This exceptionally fine sounding wider-necked instrument has a second interior label that was signed, on August 23, 2007, by one David W. Harvey. Few mandolins are as immediately attractive or handsome in a traditional American way than the Sam Bush model. Sam has always favored a 1930s Gibson F-5, and perhaps he still does, and this mandolin embodies the design ideas of that favored period, with a few other niceties included as well. One is the wider neck width, another is the slightly expanded string spacing; the fancy tailpiece is a nice touch and so is all the ultra-elegant body, neck and peghead purfling.
Sam apparently likes the freedom of a wider fingerboard and so this mandolin comes with a nominally 1 1/4" nut width, a 1 9/16" string spacing at the 12th fret and the string spacing at the bridge is the same at 1 9/16". There are many players who appreciate having the additional working space.
One will probably note that the finish on the back of the neck has been sanded down – perhaps by the Gibson factory prior to shipment to the dealer, or perhaps by a sweaty-palmed maniac with just enough money to buy some 280 to 320 Extra Fine Industrial grade sandpaper. We can’t tell exactly who absconded with that finish – we’re still waiting for the DNA results to come back. Sadly, we may never know. There are many that actually like a naked surface on the back of neck. It makes the experience more organic and even sensual. This extremely fine mandolin also has a difficult to find, professionally repaired, scroll separation at the end of the headplate. And yes, it shows a few infinitely small dings here and there and signs that it may once have been played, including some light scratches below the tip end of the point on the back of the headstock..
We applaud the fact that this model has the somewhat wider neck; it has large mother of pearl block inlays in 8 fret positions starting at fret 1; it has a truncated fingerboard (no extension) that’s bound in crème ivoroid with an ivoroid-black line under the board. The top is bordered in ivoroid-black with crème ivoroid outermost and so is the back. The sides are single ply ivoroid encapsulated. The nut is bone. The headstock, also bordered in ivoroid-black with ivoroid outermost bears the script “Gibson” inlaid pearl logo and below that a single pearl flower pot with flower; below that is a bell-shaped plastic truss rod cover held in place by two gold-plated roundhead screws.
Its precision tuners are high quality, four-on-a-plate, with pearl buttons each sporting an individual screw to hold it in place. The bridge is ebony, two piece and adjustable to with gold circular corrugated lifters (much like my late Aunt Edna, at the end). Its tailpiece is burnished gold-plated, etched with “Gibson” in script and “Sam Bush” in the form of a facsimile signature in a scroll; f-holes are unbound, the back is two-piece, not matched particularly closely (the bass side is somewhat quilted, the treble is more curly) and the neck is one piece of curly maple – as we said, sans finish. This is called a “speed” neck – and that’s the unvarnished truth. In all this is an extremely fine player and remarkable sounding – it has the punch, it has the pop and it has the rumble -- and is suitable for either nightly professional use or eclectic performances that take place within either a small coterie of your best friends or a large assemblage of strangers.
NOW ON SALE! THIS WAS $6181 BUT NOW ON SALE FOR: