1968 Gibson A-50 Carved-Top Archtop Mandolin


The Gibson A-50 is a model that was made for decades and it's the classic, A-style Gibson f-hole model. Its sound is completely divorced from the old round-hole Gibsons of the 1900s-1930s and tailored to sound more like an F-5 with tonebar bracing and a poppy, midsy, cutting, "bluegrass" voice. That's what this one sounds like. When you dig into it, it sort-of just springs back with a woody "pop."

This particular mandolin was supposed to be an easy setup-and-sell project, but it turned-out that I needed to reset the neck, level and dress the frets, and then set it up -- all of which has been done -- and it's now playing like a champ. You'll have to enjoy the low/narrow old mandolin stock Gibson uses, though, as that's what's on it. I like it because it feels good for sliding chords, but a lot of modern players have gotten used to bigger stock so it's something to think about.

It's a great-looking instrument, too, with a ruddy sunburst finish, multi-ply pickguard, and binding along all the edges. It's crack-free as well.

Repairs included: neck reset, fret level/dress, setup.


Top wood: solid spruce

Back & sides wood: solid flamed maple

Bracing type: tonebar

Bridge: rosewood adjustable

Fretboard: rosewood

Neck wood: mahogany

Action height at 12th fret:
hair-under 1/16" overall (quick)
String gauges: 36w-10 lights

Neck shape: medium C

Board radius: flat

Truss rod: adjustable

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: low/small


Scale length: 13 7/8"

Nut width: 1 3/16"

Body width: 10 1/8"

Body depth: 1 3/4" + arching

Weight: 2 lbs 3 oz


Condition notes: it's a pretty clean mandolin overall. The frets are low and small (like all old Gibson mandolins), so if you're not into that, a refret may be the ticket for you. The bridge topper (saddle) was modified in the past (it's a little thinner top-to-bottom). There's some wear and tear at the neck joint with disturbed binding and trim. It's original throughout with all of its original hardware/parts and the finish looks great but does show minor weather-checking here and there.


It comes with: a non-original hard case.




















Comments