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Thread: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

  1. #1
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    It sez mandolin, but that's a mandola fretboard extension for sure.

    https://www.guitarcenter.com/Used/In...n-117849803.gc

    Not a bad deal for an H1 if you can live with "extra screw holes in the top."
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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    Yeah, I wondered when someone else was going to spot this.

    I noticed it about 10 days ago. I considered taking a look to see whether it's worth making a replica bridge and guard for it, doing any necessary fret and setup work, and putting it up for resale. But GC is 45 miles round trip for me, and with $5 gas and $6 chicken and stew meat, I decided it's not worth my while to spend $12 in gas and 3 hours of my time to order it and find out what the top and back look like. That amount of time and money will provide me with dinner for several days.

    If it's not too beat up, it would be worth the effort. If it's all scratched up, it's not worth my time to look at it. Since I'm on a budget right now, I just don't feel inclined to take any gambles.

    If GC had taken just one clear picture of the front and one of the back, they might have made a sale.

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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    Between just one photo that doesn't enlarge and the following as the entire description, they're not trying very hard to sell it:

    Missing pickguard, Additional screw holes on top
    Made In: United States. This product comes with a case.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    Guitar Center has been operating in the red for years. They accrued $1 billion in debt and went through bankruptcy in 2020.
    They've been propped up by various management and investment groups for a decade.
    A day may come when these companies no longer want the tax write-off. If that time comes, Gibson will be in a heckuva mess.

  6. #5
    Registered User Steve 2E's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post

    Not a bad deal for an H1 if you can live with "extra screw holes in the top."
    I couldn't zoom in enough to really see the top, but if someone was interested they could call the store and request more pictures. I've done that in the past at GC and the stores I've contacted have been willing to help.

  7. #6
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    Between just one photo that doesn't enlarge and the following as the entire description, they're not trying very hard to sell it
    They never try very hard to sell used mandolins, but some of them sell regardless.

    There's a 2014 Arnold Cross F style listed for $2K, which is what Arnold charges for a new one.
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  8. #7

    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    They never try very hard to sell used mandolins, but some of them sell regardless.
    I've found that Guitar Center's "lack of trying" sometimes results in a bargain, if you have the time to pursue it. Just as often, it is easy to find used items they have overpriced, IMHO.

    Believe it or not, I've also done well selling to GC if you can find the right salesman to deal with and keep going back to him. Their policy is they pay 60 percent of their normal selling price on used name brand instruments, such as Gibson, Martin, Fender, etc. They can easily be pushed to 70 percent if the item is clean. The beauty of their system is first, the salesman doesn't care and has no stake in the transaction other than a weekly paycheck. Secondly, their used selling prices are easily found on their website. I print out similar instruments to the one I am selling to show them their prices, so THEY don't have to research it. Needless to say, there is quite a variation in their pricing and I print out the highest ones to use for comparison (to the one I'm selling.) I've found that 70 percent of their highest used list prices is about what I would get on eBay, minus fees, etc. -- plus you can sell it today and eliminate the need for shipping and the possibility of dealing with a return, so for me, it works for certain items.

    I've also sold vintage instruments to them using the same strategy, but the vintage item must be cleared through their vintage department in Hollywood by emailing pictures and waiting for an offer -- which only takes a few minutes and often works to your advantage, since their offer is based on pictures rather than an in-hand judgement. The local salesman always defers to the vintage departments opinion. I've found vintage item can be pushed beyond the 60-70 percent range. And, again, items that would take months to sell myself online waiting for the right buyer can be sold today while you wait. YMMV.

    I think this is part of the reason than instruments with "issues" often end up at GC. Logic goes something like this....selling a vintage 70's Martin guitar that is borderline needing a neckset. I paid $1000 for it and if it was perfect it would be worth $2000. Their offer is $1500. I can make $500 today by doing nothing or spending $500 and getting the neck reset in hopes of getting the $2000 months from now. Either way, Guitar Center's offer is $1500 because it doesn't matter to them, in my experience. I go for the quick $500 profit everytime. YMMV. FWIW.

