1950s Carvin 2-MB Electric Mandolin

I'm a longtime mandolin player -- it's the first instrument I took up -- and I can easily say that this is one of the most fun and endearing electric mandolins I've played. It has a crisp, clean, bell-like sound that's quite surprising and sparkly in a non-harsh sort-of way. It sounds mandolin-like plugged-in. That's a hard thing to quite nail with a magnetic-pickup e-mando. It's a sort-of "feel and response" vibe that I'm talking about, here.

What else? The styling is retro-futuristic in the best way, it has its own thing going (despite being a clear rip on Bigsby looks and Fender design aesthetics), and the finish is worn just-so that you feel like you're playing "old respectable."

I did a little digging into the old Carvin catalogs, too. The first time this mandolin model appears in the catalog with 2 knobs rather than 3 is in 1962, though 1957 is the first year that this particular model appears in the catalog (2-MB referring to the model without the adjustable pickup poles vs. 1-MB which has adjustable poles). Considering that images in the catalog didn't get updated every year, it seems, I would guess this is a late-'50s model as it has more of that look about it.

Post-repairs, it plays spot-on, has an appropriate set of stainless-wound strings, and sounds like a boss.

Repairs included: a fret level/dress, cleaning, ground wire moved from bridge post to tailpiece, replacement bridge posts and wheels (old ones damaged), minor cleaning, setup. Someone in the past added a couple of dowels to the bass-side wing of the headstock's lamination -- presumably to strengthen it after a reglue.

  • Weight: 4 lbs 0 oz
  • Scale length: 13 7/8"
  • Nut width: 1 3/16"
  • Neck shape: medium V
  • Board radius: flat
  • Body width: 9 5/8"
  • Body depth: 1 1/4"
  • Body wood: figured maple
  • Bridge: Bigsby-style aluminum compensated
  • Fretboard: rosewood
  • Neck wood: maple
  • Pickups: 1x original Carvin single coil
  • Action height at 12th fret: 1/16” overall (fast, spot-on)
  • String gauges: 36w, 24w, 15, 10 stainless steel wound
  • Truss rod: non-adjustable
  • Neck relief: straight
  • Fret style: lower/smaller

Condition notes: the strap buttons and bridge posts and wheels are replacements. The downpressure bar at the headstock is aftermarket but it does a good job. There are a couple of strange holes that were plugged at the treble side of the heel where the neck is bolted. There's some usewear to the finish throughout the body but mostly confined to the bass-side lower-bout on top (forearm position). There's a useless added small screw just below the neck joint (odd). The pickup cover is damaged and it has non-adjustable poles -- they're set at the correct height for good string to string balance, however! The finish is original throughout and looks great.

It comes with: its original hard case.

Consignor tag: TC