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Thread: Bridge type on 1926 paddle A4 mandolin?

  1. #1

    Default Bridge type on 1926 paddle A4 mandolin?

    Hi everyone,
    So.. a customer has come through with the above instrument in Black. It has a fairly normal looking thumbwheel bridge on it, but in some photos I've just been looking at the same instrument has a non-adjustable type bridge with what appears to be a removable saddle(?) Is that what they had from factory? The customer has asked for me to make a new guard (there is nothing on there atm) and make a new bridge. Problem is, I'm not sure what the factory bridge is now :P
    Does anyone here know? I'd love to get it right if possible.
    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Default Re: Bridge type on 1926 paddle A4 mandolin?

    I’m pretty certain (what do I know?!) that an A4 from the 20s would have had an adjustable bridge. My ‘14 A came with the solid bridge with removable saddles included in the case and I think they stopped doing those not long afterwards. My ‘24 A1 snakehead has the adjustable bridge so I’m sure the ‘26 you have would have but, with the general inconsistencies at Gibson, who knows? You might like to check out the Mandolin Archive. http://www.mandolinarchive.com

  3. #3

    Default Re: Bridge type on 1926 paddle A4 mandolin?

    The adjustable bridge was a Gibson innovation from the early 1920s. Here are two which I assume are original but bridges can easily go walkabout over time. You can search this archive for more examples to make comparisons and before a certain date the original bridges are not adjustable. Have you checked the date using the serial number if it is legible? Sometimes the date stated is not accurate- people like to "age" their instruments!

    http://www.mandolinarchive.com/gibson/serial/82620

    http://www.mandolinarchive.com/gibson/serial/81564

  4. #4
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: Bridge type on 1926 paddle A4 mandolin?

    Check your serial number. A factory original black finish and one piece bridge with removable saddles would be typical of an A-4 made before 1915; along with inlaid tuner buttons and no truss rod.

    Virtually all A-4's from the 1920's had sunburst finishes, and plain tuner buttons. A 1926 model would also have an adjustable bridge and a truss rod.

    If you can post a picture of the instrument, we should be able to tell whether it was made in the 1920's or in the 1910's.
    Last edited by rcc56; Jun-04-2021 at 12:27pm.

  5. #5
    Registered User
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    Default Re: Bridge type on 1926 paddle A4 mandolin?

    That makes sense. Whilst you’re at it, have a look for the Factory Order Number which should be stamped inside - somewhere on or near the neck block.

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