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Thread: Which Gibson model would this be ?

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    Registered User NEH57's Avatar
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    Default Which Gibson model would this be ?

    As per the title ? Is it a desirable model ? Supposedly 'bespoke' in having had the person it was made for's name added to the head-stock in the factory.
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    Registered User bluegrasser78's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    Quote Originally Posted by NEH57 View Post
    As per the title ? Is it a desirable model ? Supposedly 'bespoke' in having had the person it was made for's name added to the head-stock in the factory.
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    That would be a late 30's maybe early 40's Gibson A-50, depending on the # stamped inside treble F-hole or stamped on the back of the headstock, in Blonde, that might be original Blonde as Gibson did some different things in those days. It might be a refinish job but we'd have to see some real close up shots.

    If original blonde it would be desirable to Gibson guys as I've never seen a blonde/natural finished wide bodied A-50, I know I'd like to have that one if original!!!!
    These have the longest scale of any Gibson, they sound good generally. Just don't have the volume or punch as elevated fretboard models.
    Well as I look closer, I'm going to say refinish?!?!?

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    You can buy personalized truss rod covers all over the web, I seriously doubt it came from the factory. I does look like a refinished mandolin. Tell me you found this one for $40.00

    Could you post a picture of the front and back of the headstock and look inside for a Factory Order Number? You might have to use a flashlight through the f hole looking at the headblock.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    By the way, make sure it has a case with it. These wide bodies don't fit any modern cases that I know of.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User bluegrasser78's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    By the way, make sure it has a case with it. These wide bodies don't fit any modern cases that I know of.
    Yes, I've owned a handful of these and the original cases were real neat, I had one that fit in an F shaped case, I just don't remember what brand.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    You had a few of them in the Classifieds over the years.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User NEH57's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    No, Mike, I couldn't manage another $40 'special'.......not this month anyway
    It is in a 'For Sale' listing 'abroad'.....converts to what is possibly a 'fair' price....not a bargain.....possibly a little 'rich' but potentially, if the provenance proves true and I have no doubt it might, a very, very well looked after instrument. $2,300 would probably buy it ( in a few days time )

    As I understand it there is no serial number - which arguably there shouldn't be on an A-50 ? and the FON is apparently indistinguishable, but I do not think the seller is very experienced, they certainly haven't described it in any detail. They have looked, but can't make it out. The suggestion was that the name of the owner was 'in' the head-stock, but looking at the image - I think you are right, it might just be the truss rod cover, which could well be after-market.

    It does have it's case with it.....
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    It's too 'strong' for me, even as an investment option - if it were one. It is reputedly the personal instrument of the late Ebbe Grims-land. Virtuoso Mandolin (amongst other instruments) player, soloist, composer, first active from the 1930's.

    There isn't much more to say....asserted to be a 1930's "signature model" (??)...... does have a 'Made in the USA' paper label visible.
    I am a 'soft touch' and as much as I like hunting for inexpensive/obscure stuff on the Net, I like to see nice things, even if I can't afford them, in the hands of people who appreciate them - if worthy - and I'm not sure this instrument has a 'best' marketing strategy applied.
    If it is 'on' or over it's money though, given the potential hassle of verifying it's condition etc. and getting it, it may not be worth the effort.

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    Registered User bluegrasser78's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    Quote Originally Posted by NEH57 View Post
    No, Mike, I couldn't manage another $40 'special'.......not this month anyway
    It is in a 'For Sale' listing 'abroad'.....converts to what is possibly a 'fair' price....not a bargain.....possibly a little 'rich' but potentially, if the provenance proves true and I have no doubt it might, a very, very well looked after instrument. $2,300 would probably buy it ( in a few days time )

    As I understand it there is no serial number - which arguably there shouldn't be on an A-50 ? and the FON is apparently indistinguishable, but I do not think the seller is very experienced, they certainly haven't described it in any detail. They have looked, but can't make it out. The suggestion was that the name of the owner was 'in' the head-stock, but looking at the image - I think you are right, it might just be the truss rod cover, which could well be after-market.

    It does have it's case with it.....
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    It's too 'strong' for me, even as an investment option - if it were one. It is reputedly the personal instrument of the late Ebbe Grims-land. Virtuoso Mandolin (amongst other instruments) player, soloist, composer, first active from the 1930's.

