few instruments.

bmac
Jun-25-2013, 3:45pm
What a wonderful instrument!! personally if I had one it would be as spare and beautiful as yours. They don't get any better in my opinion.