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Thread: Newbie! 1914 Gibson A mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Newbie! 1914 Gibson A mandolin

    Hello.

    I just registered here and have already found a wealth of information. I am mostly a Guitarist, but pretty much can get music out of anything with strings (except a violin/fiddle). I have had mandolins around the house since I was a kid. I can get around them pretty good for a beginner, mostly because of a decent ear. I really love Gibson instruments. For the most part all the instruments in my collection are Gibson. I have owned several Gibson Guitars from the teens too, although I mostly own electrics these days.

    I recently became the owner of this Gibson A mandolin from the teens (1914) I think. THe factory order number is 1936 and the serial number is in the 165XX range. It is missing the tailpiece cover (but the tail piece is there), its missing the original bridge and nut. The rest of it is in very good condition.

    I am looking for the parts to restore this. I posted an ad in the classified for some parts, and already have one responce. (thanks).

    Any comments on this mandolin would be appreciated. (value...etc)







    Cheers from Chicago!

    Joe

  2. #2
    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie! 1914 Gibson A mandolin

    It looks preety sweet to me. It's hard to beat those teens Gibson mandolins for great tone. Hopefully, when you get it strung up it will play well. You might want to look at the top brace and make sure that it's securely glued to the top before stringging it up. Good luck!
    "it's not in bad taste, if it's funny" - john waters

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    Mike Parks woodwizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie! 1914 Gibson A mandolin

    It looks pretty sweet to me as well. Good luck with her!
    I Pick, Therefore I Grin! ... "Good Music Any OLD-TIME"

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  4. #4
    Still Picking and Sawing Jack Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie! 1914 Gibson A mandolin

    It looks like all you need to get started is a nut, a bridge and a set of strings. Just put your finger in the hole and feel the top brace ends to be sure they are glued down before you string it up.

    You can get a replacment tailpiece and cover from http://www.billcampbanjos.com/Gibson...nd%20cover.HTM

    If you want it as a player's instrument, I think you'll be happy with a bone nut and an adjustable bridge from just about anywhere, but keep you eyes open for a 'teens replacement.

    The hard thing to find is the pick guard, but since you've got that, you are in pretty good shape.

    Congratulations, it is a great find, and once you get is stringed up and playable, you'll be a kool kat, indded.
    Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
    When time is broke and no proportion kept!
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  5. #5
    Musical Photo Junkie Chris Keth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie! 1914 Gibson A mandolin

    That's sweet! I'll openly admit I'm a little jealous. That will be easy to get making noise again. I think it would be worth turning over to a good luthier so they can make sure it's all healthy, as well as cut you a new nut, fit the new bridge,a nd set it all up nicely.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Newbie! 1914 Gibson A mandolin

    Thanks everyone I actually build archtops and other stringed instruments. So I am pretty confident that I can give her a good check up.

    I have a few other very old mandolins I will probably share with the group as we get acquainted.

    I have one that will be listed in the classified section soon. It's a bent top flat back from the teens. It will need quite a bit of work.

    Thanks for the welcome

    Joe

  7. #7
    Musical Photo Junkie Chris Keth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie! 1914 Gibson A mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Desperado View Post
    Thanks everyone I actually build archtops and other stringed instruments. So I am pretty confident that I can give her a good check up.

    I have a few other very old mandolins I will probably share with the group as we get acquainted.

    I have one that will be listed in the classified section soon. It's a bent top flat back from the teens. It will need quite a bit of work.

    Thanks for the welcome

    Joe
    Awesome! Take your time on the setup. These little things are much more sensitive to setup than larger instruments. Just a little bit off and it seems unplayable.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Newbie! 1914 Gibson A mandolin

    From my experiance, I would get a Cumberland Acoustic bridge that matches the flat fingerboard, http://www.cumberlandacoustic.com/. Steve is a member here and goes by Stevarino I think. He can probable sell you any item or part you would need.

    The old bridges and modern strings can cause some intonation problems or at least that was my experiance.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Newbie! 1914 Gibson A mandolin

    I've got one pretty much identical to this from 1918 and I love it to death. The "A" models are so under valued imho, I really prefer the tone to that of an "F" model (as I play celtic stuff). I replaced my non-original bridge with a Fishman M200 as this gets used tons in very loud stage environments. The nice thing about this pup is it is installed with no permanent modification to the instrument. I hope yours sounds as good strung up as mine does. There is a massive range in tone amongst the "A" series. The more expensive ones are not neccessarily better. My A destroys any other one I've ever played. I've compared it with A2's, A3's, A4's from similar years and it sounds just so alive compared to most of the others I've seen so a lot of times it's luck of the draw I'm sure. I personally think a lot of the tone has to do with the instruments recent history. A lot of the more ornamental ones I'm sure are more coveted by collectors and not played as much so they aren't as open maybe? One theory I guess. Regardless, killer instruments. Value? Anywhere from around 1150 - 1400 usd I'd probably pay. If it sounds hot out of the box though a player might pay 1500 - 1800 for it. Hope you never sell it (except to me at a bargain...lol) Good luck with it and enjoy.

  10. #10
    Registered User Jim MacDaniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie! 1914 Gibson A mandolin

    Not a bad choice at all for your first mandolin. (Mine was a plywood Fender. )
    "The problem with quotes on the internet, is everybody has one, and most of them are wrong."
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  11. #11
    Registered User MANDOLINMYSTER's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie! 1914 Gibson A mandolin

    Now thats a classic "Pumpkin Top" ........very nice indeed!
    Michael Lettieri

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Newbie! 1914 Gibson A mandolin

    That wide wavy grain in the top is amazing, among the widest I've ever seen.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Newbie! 1914 Gibson A mandolin

    Thanks again everyone!

    Yes its a wide grain. Almost like Douglas Fir and not spruce? Anyway, its a killer looking box. I found an original bridge and tailpiece cover that I will grab this week. Then the only thing missing is the nut. I will make a bone nut...and buy a replacement case for travel.

    As far as selling...not really interested in selling it, although I am not really a mando player, so its not really going to be used that much. So we will have to see. I wouldn't mind having one great little box around the studio.

    Joe

  14. #14
    Registered Person neal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie! 1914 Gibson A mandolin

    I have nothing to add, other than that looks like it's ready to be put together and played, which was already said.....

    I love Gibson A's. And you'll love that tubby sound.

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