Dating a gibson
Information from George Gruhn and Walter Carter is used throughout the guide.This guide is intended as a starting point in a search for a Gibson A-model mandolin from the years 1907-1935.Copyright © 1995, 1996 Dan Beimborn and Maxwell Mc Cullough This page was authored by Dan Beimborn and originally appeared on the Mandolin Pages web site, now revised as the Mandolin Archive, a vintage gibson mandolin guide.In the spring of 1997 Dan decided to liquidate the Mandolin Pages and distribute them in various locations on the web.The early instruments with Serials below 10000 have a lyre mandolin and Orville Gibson's face on the label.You will want to make sure that the instrument you are looking at is the model that it is advertised as, because those little model numbers do a lot to the price of the instrument.If your eyes tell you a story that is not compatible with the "mint condition" or "as new" description, be wary. It should tell you the model number and serial number of the instrument. Mine (1921) is nearly illegible, but with a bright light and a lot of patience, I was able to read all of the information from the inside.The serial number (when compared to the ones in Gibson records) will tell you within a few months of when your instrument was made.
Mine sat in the shop for 2 years after the first owner died, and it took about 2 weeks of solid playing to get it to have a "wide open" sound again..The higher numbers have more fancy decorative features in general, but do not necessarily sound any better than "lower end" models.I personally would be hard pressed to trade my A0 for an A4. There are many instruments that break the rules, but these are a few basic guidelines: This one is easy.I was pleased that he offered the Mandolin Cafe the following Vintage Gibson A Mandolin guide.The Vintage Gibson guide was made possible in part by Maxwell Mc Collough who provided the beautiful photographs you see in the A-Model guide.
The basic "A" and "F" model shapes were developed around the turn of the century, and have become the basis for most serious imitators since.