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Thread: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

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    FIDDLES with STRADOLINS your_diamond's Avatar
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    Default Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old


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    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    He is selling a pickguard as well- and appears to be harvesting parts off a Gibson mandolin, I assume he intends to keep. No comment...

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    Harvesting parts, in DEEd!
    I get that some instruments fall into the “unrestorable” column but, this seems a little “dear”.
    Timothy F. Lewis
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    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    He is selling a pickguard as well- and appears to be harvesting parts off a Gibson mandolin, I assume he intends to keep. No comment...
    Actually there is a problem when one makes assumptions. You really don't know what is happening. Perhaps he has a mandolin that was left in an attic that is totally unworkable. What then? It may be that he had a pristine instrument with failed tuners (or whatever) and he bought a disaster to get the parts he needed and is now trying to recoup some of the money he spent.

    I myself have a 1919 A that has some issues. I've held it several years and one of these days I will part it out including the carcass because the sum of the parts is worth much more than I can get for it whole. It may not be what you would do but it's neither immoral or unusual. I have been parting out instruments for years. The people that buy the parts keep something else running.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    The pickguard is shown on what appears to be a good mandolin. Of course, these parts may be coming off a wreck but that was not my impression. I agree, if you own something it is yours to do as you wish. Sometimes, this can be extreme as in the case of the Rev Francis Gastrell who decided to demolish Shakespeare's last house- where he had died for various reasons- not least he did not like the visitors attracted to the house which led to a dispute which he resolved with the demolition. Sometimes, we are just custodians of something- I know George Gruhn takes that view with his personal instruments.

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    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    ...Sometimes, we are just custodians of something- I know George Gruhn takes that view with his personal instruments.
    You're more than welcome to have that belief. Monroe saw his mandolin as a tool and beat the crud out of it. I don't see myself as a custodian of the instrument. I didn't buy it to preserve it, I bought it to sell it and I can get more out of it in pieces. Look at it this way, it makes it easier for the custodians to keep their pristine instruments if they have replacement parts for things that break. To each his own.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    One eBay "parts" seller had a great response, when criticized for parting out instruments...........he said, "Why should I just make one person happy, when I can make 17 people happy?!!!"

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    While I can appreciate stock, all my vintage mandolins have been modified/repaired to one level or another. So, I have no problem with folks parting out stuff. Initially read this thread because if the seller was in the US, might have bid on it. Wouldn't mind finding a cover for the 1910 A.
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    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    To my knowledge there might be one Stradivarius violin that hasn't been modified. There isn't more than one.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    I would just make the point that if the pure economics of instrument ownership were the guiding principle in all our music related activities although some folk might be richer, the world would be all the poorer. However, I am more than happy to accept that over time, instruments get modified- sometimes for good reasons, other times for less than good reasons. If people enjoy getting them back to original condition- and today's collector world makes this a good financial incentive, then that's the way it is. If maximizing the value of your instrument is your driving force, that's fine. I can recall the manager of a vintage instrument shop in Austin telling me, that he was in the absurd situation where if he refretted his 1964 Gibson 345 he would lose some value- and incur cost by doing the job. I don't know if he chose not to play it and maintain its value or if he just sold it. As the man sang in his song "different strokes for different folks."

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    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    Some people go gooey-eyed about trains especially about famous engines such as the Flying Scotsman. I was looking at the same whilst it was in bits in the (old) York Railway Museum several years ago and asked the man working on it how much of it was actually part of the original engine. I didn’t get an answer!

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    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    Some people go gooey-eyed about trains especially about famous engines such as the Flying Scotsman. I was looking at the same whilst it was in bits in the (old) York Railway Museum several years ago and asked the man working on it how much of it was actually part of the original engine. I didnít get an answer!
    This reminds me of the old story about the fellow that said, "This is my Grandfather's hammer; I've replaced the head twice and the handle three times."
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    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    While we are getting philosophical, I once suggested to a vintage guitar dealer that with the vintage parts availability on eBay, etc., that a person could actually "build" a genuine 1952 Fender Telecaster from original parts -- provided they could afford them.

    His response was that it wouldn't be a genuine 1952 Fender Telecaster, even though the parts were all correct, BECAUSE it never left the factory in that form.....

    I'm thinking he is correct, but I'm also thinking someone selling such a guitar might forget to mention they "made" it in their garage.....

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    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    The point about the Flying Scotsman, is that it was an engine built in 1923 which was rebuilt in its life and also modified. Furthermore, like any engine, its parts wore out. In fact, before it was rebuilt at vast expense, not so long ago, it had been in service with a boiler that was from a totally different class of locomotive as part of an attempt to rev it up and produce more power. During that last rebuild, it was reunited with the correct boiler type and restored to its exact appearance in 1963 when it was retired. When bought in 1963, its new owner had it taken into the works at Doncaster and all the late 1950s improvements removed and it was made to look somewhat more like its late 1930s condition- but not quite. The wheel has turned full circle with this engine and as far as the museum is concerned, it is now "correct" although, I dare say others will disagree because they liked the way it looked post 1963. When I saw it a while back it looked superb which after £4 million it bloody well ought to! One group of enthusiasts managed to build its linear descendant from scratch for a lot less than that while the museum actually had an engine to rebuild as opposed to a dream.

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    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    Actually, $142.00 for that piece of kit ain't too bad.

