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Thread: Gibson 5-string mandolin oddity on eBay

  1. #1
    Registered User tonydxn's Avatar
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    Default Gibson 5-string mandolin oddity on eBay

    Gibson mandolin body with a five-string banjo neck. Looks as if it's been rather sadly treated but not beyond redemption.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/153704631441?ul_noapp=true

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Mandolins: Bandolim by Antonio Pereira Cabral
    German flatback by unknown maker converted from a descant Waldzither

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  3. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson 5-string mandolin oddity on eBay

    Wow. There were American makers that made some odd bodied 5 string instruments but not Gibson as far as I know. Somebody went to a whole lot of trouble on that one.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  4. #3

    Default Re: Gibson 5-string mandolin oddity on eBay

    weird.....

  5. #4
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson 5-string mandolin oddity on eBay

    Amazing -- like the Pollman instruments but with a carved-top mandola body. What does the label say, if anything? It's the "lyre" label which would make it early (Gruhn says 1902-08), assuming that it's not a copied label.

    My guess would be a conversion; the neck doesn't look pre-19-teens, there's no headstock logo, the block inlays on the fingerboard don't look like anything Gibson was doing a century ago. I'd love to see what was done to retrofit the neck to the Gibson body.

    C'mon, somebody, jump on this one to satisfy our curiosity! Bidding's less than $200 now, mere pocket change...inquiring minds want to know!
    Allen Hopkins
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  7. #5
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson 5-string mandolin oddity on eBay

    The South Jersey pickguard shape would make it an early body as well, although it looks like that was replaced and possibly enhanced. There's no way that it left the factory the first time looking like that.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  8. #6
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    Default Re: Gibson 5-string mandolin oddity on eBay

    The instrument has been re-necked. The current neck was not made by Gibson.

  9. #7
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson 5-string mandolin oddity on eBay

    I agree with rcc56. This was definitely aftermarket modification. Neck is not made by Gibson and probably was made much later, even 1940s-60s (guess). Take a look at the joint backview:

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    As the seller notes:
    Quite the odd duck here. 1910 or so Gibson body with a 5 string banjo neck. Plays nice. Sounds good too! The neck is straight and true. It looks to be refinished.....it is what it is. Fun!
    Jim

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  10. #8

    Default Re: Gibson 5-string mandolin oddity on eBay

    It is actually getting bids............!

    NFI

  11. #9
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson 5-string mandolin oddity on eBay

    Yes that's a re-neck job and why unless original neck was busted! It looks like an early Mandocello body. The body is an oldie but goodie though, pre 1910, I see potential in it for a resto if bought cheap enough.
    I'd go 8 string mandocello neck if I won it but don't believe I want this, too many projects already but sure do love the "ugly unwanted needing help" instruments

  12. #10
    Registered User Dusepo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson 5-string mandolin oddity on eBay

    These are called banjolas, I think - banjo necks on mandola bodies.

    Here's a picture of one built as such (instead of a conversion like this):
    I am a luthier specialising in historical and world stringed instruments. You can see more info at my website.

  13. #11
    Registered User Martin Ohrt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson 5-string mandolin oddity on eBay

    The neck reminds me of the neck on my 60s Vega Banjo...
    Mandolins: 1920s (?) Meinel & Herold Bowlback, 2006 Furch "Redwood MA-1" A5

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  14. #12
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson 5-string mandolin oddity on eBay

    I have both a c. 1900 Pollman "Mandoline Banjo" and a modern Gold Tone "banjola," both mandola bodies with five-string banjo necks. Difference from this one is that this is a carved Gibson mandola (I'd guesstimate, rather than mandocello) body, whereas the others are flat-tops.

    Based on my experience with the two I have, this could be an interesting instrument "as is," rather than re-converting it back to some sort of mandolin. My interest doesn't extend far enough to want to purchase it, but if a Cafe member does, I'd love to hear what he/she does with it.

    Bidding at $300, six days left...
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  15. #13

    Default Re: Gibson 5-string mandolin oddity on eBay

    might be worth bidding for body alone, then retro fit a bouzouki neck. or could that neck be truned into a zouk??

  16. #14
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson 5-string mandolin oddity on eBay

    Given the size of the body and soundhole relative to the talipiece base, isn't this a mandocello body we're looking at? Proportions don't seem right for a mandolin or mandola body.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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  17. #15
    Registered User tonydxn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson 5-string mandolin oddity on eBay

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    Given the size of the body and soundhole relative to the talipiece base, isn't this a mandocello body we're looking at? Proportions don't seem right for a mandolin or mandola body.
    I believe so. Listing says it's a K1 mandocello.
    Mandolins: Bandolim by Antonio Pereira Cabral
    German flatback by unknown maker converted from a descant Waldzither

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