3/04/2018

1918 Gibson A Carved-Top Mandolin




This is a customer's Gibson A and, like most of these teens-era ones, sounds woody, open, and sweet. It's built a little heavier in the soundboard than some which lends it a bit more of a mids focus which I think is actually a good thing for two reasons -- the owner doesn't have to fear top collapse and it will also cut a little better while playing with others. Some old Gibons have tops carved so thin that I fear pressing down on them accidentally during setup and you can watch as the top deflects down 1/16" or more as tension is applied.

Work included a fret level/dress, seam repair, nut adjustment (the spacing was terrible before), and a replacement bone saddle insert for the non-adjustable ebony bridge. That last part "modernizes" the instrument a bit because this was still toting its original 3-piece ebony saddles which always wear into non-compensated functionality.


I have to admit that I'm partial to black-topped Gibson mandos. It's a classy look! Perhaps the black top on this one was intended to hide the super-wide-grain spruce that was used to build it.


While this mandolin is almost entirely original, the nut is 1970s+ plastic and the saddle insert is my own. There's also an extra coat of finish on the back.







As normal, the back and sides are birch.


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