    I often read about how Guitar Center is operating in a deficit and poorly managed, but I've heard this for 20 years and they are still in business for some reason....(kinda sounds like Gibson, doesn't it?) So, sure, it lacks the charm of a local music store, but still serves a function, IMHO.
    Last edited by Jeff Mando; Jun-14-2022 at 9:52am.

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    Well, I did ask for a photo of the screw holes in the top.

    Thus far — crickets!
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  10. #9

    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    In 2019, I found an open box Ibanez AVC10MHOPN guitar on their website, and got a salesperson on the phone to see about getting it. Well, the salesperson must have needed to make some sales, because the price kept coming down, down and a gator semi hard case thrown into the deal - that I wound up buying it, for something in the $350 to $400 range. Ibanez had discontinued this model, but it is a pretty decent guitar, about 00 sized, all solid torrified mahogany, Grover tuners. It needed to have the saddle cut down quite a bit, but that was its main setup issue. It plays well, has a fairly good sound acoustically(for a small inexpensive guitar), and with the bags M1 pickup I installed, has worked as a gig guitar I don’t have to worry about much.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    Well, I ran across this thread last week and decided to take a chance on this mandola since since the price of admission was only 18 bucks for shipping from San Bernardino if I decided I didn’t like it. I ordered it Thursday morning and checked it out this afternoon. I decided it was not worth the price they wanted, but took a few pictures to share. First off, as indicated by the label and the tag on the case (which is original), it is a mandola. The serial number has been scribbled over, so not easily readClick image for larger version. 

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    Second, it’s got seven holes total: five screwholes on the face and two larger on the sides - one upper and one lower – apparently was electrified at one time. Click image for larger version. 

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    Third, as is obvious from my photos, but not the GC ad, it’s been crudely refinished; they even painted over the lower binding. It also needs a new bridge, which is so chewed up it was hard to figure out where to put the strings. And finally, someone has used a ballpoint pen to draw boxes on the top as position markers for the bridge.Click image for larger version. 

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    The tuners are original, but a little bit stiff. Click image for larger version. 

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    Even with all the damage done to this Mandola, and based on my limited evaluation skills, it still plays pretty easily and has nice sound. As such, I was tempted to buy it, but knew I wouldn’t be happy unless it was refinished/repaired and I just didn’t want to go there. . I don’t mind an instrument that shows it’s been played, just not comfortable with one that’s been abused.

    I don’t buy stuff at Guitar Center because we have an excellent and real music store here in town; however, I did buy my Guild D-55 guitar at the original Guitar Center in Hollywood back in 1974 when it was a single music store rather than a chain. I briefly worked as a shipping clerk for Foxx WahWah pedals and the company salesman got me a deal. I paid about 1/2 price for the guitar, but it still cost me a month’s salary.

    Bottom line, the GC ad for this instrument was too good to be true…….

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  13. #11
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    The H1 doesn't have back binding, so at least there's no reason to worry about said binding having been painted over. But yes, the back and sides here look refinished although the top might be original (minus the holes).

    Given everything we're looking at here, $1200 is a big ask.

    My latest GC purchase is a Fender FM60E electric mandolin whose screws and tuner shafts are all rusted and whose pickups don't work. I'd keep it and have it fixed up if GC would give me back 200 of the bucks I spent on it, but that ain't gonna happen.
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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    Keep in mind that while the GC approval period on "used" instruments is very generous (45 days IIRC), the period on "VINTAGE" instruments is much less so. Don't delay in getting the mandola back to GC.
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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    Yes, I would return it immediately.

    By the time you pay to plug and touch up the holes, apply a more appropriate varnish finish, and do something about the bridge and anything else that needs work, you'll have $2000 in the instrument. Even with a more correct finish, it would still be a refinished instrument and worth at best not much more than the $1200 GC wants for it as-is.

    If the finish had been original and in good shape, it might have been worthwhile.
    Sometimes I think that GC's habit of not furnishing sufficient clear photographs is intentional.

