1920 Gibson K-4 Mandocello

I'm going to be perfectly honest with all of you when I say that, as a rule, I'm not a jealous repairman. I work on scads of choice instruments all of the time. I rarely get pangs of desire for instruments anymore. 

My leanings are definitely towards practical, sturdy things that are no-frills and not fussy. Or I like odd, weird, random-sounding, individualistic things to hide in my "recording" collection. Glamor is not part of any of my equations for the most part. I admire glamor... I respect it... I don't really do it...

...but then, you know, something like this walks in the door for service. Fortunately, it was while you wait service because if something like this hangs around it becomes like a dangerous temptation. I don't need to necessarily follow-through on a ToneQuest(TM) like this one!

Yeah, it's a Gibson K-4. You know -- those impossibly-rare, hard-to-find, phenomenally gorgeous carved-top mandocellos with the scroll, the point, the oval hole, and everything? And it sounds like a million bucks to boot? Sheesh. That's jealousy.

I didn't have time to grab a video of this (for shame!), but suffice to say it sounds lovely. It's got velvet, it's got volume, it's got sustain, it's got clarity -- it's got all of it. I was serenaded nicely on it by its owner for the next hour after I gave it a once-over, too, because I was modding another instrument for him while our day wrapped-up. That was a nice thing to have in the workshop, I'll tell you that.

Aside from being crack-free and in glorious shape (I thought it was oversprayed at first because it's so clean), I'm going to mention also that it's just beautifully-made. Old Gibson mandolin-family instruments like this age like old violin-family instruments... they just grow wilder and warmer every day and the finish is thin enough that they gather tiny bits of just-the-right patina the older they get.

This one arrived all-original (save frets and nut) and with its original, molded-to-shape hard case. We replaced the failing original bridge with a new one, however, that's height-adjustable.

Did I mention that the back is one-piece flamed maple? Now that's jealousy.


daverepair said…
I’m speechless...what a beauty!
Rob Gardner said…
Wow, what a beauty. Bet it sounds fabulous.
Nick R said…
That's in a league of its own!
Michael Larkin said…
I’m sorry, but you can’t have it.
Perhaps a nice student model instead.