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Thread: A little F-4 information

  1. #1
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    Default A little F-4 information

    A friend of mine picked up a black F-4 last week, and it prompted me to do a little research on some of the changes in appointments in standard production of F-4's.

    My reference for specifications is the Mandolin Archive, and my reference for dates is Spann's Guide to Gibson.

    For those who are interested:

    Serial Number --- Year --- Change in appointments

    10699 ------------ 1910 --- First 2 point F-4.
    11237 ------------ 1910 --- Last torch and wire peghead inlay.
    11694 ------------ 1911 --- Last 3 point F-4.
    16713 ------------ 1912 --- First red top.
    16718 ------------ 1912 --- Last blonde top.
    26357 ------------ 1914 --- Last black top.

    Others who have additional information are welcome to contribute.
    Last edited by rcc56; Apr-15-2019 at 12:02am.

  2. #2
    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
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    Default Re: A little F-4 information

    inline correction

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    A friend of mine picked up a black F-4 last week, and it prompted me to do a little research on some of the changes in appointments in standard production of F-4's.

    Serial Number --- Year --- Change in appointments


    11694 ------------ 1911 --- Last 3 point F-4.

    This should be 13100!


    Others who have additional information are welcome to contribute.
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  3. #3
    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
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    Default Re: A little F-4 information

    13100 is also interesting for using the earlier scroll carving style (C-shape instead of S)

    There are a few more scattered that come after 11694 too.. some quite interesting ones to see in there!
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  5. #4
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    Default Re: A little F-4 information

    I see I missed that one. Thanks for finding that! I will correct my notes.

  6. #5
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: A little F-4 information

    Quote Originally Posted by danb View Post
    13100 is also interesting for using the earlier scroll carving style (C-shape instead of S)

    There are a few more scattered that come after 11694 too.. some quite interesting ones to see in there!
    I find it just as interesting that #13100 doesn't only share its FON (1663) with 13092, another three-pointer, but also with F4 #13406, which is a two-pointer. Apparently, according to the FON, they are all from the same batch.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: A little F-4 information

    Reposting with corrected information:


    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Some changes in the appointments of F-4 mandolins

    My reference for specifications is the Mandolin Archive, and my reference for dates is Spann's Guide to Gibson.

    For those who are interested:

    Serial Number --- Year --- Change in appointments

    10699 ------------ 1910 --- First 2 point F-4.
    11237 ------------ 1910 --- Last torch and wire peghead inlay.
    16694 ------------ 1912 --- Last 3 point F-4.
    16713 ------------ 1912 --- First red top.
    16718 ------------ 1912 --- Last blonde top.
    26357 ------------ 1914 --- Last black top.

    Others who have additional information are welcome to contribute.
    Actually, the latest 3 pointer I could find was 16694. My error was typographical.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: A little F-4 information

    A little more info:

    The pickguard with the curlicue that wraps around the bridge foot is replaced by the later style without the curlicue around serial number 31000.

    The bridge with the removeable saddles is replaced with what we call the one piece bridge [actually, it's two pieces glued together] around serial number 32000.

    It is not unlikely that these changes occurred gradually over a period of a few weeks rather than overnight. The date would be late 1915 to early 1916.

    The last Handel inlaid tuners are seen around serial number 48401 in late 1918.

    It appears that all of these changes occurred a little earlier on the A-4's.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: A little F-4 information

    Updated:

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post

    My reference for specifications is the Mandolin Archive, and my reference for dates is Spann's Guide to Gibson.

    Serial Number --- Year --- Change in appointments

    10699 ------------ 1910 --- First 2 point F-4.
    11237 ------------ 1910 --- Last torch and wire peghead inlay.
    11694 ------------ 1911 --- Last 3 point F-4.
    16713 ------------ 1912 --- First red top.
    16718 ------------ 1912 --- Last blonde top.
    26357 ------------ 1914 --- Last black top.
    ~31000 ---------- 1915 --- Last "curlicue" pickguard.
    ~32000 ---------- 1915 --- Last bridge with removeable saddles.
    ~48400 ---------- 1918 --- Last Handel inlaid tuners.
    65435 ------------ 1921 --- Adjustable bridge with aluminum saddle.
    68386 ------------ 1921 --- Earliest appearance of a truss rod. This change is introduced gradually.
    ~68400 ---------- 1922 --- Adjustable bridge with ebony saddle.
    69909 ------------ 1922 --- Truss rod becomes standard.
    80033 ------------ 1926 --- Last cam style pickguard clamp.
    Last edited by rcc56; Apr-17-2019 at 4:24pm.

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  11. #9

    Smile Re: A little F-4 information

    Worth noting the difference in fingerboard width. Apart from the narrower fingerboard when the truss rod came along around 1922, I believe that the very early ones had narrower fingerboards as well.

    Many people reckon 1917-1918 to be the best years as the shape was defined, Handel tuner buttons still in use and sunbursts were coming in rather than just shaded tops.

    The F4 is the best looking mandolin of all time in my view. The rope rosette just adds to the uniqueness and also looks good on the A4s.


  12. #10
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    Default Re: A little F-4 information

    My '22 has a truss rod and 1 1/4" nut width. I had an '18 with 1 1/8".
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