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For your convenience, links to other web-sites open in a new window.Copyright © 1995, 1996 Dan Beimborn and Maxwell Mc Cullough This page was authored by Dan Beimborn and originally appeared on the Mandolin Pages web site, now revised as the Mandolin Archive, a vintage gibson mandolin guide. I put together a little info about old Gibson tube amps for my personal use, but feel free to take a look. There is also some info on later amps since a number of them seem to be still around.
If your eyes tell you a story that is not compatible with the "mint condition" or "as new" description, be wary. It should tell you the model number and serial number of the instrument. Mine (1921) is nearly illegible, but with a bright light and a lot of patience, I was able to read all of the information from the inside.I personally would be hard pressed to trade my A0 for an A4. There are many instruments that break the rules, but these are a few basic guidelines: This one is easy.If it has a curlycue on the bass side of the neck next to the fingerboard, it is an F model ("Florentine") mandolin.The important breakdowns are: 1900-1910 Orville Gibson labels, "pineapple" shaped tailpiece cover 1910-1920 Fixed bridge models, the biggest production years 1921-1925 Adjustable bridges, truss rods other Loar-Hart innovations 1925-1935 Varnish finish changes to a shinier lacquer topcoat.Compare a "Broken in" Gibson from the same period (1900-1907; 1908-1920) for a fairly accurate estimate of how the instrument will eventually sound.Mine sat in the shop for 2 years after the first owner died, and it took about 2 weeks of solid playing to get it to have a "wide open" sound again..The best thing you can possibly do is try several different instruments.A vintage mandolin that hasn't really been played much or broken in should be approached like a brand new instrument.The sound will probably mellow over the years (if it isn't abused or mistreated) into a sound that is similar to a broken-in model of the same vintage.This guide is intended as a starting point in a search for a Gibson A-model mandolin from the years 1907-1935.Brief historical notes First Impressions What to look for in a Mint Instrument Reading the Gibson Label Model Type Verification Descriptions of various model types Additional Features models may have Acknowledgements The Gibson Company went through several stages of model design for their mandolins in the last 100 years.