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Thread: Gibson neck angle evolution

  1. #1
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Gibson neck angle evolution

    The Orville built and early Gibson factory built mandolins had little or no neck angle. The end of the fretboard was simply glued to a flat section of the soundboard above the soundhole. This meant a bridge height of only 8-10mm (5/16"-3/8" for the metrically challenged) By around 1910-12 the bridge height had grown (as best as I can tell from various pictures on the Mandolin Archive) to around 16-18mm (5/8"-3/4") with an intermediate period around 1906-08 with an in-between bridge height. Might I be right in working on the idea that the neck angle increased in 2 or 3 stages over 8-10 years from virtually nothing to around 4. Perhaps someone in the factory trying out a greater neck angle to see what happened and being pleased with the result. Maybe also the reason for the introduction of the transverse brace below the soundhole as downbearing pressure increased?

    Opinions welcomed

    graham

  2. #2

    Default Re: Gibson neck angle evolution

    Interesting assessment and one I am interested in learning more about. I am part of a group who are conducting a study of early Orville, and Gibson Co. instruments. This is an effort to determine if we can by using build techniques and styles along with labels put some sort of a chronology to the instruments we know exist. We are working in conjunction with a researcher who has compiled a number of articles from contemporary publications which describe a few of Orville's builds. We have found braces in some Orville instruments as well as early gibson, the earliest is dated Dec, 1897. We are not confident that the braces are original to the build but are not sure they are not. If anybody has any info. opinions or pictures to share all would be greatly appreciated.

    Lynn

  3. #3
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson neck angle evolution

    Orville was using the metric system in 1897?

    Mick
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  5. #4
    Registered User pfox14's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson neck angle evolution

    One of the real unsung heros of Gibson from the earliest period was George Laurian who was mainly responsible for the redesign of Orville's original instruments to "modernize" them. Mainly, he was the guy that changed Orville's design of solid carved sides on his guitars, mandolins & harp-guitars to bend sides with internal bracing, thus allowing the tops, backs & sides to be thinner, as well as increasing the neck angle to accommodate the higher bridge design. If you look at his Pat. 964,660 filed in 1908, you will see the total redesign of the Style U harp-guitar, as well as his design for the Style O Artist guitar. His Pat. 934,678 is for the increased height mando bridge with compensated saddle pieces. A huge leap forward in Gibson mandolins. He is also responsible for the patented design of the standard mandolin tailpiece which Gibson is still using to this day (Pat. 970,626). Someone should write a book about him. Maybe I should.
    Visit www.fox-guitars.com - cool Gibson & Epiphone history and more. Vintage replacement mandolin pickguards

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  7. #5
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson neck angle evolution

    Paul, thank you for that info about George Laurian. Back to Mike Holmes' book on patents and the patent office website.

    There don't seem to be many Orville built instruments about. The Mandolin Archive only lists three mandolins (and a guitar), though though I am sure I have seen pictures of others along the way. I have some (not very good) photos of an A model mandolin in the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, which I should send to Dan at the Archive. Here are front and back views.

    I suspect Orville was a resolute user of non-metric measurements

    cheers

    graham

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  8. #6
    Registered User pfox14's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson neck angle evolution

    The NMM - National Music Museum in Vermillion, SD has one of Orville's Lyre Mandolins http://orgs.usd.edu/nmm/PluckedStrin...eMandolin.html

    As well as an Orville F-style - http://orgs.usd.edu/nmm/PluckedStrin...nMandolin.html

    Both mandolins have the low neck angle and low height bridge.

    They also have an Orville-built O-3 guitar that is a beautiful instrument as well.
    Visit www.fox-guitars.com - cool Gibson & Epiphone history and more. Vintage replacement mandolin pickguards

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