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Thread: Now that I know it's an 1933 A-50...

  1. #1

    Default Now that I know it's an 1933 A-50...

    A few months ago I made a post about my mandolin that was sold to me as a 1934 A4. Now that I know it's a 1933 A-50 (FON 712), I'm wondering if anybody knows anything else about the first batch of A-50s with the oval sound hole and elevated finger board. Mine sounds amazing, very balanced and loud with a surprisingly good chop.
    How many were made?
    What are they worth?
    Were they designed to replace the A-4?

    Thank you very much!
    Hayden M.

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  2. #2
    Registered User pfox14's Avatar
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    Default Re: Now that I know it's an 1933 A-50...

    Here's the A-50 and the re-introduced A-1 as they appeared in Gibson's 1933 pocket-sized catalog. They were still making the A-4, when the A-50 was introduced, so I don't think it was meant as a replacement, even though the A-4 was discontinued in 1934-35. No one knows how many were made since there are no sales records or shipping ledgers prior to 1935. A-50s are selling on eBay in the $700-900 range.

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  3. #3
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Now that I know it's an 1933 A-50...

    Interesting, so the main difference between the two would be the top and back binding and the raised fretboard for the A-50?
    Jim

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  4. #4

    Default Re: Now that I know it's an 1933 A-50...

    So this one wouldn't be worth more than the later ones with F-holes and the attached fingerboard being sold on eBay since this version was made for only one year? Because basically this is saying I got ripped off buying this for 2000 dollars as an A4.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Now that I know it's an 1933 A-50...

    And this one should be checked out that's up for sell for 2800 http://www.vintagemandolin.com/35gibsona4_fon785.html. It appears to be the same model.

  6. #6
    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
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    Default Re: Now that I know it's an 1933 A-50...

    Since you say it sounds amazing, I wouldn't worry too much about what you paid...just keep it and play it. I am not so sure what you have isn't exactly an A-4 in build beyond some very small details. Gibson was trying to survive the depths of the depression and your instrument when they started building it could have been intended to become an A-4.
    I have owned a couple of A-00's over the last few years and found them to be very nice players also. I consider A-50/A-00 pre-war instruments to be a bargin these days, mainly because so few people really know the model variations. They were made in the period when Gibson guitars were gaining their current reputation and mandolins were rather unpopular. Again, just play it and enjoy.
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    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
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    Default Re: Now that I know it's an 1933 A-50...

    Quote Originally Posted by hmess View Post
    And this one should be checked out that's up for sell for 2800 http://www.vintagemandolin.com/35gibsona4_fon785.html. It appears to be the same model.
    Looks to be the same instrument. "...the very rare elevated fingerboard..." A-50 or A-4...does it really matter? Seems to suggest that it would have been a special order.
    Last edited by Capt. E; Feb-06-2014 at 2:57pm. Reason: punctuation
    Jammin' south of the river
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  9. #8

    Default Re: Now that I know it's an 1933 A-50...

    I am enjoying it very much! Thank you for the input!

  10. #9
    Registered User trevor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Now that I know it's an 1933 A-50...

    I had one in and Charles has one so there were at least three made and it seems likely many more. I would certainly think its worth more than a standard A-50. And in my experience a much better mandolin.
    Trevor
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  11. #10
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    Default Re: Now that I know it's an 1933 A-50...

    Since they were made at the same time A-4`s were being made what makes anyone think they would be worth more than an A-4?...There isn`t that much difference in the two and it may be just some hype that Gibson was putting out....Just my opinion as I am not interested in oval holes now days....

  12. #11
    Registered User trevor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Now that I know it's an 1933 A-50...

    As I said i don't think they would be worth more than an A4 but possible worth more than an A-50.
    Trevor
    The Acoustic Music Co (TAMCO) Brighton England
    Over 100 mandolins in stock.
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  13. #12
    Registered User pfox14's Avatar
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    Default Re: Now that I know it's an 1933 A-50...

    Although, with an A-4 you'll be on "The Road To Happiness"

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  14. #13

    Default Re: Now that I know it's an 1933 A-50...

    Glad I found this forum. Like hmess I had a Mandolin I thought was an A-4 based primarily on the description listed above, http://www.vintagemandolin.com/35gibsona4_fon785.html. Mine is numbered 756. Also thought mine would be worth several thou. At least I know it is an A-50 now and won't mis-represent it when I sell it. I do need a new pick guard on it. Do you guys recommend replacing it with a vintage guard (where would I get one?) or let the individual I sell it to do the replacement? Appreciate any help. Sam

  15. #14

    Default Re: Now that I know it's an 1933 A-50...

    Do you still have your A-50?
    I also have one from 1933 (based on the FON and the Spann book) that has had some repair work but still looks great. I traded for mine a couple of years ago and finally got it up and running a few weeks back. It is the best sounding oval hole Gibson mandolin I have heard, and it is the best compared to the 6 other Gibson's I have now. It is awesome in a band setting and really holds it own with loud fiddles and banjos. Maybe it is the maple back and sides, the elevated fingerboard or the magic that day in the Gibson factory. Whatever it is, it is a winner and there is a lot of confusion about this particular model. I think they are undervalued. Tall Toad has one currently for sale on Reverb.

  16. #15
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Now that I know it's an 1933 A-50...

    I just examined one today in a pawn shop in Saint Augustine Beach FL. It was the first one I have seen. The top was sinking a bit on the treble side but other wise looked in ok shape. They were asking almost 3K for it though.
    Charley

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