1914 Gibson A-3 Carved-Top Mandolin

This consignor's A-3 is a treat, isn't it? It's clean, completely original (save the bridge: I've put the original bridge in the case), and it sounds and plays like a gem. It's even got the pickguard!

Work was very light on this -- I fit a new adjustable ebony bridge (for ease-of-use and because I didn't want to modify the original's height) and leveled/dressed the frets and set it up. It's crack-free, the finish is clean, and it plays spot-on and is in good order.

It's got a solid (carved) spruce top, solid (carved) birch back, solid birch sides, a mahogany neck, and ebony fretboard and bridge. It's lightly-built and as a result has a full, warm, and open sound with good volume -- even despite the extra-light gauges I strung it with (I had 9s on hand but not the normal 10s I put on these when I worked on it).

I modified the new bridge specifically to work on this guy -- it has a tiny hole to allow the pickguard's "spike" to mount through it and I've adjusted the treble side of the foot so the pickguard is elevated above it. It's also cut to allow more travel up/down than standard as the old bridges on these Gibsons from this period are lower than later adjustable-bridge Gibson models.

Repairs included: new bridge, fret level/dress, minor adjustments, setup.


Top wood: solid spruce (carved)

Back & sides wood: solid birch (carved back)

Bracing type: 1 ladder (below soundhole)

Bridge: ebony

Fretboard: ebony

Neck wood: mahogany

Action height at 12th fret:
1/16" overall (spot-on quick, adjustable height)
String gauges: 32w-9 (34w-10 ideal)

Neck shape: medium V

Board radius: flat

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: small/low


Scale length: 13 7/8"

Nut width: 1 1/4"

Body width: 10"

Body depth: 1 3/4" + arching

Weight: 2 lbs 1 oz


Condition notes: it's completely original (save bridge: old bridge is stowed in case) and really clean. The finish shows the normal weather-checking/aging but has few blemishes compared to the average Gibson from the time. All work is done and it's ready to go.


It comes with: an original end-loader case in "good for storage" condition. I'd use a modern hard case if I were traveling with this.


















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