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Thread: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

  1. #1

    Default Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    First time poster here-looking for some recommendations on what I believe to be a pre-1918 all original Gibson H1 mandola. This and an A1 mandolin of the same vintage belonged to my great grandfather and have been in my dads possession since the late 1960s. The instrument is in remarkable original condition... Iíve reviewed MANY listings on Reverb for vintage H1ís and none come close to the cosmetic condition of this mandola... it really is a nearly museum quality time capsule. That said, I believe there are some issues with the string action/slight front bow on the neck. Admittedly Iím a guitar player, and am not sure what the action is supposed to be like on these.

    Are there any Southern California based acoustic instrument/mandolin luthier shops who could assess the instrument and see what needs to be done? In my mind, a slight shaving of the underside of the rosewood bridge saddles would bring the action down to perfect, but again... outside of my expertise. The goal is to get this nearly cosmetically perfect instrument ready to SELL so someone can enjoy it. Please message me directly or comment below if you can help or are interested in the instrument. Iíve got tons of photos and can take more upon request. Thanks.

    http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l9...EF55EB1CD.jpeg

    http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l9...534C28964.jpeg

    http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l9...748066788.jpeg

    http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l9...D589C1076.jpeg

  2. #2

    Default Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - So Cal luthiers?

    Please -

    Not necessary to post duplicate threads. Redundant. These threads have been merged.
    Last edited by Mandolin Cafe; Feb-01-2018 at 11:34pm. Reason: Redundant. Merged threads.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    The action on an instrument is such a personal thing. When I bought a mandolin some time ago the builder ask after a week how I liked it, I told him I lowered the action by half, he said really, I set it up especially low for you. The instrument is pristine, let the new buyer decide how it should be set up. You can always lower action by removing wood, it is harder to raise it for someone else's taste or different gauge of strings.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    Appreciate your input, pops1. I tend to agree with you, but am always over thinking things a bit and wondering if people want to hassle a set up when purchasing an instrument. As you say, itís a personal thing.

    Also realized all my image links are totally dead. Hope these work












  5. #5

    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - So Cal luthiers?

    Just realized all my image links are totally dead. Hope these work:














  6. #6
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    McCabe's in Santa Monica should[?] still keep a competent repairman on their staff.
    If the action is no more than 6/64" between the top of the 12th fret and the bottom of the unfretted string, I would leave it alone.
    That is one of the cleanest Gibson mandolas I have ever seen. When in doubt, don't monkey with it if it's playable.
    It should be checked to make sure the brace behind the soundhole is not loose.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    Really appreciate your input, rcc56. Definitely have heard of McCabeís - with your mention it may be time to contact them. Thanks again.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    Nothing to add as far as advice, just want to chime in and say that is a beautiful instrument. Wow.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    Doesn't look like the original bridge to me. Great looking instrument tho.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    Thanks, MoreThanQuinn.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    Bridge has the ďPat. Sept 21 09Ē stamped on it.








  12. #12

    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    I've seen those old bridges on Gibsons before. I believe it is from the factory.
    Has anyone asked about the #'s inside? It is very early 10's . Also the grain on
    top was wide like that one. Please don't polish the tailpiece cover any more, as
    the plating is thin and you will wear through .

  13. #13

    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    Thanks for the inquiry, oldplinker.



    Also, the tailpiece has never been polished (i.e. no semi-chrome/metal polish/etc. None of the mandola has actually-including no French polishing of the finish. But thank you for looking out for instrument care. Itís never seen anything more than a microfiber or old soft cotton T-shirt. It hasnít needed anything else because unfortately it hasnít been played! The thing essentially sat in the case for the last hundred years; apparently my great grandfather was much more fond of the A1 of the same vintage that he purchased along with this. The case is in pretty amazing shape as well:










  14. #14

    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    1915 Lucky you !

  15. #15
    Still Picking and Sawing Jack Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    "In my mind, a slight shaving of the underside of the rosewood bridge saddles would bring the action down to perfect, but again... "

    If you want to sell it, you should sell it as is. I have an H-1 with a slightly later serial number and it is not anywhere near as nice condition. Assuming yours has not be re-finished, it would probably bring a very good price as it is.

    If you really must lower the action, have a luthier make a new bridge and leave the original as is.
    Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
    When time is broke and no proportion kept!
    --William Shakespeare

  16. #16

    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    Appreciate the serial number/date check! Thanks, oldplinker.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    Really appreciate the input, Jack Roberts. Iíd never have the heart to be a barbarian and work on it myself, the quote was more of a thinking out loud exercise. Definitely no refin on this one... do any of you have an opinion on the best location to list the instrument? Craigslist has the benefit of being fee-free, but only local visibility. eBay fees have crept so much in recent years.... Reverb is another option, but again, moderate fees. I sincerely appreciate everyoneís input thus far-great forum.

  18. #18
    Registered User Rodney Riley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    List it here in the cafe classifieds. Just send Scott a donation to help keep this site going after the sale
    In his open letter to the classified users, Scott just asks for as little as 2% of the sale as a donation.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    Fantastic idea. I think I owe him the $$ already - lots of valuable input thusfar!

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    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rdavidson0 View Post
    Fantastic idea. I think I owe him the $$ already - lots of valuable input thusfar!
    I think we all owe Scott.

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  23. #21
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Doesn't look like the original bridge to me. Great looking instrument tho.
    The bridge with removable saddles was indeed standard equipment from 1909 to around 1914 or 1915. The one piece bridge that is more commonly seen came directly afterward.

    This mandola, serial number 23588, dates to 1914 according to the recent list in Spann's Guide.
    Last edited by rcc56; Feb-02-2018 at 11:15pm.

  24. #22
    Registered User BBarton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pre-1918 Gibson H1 Mandola - so cal luthier?

    Beautiful condition!! Case too! I have a 1918 mandola and it has the same style of bridge.
    Too many instruments...too little time

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