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Thread: Little help identifying Gibson A

  1. #1
    Registered User colorado_al's Avatar
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    Default Little help identifying Gibson A

    I'm checking out this Gibson A.
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    Seller isn't very familiar with mandolins and says he doesn't see any numbers on the headstock or inside. Serial # on label is not readable. Can't tell from the picture if it just says "Style A" or if there is a faint number next to the A.
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    I'm thinking teens or early 20s A1 or A2.
    Going to check it out this weekend.
    Am I on the right track?
    Thanks!
    Al
    Last edited by colorado_al; Nov-10-2018 at 12:03am.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Little help identifying Gibson A

    Hello Al,

    This is a style A, it is likely from the late teens. If you can see the factory order number (FON) stamped inside on the neckblock we can help you date it with the help of the research that Joe Spann published.

    Here is a catalog page from the 1921 Gibson catalog that describes your instrument. Notice the lack of the The Gibson inlay on the headstock, that was used starting with the A1 models and up. It appears that your pickguard has some issues, the sideclamp is missing and maybe the support rod or celluloid brace.

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    Best on luck on your trip,
    Mark
    Mark Lynch

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  5. #4
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    Default Re: Little help identifying Gibson A

    Some “unreadable” labels can be read if you get them in the right light.

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  7. #5

    Default Re: Little help identifying Gibson A

    Is that a shim under the non adjustable bridge? I'd say 1919 or 1920 model A. Hope you get a good deal on this one.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

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    Default Re: Little help identifying Gibson A

    Quote Originally Posted by lenf12 View Post
    Is that a shim under the non adjustable bridge? I'd say 1919 or 1920 model A. Hope you get a good deal on this one.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL
    Looks like the bridge was moved and the mark where it was is what you see.
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  9. #7

    Default Re: Little help identifying Gibson A

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Looks like the bridge was moved and the mark where it was is what you see.
    The move took some finish with it as opposed to some neck joint issue requiring a shim so not a big deal.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

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    Default Re: Little help identifying Gibson A

    Quote Originally Posted by lenf12 View Post
    The move took some finish with it as opposed to some neck joint issue requiring a shim so not a big deal.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL
    Agree, there are a great many mandolins with some finish damage from a bridge not sitting where it should for years.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  11. #9
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    Default Re: Little help identifying Gibson A

    Yes, there are. It never bothered me much.

    But if you wanted to take the time and trouble, it could be made less noticeable with some skillful French polish; but it would take quite a while to dry.

    I concur that it is a plain style A, most likely made between 1918 and 1921.

    If you decide to buy it, stick your finger in the soundhole and make sure the brace behind the soundhole is not loose. If it is, it is not difficult or expensive to fix, but should be attended to.

  12. #10
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Little help identifying Gibson A

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    I concur that it is a plain style A, most likely made between 1918 and 1921.
    Exactly. The place to look for a number is inside the instrument, stamped on the neck block. That's the factory order number, and if it's legible it should help narrow down the year. But from the finish, headstock shape and hardware it can be reliably dated to this 4-year period.

    I've seen the sale listing for this one, and IIRC the asking price is well under $1K, which should be a good value if the instrument doesn't have major problems.
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  14. #11
    Registered User colorado_al's Avatar
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    Default Re: Little help identifying Gibson A

    Thanks for the help everyone. I was unable to find a time to meet the seller, and someone else was, so no longer avail.

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