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Thread: What mandolin is this?

  1. #1

    Default What mandolin is this?

    Supposed to be Gibson A4 serial 14066, but I don’t know....

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  2. #2

    Default Re: What mandolin is this?

    It has Handel tuners and many A4 features but if it was made in 1912 it should not have a truss rod- which may be a later addition- possibly via repair at Gibson, hard to know. The pickguard is also modern and the bridge is probably a replacement. The case is an old G & S and may be original. If it is, it should have a rivet in the middle of the diamond on the case compartment lid- that shows it to be 1922 or earlier- not that it really matters .

    Here's an instrument from the same era: http://www.mandolinarchive.com/gibson/serial/14288

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What mandolin is this?

    According to Spann, 14066 would put its shipping year as 1911 so there’s clearly something amiss. It should have a “Factory Order Number” somewhere towards or on the neck block which should enable a better idea of it’s date to be assessed.

  4. #4
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: What mandolin is this?

    There appears to be a problem with the headstock inlay as well. The binding also looks much newer on the neck. Maybe it was renecked.

    Then again the binding is just as white on the neck on the one Nick linked to in the archive. The headstock inlay should look like this.
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  6. #5

    Default Re: What mandolin is this?

    What’s it’s value assuming no cracks or sinkage? What doesn’t look correct in the inlay?

  7. #6

    Default Re: What mandolin is this?

    The inlay lettering is pretty crude in comparison to the lettering on instrument number 14288 and there is quite a gap between "The" and "Gibson". It is very hard to be specific about value but if an instrument is un-original- even if the repairs are good this cuts the value quite a bit- for better or worse. If it sounds great, plays well and you get it at a very good price, then that's not a problem. However, it may be a problem when you come to sell it as those "flaws" will hit the value.

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    Default Re: What mandolin is this?

    ..

  9. #8
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    Default Re: What mandolin is this?

    The neck has either been re-worked or replaced. The corners of the peghead are cut very sharply, and it looks like there might be double side dots in the fingerboard binding at the 12th fret, which would both be incorrect for the period. We do sometimes see crude pearl work on some 1930's Gibson products.

    The pickguard and bridge are from much later than the 1910's, but look similar to Gibson parts from a later period. The top finish looks a bit shiny for an early teens instrument-- it may have been oversprayed. More pictures would be necessary to assess whether the work might have been done by Gibson, or whether it was done by someone else.

    As far as value, a squeaky clean black early teens A-4 with all the original parts might bring as much as $3000 at a major vintage shop on a good day. This one would more likely bring perhaps half of that, more or less, if the top finish is original and the back finish is original and in pretty good condition.

    So, in a nutshell, the instrument is a re-worked A-4 from 1911 or so.
    Last edited by rcc56; Sep-24-2020 at 11:42am.

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    Default Re: What mandolin is this?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1939Dodge View Post
    ...What doesn’t look correct in the inlay?
    Actually you should be able to see the differences in this image. Note the T and the G. The rest aren't much better. All of the inlay is very rough cut. I just noticed something else as well, I'm going to bet the tuners on the mandolin in question are turning backwards. They are worm over. I've never seen worm over Handel tuners. I would guess they are worm under installed on the wrong side.
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  12. #10
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    Default Re: What mandolin is this?

    I think the value is a bit generous as mentioned above at more or less $1500. I think an all original A-4 would be a decent deal at that price but with the questionable neck (especially if replaced), sloppy amateur inlay, non-original pickguard and bridge and who knows what else (we only see two photos), I would say under $1000 would be more likely. I hate to say this but the only upside would be to sell off the Handel tuners.
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  13. #11

    Default Re: What mandolin is this?

    I saw a 1922 A4 where the headstock inlay The Gibson looked a little bit unlike earlier ones and it definitely is a Gibson. I reckon this one probably had a neck issue with subsequent truss rod installed naybe 1920s and whilst I do think the headstock inlay is a bit crude and un-like Gibson (from my knowledge) it is possible. Be interested to hear ither views.

