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Thread: New Mandolin day! Help IDing vintage Gibson mandolin

  1. #1
    Registered User John Duncan's Avatar
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    Default New Mandolin day! Help IDing vintage Gibson mandolin

    Howdy yall! I feel lucky to be the new owner of this mandolin. I know the title of the youtube is cheeky

    https://www.youtube.com/shorts/xGWJiOwsHIY

    It is serial 85442 and FON is 9503. I'm looking for more info on the mandolin. It came with an interesting case that has some old lettering on it. The initials are WBT and the bigger lettering might be C, W, O, O??

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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Mandolin day! Help IDing vintage Gibson mandolin

    I’d estimate a ~1927 build and ~1929-30 delivery based on comps in the archives. Somebody with a copy of Spann’s guide handy might be able to dial it in more precisely.

    http://www.mandolinarchive.com/perl/...olins.pl?a:15:
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: New Mandolin day! Help IDing vintage Gibson mandolin

    According to Spann, both the serial number and factory order number correspond with 1930.
    If it has a bound back, it is an A-1. If not, it is a plain A.

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    Registered User John Duncan's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Mandolin day! Help IDing vintage Gibson mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    According to Spann, both the serial number and factory order number correspond with 1930.
    If it has a bound back, it is an A-1. If not, it is a plain A.
    Thank you! No binding on the back so it must be an A.
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    Default Re: New Mandolin day! Help IDing vintage Gibson mandolin

    WBT is a clear channel radio station in Charlotte, NC. When I lived in southern New England, I consistently picked up their AM signal at night.

    Clear channel stations such as WBT, WCYB, WLS, and WSM, along with XET and XERA in Mexico, blanketed the eastern half of the US with live country music for many decades. It has been said that the signal from XERA [which was not subject to the 50,000 watt limit that was eventually imposed in the US] was so powerful that you could pick up a broadcast on a wire fence.

    Performers included nearly all of the important names in early country music-- Carter Family, Blue Sky Boys, the Monroe Brothers, Roy Acuff, etc., just to name a very few. These and many others made a significant part of their living playing live radio shows, both on clear channel stations and stations with a smaller range. "Transcription" recordings were made of some of these broadcasts. Among those that are available are quite a few by the Carter Family and some by the Blue Sky Boys.

    Perhaps someone might be able to figure out if "C W O" corresponds to the initials of a former owner of your mandolin who performed on WBT.

    Off the top of my head, I know of at least two living musicians who performed on clear channel radio stations: Jesse McReynolds, and Norman Blake.

    I believe that WSM still broadcasts the Grand Ole Opry live.
    Last edited by rcc56; May-25-2022 at 1:44am.

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    Default Re: New Mandolin day! Help IDing vintage Gibson mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    If it has a bound back, it is an A-1. If not, it is a plain A.
    I thought A's had plain headstocks. Did that change in the later years?

    Oh, and - where and when in southern NE were you? That's my old stomping grounds, too. I also had some experiences with pulling in faraway stations, depending on weather. I remember listening to CKLW from Windsor Ontario - across the lake from Detroit.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: New Mandolin day! Help IDing vintage Gibson mandolin

    Side comment (not trying to hijack, honest!):

    rcc56:
    Thanks for mentioning the "clear channel" radio stations. I was aware of the night-time phenomena (mostly driving NY-to-FL in the mid-60s), but had no idea that there was governmental or inter-station cooperation involved to ensure such long-range broadcasts. Thank you!

    Add'l side comment for you young'uns... under 60 or so:
    In my recollection, it was 1968 that WCBS-FM, in NYC, began playing rock music, and gave most folks any reason to try that "FM" switch on some radios. A major stand-out for me was attending their live "1st Anniversay Concert" in '69: The Doors, Richie Havens, Janis Ian, and (my then favorite) The Blues Project. Strangely, looking on-line now, I find NO reference to that change in format and/or the concert; time starts when they went to the current oldies format in '72.

    Hijack ends here. Sorry!
    Last edited by EdHanrahan; May-25-2022 at 11:32am. Reason: grammar!
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    Default Re: New Mandolin day! Help IDing vintage Gibson mandolin

    I was in Rhode Island from 1979 through 1981.
    WBT had a late night classical radio show in those days.
    I would dial them in at bedtime.
    It was the only classical music I could pick up.

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    Default Re: New Mandolin day! Help IDing vintage Gibson mandolin

    WBT had a house band called the Briar Hoppers. Plenty of info about them on the web. Might give you a lead on the initials

    Adam

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    Default Re: New Mandolin day! Help IDing vintage Gibson mandolin

    Yeah, I'm pretty much from RI, too. I used to be able to pull in a station from NYC with an incredible blues show on Saturday nights, and the DJ, Mae something-or-other, had the most smoky, sultry voice ever, and an intense, intensive, intuitive feel for the blues. Her shows were setlists from Blues Central, right from the source. Wonderful stuff.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: New Mandolin day! Help IDing vintage Gibson mandolin

    What's up with the truss rod cover?
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
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    Default Re: New Mandolin day! Help IDing vintage Gibson mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    What's up with the truss rod cover?
    No idea. Seems like the center of it was removed and there's a little piece of brown paper in the middle. I'm thinking about getting a pearl and abalone truss rod cover made. Maybe something that evokes the style of the 30s?
    My Youtube Channel: http://bit.ly/1F9sJ8G

  17. #13

    Default Re: New Mandolin day! Help IDing vintage Gibson mandolin

    I wonder if that truss rod cover has had a piece cut out and a photo inserted behind it- a sweetheart or a motif of some kind to personalise the mandolin- or some other info. This would predate the "guitar plak" one of which can be seen at the bottom of the content at this link:
    http://www.scottymoore.net/epm_prop60sSG.html

    I think the case is fibreboard as opposed to chipboard- a stronger version of the cheap case option and I have one that looks very similar that my 1936 Wards Model 1642- the Wards version of the Gibson A-50 came in. Still plenty of room for the mandolin to rattle around in just the same- but possibly a little stronger.

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    Default Re: New Mandolin day! Help IDing vintage Gibson mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    WBT is a clear channel radio station in Charlotte, NC. When I lived in southern New England, I consistently picked up their AM signal at night.

    Clear channel stations such as WBT, WCYB, WLS, and WSM, along with XET and XERA in Mexico, blanketed the eastern half of the US with live country music for many decades. It has been said that the signal from XERA [which was not subject to the 50,000 watt limit that was eventually imposed in the US] was so powerful that you could pick up a broadcast on a wire fence.
    XERF was our station growing up in TX. Supposedly at 250K watts. I think we picked it up off my meemaw's dentures when she was snoring.

    Country Jesus, hillbilly blues. That's where I got my licks.

    While they aimed North, folks in Mexico heard a lot of that country music, too. El Gato Negro sure did.

    Mick

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    Default Re: New Mandolin day! Help IDing vintage Gibson mandolin

    I think the case is fibreboard as opposed to chipboard-
    The case appears to be a UTILITY brand case by Geib & Schaefer. They appeared about 1926 and were the first side-opening "chipboard" cases. They were a nice quality case with genuine leather edging and leather handle. Like the previous end-opening CANVAS cases, they were made of "Strawboard" which is a form of chipboard containing straw to give it extra strength. So, it's not fibreboard (which is rubberized cardboard), but correct that it's stronger than the later chipboard cases. Utility cases disappear from Gibson catalogs about 1936. There should be a Utility trademark stamp on the bottom.
    Steve
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