    There isn't much more to say....asserted to be a 1930's "signature model" (??)...... does have a 'Made in the USA' paper label visible.
    I am a 'soft touch' and as much as I like hunting for inexpensive/obscure stuff on the Net, I like to see nice things, even if I can't afford them, in the hands of people who appreciate them - if worthy - and I'm not sure this instrument has a 'best' marketing strategy applied.
    If it is 'on' or over it's money though, given the potential hassle of verifying it's condition etc. and getting it, it may not be worth the effort.
    Well in my opinion, it would have a made in USA stamp on back of peghead if for export and A-50's from I believe 39 onward had serial # stamped on back of peghead. A mandolin that clean looking shoud have a readable FON?. I don't think I'd buy it if its across the pond without looking at it for that price. Looks too clean but hey Gibson in the 30's anything is possible, I've seen so many of the same model configured different ways!
    Yep Mike Over the years I've had a few for sale/swap etc....

  10. #9
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    I think that price is in Hollywood by the way. If you're going to spend that much you can do better.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User NEH57's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    Understood Mike. I guess, if you happen to be Swedish and a Grims-land devotee, to think it was instrumental in his musical creativity would give it a kudos ( and value ) which it would not necessarily have elsewhere. A Richard Walker MkIV cane carp rod is .....an RW Mk IV Carp rod.....one RW himself caught a big fish with, is although the same in one sense, 'mythical' in another when it comes to value.

    I have some more photo's, they probably don't take the matter much further forwards. As suggested above, it is marked on the back of the neck. The truss rod cover could well be a later addition. Interestingly, right up inside, against the neck 'block' are two initials, somewhat flowery script but appear to be - possibly - the initials of the owner, "E. G." There is a suggestion it was made to order as a commission and they were written in during the making up.
    The back is very attractive ( if not beautifully figured ) wood. Too attractive to have spoilt with a finish ??

    I would pass on advice re. value, but, the local connection to a national composer probably makes it difficult to assess from a distance. Either way it looks very well.
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    Would a bespoke order over ride the requirement for a FON ?.......

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say it would have a FON if it was a special order. Luckily P.T. Barnum didn't play the mandolin or maybe he did. The provenance claimed is only as valuable as what you're willing to pay for it. In order to get a return at a later time you have to find someone similar to yourself that has the same feelings. The value of the mandolin is the value that someone is willing to pay. That truss rod cover didn't come on this mandolin from the factory.

    This one was indeed made for export by the way.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User Givson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    I believe that the fancy fingerboard inlays identify this mando as a wide-body A-75.
    When 'good enough' is more than adequate.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    I'll have to check my reference books when I get home. I thought the only wide body they made was a 50 but I could be wrong. I assumed the inlay on the fingerboard was an add-on, perhaps wrongly so.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    Some info in this thread. It doesn't bring it any closer but it's funny that two people in this thread are in that one as well.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    Common for Gibson to use the "made in USA" for a mandolin shipped out of the USA back in prewar times. Never seen a label like that, but likely real. Not sure why no serial no, which is really the FON, but I've seen lots of A50's regular and wide body that didn't have one. My gut feeling from those photos is this was refinished and might explain the newer looking truss rod cover. Even if it were just a blonde top original, it would not be blonde all over like this one. That's more of a 50's Gibson thing. Could it have been sent back to factory for repair/refinish in the 50's? Very possible but I've never seen a Gibson custom name truss rod cover like this one, so I'm going with not a factory refinish. There were no wide body A75, but I have seen a few with the full flowerpot but with same inlays.

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    Epiphonist Masterbilt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    The A-50 in the 1937 Gibson catalog Y with the new wide body is pictured with these very fretboard and headstock inlays.

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    The label "MADE IN U.S.A / BY GIBSON, INC. / KALAMAZOO, MICH." have been seen in other 1930s Gibson-made instruments (also in budget-brand examples). Usually these instruments also have the "MADE IN U.S.A." stamp on the headstock.

