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Thread: Gibson F5-G with bottom edge damage (need advice Buy or Pass)

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Gibson F5-G with bottom edge damage (need advice Buy or Pass)

    Mandolin Cafe and you all are amazing! What a resource this is. Thanks all for the help!

    Yesterday I pulled the trigger and bought this Gibson F5-G mandolin - I wasn't able to see it in person so I didn't realize it had been dropped. At least the seller fessed up before sending it.

    Visible Damage
    1. Tail piece dent

    Back Edge on Bass Side and up toward Treble Side
    2. Bottom point has a chip
    3. Edge between Back and Sides can be seen


    I need advice on the significance of the damage and whether to Run or negotiate?

    My excitement of having a fine instrument was dashed - made me think of the stories from my brother who would sit at the dinner table and tell us all about the HUGE opportunity of buying a Porsche for CHEAP - only problem was the pre-existing rotting corpse that was removed. I guess this wasn't an uncommon opportunity for young males in the 70's
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    Last edited by Calforester; Sep-22-2021 at 3:08pm. Reason: Damage extends up toward Treble side

  2. #2
    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F5-G with bottom edge damage (need advice Buy or Pass)

    That is damage that needs immediate repair. I'm not a luthier but I have a decent understanding of what their work involves. What I think I see is the joint at the side and back has been broken. This damage will continue to increase if left unrepaired.
    If it were me the only way I'd buy this mandolin is if there was a MAJOR price drop. One that would cover multiple hundreds of dollars likely to be spent repairing it. And you won't know what that is until it's been inspected by a top tier luthier. Plus the value of a damaged and repaired mandolin would be less than a pristine one.

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    Default Re: Gibson F5-G with bottom edge damage (need advice Buy or Pass)

    I paid 3700 for it - the sale was through Reverb so I can back out. He said a shop offered him 2500 but he chose to put it on Reverb to get a higher price. Right the resale value would be affected. The price paid wasn't quite half of a new F5-G. Thanks for the input Argh!

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    Default Re: Gibson F5-G with bottom edge damage (need advice Buy or Pass)

    You didn't say what year the instrument was, but 3700.00 sounds about right for an F5-G in nice shape, but 2500.00 sounds more reasonable considering the damage. If I had it in hand and felt like the damage was primarily cosmetic I might be tempted to keep it at 2500.00. Also would depend on what you are looking for, fine instrument, or good player grade. Only you can make that call.

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    Default Re: Gibson F5-G with bottom edge damage (need advice Buy or Pass)

    This is a custom black top 2011 F5-G signed by Harvey
    Iím looking for a player but definitely donít want it to lose value because of this damage. The price needs to reflect the preexisting condition. $3700 seems way too high.

  8. #6
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F5-G with bottom edge damage (need advice Buy or Pass)

    The tailpiece is an easy fix and shouldn't cause value drop (potentially can increase value if you put a better tailpiece on etc). You could probably do this yourself for under $100 all in. The chip on the point sucks, but isn't really an issue. Wear is part of life and many buyers don't mind scuff marks - some pay more for that actually (just call it a "distressed instrument" when selling haha). You could probably have this repaired, but seems pointless (PUN!) to me.

    The split of the back and side however is serious and, if not repaired, will render the instrument unplayable overtime. Looks like it's just needing to be re-glued which isn't too bad but still will likely be $500+ depending on your luthier. Good thing is there's no binding on that side of the mandolin, which will keep costs a little lower. Also, once repaired, it should be perfectly fine to play since it looks like it just needs to be glued. That said, there may be another issue (like the wood swelling) that caused the split to begin with - which may cost a lot more to fix.

    IMO - $3,700 isn't that bad for an F5 and even with the repair costs it's likely still a good deal as far as F5's go - especially if you like these instruments. I'd show this to your luthier and see what they think it'd cost to fix the splitting (and maybe the other things if you want). If that cost is acceptable, great. If not, return it.
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  9. #7
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    Default Re: Gibson F5-G with bottom edge damage (need advice Buy or Pass)

    The current price for a new F-5G is $6400. GC has at least one in stock.

    Used F-5G's in nice shape appear to have recently sold at listed prices of roughly between $3000 to $4000. Those are listed prices only. There is no way of knowing what the actual selling prices were.

