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Thread: A grandfathers 1916 Gibson A-1

  1. #1

    Default A grandfathers 1916 Gibson A-1

    So I recently received a 1916 Gibson A-1 from my girlfriends father for a little tune-up and wanted to share with everyone.

    This is a family heirloom and was purchased (unconfirmed new) by her grandfather in sometime probably between late teens and the mid 20's possibly in his hometown of St. Louis. He played traditional Americana music and played frequently with his wife on banjo.

    It remained his throughout his life and after he passed away in 1989 it was left sitting at the family home in Southern California. When I heard about this instrument, I mentioned that it was a valuable instrument, not only monetarily, but historically and to the family as well, and it should be at least stored properly.

    Well, a year and a half later, I finally received the instrument to give it a once over.

    It was in great shape; neck straight, minimal sinkage, all original parts, pickguard, tailpiece. Has some slight dings in the finish, but nothing major. Had some really old steel wound strings on it from over 15 years ago. Fretboard was caked with grunge, so it took some elbo grease to get it all cleaned up. Frets were in decent shape, some wear divits on the A/E towards the nut and slight board wear from finger contact. Tuners needed some lubing, but I got them working decent enough. Threw some new strings on there and it sounds like a dream. From here, the only thing that could be done is a thorough cleaning of the tuners and a polishing of frets.

    This is the first vintage instrument I have had the opportunity to play for any reasonable amount of time and am quickly realizing why people love the sound of these.

    I'm hoping to make her grandfather proud restoring this.

    I'll also try to get some photos up here soon.

  2. #2
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: A grandfathers 1916 Gibson A-1

    Quote Originally Posted by keebler View Post
    This is the first vintage instrument I have had the opportunity to play for any reasonable amount of time and am quickly realizing why people love the sound of these.

    I'm hoping to make her grandfather proud restoring this.
    I know that's right. Congratulations to you for your good fortune(s). I look forward to seeing/hearing more about your mandolin and experience with it. I have a '16A and still get chicken skin every time I play it. Which is nearly every day.

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
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  3. #3

    Default Re: A grandfathers 1916 Gibson A-1



    I'll get some photos up as soon as I dig through my closet for the camera.

  4. #4
    Registered User
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    Default Re: A grandfathers 1916 Gibson A-1

    That is Sweet. What a find. Im sure the Gramps and the family will be thankful and proud of the work you've done. Nice Job.

  5. #5
    Mandolin Botherer Shelagh Moore's Avatar
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    Default Re: A grandfathers 1916 Gibson A-1

    It has a lovely tone and looks to be in great condition. I am sure the family will be very pleased.

  6. #6
    Registered User pfox14's Avatar
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    Default Re: A grandfathers 1916 Gibson A-1

    A really beautiful sounding little mandolin
    Visit www.fox-guitars.com - cool Gibson & Epiphone history and more. Vintage replacement mandolin pickguards

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