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Thread: 1922 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

  1. #1
    Registered User Joe Spann's Avatar
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    Default 1922 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

    To the best of my knowledge there are no surviving Gibson factory documents with production totals for the year 1922. I have produced the following estimated production, using my own private serial number list in which I can document about 380 instruments from the year 1922 (or about 12% of the predicted total 1922 production). I gathered this information over many decades, and from various sources, (e.g. instruments I have personally inspected, information sent to me, internet websites and original Gibson factory documents). Please remember, these are only estimates, based on a reconstruction of 12% of the original data.

    Joe Spann

    A 560 units
    A-Jr 300 units
    A-2 480 units
    A-3 160 units
    A-4 320 units
    F-2 120 units
    F-4 480 units
    F-5 20 units

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  3. #2
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1922 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

    Thanks, Joe! I think my paddlehead A-Jr is probably one of these -- it's serial number 68884, no visible FON, which Dan's site puts into "made 1921" and "shipped 1922", but there are nine instruments with lower serial number listed as "made 1922".

    Martin

  4. #3

    Default Re: 1922 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

    I’m curious about something slightly related. Is there any information on whether Gibson paid attention to the wood quality for the different models? Does an A-4 have better wood selected for it, or is the difference mostly cosmetic? I have a 21 A and a 23 A-2 and they seem very similar in terms of figure etc. I’ve seen more highly figured A-4s, but i don’t know if Gibson just selected those for appearance or if there was an attempt made to grade them for sound potential as well. Thought someone on this thread might know.

  5. #4

    Default Re: 1922 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

    I have a question for Joe- it may be answered in his book but I cannot find it. When did the Gibson label go from proclaiming Gibson Mandolin Guitar Company to Gibson, Inc.?

    I have seen a label for an L-5 with the former style that is numbered 86832, and a Gibson Nick Lucas tenor guitar with the Gibson, Inc. label that is 86815- but that number is lower. The Nick Lucas owner dates it as 1928 but Joe' s info suggests it is 1930- from 85400 onward.

  6. #5
    Registered User Joe Spann's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1922 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    When did the Gibson label go from proclaiming Gibson Mandolin Guitar Company to Gibson, Inc.? I have seen a label for an L-5 with the former style that is numbered 86832, and a Gibson Nick Lucas tenor guitar with the Gibson, Inc. label that is 86815- but that number is lower. The Nick Lucas owner dates it as 1928 but Joe' s info suggests it is 1930- from 85400 onward.
    The "Gibson Mandolin Guitar Company" was re-named "Gibson Inc." in the final quarter of 1923. This name change was initiated by general manager Harry L. Ferris (who also saved the company after the former general manager Lewis Williams nearly drove it into the ground with high-priced Master-Model mandolins in an era when public tastes had shifted away from classical music towards jazz). However, I feel certain that Gibson had a backstock of the older paper labels with "Gibson Mandolin Guitar Company" printed on them which they continued to use for many years. It's unlikely that there is a clean cut-off date for the label switch.

  7. #6
    Registered User Joe Spann's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1922 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramparte View Post
    I'm curious about something slightly related. Is there any information on whether Gibson paid attention to the wood quality for the different models? Does an A-4 have better wood selected for it, or is the difference mostly cosmetic?
    Yes, Gibson definitely graded their wood for use in the various models. The specifications called for an A-4 model to be made with a Gaboon ebony fingerboard of 1st quality, an Oregon spruce top with fairly uniform grain (10 to 12 grains per inch and cut no more than 35 degrees off vertical), and figured birch back and sides. Whereas an A-2 model was to be made with a Gaboon ebony fingerboard of 2nd quality, Oregon spruce top with fairly uniform grain (9 to 11 grains per inch and cut no more than 45 degrees off vertical), and plain birch back and sides. I assume that Oregon spruce is probably a euphemism for Sitka.

  8. #7

    Default Re: 1922 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

    Joe, thank you for that info. As I mentioned, the two labels appear to have coincided in use for a while circa 1930- which suggests that the new labels were printed as the older style stock was running low. Obviously, Gibson had those Nick Lucas labels printed towards the end of the 1920s and had the other new labels printed as well. The tenor guitar I saw did not have the Nick Lucas style label- just the new version of the standard label with Nick Lucas inked in as the model.

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