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Thread: ebay h1 mandola

  1. #1
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default ebay h1 mandola

    This 1923 mandola doesn't have a fleur de lis, so i am sure it's an H1, not an H2. The number on the label looks like an old-school 1 that could easily be misread.

    Pretty sure at least the tuners and pickguard support are replacements, and the top looks suspicious. and if it really is a sunburst you can't tell from the photos.

    Truss-rodded Gibson mandolas don't come along every day; this one is surely worth some coin but not what the seller is asking.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/11504350323...4AAOSw8jJhZh-v
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    Default Re: ebay h1 mandola

    Yes, it is an H-1. I believe that the tuners and pickguard mounting bracket are from the 1930's. The type of finish checking on the top suggests to me that the top may have been oversprayed with nitrocellulose lacquer a very long time ago, but I can't say for sure.

    I think it not unlikely that the seller looked up the factory order number in Spann's. If it matched a number that was listed as a batch of H-2's, he might have just looked up the specs for that model and copied them into the description. I have seen more than one example of an instrument that was a different model from the one that Spann listed for the number.

    Gibson did make at least a few H-1's with truss rods in the 1920's. I had one on my repair bench a few years back. That one was Sheraton brown and had been owned by two well known players, both of whom are gone now.
    Last edited by rcc56; Oct-13-2021 at 1:59am.

  3. #3

    Default Re: ebay h1 mandola

    As mentioned above, the 1930s hardware suggests a trip back to Kalamazoo which may be when the possible overspray happened. It makes one wonder what the possible repair may have been.

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: ebay h1 mandola

    I sure don't understand why he says it's an H-2 when the label clearly says H-1. Then again, he may have a bit of a problem seeing, as he also says it has a red sunburst finish. Also, the list at Mandolin Archive puts its date at 1924 - in fact, quite possibly Feb. 18, 1924, just before that run of Lloyd-Loar-signed F-5 mandolins. This isn't signed, but maybe that asking price isn't unreasonable after all.

    Oh, and since it "is missing some strings," maybe he can be bargained down a bit.

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    Default Re: ebay h1 mandola

    Those tuners appear to be what Mr Hosetter describes as often seen on Snakehead Juniors here - http://www.lutherie.net/tuner.maintenance.html

    Does anyone else agree that the bridge/saddle doesn’t actually appear wide enough to properly spread the strings across the fingerbouard?

    Something definitely peculiar!

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    Default Re: ebay h1 mandola

    I've never managed to straighten a set of those tuners without breaking them.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: ebay h1 mandola

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    I've never managed to straighten a set of those tuners without breaking them.
    Which, I suppose, raises the question of how they get bent without breaking.
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    Default Re: ebay h1 mandola

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    Which, I suppose, raises the question of how they get bent without breaking.
    “Metal fatigue”. Which reminds me of the bar-man at our resident gig back in the 70s - his real life job was lecturing on metallurgy at a local univrsity. We had many late night conversations about string wear!

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    Default Re: ebay h1 mandola

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    Which, I suppose, raises the question of how they get bent without breaking.
    When they are bent it has to happen suddenly. I have always tried to very carefully bend them back. They always snap off. I just finally stopped trying. Heating them up basically would destroy the button. Maybe it's just me.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  11. #10
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: ebay h1 mandola

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post

    Does anyone else agree that the bridge/saddle doesn’t actually appear wide enough to properly spread the strings across the fingerbouard?
    Yes, the saddle looks too narrow. Possibly a mandolin bridge on a mandola body? The bridge is very worn; it must have been on there for a long time.
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  12. #11
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: ebay h1 mandola

    Wow, the seller actually heeded advice from me and other mando-gadflies, corrected some things about the listing and lowered the price. If I had a nickel for every time that's happened, I still couldn't buy a cup of coffee.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/11504469428...4AAOSw8jJhZh-v
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    Default Re: ebay h1 mandola

    But ain't it wonderful. just a rare sweet thing, when someone not only listens to you, but hears you, and does what you say they should? If I had a nickel for every time that's happened ... well, it's just a good thing I've got a few quarters tucked away for a rainy day.

    At that price, it probably won't stay long, even with its issues. No one said anything about the crazy amount of crazing, but there's also that. Even so, I'm tempted ... but I have to remind myself that I already have a mandola, and it's a 1916 H-2 in much better shape, and it cost me about 1/3 of this one's price. OK, that was 25 or so years ago, but still ... I don't really have a need for one that's not as nice for a lot more.

    He's sticking with the 1923 date, even though the SN is literally five numbers lower than the starting point for the Feb. 18, 1924 run of F-5's. I know FON's are more accurate, but still ...
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  14. #13
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: ebay h1 mandola

    I'm not aware of any significant distinction between a '23 and a '24 H1, so I'll just let that slide. We did discuss the finish crazing a bit; the way it is crazed is what leads to the suspicion that it was oversprayed. I dunno, if I decide I need another project mandola I might take a run at it. I have a '24 H2 and a teens H1 that aren't moving right now, and another teens H1 in the luthier's shop.

    I bought a teens K1 mandocello on eBay this morning that the seller had listed as a '23, but given the incredibly low price he was asking I decided not to make an issue of it.
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  16. #14
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    Default Re: ebay h1 mandola

    An interesting discussion, I love these sleuthing exercises!

    The bridge saddle looks original and correct, it has the right compensation for a mandola.
    Notice that the tuners have been replaced, see the two exposed original mounting holes. If shipped in 1924 this should have earlier tuners with a right-hand worm, AKA, the worm-under style. The tuners currently installed have a left-hand worm which became available in 1925 and although they will tune the normal way are not the correct type. The bent shafts have been commented about.
    Notice also the later guard support bracket using a screw instead of the clamp. This might be original if it shipped in 1925 or perhaps was replaced during a later refurbishment. The finish would have been varnish in 1924 but the pictures indicate a weathered lacquer finish, evidence of possible refinish or overspray.

    Keep those cards and letters coming…

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  17. #15
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: ebay h1 mandola

    Fair enough, here are some photos of a '23 H1 from Charles Johnson that show the same saddle width and spacing:
    http://www.vintagemandolin.com/23gibsonh1_74352.html

    I think the new asking price of $2300 would be fair if one could be sure the instrument didn't have issues and was playable with strings and a basic setup.
    Last edited by mrmando; Oct-15-2021 at 12:49am.
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  18. #16
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: ebay h1 mandola

    Should you be wondering, the seller says there is no case.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Lyon & Healy • Wood • Thormahlen • Andersen • Bacorn • Yanuziello • Fender • National • Gibson • Franke • Fuchs • Aceto • Three Hungry Pit Bulls

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