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Thread: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

  1. #26

    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandotool View Post
    10 bucks says they're's a Virzi in there..
    Kinda like in the 70's when every car "came" with undercoating............at additional cost to the consumer -- but a hard option to delete, once installed!

  2. #27

    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    STILL NO ANSWER!
    Has anyone seen a picture of a similar instrument?
    Thanks

  3. #28
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Gutman View Post
    STILL NO ANSWER!
    Has anyone seen a picture of a similar instrument?
    Thanks
    Seems to me like there were several respondents in this string who have supplied possible answers? In addition several mentioned seeing pics of similar instruments?

    One thing that might possibly help would be to try and get a better pic of the entire label?
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  4. #29
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    Jimmy, this unattached mandolin top shows what a Virzi looks like when it's mounted inside a mandolin:

    Mandolin Cafe Mandolin Glossary - Virzi

    Can you check to see if your mandolin has one of these? It would help a lot to know.
    -- Don

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  5. #30
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    Never seen a "Gibson Inc." label.

    Virzi was evidently multi-national in terms of manufacture and distribution. If this oddity was built by Virzi for Gibson (perhaps to cash in on the overwhelming world-wide popularity of Regal's Octofone [not!]), it could have a "one-of" label, be a prototype that never went into production.

    Or not.
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  7. #31
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    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    I just got my Octophone out and compared it to the instrument in the picture. The shape and proportions are indeed different.

    I don't know who made the OP's instrument, but I can see nothing that remotely resembles any Gibson characteristics that I am familiar with. Neither does the workmanship resemble any Gibson violin that I have seen. Gibson violins were rather crude looking compared to this instrument.

    As far as the theory that it was made for Gibson by Virzi or a European contractor, why would Gibson do such a thing when they could easily make any mandolin family instrument in-house?

    My guess is that the label came out of a Gibson catalog or advertisement.

    I believe that what we have here in an instrument by an unidentified maker with a false label. It happens all the time in the violin world.

    I've seen quite a few oddball Gibsons over the years, but they all still looked like Gibsons. This one does not.

    I would be interested to know what this instrument sounds like and what the scale length is.
    Last edited by rcc56; Oct-05-2018 at 3:42pm.

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  9. #32

    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    Thanks rcc. This info was helpful. I'll just keep the instrument (what would you call it? A mandolin?) for curiosity sake.

  10. #33
    Registered User mandotool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Gutman View Post
    Thanks rcc. This info was helpful. I'll just keep the instrument (what would you call it? A mandolin?) for curiosity sake.
    Hey there Jimmy...You're not going to leave us hanging are ye?
    Just loosen the strings and dip your Iphone? into the soundhole...
    Perhaps you will hit the jackpot and see something like this ...
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Virzi Iphone pic.png 
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    If it has one...you just doubled the value of your find..
    Please do let us know..if you are able.

  11. #34
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    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    Jimmy, if you will measure the distance from the nut to the bridge and tell us what it is, we will be able to tell you whether the instrument is a mandola or an octave mandolin.

    It looks like a reasonably well built instrument. With the right kind of strings, it may well be worth playing.

    To answer Mike's question about the early use of "Gibson, Inc." on instrument labels, a white oval label with "Gibson, Inc." was indeed in use as early as 1932 or '33. These labels would generally have been used on upper line archtop guitars. http://www.prewargibsonl-5.com/the-a...e-2/4584945560 Go to "L-5 in detail, anatomy of the L-5 page 2 to view one of these labels.

    I have seen this label on a couple of late F-4's.
    Last edited by rcc56; Oct-05-2018 at 11:28pm.

  12. #35
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    From rrc56 - " ...why would Gibson do such a thing when they could easily make any mandolin family instrument in-house ?.".If you look at the link in my previous post,Virzi Brothers were making Violins for the Gibson Co. at one point. It's not beyond the bounds of possibility that they also made mandolins of the type in question, which included their 'Tone producer',while Gibson produced their own style instruments. I suppose that we could say 'why didn't Gibson make Violins ?' - they had the builders with the skill to do so,but they didn't.

    Purely conjecture on my behalf,but it's not an impossible scenario (IMHO),
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  14. #36

    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    Hi Don, thanks for the info.
    The instrument does not have one of those thing-a-ma-jikies inside of it.
    I was able to get a couple better photos of the label (see below).Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	171688Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	171689

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  16. #37

    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    Hi Mandotool. I actually stuck a little fiberoptic scope in there. No luck finding the thingamabob.
    But I posted better pictures of the label.
    Thanks again.

  17. #38

    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    Nut to bridge distance is exactly 20" inches.
    Thanks for your help!

  18. #39

    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    We know from looking at it that it is a mandolin family instrument, but not a mandolin.

    The jury is still out on whether the label is old and genuine or something that was added later. IF AND ONLY IF the label is genuine, then we could technically call it a "Gibson" although the instrument was not made by Gibson, but an instrument made for Gibson by somebody else and intended for distribution by Gibson. To my way of thinking, this would qualify as a curiosity, but nothing to get excited about.

    Much like Fender in the 60's had a series of guitars made by Harmony in the USA with Fender on the peghead -- technically they are Fenders, but nobody gets excited about them. And, they don't have the quality of a "real" Fender.

    Regardless of who made it and what it is, it may be a great sounding instrument that somebody can enjoy, IMHO.

  19. #40
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    The headstock resembles some Italian made bowlbacks I have seen. My guess it is an Italian made instrument that might have some connection to Virzi Brothers who had some connection to Gibson.
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  20. #41
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    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    The headstock resembles some Italian made bowlbacks I have seen. My guess it is an Italian made instrument that might have some connection to Virzi Brothers who had some connection to Gibson.
    Hey, I know a guy that knows a guy, who knows a guy, that makes these octophone things. See?
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  22. #42

    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    <Removed by Moderator, Posting Guidelines>
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Oct-06-2018 at 7:02pm.

  23. #43
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  24. #44
    Registered User colorado_al's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Gutman View Post
    T<Removed by Moderator, Posting Guidelines>
    I do wish you luck! And lots of it! You'll need it to get anywhere near half that price.

    PS- Posts that promote sales are against the forum rules
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Oct-06-2018 at 7:03pm.

  25. #45
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mystery Gibson...What is this strange instrument?

    OK, we're done. Thanks everyone. Please review the posting guidelines.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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