1908 Gibson A-4 Carved-Top Mandolin

Customers bring-by the neatest stuff, don't they? This drifted in for a setup and I enjoyed giving it the once-over this afternoon.

It's an A-4 model which means deluxe appointments over your average A-style Gibson -- those being back and fretboard binding, fancy headstock inlay, and Handel-style inlaid tuner buttons. This one is rather normal for its time of build, but has some "off" features including a nut that's 1/8" narrower than normal, a replacement tailpiece, slightly-later pickguard, and overspray all over.

After a setup it's playing just fine with hair-under 1/16" action at the 12th fret on the treble and 1/16" on the bass, but it could use a fret level/dress to get it a little more slick and accurate. I didn't get a soundclip, but the tone was forward, biting, and poppy with the new 34w-10 strings on it -- not the mellow mwah I was expecting! It'd make a great old-time instrument for the player needing a bit more clear punch out of an oval-hole A.

I love blackface Gibsons! Fortunately for this one, the overspray went right over the original finish, so fine-grain weather-check is extant throughout. I'm guessing the old repair work was done around the '60s or '70s judging by the ancient monel-style strings that came with it.

It's hard to argue with that rosette.

The FON at the neckblock was 548 as I recall.