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Thread: Gibson A-50 date help

  1. #1
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    Default Gibson A-50 date help

    Hi All,

    Merry Christmas!

    I have a Gibson A-50 that I was told was made around the late 1930'3 early 40's. I am going to sell it and I want to try and verify its age before advertising it. I have attached a couple pictures. I can't see a serial number inside of the f-holes so I am really unsure of it's age. I appreciate any help anyone can provide.

    Thanks,

    Mike
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  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson A-50 date help

    It appears the tuners have been changed, can you provide a shot of the back of the headstock? Can we get a close up of the tailpiece. It doesn't look original either. According to Gruhn it should be a clamshell unless he doesn't specify a date that it was changed. If the pickguard is original it's after late 1947. The modern logo puts it after that date as well. It could be as new as 1971.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Gibson A-50 date help

    Thanks for the response. You are correct they are not the original tuners. I doubt it's the original pick guard too. It does have a one piece back and it looks like it may have been refinished as some point.

    I posted a couple more pictures.

    I'll probably take it up to Elderly Instrument and have them take a look at it.

    Thanks!

    Mike

    Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Gibson A-50 date help

    With the gold decal "Gibson" logo is def. not 30's or early 40's unless major repairs were done. Nice finger rest maybe too nice. I see what looks like a crack in the rib by the tail piece block. Maybe it's just a finish crack. Elderly will give you good info. Do modern Schaller tuners fit those without redrilling? I'd watch some on ebay to get an idea of current value at auction. Elderly will also sell it for you for a 15% (i think) commission or buy it outright from you. My guess for the average A50, about $800-1000. Charles Johnson has one on his site right now for $1500, with original tuners and TP maybe a little better condition. So there's an opinion. For what it's worth.

  5. #5
    Registered User Chris "Bucket" Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson A-50 date help

    From http://www.provide.net/~cfh/gibson8.html#a50


    Model: A-50 Mandolin
    Available: 1933 to 1971

    1933 A-50 specs:
    Symmetrical body, oval sound hole, bound top, back, fingerboard, fingerboard raised off of top, dot inlays, "Gibson" logo, dark red mahogany sunburst finish.
    1934 A-50 specs:
    "F" holes.
    1937 A-50 specs:
    Bound pickguard, fingerboard flush with top, varied pattern inlays, fleur-de-lis peghead inlay, pearl logo, brown sunburst.
    1942 A-50 specs:
    Clamshell tailpiece, small diamond peghead inlay.
    1946 A-50 specs:
    Yellow silkscreen peghead logo, no peghead inlay, laminated beveled-edge pickguard.
    A-50 discontinued 1971.
    Chris

    2007 Gibson F5-L Fern
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  6. #6
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson A-50 date help

    That's pretty much word for word from the Gruhn book.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  7. #7
    Registered User Chris "Bucket" Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson A-50 date help

    Here is some more info on dating your A50 based on the logo style and sequence of letters/numbers on the serial number.

    http://www.provide.net/~cfh/gibson.html
    Chris

    2007 Gibson F5-L Fern
    1919 Gibson A-0
    2019 Black A4
    BlueRidge BR140
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  8. #8
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson A-50 date help

    It could be a 30's/early 40's that was sent back to the factory for neck work in the 50's/60's ending up with a post war logo. I'm seeing as that. But without that little FON number that should be stamped onto the back and viewable through the lower E string f hole no way to really know. Have you looked there for a stamped number? It would be a very light rubber ink stamp. Take the mandolin into a dark closest with a good flashlight and shine it through that lower F hole and see if you can find one.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Gibson A-50 date help

    Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond. I'll let the list know if I find out anything interesting about this particular mandolin.
    Hope you all have a Happy New Year!

    Mike

  10. #10
    Registered User Dave Harbst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson A-50 date help

    Mike,
    About a year ago, I needed the same information you are looking for. I emailed Gibson here service@gibson.com and got just what I needed. Maybe you could give that a try.
    Good luck.

  11. #11
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson A-50 date help

    Caution: Don't take to the bank as gospel what Gibson will tell you about a vintage anything. Those guys were not born back then and their records are no better then the records Joe Public has access to. It's what you know about vintage Gibsons and how to apply the information you have. Without a hands on inspections sometimes they just can't do it.

  12. #12
    Registered User Dave Harbst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson A-50 date help

    Mike,
    The one I inquired about(which actually belonged to a non-musician friend of mine) was, according to Gibson, a 1963 A-40. I did send photos of the mandolin along with my inquiry. Along with Gibson's prompt reply, they emailed me a copy of an advertisement from their 1963 catalog. The instrument featured in the catalog looked exactly like the one I was inquiring about. I kind of figured that would possibly help to validate the vintage of the mandolin. So, maybe if you send some photos to them, maybe with some luck they can get a better fix in what vintage yours is.
    Good luck.
    Dave

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