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Thread: Three old mandolins walk into a bar...

  1. #1

    Default Three old mandolins walk into a bar...

    ...but how old are they?
    I was just given these three mandolins and Iím trying to learn more about them. They were in a friendís house for decades, she believes her grandfather played them. Lucky for me, Iím the only person she knows with a passion for mandolin! The two that were stored with pick guards, well, it makes me sad they were stored with the guards, but I have removed as much of the guards as I could. Necks seem solid on all three. I think one may be an early Snakehead, and it is in the best condition of the three. The number on the Black A style Gibson tag looks like 79731, and the number on the neck is 8229. The sunburst A style Gibson with F-holes, has a number 1138. The blond Oriole Kalamazoo, A style with f holes has the number 1997F, and then someone added the number 20 in pen. I canít wait to get them playable again.Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Three old mandolins walk into a bar...

    Wow!!! I'm jealous. All three look pretty good!

  3. #3
    Registered User bruce.b's Avatar
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    Default Re: Three old mandolins walk into a bar...

    Wow, what a find. These look really nice.

  4. #4
    Registered User colorado_al's Avatar
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    Default Re: Three old mandolins walk into a bar...

    Sweet! That is a great looking snakehead!

  5. #5
    Registered User bluegrasser78's Avatar
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    Default Re: Three old mandolins walk into a bar...

    Great Score, she must like ya?? That's about a what 5-6G present altogether? The 1935 Gibson I like, does it have an elevated fret board? It should, If so it should sound great once set-up, I like those ones and have had a few. The snake is a 1926 the Kalamazoo I think is a 1940. Pickguard deterioration happens when stored in case for a long time/too hot etc...Way common but gases off and hurts the finish sometimes! Don't loose the guard brackets and you can buy repro. guards!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Three old mandolins walk into a bar...

    I hadnít noticed, but it does look elevated. I added another picture of it. How do you get the ages? Iíve been googling Gibson serial numbers, but havenít been able to nail anything down. Iím gonna have to find someone to work on them to get them playable. And 5-6k, are you serious? I hope they are in good enough shape for that to be true.
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  7. #7
    Registered User bluegrasser78's Avatar
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    Default Re: Three old mandolins walk into a bar...

    Well I knew that was an elevated by looking at it right away, With that style inlay and color of burst, 35 I have found to be the only elevated board "F-hole" A style besides the famed Loar A-5 from that era of 20's-40's anyways. Great little mandolins IMHO! I have one and have had 2 others, I really like them. The snake by the serial/FON # and peg head inlay style and the Kalamazoo you said has the F. After ya study a bunch over years one can tell-yep a Gibson mando geek here!
    Well it depends on where ya live, where there may be a mando luthier around? Yes and serious about the price give or take depending on what needs done to each to make them playable again. Neck issues, cracks, separations etc...Do they have finish issues because of the guards deteriorating? If so I wouldn't worry too much and don't mess with the finish! I'd put what you have to into them and play them, Them there are some free goods that you for sure should put a little $ into if they need it that is!
    I likes that 35 A-50, heck for free I'd take all too!

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  9. #8

    Default Re: Three old mandolins walk into a bar...

    they do have some issues, I don’t think it’s too bad, but I think they were in an attic. :-( The necks seem fine, the sunburst has a thin split on the face, that I think even just a little humidity could fix, and the snakehead has some separation on the back near the end pin. The oriole seems to just be the off gassing. Not sure how badly that affects the frets and bridge.

  10. #9
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Three old mandolins walk into a bar...

    Quote Originally Posted by Fishykiller View Post
    they do have some issues, I don’t think it’s too bad, but I think they were in an attic. :-( The necks seem fine, the sunburst has a thin split on the face, that I think even just a little humidity could fix, and the snakehead has some separation on the back near the end pin. The oriole seems to just be the off gassing. Not sure how badly that affects the frets and bridge.
    The snakehead has Gibson disease. Mine had that happen years ago and my luthier fixed it and it hasn't recurred yet (fingers crossed). Find yourself a competent luthier who knows how to handle that. I am sure there are quite a few folks on the Cafe who can do it if you can't find anyone locally.

    As for the pickguard, keep the hardware and there are a few people here who make repro pickguards. The ones that come to mind are Paul Fox and Darryl Wolfe.
    Jim

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  11. #10

    Default Re: Three old mandolins walk into a bar...

    Gibson disease, lol! Glad to know it’s not fatal!

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Three old mandolins walk into a bar...

    Quote Originally Posted by Fishykiller View Post
    Gibson disease, lol! Glad to know it’s not fatal!
    Gibsonitis, not sure of the spelling.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  13. #12
    Registered User bluegrasser78's Avatar
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    Default Re: Three old mandolins walk into a bar...

    Does the 35 have a seam separation on the top if so humidity may close it but not fix it, it will need glue and clamping or ya could pass your fortune to me! LOL

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    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Three old mandolins walk into a bar...

    Wow - I've never even been given 3 picks, much less 3 mandolins! Get them back in shape, and enjoy!
    I recently finished a new homemade 4-song EP of original solo acoustic songs; (sorry, no mandolin content this time). If you are interested in a FREE copy, feel free to send me your address via Private Message, and I will be glad to send you one. Trust me, it will be worth the price!


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  15. #14
    Dave Sheets
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    Default Re: Three old mandolins walk into a bar...

    Major find there! Enjoy them.
    -Dave
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  16. #15

    Default Re: Three old mandolins walk into a bar...

    Nice!

  17. #16
    Mangler of Tunes OneChordTrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Three old mandolins walk into a bar...

    Wow!

  18. #17
    Registered User Russ Donahue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Three old mandolins walk into a bar...

    Hey Mike!
    Send me a private message with your address and I would be honored to send you three picks!
    One watch by night, one watch by day...if you get confused, just listen to the music play.

  19. #18

    Default Re: Three old mandolins walk into a bar...

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrasser78 View Post
    Does the 35 have a seam separation on the top if so humidity may close it but not fix it, it will need glue and clamping or ya could pass your fortune to me! LOL
    I donít know exactly what you mean by a seam separation, it is a very narrow split, runs under one of the G strings basically, tough to see as it looks like a shadow from the strings or even the string itself in pictures. I do know at least two excellent luthiers, so when I have some cash the mandos will be well taken care of.

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