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    Registered User NEH57's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    The supposed owner was born in 1915 and commenced his professional career at the age of 17. In 1937 he would have been 22. Five years ( or so) into a career as a musician in Sweden - and Internationally, albeit already composing so something of a prodigy, it would appear. He was 'apparently' a "prominent orchestral soloist" on the Mandolin as early as 1940...(source- The Classical Mandolin - Oxford University Press, Paul Sparks 1995 )....but would that have put him into the bespoke 'special order' category, especially from half a world away ( from the Gibson factory).
    Highly questionable, unless there was a 'tour' involved at around about the time Europe ( albeit not Sweden) was tearing itself apart.

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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Masterbilt View Post
    The A-50 in the 1937 Gibson catalog Y with the new wide body is pictured with these very fretboard and headstock inlays.

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    The label "MADE IN U.S.A / BY GIBSON, INC. / KALAMAZOO, MICH." have been seen in other 1930s Gibson-made instruments (also in budget-brand examples). Usually these instruments also have the "MADE IN U.S.A." stamp on the headstock.

    Felix
    I think that pretty well shows it's an A-50 then. Years ago I was told that all exported Gibson products including the second line instruments were stamped Made in USA on the back of the headstock. The US has required items imported into the US to have the country or origin on them since I don't know when, I'm assuming other countries did the same.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    ... The US has required items imported into the US to have the country or origin on them since I don't know when, I'm assuming other countries did the same.
    My understanding is it started in 1871 as Congress was trying to deal with inexpensive imported "Swiss Fake" pocket watches, many which were mimicking more expensive USA built items. Ironic.
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    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    If that is a piezo PU that is an odd placement.
    Never say "bouzouki" to a TSA agent...

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    Registered User Troy Engle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    Quote Originally Posted by f5loar View Post
    Common for Gibson to use the "made in USA" for a mandolin shipped out of the USA back in prewar times. Never seen a label like that, but likely real. Not sure why no serial no, which is really the FON, but I've seen lots of A50's regular and wide body that didn't have one. My gut feeling from those photos is this was refinished and might explain the newer looking truss rod cover. Even if it were just a blonde top original, it would not be blonde all over like this one. That's more of a 50's Gibson thing. Could it have been sent back to factory for repair/refinish in the 50's? Very possible but I've never seen a Gibson custom name truss rod cover like this one, so I'm going with not a factory refinish. There were no wide body A75, but I have seen a few with the full flowerpot but with same inlays.
    Just happened to find this while banjo hunting.
    http://www.earnestbanjo.com/E4370-4madeinusa.jpg
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    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    No doubt this was ordered to be shipped out of the USA. Normally the serial no. (or FON) would be stamped on the back of the headstock where the Made in USA is stamped. I pulled mine out to verify that and I've seen quite a few others. That may explain why it's not there. I have found one example of a blonde top custom electric late 1938 F5 model, but the back and sides are regular sunburst. I still see this one as a possible refinish due to the whiteness of the binding. Everything sure looks right for the wide body A50 from the late 30's.

  26. #23
    Registered User NEH57's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    Well, it didn't get a single/buying bid at what equated to $2,300, which given comments here isn't surprising.

    Some of the photo's I asked the vendor for to help with ID here, got added to the listing, and some important ones, ie. with the case etc were taken down, but none of the info I sent back from you guys re.model details, age etc. was included. It still ended up listed as a "1930's, Lloyd Loar 'era' Gibson" and that was pretty much that. We did 'understand' each other to a decent enough extent, despite the language barrier and my Cotswold'ese, so the seller either didn't think the A-50 designation would help sell it or thought it wouldn't ! Seemed a nice person, as far as one could tell over a key-board, I've seen worse listings, but (they) did seem overly inclined to promote the connection to Ebbe Grims-land, who was no doubt accomplished and venerable, but not actually a great selling point when it comes to Gibson mandolin's, not even in his native Sweden.
    It would be interesting to see it come back at a sensible start price to encourage some bidding. I still think the 'market' where it was is probably small, so the price might have been 'sensible', if not cheap.

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    Registered User bluegrasser78's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Gibson model would this be ?

    Yes Its a wide bodied A-50 from late 30's/early 40's like F5 Loar said, pry refinished and not Loyd Loar era! I've owned pry 10 of these! and most had great wood on body that was in sunburst.. Only one blonde and F5 Loar already mentioned that one.

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