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Thread: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

  1. #1
    Registered User pfox14's Avatar
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    Default Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

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    This is a very rare 1936 Gibson-made Cromwell Model GM-6, the only F-style budget brand mandolin Gibson made in the 1930s. Nicknamed the "lump scroll" because of the lack of the standard F-style scroll, it may be one of only 9 ever made. This one has an FON of 573B. It is possible that there were a total of 2 batches of these made which would make the total produced more like 18-20, but rare none the less. Gibson's main distributor for the Cromwell line was Grossman's Music, but they never appeared in any catalog that I've ever seen. According to the Gibson shipping ledgers, one of these was re-labeled as a CWM-6 and sold to Coast Wholesale as a CW Mason branded mandolin, and the rest were dumped on a pawnshop. They were pretty pricey for a budget brand mando which is probably why they didn't make very many of them.
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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    Very Kool mandolin there, I've only seen one other one thus far! I like that its missing the treble side lower point toward the end of the mandolin, I love the weird depression era Gibsons and own and have sold loads of em that are rare. I've yet to find one of these though and would love one for my collection.
    How is the sound? Is the back carved or heat pressed or flat? Is the body maple and the neck hogwood. I would love for ya to show more photos, I'm really Jazzed over this one!

  4. #3
    Registered User pfox14's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    The mandolin is carved top & back. Flamed maple back & spruce top.
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    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    Is that a strip of binding material down the center of the fretboard? I wonder what the purpose of that was, especially considering that it would add to the cost of building it (and this is a budget brand).

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    Its early double post?

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    I think that strip down the center of fret board is painted on. Maybe a generic way to make sure the neck is on straight? I think its a kool looking mandolin, looks like you can see a back brace through the F holes, If the back is carved it shouldn't have that?, Its gotta be pressed top and back? I also like the "Cromwell" name on the tailpiece cover. Neat

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    Here's the first thread where one of these came to light a year or so ago. It's also the one that I sent to Paul right after I bought his book. I'm glad we finally have the correct number. I guessed it was a GM-5 or GM-6 from the list in Paul's book. Do we know what a GM-5 looked like?
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    The strip down the center of the fretboard is a piece of binding and was used on the Cromwell guitars by Gibson as well. It's simply trim as far as I can tell.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  10. #9
    Registered User pfox14's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    The GM-5 was an A-style mandolin with carved maple back and carved spruce top. The GM-6 was the only F-style mando Gibson made. The skunk stripe down the center of the FB is inlaid binding material. It was a distinct feature on almost all Cromwell instruments.

    Gibson also made a "lump scroll" Gibson-branded version (I believe it was designated A-12)

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    Thanks. The lump scroll A models are well documented here. The main difference between the shape of the Cromwell and the other Gibson lump scroll models is the lack of the bottom point on the body. A member here pointed that out after all the rest of us missed it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  12. #11
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    The A-12 lump scroll was made much later than that Cromwell, correct? As for the binding down the middle of the fretboard, wasn't that common across the entire Cromwell line?

    Paul: do you own that one?
    Jim

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    Yes the white stripe is found on all the Cromwells. The A-12 was late 60's early 70's, Gibson probably got the idea from the 30's Cromwell, they just gave the new A the F-5 F holes instead of the budget brand f holes and must've used a carved top and back on the A " I've never seen one in person, so I figured they were carved?" because they didn't have the back brace that was found on the budget brands of the 30's and 40's and I believe all or most budgets were pressed or flat backs.

  14. #13

    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    I like the way the binding of the lump scroll on the Cromwell goes a bit farther around than on the A-12. It adds something that I find a bit more attractive, though I've always had a thing for the lumps scroll Gibsons. Probably because my first Gibson mandolin was an oval hole lumpy, it sounded like what I imagine a brick with strings on it would sound. I like the lack of the bottom point and the headstock shape of the Cromwell as well. I wouldn't mind running across one of these.

  15. #14
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    Great stuff. For posteriority here they are side by side.

    Mick
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    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    You need one these as well
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  17. #16

    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    That's the model I had. As I recall the sunburst on mine was much uglier. I can only blame my newness to mandolins and naive, blind faith in the Gibson name for the purchase, the dangers of combining inexperience with money. I have more experience now.

  18. #17

    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    Wouldn't the Cromwell be a pressed back? You can see the brace through the F hole. BTW, I have a Cromwell archtop, forget the model right now, but, it has the fingerboard stripe as well.

  19. #18
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    Excuse to post pics of my Cromwell
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  20. #19

    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobin View Post
    Is that a strip of binding material down the center of the fretboard? I wonder what the purpose of that was, especially considering that it would add to the cost of building it (and this is a budget brand).
    One of the coolest things about some of budget Gibson brands was the bling they added. Recording King flat tops and arch tops got lots of inlay, the Cromwell crop circle fingerboard, and the Oriole Kalamazoos with tortoise binding and maple bodies.

  21. #20
    Registered User pfox14's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    Here's another Cromwell oddity - a two skunk stripe version

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  23. #21
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    Quote Originally Posted by pfox14 View Post
    Here's another Cromwell oddity - a two skunk stripe version
    That I haven't seen. I always try and figure out how these things happen. The fingerboard wasn't all the way in the jig when they made the router pass so to save the wood they just make an identical cut on the other side. You gotta wonder.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    Hmmmm... extremely rare would be the double-skunk lump-scroll Cromwell mandolin. Or a good name for my next band?

    Also: no one has mentioned the unique headstock on the OP lumpscroll Cromwell. Did they even have that on any other instruments?
    Jim

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  25. #23
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    There were a load of strange things afoot from Gibson in the 30's. Never seen one of those 2 skunk stripes on a fret board. Neat. Kind of off subject but I think Charles Johnson still has a few F-4's with elevated boards, flowerpot peg head inlay, one with F-7 inlayed board the other with F-5 style board. I had a wide bodied A-50 with a flowerpot peg head inlay. I guess they used whatever material they had laying around at the time.

  26. #24
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    Thanks, Mike, for the trifecta. We just need a Lumpy Oval Cromwell (sounds like an Irish trad band-name, Jim.)

    Starting to look like Los Ratóneteros Postizos.

    Mick
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  27. #25

    Default Re: Rare Gibson-made Cromwell GM-6

    [QUOTE=Jim Garber;1206547]...Also: no one has mentioned the unique headstock on the OP lumpscroll Cromwell. ...

    Now that's a Gumby !

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