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Thread: 1913 a-1

  1. #1

    Default 1913 a-1

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    Finally. First Pic on the Cafe.

    Any tips on the care and feeding of a 100 year old instrument?

    How did I do a duplicate? Probably not trusting Tech. LOL

    Wish I could show the amazingly beautiful finish crazing.

    Found the receipt of the previous owner. Bought in 1984 at the Fifth Fret in Berkeley, and a receipt for a refret in 2011. This was from an estate. The gentleman lived in Montara, right up the coast from Half Moon Bay. I'm going to HMB tonight, so if he was active in the music community, I could run into someone who knew him. I wish everyone who owned this had left their receipt. In 1984 the mandolin was worth $500. A new case was bought at the same time. I paid $1550 at Gryphon. Probably top dollar for the cleanest one I've seen since the last three or four. Gryphon seems to have the pristine old Gibsons. They had an A2Z last year. Too rich for my blood.

    Can anyone point me to a resource for music that might have been played on this in 1913? You Tube videos?
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  2. #2
    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1913 a-1

    Nice find! Enjoy!

  3. #3
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1913 a-1

    Well, classical music has been around since before 1913 (!), you might pick up a bach sonata or a bit of beethovan .... if you're interested in contemporary music, my grandmother's music cabinet includes "Keep Your Eye on the girlie You Love," words by Howard Johnson and Alex Gerber, music by Ira Schuster and some that, if this works, i'll post below. the only caveat is they appear to be from 1916 instead of 1913.

    so, it appears they're all sideway. sorry about that.
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    --------------------------------
    1920 Lyon & Healy bowlback
    1923 Gibson A-1 snakehead
    1952 Strad-o-lin
    1983 Giannini ABSM1 bandolim
    2009 Giannini GBSM3 bandolim
    2011 Eastman MD305

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  5. #4

    Default Re: 1913 a-1

    The cover art is priceless.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  6. The following members say thank you to Br1ck for this post:


  7. #5
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1913 a-1

    Congrats Br1ck!... I plan to put my hands on a boatload of pre war Gibby's myself this coming weekend in Nashvegas!!!

    Still really pining for an SA Econo, so hopefully none of them speaks to me in a voice I can't refuse!
    aka: Spencer
    Eastman MD-305
    Silverangel Econo A ... waiting for it... ... ...

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.
    -anonymous

  8. #6

    Default Re: 1913 a-1

    I was wary that my A-1 was going to be similar to my Silverangel. Not so. Both are warm and resonant, but the SA is squarely in the modern mandolin camp. I pretty much nailed the diversity I wanted. The A-1, surprise surprise, is old timey as hell. The Silverangel is on one end of the modern f hole sound spectrum, and the Arches is on the other.

    My strategy was to have a $3000 budget, as I wanted to own a good quality F style, but I wanted an old Gibson too. I decided to build the kit, a gamble I made that the build would at least equal what I could buy for the same money. So case and hardware included, I have $1200 invested. The gamble paid off handsomely. Left me with $1800 in the budget for a Gibson. Over the labor day weekend I saw my A-1 on the Gryphon web site and pulled the trigger. I could pick it up in person, and I know Gryphon to be a solid business. Plus I needed to give them some business for their letting me get my dirty paws on everything they have.

    You can learn a lot by playing a bunch of instruments over a period of time. Took the A-1 to an open mic. It sounded great on both the old timey songs and the reels..
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  9. #7
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: 1913 a-1

    Tips on the feeding and care:

    Common sense stuff. Wipe off it before you put it in the case. Keep it in the case when you're not playing it. Use a humidifier in the case or the storage room when the heat is running.

    Specific to old oval hole Gibsons: Maximum gauge I recommend-- 11-15-25-40. I use 10 1/5-14-24-40. Every now and then, check the brace directly behind the soundhole to make sure it's tight-- sometimes they loosen up. If the pickguard ever shows signs of deterioration, have it removed immediately. Sometimes these old guards start to "gas off" and crumble. When they do, the gas can damage finish, binding, and the metal parts.

    Hope you enjoy it.

  10. #8

    Default Re: 1913 a-1

    Thanks rcc56. Except for my beater, all instruments get put in cases or hung on my wall rack. My A-1 has lived at least the last 35 years in coastal California, and probably much longer. We don't give a thought to humidity here. The climate is perfect in that regard. It is unusuall to see cracks in instruments here.

    I've been getting used to the instrument and do not think it is a passing fancy, plus the finish is the finest finish checking I've ever seen. You have to shine light off of it to even see it. A patina only time can provide. The pick guard is pristine. Amazing really. I've been playing 200 year old tunes on it. I assume most fiddle tunes are that old.

    I'll probably put tens on it when I have my carpal surgery. It'll be my recovery therapy instrument.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

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