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Thread: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

  1. #1
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    Once in a while you see an eBay seller who refuses to ship an item. So if you live in greater Los Angeles, this may interest you; if not, well, you're stuck.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/C1924-VINTAG...YAAOSwvflZPLRW
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    Well, I guess I could have my "agent" pick it up for me...............if it goes cheap enough.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    wish i had an agent in la

  4. #4
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    Dang. Only $610. I could probably have gotten a cheap flight to one of four airports within 35 miles of this mandolin and still be under market.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    Well, I scored this one. I'll report back here when I lay hands on it. Btw, what would you say is market value for it? I'm surmising it's a 1925, from looking at The Archive.

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    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    The serial number alone would suggest 1928.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    Oh! Can you fill me in on deciphering the serial number (I'm sure this is well explained elsewhere). I'm looking at the sequence of listed A-Jr.s, and it fits in as a '25 or '26.

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    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    Joe Spann (Spann's Guide to Gibson 1902-1941) contains a list of serial numbers and that of yours falls neatly in 1928. When the thing arrives, have a look inside; up by the neck block, and there should be a "Factory Order Number" stamped there from which it should be possible to confirm the year.

    The nearest one to yours in the "Archive", 82732, has a shipment date from 1828 (I said serial number "alone" my previous post) the FON construction date may well be earlier; possibly a year or two.

    Ajr 82703 was also shipped in 1928.

  9. #9
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    The Archive is confusing because for many instruments it has older "traditional" date estimates—based on lists that were published before Spann's book—as well as Spann's estimates, which can differ by a couple of years. It used to be an article of faith that snakehead production stopped in 1926, but then along came Spann with new information suggesting that the last of the snakeheads were shipped in 1928.

    Take, for example, this listing:

    http://www.mandolinarchive.com/gibson/serial/83001

    The first two lines of data read:
    1926 manufacture date (traditional estimates)
    1928 shipment date, according to Spann's Guide to Gibson
    Obviously both of those dates can't be right. Most experts, while they might stop short of endorsing every detail of Spann's new lists, agree that his research represents a major step forward in dating systems.
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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    As to the question of value: it's certainly worth more than $610. A fully original, clean snakehead Ajr with hardshell case can bring $1,500. But this one has no case, and in place of the 1-piece bridge and cloud tailpiece, it has the 2-piece bridge and "The Gibson" long tailpiece typical of fancier snakeheads. While the nonstandard hardware might well be considered an upgrade, it probably isn't original, which detracts from any collector cachet the instrument might have. So, probably $1,100 to $1,200. If you're able to find a period hardshell case, it might bring the value up to $1,300 or so, not accounting for any repairs it might need.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    it does have a nice pick guard that looks origonal and tail piece. these are often replacement. a pick guard like that would go for quite a bit on ebay just solf separately. there fore it should be worth 1200 usd easy. and they are going up .

  12. #12

    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    Well, I finally picked this one up. It's just lovely. In great shape, neck is straight as an arrow, completely playable and ready to go after changing strings. FON appears to be 8833- can anyone shed some light via Spann's for me? Here are some pictures and maybe a video soon, and I'll eventually forward info to The Archive. Thanks to all who contributed info in this thread.

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    Last edited by paul dirac; Jul-27-2017 at 8:58pm.

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    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    That FON falls within the series identified from 1927 so the conclusion should be that they started building it in 1927 and it finally left the factory in 1928.

    Perhaps someone with more knowlege of this particular model's features will chip in re. the originality of the bridge and tailpiece. I'm not sure whether this model had "Th Gibson" on the headstock?

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    This has to be one of the last Ajrs made, before they were replaced by the A0. Who knows, maybe there was some slippage in specs near the end.
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  16. #15

    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    This has to be one of the last Ajrs made, before they were replaced by the A0. Who knows, maybe there was some slippage in specs near the end.
    Martin, By slippage in specs are you implying that perhaps these were original?

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    Quote Originally Posted by paul dirac View Post
    Martin, By slippage in specs are you implying that perhaps these were original?
    I'm willing to say "perhaps original" regarding the peghead logo. It's hard to know what to say about the bridge and tailpiece, which are more easily replaced.

    It's well known that other snakehead models saw some slippage in specs. Anecdotally I'd say there was more slippage after 1925.
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    The originality of the tailpiece is easy to check. Take it off. Are there two to three extra holes there? The cloud base is totally different. I do believe there were times when Gibson swept the floor for parts or used something off spec to ship an instrument.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  20. #18

    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    Great point, Mike. I believe, now that you mention it, that there's a clearly visible extra hole below this tailpiece. I'll check it presently.

    Martin (and others), what makes you doubt the logo? I seem to recall reading here that later Jr.s had the screened logo.

  21. #19
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    Quote Originally Posted by paul dirac View Post
    Martin (and others), what makes you doubt the logo? I seem to recall reading here that later Jr.s had the screened logo.
    Perhaps. I haven't made an exhaustive study of later Juniors. Most of them don't have it, but when we see something out of the ordinary we should be at least willing to suspend disbelief.
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  22. #20

    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    Perhaps. I haven't made an exhaustive study of later Juniors. Most of them don't have it, but when we see something out of the ordinary we should be at least willing to suspend disbelief.
    Well, this settles the logo issue...

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    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    Another possibility: it was sent back to Gibson for a later repair and they screened the logo and/or replaced the tailpiece at that time. With Gibson, you never know...

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  25. #22
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    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    The script is the same as my '24 A1 but there seems to be more space between the top of the headstock and the end two tuner pegs on the one illustrated. On mine the logo is at an angle with the tiniest part covered by the D tuner bushing.

  26. #23

    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    The script is the same as my '24 A1 but there seems to be more space between the top of the headstock and the end two tuner pegs on the one illustrated. On mine the logo is at an angle with the tiniest part covered by the D tuner bushing.
    To my eye, my silkscreening is in the same position as #83001 from The Archive, which I referenced.

    Any variance in screening position just chalked up to variability at the factory?

    And here's mine, with the extra screw and hole- without taking my tailpiece off, does this look consistent with the holes for the cloud?
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  27. #24
    Registered User mandotool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    Quote Originally Posted by paul dirac View Post
    To my eye, my silkscreening is in the same position as #83001 from The Archive, which I referenced.

    Any variance in screening position just chalked up to variability at the factory?

    And here's mine, with the extra screw and hole- without taking my tailpiece off, does this look consistent with the holes for the cloud?
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Yes ...that unused hole is correct for 20's Gibson A-Jr. cloud tailpiece..

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  29. #25

    Default Re: Do you live in L.A.? Here's a snakehead A Junior for you!

    Well then, to my satisfaction, this all settles the questions of what was original here, assuming that the 2-piece bridge is a replacement, as well. Thanks, all.

    I think I'll try and acquire a cloud replacement (any opinions on how much one of these is worth?) and sell this current tailpiece on. I'll also keep an eye out for a correct 1-piece bridge...

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