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Thread: Gibson Army Navy (Reissue) AN Custom (mid-90s)

  1. #1

    Default Gibson Army Navy (Reissue) AN Custom (mid-90s)

    Greetings. I'm new to the Mandolin Cafe and new to mandolin. This is my first post.

    I've played guitar and dabbled in banjo for years but have never owned a mandolin until one week ago when I spotted a Gibson Army Navy AN-Custom reissue from the mid 1990s at a local guitar show. I looked at it for a few minutes, told the seller I needed to think about it, and walked away to do some Googling. I was kind of surprised at how little information there was about these Montana made pancake reissues from the mid-90s. But seeing "The Gibson" inlay on the headstock, the super clean condition of it, I went for it kind of blindly and left with my very first mandolin.

    I had actually never even heard the term "pancake" or "army navy" used to describe a mandolin until I Googled this one. Up until then I thought there were only 2 kinds of mandolins: A-style and F style

    So far I am thoroughly enjoying my first mandolin. However, if the right F-style comes along I don't know that I'll be able to resist. I recorded Bill Monroe: Father of Bluegrass off PBS back in the mid-90s, watched it dozens of times, and have loved the look of a well worn F-style ever since.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Army Navy (Reissue) AN Custom (mid-90s)

    Congratulations! And welcome to the cafe! Nice looking back on that thing
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    "Imagine life without mandolin. Now slap yourself! Never do it again!" -Gunnar Salyer

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  4. #3
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Army Navy (Reissue) AN Custom (mid-90s)

    Those were a limited run. Not sure of the total number but it’s fairly low. Nice score!

  5. #4

    Default Re: Gibson Army Navy (Reissue) AN Custom (mid-90s)

    That's super interesting. I has no idea any of the Flatiron pancake/Army-Navy builds were labeled as "Gibson Reissue" instruments, or even customs.

    The pancakes are surprisingly loud, and have served me well.

    I still have my original Flatiron Mandola that I bought new back in the '80s, and recently had my stolen Flatiron Scout mandola recovered by the police and returned to me. I've played both a bunch, and think you'll really love that instrument.

    But... I've bought more than one pancake mandolin of various makes (really, Kentucky?), and think that's a cool build. If you decide it'a not your thing, let me know.

    Cheers!

  6. #5
    Registered User J.C. Bryant's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Army Navy (Reissue) AN Custom (mid-90s)

    Great little mandolin! You will love it and it will give more sound that you would think possible from such a small instrument! Great find!!

  7. #6
    Registered User T.D.Nydn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Army Navy (Reissue) AN Custom (mid-90s)

    Those look like great mandolins,they don't come up for sale very often..I've always liked the Gibson A/N customs and wouldn't mind one myself.

  8. #7
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Army Navy (Reissue) AN Custom (mid-90s)

    One of my friends had an olive drab painted .. originals.. as I recall.. 30 years ago..
    writing about music
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  9. #8
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Army Navy (Reissue) AN Custom (mid-90s)

    Flatiron and Gibson collided for a brief moment in time in Montana. Very nice. I wonder if they were trying to get rid of the necks body parts that were left over from the Flatiron inventory? Bruce Weber or Steve Carlson might know.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  10. #9
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Army Navy (Reissue) AN Custom (mid-90s)

    I did find a reference somewhere that only 8 of these mandolins were made with Gibson (rather than Flatiron) branding and presented to various world leaders at the G7 summit in Houston in 1990. A few years later Gibson had Chinese made pancake mandolins for sale at the shopfront/factory in the Opry Mills mall in Nashville, before that got flooded, as tourist souvenirs.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Gibson Army Navy (Reissue) AN Custom (mid-90s)

    Back when I was in high school 35+ years ago an acquaintance had an original Gibson Army-Navy mandolin that needed some work. I hoped to purchase it and get it fixed professionally but ended up doing some repairs for him. I'm sure my repairs didn't do much towards improving it. What I liked about it was that it had an anchor carved on the back with ship name, years aboard (WWI era) and I believe the seaman's name. I really liked the history on that one.

    Jim

  12. #11

    Default Re: Gibson Army Navy (Reissue) AN Custom (mid-90s)

    Thanks for the warm welcome and the great info. I really do appreciate it. Here's a photo of the Gibson sticker from inside the mandolin.

    A couple of people have mentioned that it's surprisingly loud. I would agree, but with that said, I don't have a lot of mandolin experience to compare to but I'm very happy with it. (Apologies--I can't figure out why I can't get photos to upload with the correct orientation.)

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  13. #12
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Army Navy (Reissue) AN Custom (mid-90s)

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham McDonald View Post
    ... A few years later Gibson had Chinese made pancake mandolins for sale at the shopfront/factory in the Opry Mills mall in Nashville, before that got flooded, as tourist souvenirs.
    I owned one of those before I knew what they were back in my instrument flipping days. I think they might have been making those dogs locally, they were painting them locally. Mine was red because the woman that bought it asked them to make her one. Big Joe Vest mentioned that they were not covered by the Gibson warrantee because they weren't Gibson's but they had no problem screwing a truss rod cover off an Epiphone that was labeled Gibson to the headstock. There wasn't a truss rod underneath it. They were dogs, they really weren't playable. I lost money on that one.
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Sep-30-2019 at 8:33am.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  14. #13
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Army Navy (Reissue) AN Custom (mid-90s)

    I have one of these, dated 1987, signed by Steve Carlson, Serial #7001128. When John Bernunzio sold it to me, he said it was made for Lou Catello, who was a Gibson dealer in NH -- Catello & Sons Music, 680 Glen Ave., Berlin NH. In fact, "L Catello" is written inside with a Sharpie. Capello & Sons was supposedly one of those "everything" stores where you could buy a guitar, or a boat, or a chain saw; they're listed as selling boats and musical instruments.

    The AN-Custom, as it's labeled, is a very nice instrument indeed, with highly figured maple neck, back and sides, the A-3 vine inlay on the headstock, gold-plated hardware, and a close-grained, shaded spruce top. It's a long way from the utilitarian Army-Navy Specials of the WWI era. Mine has one prong broken off the tailpiece, and the gold plating on the tailpiece cover severely worn, otherwise in good shape. It's one of my more frequently-used instruments.
    Allen Hopkins
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  15. #14
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Army Navy (Reissue) AN Custom (mid-90s)

    Love it!

    Cool mandolin!

    f-d
    ˇpapá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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