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Thread: New acquisition

  1. #1

    Default New acquisition

    I just purchased this Mandolin. It痴 supposed to be a 1917 A3. Does that sound right. Any useful information would be greatly appreciated. I知 taking it to my Luthier next week for setup. I知 hoping it makes a great player.

    Thank you
    Joe
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  3. #2
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: New acquisition

    So what's the serial number on the label -- or the factory order number, often readable through the soundhole, on the neck block?

    Looks like a pre-truss-rod A-3, minus its pickguard, and with post-Handel tuners. Bridge seems of later vintage, but I'm not Gibson-expert enough to tell.
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  4. #3
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: New acquisition

    I can’t recall if the blonde A-3s have different rosettes than the white-faced ones. I am on my phone so I don’t see large pics but it looks like back is either refinished or oversprayed. I wondered if it was a white-face also refinished hence my first statement. Maybe, maybe not.

    In any case, it could be a very nice player. I have liked many of the A-3s I have played. My first Gibson was a 1919 A-3 and it sounded better to me than all the other As at Mandolin Brothers at that time — late 1970s.
    Jim

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  5. #4
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: New acquisition

    Looks like an A-3 with a bunch of finish work? Also it looks like tortoise top binding? Is that correct? Gibson sporadically in the late teens and more so in the 20's used tortoise binding on mainly F-2's and it was on the back, don't believe I've seen it used on the top so this A-3 may have been redone in the early 20's? I'm not up on my oval/round hole Gibson's however!

  6. #5

    Default Re: New acquisition

    Thank you for the replies. I could not make out the numbers on the label. Although there is a real cool sticker on the case. I値l post a picture on a new thread.

  7. #6
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: New acquisition

    Quote Originally Posted by Jomamma View Post
    Thank you for the replies. I could not make out the numbers on the label. Although there is a real cool sticker on the case. I’ll post a picture on a new thread.
    You don't need a new thread. Post anything here. Factory order number also called FON (as Allen noted) is usually stamped on the neck block. If you look inside the sound hole you should see it. That will be best for dating.
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  8. #7
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: New acquisition

    OK. I don't know if this is definitive or not. Of the images I can see from the Archives, it looks like the white face ones have the wide ivoroid in the rosette whereas the orangey ones have more of a herringbone. Two examples:

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    So it may be possible that this was originally a whiteface A-3.
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  9. #8

    Default Re: New acquisition

    Aha! Nice work Jim. I was wondering about that rosette, no stamp on headstock, i’ll keep looking for other numbers. I’ve been wanting one of these for a while. I can’t wait to start playing.

    Thank you
    Joe

  10. #9
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: New acquisition

    Joe: the stamp would be on the neck block inside the mandolin. In that era they didn't stamp any numbers on the headstock.

    Not easy to do but here is a shot into the soundhole of my 23 A2. You can see a stamped number on the neck block inside the mandolin.

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  11. #10
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    Default Re: New acquisition

    This is an A-3, most likely built between 1918 and 1921. The instrument has had significant finish work, but it is hard to judge the specifics without clearer pictures.

    From what I can see, I will guess that the back, the neck, and possibly the peghead have been over-sprayed; and that the top has been stripped and refinished. The black soundhole binding ring suggests that the instrument was probably shipped with the "ivory" top finish.

    The bridge and the tortoise top binding are not original to the instrument.

    Have your luthier check that the top brace is securely glued. The brace on old A models frequently come loose.
    I wish you many years of enjoyment from your new mandolin.

  12. #11
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: New acquisition

    I don't know why the OP decided to post this closeup photo on new thread.

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  13. #12

    Default Re: New acquisition

    It looks like the numbers inside are: 12326
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  14. #13
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: New acquisition

    Looks more like 11386 to my foggy brain. If that is the number it is a 1921 FON that isn't in Spann's book.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: New acquisition

    Check the number again. 12326 does not fit any Gibson numbering series for the period.

    Spann does list a batch of A-3's with the number 11326 in the year of 1920.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: New acquisition

    Hard to see,but looks like 17326
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  17. #16

    Default Re: New acquisition

    I love people buying this type of instrument. Much of the above advice is sound, and I have no doubt it can provide you a great deal of pleasure. You have what we'd call a player, and after all, that is why you bought it. Optimize the setup and enjoy it.
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  18. #17

    Default Re: New acquisition

    I don't think A3s had Handel tuners. Only F2, F4 and A4 as far as I know. On that subject lots of people used to say the Handel tuners were German but The Gibson Mandolin book published last year says they were made in St Louis.

    QUOTE=Br1ck;1755562]I love people buying this type of instrument. Much of the above advice is sound, and I have no doubt it can provide you a great deal of pleasure. You have what we'd call a player, and after all, that is why you bought it. Optimize the setup and enjoy it.[/QUOTE]

  19. #18
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: New acquisition

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmy powells View Post
    I don't think A3s had Handel tuners. Only F2, F4 and A4 as far as I know. On that subject lots of people used to say the Handel tuners were German but The Gibson Mandolin book published last year says they were made in St Louis.
    From the archives:


    Looks like the last A3s with Handel tuners were earlier in the teens. BTW which Gibson book are you referring to that said the Handel tuners or the buttons were made in St. Louis?
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  20. #19
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: New acquisition

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    From the archives:


    Looks like the last A3s with Handel tuners were earlier in the teens. BTW which Gibson book are you referring to that said the Handel tuners or the buttons were made in St. Louis?
    Paul Fox's book. Page 54. Although it states the Louis Handel company was based in New York City instead of St. Louis.
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  21. #20
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: New acquisition

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    Paul Fox's book. Page 54. Although it states the Louis Handel company was based in New York City instead of St. Louis.
    That is what I thought. I was obsessed about finding the origin of those buttons but AFAIK Louis Handel makes the most sense according to some of the vintage experts I contacted. There was a thread back in 2006 in which I posited that the Louis Handel made them. I think that is where Paul got the info. I contacted some folks back then and reported on the thread starting at this link.
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  23. #21

    Default Re: New acquisition

    Yeah thanks folks re Louis Handel Company on New York. I just remembered the Louis bit and got mixed up. I didn't know the early A3s had Handel buttons.

  24. #22

    Default Re: New acquisition

    Thank you everyone for sharing your expertise. I took it to the luthier, has a top brace that needs glued and might need refretted. He said the top has flattened out a little bit. He is going to try dry-clamping for a while to try to get the shape back. Otherwise he said the back would have to come off, and he doesn’t really want to do that.
    Anyway i’m All in with this puppy.

    Thanks again
    Joe

  25. #23

    Default Re: New acquisition

    I wanted to update everyone on my mandolin. I got it back yesterday and after about $400 of repair it plays and sounds fantastic. It had a loose brace and needed a fret job. The top had to be clamped for a few weeks. I was nervous buying the thing but I'm glad I did. What a sound and what a great feel!!

    Thanks everyone
    Joe

  26. #24

    Default Re: New acquisition

    Thanks for spending the money to revive an old Gibson.
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