Interestingly, this mandolin would have been called an A-2 if it had been made in the teens, but starting around 1922Gibson began changing specifications and titles. Its grained ivoroid button tuners have a single etched line around the back of each plate (see below for a discussion of the tuners). As has an A-2 model, both the top and the back are bound in crème ivoroid. The mandolin once had an original pickguard with “Mar. 30, ‘09” patent stamp, side clamp with “July 4, 1911” patent stamp but said pickguard has deteriorated and fallen away though the side clamp remains. It has a two-piece adjustable ebony bridge with “Jan. 18, ’21” patent stamp. The unbound ebony fingerboard is inlaid with 6 mother of pearl dot position markers. There are creme side dots on the bass side of the fingerboard starting at fret 5, but the dots at the 10th and 12th fret positions are darker than the rest of them suggesting that perhaps a seam separation at and under the fingerboard was long ago glued. It is missing its original pickguard and clamp, but the post to which the pickguard attaches remains at the 13th fret, treble side, remains.
The mandolin shows only light normal signs of use and wear in the form of small the occasional ding, scrapes, scuffs, scratches, a nicker-too, minor string changing marks on the headstock, all this being in keeping with its advanced age. None of it is objectionable – we just feel the need to state it in case you were expecting “pristine. In fact some would say that it shows slightly less than normal signs of use and wear. One notable aberration from original is that it has a “The Flatiron” etched nickel-plated slide-on tailpiece cover, made in the same style as a Gibson tailpiece cover (Gibson owns the subsidiary name “Flatiron”). The way that the Gibson logo is silkscreened on the headstock is especially interesting - it's not white, it's multicolored with creme, green and reddish brown in the script lettering.
One correspondent has raised the question: do we think this mandolin has its original tuners? Well, their tasteful design is in keeping with the era in which it was made, but their condition is outstanding - clean as a whistle. There is no sign of it ever having had any other tuners - if it had originally had the "crown" shape on each end there would presumably be a footprint showing of a prior set of tuners. And yet, in examining our other six or seven prewar Gibson teardrop mandolins, the tuners we saw were either squared on top and bottom sides, or have the crown on each end. If these are replica tuners they are exceedingly high quality ones. Indeed, they look mahvelous.
Considering that it already has a replacement tailpiece cover, even if these tuners are replacements, market value is not reduced. It’s a very fine piece and, frankly, one of the best sounding of all the Gibson prewar A-style mandolins we presently have in stock!
In all, this is one of the most charming and, dare I say, superb sounding, snakehead A-1 mandolins as has recently crossed our path. NOW ON SALE! WAS $3609 BUT NOW: