Please disregard that it has only 7 strings in the photo. We've been experimenting with pre-Columbian Andean (Peruvian) music and the literature tells us that this was originally played only with 7 strings. Actually, the photos were taken when the mandolin came in and on that day it had 7 strings. When it comes up from the workshop we promise that it will be restored to 8 fresh D'Addario J74 strings, and we'll take fresh photographs.
This is Gibson’s mid-priced F-5 style mandolin positioned between the hastily named Jam Master entry level and the lofty F-5L. Here’s what Gibson Company says about this model: “Even with its simple appointments, the Gibson F-5G Mandolin is one gorgeous instrument. The bound scroll work meets Gibson's toughest standards, the same standards used on the F-5L with top-grade materials and impeccable craftsmanship. Carved spruce top and solid maple back and sides, extended ebony fretboard, and tuned parallel tone bar produce unsurpassed tone.”
Its specifications are stated as: carved solid spruce top combined with carved solid maple back and sides; it has an extended ebony fretboard, tuned parallel tone bar, nitro-cellulose lacquer finish; an inlaid mother of pearl flowerpot headstock inlay; ivoroid top binding, and nickel-plated hardware. We can go beyond that by mentioning the glossy black headplate overlay that hosts a traditional “The Gibson” script logo at an angle set against the headstock point, a black plastic truss rod cover held in place by twin roundhead Phillips screws, and engraved plate, open-gear, pearloid button tuners probably by Schaller or Grover. The black ebony fingerboard does indeed terminate with a 9 partial fret peninsula on the treble side and is inlaid with six large mother of pearl dotmarkers in five positions, namely 5, 7, 10, 12 (double dot) and 15.
The bridge is a traditional ebony adjustable two-piece and the slide-on tailpiece cover is etched “The Gibson” with a floral design just as it has been for over a hundred years. F-holes are open and unbound; the top is a close and parallel grained two piece bookmatched expanse of hand-selected, high grade spruce; the back and sides are finished darkly but one can see that underlying that brown glossy stain is considerably tiger striped curly maple. This example shows light normal signs of wear including some scuffs, some crazing lines on the headplate and behind the headstock and elsewhere as well, some extremely tiny dings that have got to be good lookin’ since they’re so hard to see. It is a very fine example.
There are two internal oval paper labels inside this F-5G. One (bass side back) is The Gibson Master Model label which states the serial number, the patent dates and the location of manufacture (which was Bozeman, MT). The label seen on the back through the treble f-hole reads “The top, back, tone bars, and air chamber of this instrument were tested, tuned, and the assembled instrument tried and approved . . . then a line on which is hand written “November 6, 1995” and following is the signature of Bruce D. Weber, the final supervisor at the Gibson Montana mandolin plant and the person who would go on, around a year after Gibson relocated its mandolin division to Nashville, to found, lead and supervise the new Weber Mandolin Company. This is a highly illustrious mandolin.