c.1941 Gibson A-1 Carved Mandolin

Update: The owner thinks it's from 1941.

I can't quite make out the faint factory order number in the treble f-hole of this instrument, but it's a customer's Gibson A-1 mando -- carved top and back with no brace on the back -- and it was in for some seam repairs, a fret level/dress, new nut, and fitting/slotting of a new Cumberland Acoustics ebony bridge. It's a sweet little number and coming out of work has plenty of cut and zing. It's sure scratching a "Gibson mando" itch while it's hanging out waiting to go home.

Solid carved spruce top over solid maple back and sides. The (original) finish is all weather-checked as expected. Amazingly, the tailpiece still has its "cloud" cover after all this time.

...and also, amazingly, the truss cover is intact. The new nut is actually some GraphTech stuff to replace the (original, but chipped-out) ebony one. GraphTech stuff isn't used so much in the acoustic world but I always like using it to replace ebony as it's more durable in the long run and lets those strings slip a bit more so tuning is more stable.

Rosewood board, pearl dots, and mysterious small amounts of finish at the pearl-dotted frets. Weird, huh?

The fitting was easy with the Cumberland bridge and it's definitely a tone enhancer vs. the "usual replacement" type that came with the mandolin.

Several of the back/side seams were actually loose but it wasn't obvious they were. There were a couple that had been reglued but they'd opened up again. I found the culprit: the glued areas weren't sanded flat so the endblock and kerfing wasn't glued with enough surface area to keep them stable. Still, because I didn't take the whole thing apart, the side creep near the tailpiece that was evident before remains.

Don't mind the snow -- it was warm enough out to drag this guy out on the porch for some sun for a minute or two.

And if you're wondering what Friday's storm brought us -- here it is!


Anonymous said…
Looks great Jake. Looking forward to having her back in my hands again.