  14. #12
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: What mandolin is this?

    jimmy: Nah! That is as far off as you can get. The angle is wrong, the thickness, the space between the words and the letters—all wrong. My guess is that someone worked from a photo and may not have been much of a pearl worker anyway. Yes there were variants in the factory folks doing that pearl work (though my hunch is that they had some outside vendors do them in bulk) but that doesn't look like it came from the Gibson factory. If anyone wants to spend a bunch of time combing through the archives and can find a similar logo, feel free.
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    Default Re: What mandolin is this?

    While the pearl work from the 1910's and 1920's varied slightly from example to example, it did not vary radically.

    Except for dot inlays, Gibson did not do their own pearl work in house prior to WWII. Peghead inlays and fancy guitar and banjo fingerboard inlays were installed into head and fingerboard blanks by vendors. The pre-inlaid blanks were then installed on the necks at the Gibson factory.

    Aumann Brothers Pearl of Detroit, MI was their primary supplier through the 1920's. Starting about 1930, much of the pearl work was done by Union Pearl Works of Brooklyn, NY. Later in the 1930's, Howard W. Goff, a former Gibson employee may also have supplied some blanks to the company. My reference is Spann's Guide to Gibson.

    "The quality of Union Pearl Works inlay is generally lower than that of Aumann Brothers and is easily distinguished visually by thicker lines and cruder cuts."-- Spann, pg. 59. - and -

    "It has been speculated that the crudest pearl inlay work seen on Gibson peghead overlays of the late 1930's might have been the work of Howard W. Goff." -- Spann, pg. 60.

    At any rate, the difference between the pearl work of the teens and twenties and the pearl work of later instruments is easy to see by anyone who has inspected a significant number of pre-war Gibson instruments.

    And I can't tell anything without a picture, but it sounds likely that the '22 A-4 that Jimmy is referring to was repaired at some point.
    The work might have been done by an independent repairman, or it may have gone back to Gibson for repair in the 1930's, and either the peghead overlay or the whole neck was replaced at that time. A picture would be helpful.

    And the 1911 A-4 from the original post certainly did not originally leave the factory with that inlay. While it does bear some resemblance to late '30's Gibson factory work, it may very well have been done by an independent repairman. I have not before seen a post 1920's factory repair that included a "The" in the new peghead logo.
    Last edited by rcc56; Sep-28-2020 at 6:34pm.

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    Default Re: What mandolin is this?

    Tuners are also installed as worm over. Don't know about the inlay, but the reversed tuners and phillips screws makes me think this was Gibson factory work in the 1950's or even 1960's. And agree that it was either oversprayed or refinished at the time.

    Look at this thread for a similar reworking - https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...ctory-Revamped
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    Default Re: What mandolin is this?

    Yes the inlay is way later and of the "crude-thicker style!" It may have been re-necked/re-worked! If it is cheap enough it may be a great little player if one likes the oval/round hole sound? Myself I'm an F-hole man!

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    Default Re: What mandolin is this?

    I don't think the inlay work was done at Gibson. I've seen Gibson repairs from later decades and I've never seen anything that crude.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  20. #17
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    Default Re: What mandolin is this?

    Occasionally, I have indeed seen pearl work on '30's Gibson guitars that was factory original and absolutely horrendous. I specifically remember such work on a couple of L-7's that I've seen, a Century of Progress, and even an L-5. It was hard to believe that Gibson would have allowed them leave the factory like that, but they shipped them nevertheless.

    But the thing that makes me question whether the work on the OP's mandolin was done by the factory is not the crude "Gibson"-- I've seen a few guitars that were that crude. But it's the presence of "The" on the logo. It bothers me a lot. All of the Gibson factory-repaired necks that I've seen used whatever logo that was standard at the time of the repair. By the time the sometimes crude, heavy pearl work appeared in Gibson logos, they were no longer using "The." And it is indeed an awful "The."

    Anyway, there's no way to accurately assess the origin of the repair from internet photos. An in-hand inspection would be necessary.
    Last edited by rcc56; Sep-29-2020 at 2:02pm.

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