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Thread: Gibson - Maybe ...

  1. #1
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Gibson - Maybe ...

    Any chance this is bona fide? Looks a little hinky to me. This is the only pic I've seen so far, Will post more if the owner provides any. Says no label inside, just this number stamped in there: 21405 33

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson - Maybe ...

    Looks to me like a Gibson A40 from the 50's or 60's. Correct tailpiece and the headstock curve looks right. As does the logo.
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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson - Maybe ...

    Flat top?

    I was thinking something along those lines. But the lack of a label bothers me.
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    Default Re: Gibson - Maybe ...

    I agree with Eric. That appears to be a Gibson A-40. I don't recall seeing one that did have a label. 21405 is a batch number, the 33 following it means that it is number 33 of the batch. The year is unclear to me. The top is arched, not flat-- look at the bottom of the bridge base.

    An Eastman 505 is likely to be a better instrument.

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson - Maybe ...

    Hmmm ... Yeah, not a good photo.
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson - Maybe ...

    The top is not flat. It looks like a bad picture of the real deal to me.
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    Default Re: Gibson - Maybe ...

    Nice Gibby... a Archtop for sure.. tell by the bridge base.
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    Default Re: Gibson - Maybe ...

    According to this serial number/FON reference page, factory order numbers with hyphens were used by Gibson 1936-1943. The number quoted, 21405, seems to high, though; the page only mentions "four-digit" FON's.
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    Default Re: Gibson - Maybe ...

    I see a Gibson decal and headstock that look very correct. Feels right. It seems someone thought the label was a sticker to be removed?
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    Default Re: Gibson - Maybe ...

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post

    . . . just this number stamped in there: 21405 33

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    If the number is 2140S 33 [the fifth digit being a letter "S" rather than the number "5"], it would indicate an instrument made in 1959.

    More pictures would be helpful.

    These A-40's were the bottom of the line, with backs that were pressed and arched rather than carved. I'm not sure whether the tops were carved or not.

    I am confident that this is a Gibson A-40. One reason it might appear hinky is that this was a cheaply made model.

    I see several of these advertised for $1000 or more, but instruments of better quality can be had for considerably less. One example would be a used Eastman 505.
    Last edited by rcc56; Sep-13-2018 at 1:14pm.

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    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson - Maybe ...

    Is it possible the first number is a "Z" and not a 2 ? I'm seeing a 1952 A-40N if that FON is Z1405 -33. It's got the spec looks of a 50 to 58 A40 N . If it's not a Z then somethings not right about the FON. Sometimes they are hard to read. I take them into a dark closet, shine a good flashlight over the number and figure it out by using different angles.

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    Default Re: Gibson - Maybe ...

    Those had carved spruce tops but flat laminated mahogany backs ( and sides) pressed into shape.
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  14. #13
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson - Maybe ...

    If it's an A-40 it should have a single brace across the back about the middle of the F holes. I can't enlarge this picture enough to see it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  15. #14

    Default Re: Gibson - Maybe ...

    It is a Gibson A-40N from the 50's. I guess it depends on price and if you like it or not. Sellers ask $1000-2000 for these, but they actually sell on eBay in the range of $475-600 on a regular basis.

    I'd rather have a vintage USA Gibson than what the equivalent money would buy in a Pac-Rim mandolin, even knowing the Pac-Rim would probably sound better -- that is besides the point, IMHO. That's like saying a recent Mazda 626 has better acceleration than a 1950 Ford Sedan.....who gives a rip?

    That is, if I could buy the Gibson at the $475 price range.....otherwise I would just keep my money.

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    Default Re: Gibson - Maybe ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    It is a Gibson A-40N from the 50's. I guess it depends on price and if you like it or not. Sellers ask $1000-2000 for these, but they actually sell on eBay in the range of $475-600 on a regular basis.
    I'd rather have a vintage USA Gibson than what the equivalent money would buy in a Pac-Rim mandolin, even knowing the Pac-Rim would probably sound better -- that is besides the point, IMHO. That's like saying a recent Mazda 626 has better acceleration than a 1950 Ford Sedan.....who gives a rip? That is, if I could buy the Gibson at the $475 price range.....otherwise I would just keep my money.
    Not exactly the same thing. What I want in a mandolin is the sound, everything else is secondary. If I was drag racing, acceleration would be primary and I'd want the Mazda.

  17. #16

    Default Re: Gibson - Maybe ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    Not exactly the same thing. What I want in a mandolin is the sound, everything else is secondary. If I was drag racing, acceleration would be primary and I'd want the Mazda.
    Good points, but in these situations I ask myself, "What would Fonzie do?" I think he'd go with the Gibson and the Ford.....

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    Default Re: Gibson - Maybe ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    Good points, but in these situations I ask myself, "What would Fonzie do?" I think he'd go with the Gibson and the Ford.....
    I no longer live for acceleration so I'd go for the Ford, still would have to play mandolin

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