    I can't evaluate the damage from the pictures. They are not clear enough. If a piece of thin paper can be slipped even part way into the joint between the back and side, the instrument will need to be repaired. If it's a simple matter of glueing an open seam with no touch up, it should not be an expensive repair. In my shop, such a repair would be far lower than the $500+ quoted earlier if there is no other damage. But if you want touch up, and/or want the missing chip replaced, and/or there are any loose or broken linings inside, that's another story.

    Your call. If you're going to return, return now. If you wait even a couple of days, reverb might not back you up.

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    Default Re: Gibson F5-G with bottom edge damage (need advice Buy or Pass)

    I'm no expert in repair. But I would not buy an instrument with that level of damage until I was able to have a competent repair person give me an assessment. I wouldn't mind some scratches and dings if I was looking for the best price. Structural damage, on the other hand, is a much more serious issue.

    Another point to consider would be if you thought you might want to sell it in the future. An instrument that's been damaged is always harder to sell, IMHO, even if the selling price reflects the damage. Your own questioning of the sale illustrates this point.
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  13. #9

    Default Re: Gibson F5-G with bottom edge damage (need advice Buy or Pass)

    Sometimes an open seam, even if invisible, can be picked up by thumping the area with a knuckle. It will buzz or just sound different than a tight seam. Worked pretty well on a cello I unaccountably bought couple of years ago.

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  15. #10

    Default Re: Gibson F5-G with bottom edge damage (need advice Buy or Pass)

    $3700 would be close to the top for a F5G in really good shape with no issues. Did the seller disclose this in the ad or after the fact? If he was not upfront it would go back, period. I agree with the above that the price needs to reflect the damage to the instrument. You will also have a harder time selling it down the road and any buyer will also deduct for damage repaired or not. For that price you can do better.

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    Default Re: Gibson F5-G with bottom edge damage (need advice Buy or Pass)

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    The current price for a new F-5G is $6400. GC has at least one in stock.

    Used F-5G's in nice shape appear to have recently sold at listed prices of roughly between $3000 to $4000. Those are listed prices only. There is no way of knowing what the actual selling prices were.

    I can't evaluate the damage from the pictures. They are not clear enough. If a piece of thin paper can be slipped even part way into the joint between the back and side, the instrument will need to be repaired. If it's a simple matter of glueing an open seam with no touch up, it should not be an expensive repair. In my shop, such a repair would be far lower than the $500+ quoted earlier if there is no other damage. But if you want touch up, and/or want the missing chip replaced, and/or there are any loose or broken linings inside, that's another story.

    Your call. If you're going to return, return now. If you wait even a couple of days, reverb might not back you up.
    Sorry about the photos - I haven't received the mandolin these are screen shots from the video the seller sent me last night. I've asked that the sale be canceled since the damage wasn't described or photographed before I paid for it.

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    Default Re: Gibson F5-G with bottom edge damage (need advice Buy or Pass)

    Thanks - the seller didn't describe the damage but he also didn't send it out before letting me know about it. I canceled the sale.

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    Default Re: Gibson F5-G with bottom edge damage (need advice Buy or Pass)

    i'd pass, restart the hunt again, fresh. wouldn't be stuff i'd want to deal with and think about going forward related to my first fine mandolin. and it will always have those scars and affect re-sale. my take. . .

    - - - Updated - - -

    'doh. just saw your post that you had already canceled. . .
    Last edited by Luna Pick; Sep-22-2021 at 9:29pm.

  20. #14
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    Question Re: Gibson F5-G with bottom edge damage (need advice Buy or Pass)

    IDK, from the pics, might not be a bound back , just the joining of the Maple back to the maple sides..

    A have a Birch Backed A from /22 with only the top edge bound .. My A40 was a top bound edge only too.

    You would have to push on it, to see if the seam was unglued.
    re gluing the seam is a reasonable repair..

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  21. #15
    Registered User mingusb1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson F5-G with bottom edge damage (need advice Buy or Pass)

    I would highly recommend posting this in the builders and repair section of the forum. You're likely to get good info on repair needs/costs very quickly.

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    Z
    Member since 2003!

  22. #16

    Default Re: Gibson F5-G with bottom edge damage (need advice Buy or Pass)

    Agree with Luna Pick above.

    IF you can back out, DO SO.
    Then look elsewhere.
    This one looks like it's been dropped.

    There are better fish in the sea (at least ones that don't require repair)...

    Shame on the seller for not making full disclosure beforehand.

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