This version, with its glorious vintage sunburst finished top, which was made between 1937 and 1941 has a white silk-screened Gibson headstock logo, an adjustable truss rod represented by a bell-shaped plastic bell-shaped cover held in place by two screws, twin open f-holes, 7 mother of pearl dotmarker fingerboard inlays in 6 positions (and crème side dots in the same positions), dark brown maple sides and back and a matching dark brown mahogany neck. The serial number is stamped into the back of the headstock, near the top. It features a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard and adjustable two-piece bridge, a “The Gibson” logo nickel plated tailpiece cover with floral design, and crème single-ply binding on the top and the back. The unbound black overlain headplate is “center-dip” design at the top. Its condition is overall “very good” showing normal dings, light scratches and scuffs, including some dings on back of the comfortable neck.
It is presently sans pickguard, however the original decomposing celluloid tortoise shell ‘guard, with original clamp is in the case. This is an extremely handsome variation on what has come to be known as the Gibson A-1 mandolin. We say variation because a) most Gibson A-1 mandolins have the oval soundhole and this has twin open f-holes, b) most Gibson mandolins have a body that measures 10” in width and this is wider – the theory being, we guess, more air space on the inside means greater volume and projection.
The width of the fingerboard at the nut is 1 3/16th” which is an extremely comfortable neck width for a mandolin. It is difficult to say what effect having an 11 1/8” wide body does to the sound. My suspicion is that Gibson Company must have felt that “more would be better” and that having a wider body and more air inside the mandolin would make it sound deeper and have greater projection. Our opinion is that it sounds a bit like a Gibson A-40 or A-50 mandolin from the 1960s.
This was a Late Depression attempt by Gibson to rekindle interest in a musical instrument which, at that time, was fading daily from the forefront of musical tastes. The electric archtop guitar was warming up at this time – more and more embraced by jazz, rockabilly and rhythm and blues players. The mandolin was becoming forgotten and this model was sent by the Gibson admin to get people excited, just like they did the top tension Mastertone banjo, and the first cutaway acoustic archtops and the first blonde acoustic archtops – all this same year, 1939. That same 1939 is considered “the greatest year in film history” since three major films debuted -- The Wizard of Oz on August 15th, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington on October 17, and Gone With the Wind on December 15th. This thrilling revenant from yesteryear would please any mandolin player or collector, and help, in a small but meaningful way, to make his or her life complete. This is Now On Sale! It WAS $1747 but is now available for a much lower price.