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    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    While I agree that an owner has the absolute right to do what he/she pleases with a mandolin -- still, there's something a bit poignant in seeing even a run-of-the-mill instrument "parted out" so that someone else can, contrarily, restore a similar instrument with period components, to bring it back to cosmetically original condition.

    Not every vintage instrument can be restored, nor should be. Many alterations to older mandolins et. al. are to make them playable, so that they can continue to fulfill the purpose for which they were made. Probably quite a few of us have reaped the benefits of some repairperson's "junk drawer," where parts cannibalized off unrepairable instruments await the chance to be "transplanted" onto instruments in need of them. I have a bridge and a tailpiece cover on my B&J Victoria bowl-back, that I obtained through this type of transaction, and I've advised many others to check with their repair shop for bridges, tuners, tailpieces etc. in the "junk drawer."

    Still, every vintage instrument has the potential of restoration, even when the process would be economically foolish. We often advise Cafe questioners to get estimates on restoring Grandpa's mandolin, even when we recognize that such restoration would exceed the market value of the instrument. There are non-economic, and even non-musical reasons to save this or that instrument.

    What if Gibson had told Bill Monroe, "It'll cost more to restore that Lloyd Loar F-5 you've played for 50 years, than it's ever gonna be worth. Why don't we part out the tuners and tailpiece, sell the headstock overlay on eBay (that really did happen!), and get you a nice new F-5L you can play in your declining years?" Of course, every old mandolin isn't the iconic axe of the Father of Bluegrass, but every one has some kind of history behind it.

    I'm glad I have the ol' bowl-back from my grandfather's attic, and I had its cracks repaired just so I could play it. I'll pass it on to my kids, if they want it. So, just a long digression on why I feel a bit of sadness when I see old mandolin parts being sold. YMMV, of course, and I'm sure it does.
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    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    Let's look at Monroe's mandolin. Were the tuners original? No. I'd hazard a guess that the tailpiece and bridge and nut had been replaced over the years. It had been refretted, The fretboard had been replaced if I'm not mistaken. We know the headstock overlay was replaced and I'm sure the original case had probably been gone for decades. Monroe's mandolin was valuable primarily because it was his mandolin and it was there from the beginning of a musical genre. It really isn't the right instrument to use for an analogy. To answer your question of what if Gibson had said it wasn't worth it, Monroe would have found somebody else to fix it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    The point about the Flying Scotsman, is that it was an engine built in 1923 which was rebuilt in its life and also modified. Furthermore, like any engine, its parts wore out. In fact, before it was rebuilt at vast expense, not so long ago, it had been in service with a boiler that was from a totally different class of locomotive as part of an attempt to rev it up and produce more power. During that last rebuild, it was reunited with the correct boiler type and restored to its exact appearance in 1963 when it was retired. When bought in 1963, its new owner had it taken into the works at Doncaster and all the late 1950s improvements removed and it was made to look somewhat more like its late 1930s condition- but not quite. The wheel has turned full circle with this engine and as far as the museum is concerned, it is now "correct" although, I dare say others will disagree because they liked the way it looked post 1963. When I saw it a while back it looked superb which after £4 million it bloody well ought to! One group of enthusiasts managed to build its linear descendant from scratch for a lot less than that while the museum actually had an engine to rebuild as opposed to a dream.
    I’d just like to point out that, despite raising the subject, I’m not one of the people who go all gooey-eyed about trains ........

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    FIDDLES with STRADOLINS your_diamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    The Vintage Gibson A Mandolin Pickguard (1909 patent) has one bid https://ebay.us/vYf3nt ...with 11 hours left on the action.

    I can't do much to stop a guy from parting out his mandolin parts, but if you needed a replacement pickguard, this would do. Although, wdmusic.com might be able to make you a replacement for less money... if you didn't care about originality.

  26. #20

    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    it makes me shiver to part out a mandolin, but sometimes it has to be done. i looked at s teens gibson A 2 last sunday, which the owner was told was worth $1400 cad. but when i got there the top was almost two inched depressed under the bridge!!! a total wow in the top. it was amazing there was no crack. but it has a lot of original parts. i pointed him to my local repair guy who might have been able to remove the back and rebrace it, and get the top back up--after a long process of moisturizing. (he pulled that off once with one with about an inch wow) but it is probably not repairable and needs to be parted out. original tuners, tail piece cover, bridge,head stock, and most of the pick guard(clamp missing). the seller was convinced it was worth $1400 so i let it go.

  27. #21

    Default Re: Vintage "The Gibson" Mandolin Tailpiece 100 years old

    I saw a luthier repair a 20's Martin guitar top that looked like a rollercoaster -- honestly should have been thrown away --EXCEPT, you don't throw away a 20's Martin, in any condition! ANYWAY, he tried something he called the "Turkish towel treatment" where he laid a steaming bath towel on the top to moisturize it and then was able to clamp it flat. Believe it or not, it turned out perfect. Not sure he could repeat it on an arched top, but could be possible. Or at least worth a try!

    The problem, as I see it, is money -- like most things in life. If you put $1000 in a $1400 mandolin, it is still a $1400 mandolin......but you can't sell it for $1400 unless you fix it. On the other hand, if it parts out at $1400, then you can sell it for $1400 without spending the $1000, so it becomes more of a political or morality discussion, rather than a logical one, IMHO.

    Nothing wrong with saving old mandolins, in fact, it is a good thing. But, I wouldn't overthink it. You can't save 'em all.

    Just like people who work at animal shelters because they love animals. They quickly find out, not everyone is "cut out" to work at an animal shelter, if you know what I mean......

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