Gibson (used, 1927) H-4 Mandola

Tag No 39-1300 Used

#85299, truss-rodded Florentine model, cherry sunburst varnish, in very good plus condition with original hard shell case.

The teens and ’20s Gibson mandola came in four models: Styles H-1 and H-2 were teardrop-shaped, carved top, carved back, with the oval soundhole.   There was no such thing as a Style H-3, but the Style H-4 was essentially a larger version of the famous and fancy F-4 mandolin, being 29” long if you count most of the white celluloid tailpin and tuned to CGDA from low to high, one-fifth lower than a mandolin.  This truly outstanding instrument measures 11” wide at the lower bout, having a scale length of nominally 15 7/8” (a mandolin is, conversely, around 14” in scale), having a nut width of something like 1 7/32” – meaning that it’s slightly wider than 1 3/16th” and slightly smaller than 1 4/16th”.   The lordly (and, consequently, almost never seen) Model H-5 was a completely different creature, having twin f-holes, an elevated fingerboard and other Lloyd Loar-inspired features that are unique to the that short period in the 1920s when the world of fretted instruments was turned on its ear.     The beautiful tuners on this glorious H-4 are original open-gear, 4-on-a-plate with floral engraving and a line border, and having 8 matching crème ivoroid buttons.


There are no seam separations, however the crème binding on both sides of the fingerboard is, in one very small area, chipped where the bolt that connects the pickguard to the lower treble side of the fretboard is attached, and in addition though it would like to the binding does not quite reach the nut on both bass and treble sides of the neck. There is, as well, because we believe in full disclosure, a tiny separation of the crème neck binding at the lower bass corner of the bottom of the fingerboard.    On the back of the headstock is a pressure stamp that reads “Made in the U.S.A.” which means that when it was brand new it was originally shipped to a dealer in Canada.  Do to have been (gasp!) played, there is evidence of arm wear in the lower bass bout of the face and a small triangular area of leg wear (or something, we’re not going to speculate) on the upper treble side just under the heel cap. 

The top is in fine fettle - it shows no deflection whatsoever.  The elevated tortoise shell celluloid pickguard that bears the “Pat. Mar. 30 ‘09” stamp is solid and so is the chrome-plated side clamp which, in this period of the late ‘20s is a simple L-connection.  Its two-piece adjustable ebony bridge is original and it proffers the “Jan. 18, ‘21” patent stamp on its base.   Its oval soundhole is capped in crème, the three-ring soundhole rosette is made up of an oval of alternating crème and angled black, a middle ring of yellowed celluloid (or “yelluloid,”) and then another black bordered border of alternating crème and black.  The tailpiece cover is the standard slide-on “The Gibson” engraved style with the floral pattern.   The varnish finish shows normal signs of aging and playing – the former causing crazing lines (finish checks or craquelure) over nearly all surfaces including the sides and back of headstock, an incipient seam separation centered on the lower bottom of the back of the headstock, the latter taking the form of rubbed-to-“matte” finish on the back of the neck; scuffs and dings overall, finish wear in places from body contact, some fret wear that our workshop’s grind-and-polish will largely remove, and string changing marks on the single-torch inlaid ebony headplate.  

We present to you one of the most beautiful of all Gibson mandolin-family instruments – striking, stately, regal and loyal as a wholly legal beagle.  That Florentine scroll, that adjustable truss rod (that works just fine in both directions), that comfortable V-shape neck, those two large body points, that it has all its original parts, finish and no cracks – plus the thunderous, all-enveloping sound of the old, the bold and the present price of gold adds up to an experience that few mandolin players have experienced in their entire lives.    If ever there were a Gibson H-4 mandola worthy of your splurging, this would the one to dive deeply for.  You would never regret it. 


Our Discount Price is $8,765.00 and Our Cash Discount Price is $8,500.00.

Sorry, this item has been sold.
You may still add it to your want list, and we will contact you if your desired instrument comes in!

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