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Thread: Gibson F4...1924....1925...??

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    Default Gibson F4...1924....1925...??

    I own a Gibson F4 mandolin, serial number 81695. I always thought it was a 1925. When I use the serial number list at the archive, it shows mandolins with higher serial numbers being built in 1924. I am confused...I thought the serial numbers were consecutive...can anyone clear this up for me?

    Thanks!!!

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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F4...1924....1925...??

    Quote Originally Posted by StevanR View Post
    I own a Gibson F4 mandolin, serial number 81695. I always thought it was a 1925. When I use the serial number list at the archive, it shows mandolins with higher serial numbers being built in 1924. I am confused...I thought the serial numbers were consecutive...can anyone clear this up for me?
    The conventional wisdom seems to be the serial number says when your mandolin left the factory (1927?) while the FON is a better indicator of when it was built.
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    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F4...1924....1925...??

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    The conventional wisdom seems to be the serial number says when your mandolin left the factory (1927?) while the FON is a better indicator of when it was built.
    I agree; this "conventional wisdom" (should have) replaced the earlier "traditional estimates" and is based on Joe Spann's thorough research on the matter (published in "Spann's guide to Gibson"). StevanR, you should find the FON ("Factory Order Number") stamped on the neck block.

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F4...1924....1925...??

    But remember, the serial number is sometimes much earlier than the FON. My A Jr. has a 1927 s/n and a 1929 FON.
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    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F4...1924....1925...??

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    But remember, the serial number is sometimes much earlier than the FON. My A Jr. has a 1927 s/n and a 1929 FON.
    Oh, I'm curious, what are the figures?

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F4...1924....1925...??

    Quote Originally Posted by Hendrik Ahrend View Post
    Oh, I'm curious, what are the figures?
    FON 9240 (1929, p. 90 Spann book) s/n 84899 (1927 per Gruhn's Guide 3rd edition p. 168)
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    Default Re: Gibson F4...1924....1925...??

    Spann's book has replaced Gruhn's Guide as the most accurate reference for serial numbers.
    Serial number 84899 is listed as 1929 in Spann's book [page 191].
    Gruhn now uses Spann's book as his reference when he evaluates instruments.

    Using Spann as the most current reference, the build date and shipping date for Eric's mandolin are both 1929.

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    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F4...1924....1925...??

    I would guess it has the Gibson straight across head stock. Not slanted if late twenties.

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    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F4...1924....1925...??

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Spann's book has replaced Gruhn's Guide as the most accurate reference for serial numbers.
    Serial number 84899 is listed as 1929 in Spann's book [page 191].
    Gruhn now uses Spann's book as his reference when he evaluates instruments.

    Using Spann as the most current reference, the build date and shipping date for Eric's mandolin are both 1929.
    Gruhn not only uses Spann's book for reference, he also uses Spann himself for reference as his office is just down the hall from Gruhn.

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    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F4...1924....1925...??

    Quote Originally Posted by StevanR View Post
    I own a Gibson F4 mandolin, serial number 81695. I always thought it was a 1925. When I use the serial number list at the archive, it shows mandolins with higher serial numbers being built in 1924. I am confused...I thought the serial numbers were consecutive...can anyone clear this up for me?

    Thanks!!!
    Controversial I think, but I'm using a hybrid of Joe's dates and some of the loar labels, receipts etc for my archive dates. 81xxx may well have left kalamazoo in the late 20s, though the indications are that they group with the signed loars in construction time. I think Darryl has offered his opinion as well on this period- there was not a lot of production after the crash in the mandolin boom, and things were indeed shipped out later.

    FON helps us see build date. In the busier times, fon and serial correlate a bit better, but when fewer were being made from scratch and there were some long delays in shipping, it feels more useful to date the build time.

    There was a big problem with over-production at Gibson right around the time of the commercial flop of the Loar-signed style 5 series. It took a couple years for those to all filter out before new ones were made again with some changes (lacquer, among others!)
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