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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    I returned it before I left the store. And the top has been refinished as well - it’s pretty obvious when you have it in your hands. And I was obviously mistaken about the binding, but there was something white underneath the red on the edge of the back, so I have no idea what’s going on with that. I thought I had taken a picture of it, but it’s not on my phone. And it’s closer to $1300 when you include the taxes!

    And I agree about the crappy GC photographs in their ads.

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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    Another $400 - $600 Gibson for $1200+. I see 'em like this too often.
    This one does look salvageable, but they'd have to let it go for no more than $400 for me to want to fool with it. Revarnishing a mandola is many hours of work.
    Sorry it cost you 18 bucks, but I'm glad you know enough about these instruments that you didn't get stuck with it.

  18. #16
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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    Quote Originally Posted by Denis Kearns View Post
    Well, I ran across this thread last week and decided to take a chance on this mandola since since the price of admission was only 18 bucks for shipping from San Bernardino if I decided I didn’t like it.
    I really admire your willingness to take a chance on this one. No matter how well it played or sounded the thought of having all those holes would drive me nuts! Thanks for the review!

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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    Been following this with some amusement, curiosity, and an ever-present willingness to learn. I think I've got it all, except one thing: the $18. You said that was for "shipping from San Bernardino if I decided I didn’t like it." But you went to check it out in person, and "returned it before [you] left the store." So where does the shipping come in? Was it at another store so they had to ship it to your local store for you to check it out? Does Guitar Center charge a prospective customer for this? Does that get put toward the purchase price if you decide to buy it? Is this a customary practice? I've never heard of this before. Seems a bit off-putting to me. But then, I've never bought from a chain.
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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    Guitar Center charges for shipping used gear. Store-to-store is often the cheapest, though you should assume packing is hit or miss. And, yes, you are still out that charge if it's returned. Pretty much no different than any return - you're at least on the hook for one direction, unless you buy a new whatever at retail from Amazon, I suppose.
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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    The confusing part is -- do you have to purchase it BEFORE it is shipped and you can examine it? Or, does GC send it to your local store so you can try it before you pay?
    Last edited by Jeff Mando; Jun-22-2022 at 9:22am.

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    I've never used store-to-store, but I'm pretty sure you have to buy an instrument and pay for the shipping to get it shipped anywhere.

    It's possible that someone added binding to the back and then later someone else painted over it ... this mandola has evidently been through the wringer more than once.

    Currently for sale at the Bakersfield store in case anyone else wants to hop on the crazy train.
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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    You mean you're not going to buy it, Martin??
    Heck, it'll only take about 40 or 50 hours of work to get it looking and playing like a Gibson should, and then you can sell it for $1500. You might be able to make $4.50 an hour . . . uh, minus the cost of tools and materials . . .

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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    Yes, I’m in Bakersfield, so it needed to be shipped from the San Bernardino store. According to their rules, I had to buy it first and would have to pay shipping costs if I returned it. I figured that the 18 bucks was the price of admission and I did get to hold a real Gibson H1 in my hands and play it a bit, so not completely without benefit. I see that it’s now a tiny bit cheaper, but with a new out-of-focus photo and is still misidentified as a mandolin, despite what the label and the tags on the case handle say. I wonder if I could go in there with $$600-800 in cash and walk away with it? I could then use it to learn how to do a French polish finish or just use it as a “beater” mandola. Curiouser and curiouser!

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  27. #23
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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    Thanks for the insights - learning stuff I never knew. So then, it's possible they could sell the same instrument again and again, and as long as it kept getting returned, they'd make some money on it. Hmmm ... Wasn't there a Marx Brothers movie with something like this in it?
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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    ..

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    Default Re: Another misidentified Gibson mandola at Guitar Center

    Denis, even if you want the learning experience, I still wouldn't recommend more than $600 or so; but if you're not in business, that might not matter to you.
    I don't think GC accepts offers on used internet instruments, but you could try.

    This is a good time of year to learn French polishing. The warm weather cuts drying time significantly.
    I have found brown aniline dye to be a near perfect color match for brown-back oval hole Gibsons.

    It was still $1200 when I looked it up just now.

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