Gibson A-4 Carved Top Mandolin (1931)

Gibson  A-4 Carved Top Mandolin  (1931)

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Item # 7867
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Gibson A-4 Model Carved Top Mandolin (1931), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 88330, red sunburst top, dark stained back and sides finish, maple back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

This is an interesting and fairly rare Gibson mandolin...a late Style A-4 from the early Depression era, not long before the model was phased out of production.
The A-4 was Gibson's highest priced "A"-style mandolin for much of the company's early history, but mandolins in general were in decline by the end of the 1920s and Gibson was building very few compared to the 1910s glory days -- especially of the more expensive models.

This 1931 A-4 is generally similar to earlier examples, but equipped with all the newer 1920s features including the adjustable truss rod in the neck, adjustable bridge, and "modern" metal rod pickguard bracket. It still carries the model's trademark pearl fleur-de-lis and Gibson logo on the headstock. The round-profile neck is thicker and chunkier feeling than the 1920s "snakehead" examples made during Lloyd Loar's tenure, but has a very comfortable feel compared to the "V" profile of the 1910s. The dark red sunburst top has a very deep hue, and this is still a very classy-looking mandolin. Rather less common than its 1910s or '20s ancestors, this late model A-4 is still a lovely and very fine-sounding instrument.
 
Overall length is 26 in. (66 cm.), 10 1/4 in. (26 cm.) width, and 1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 14 in. (356 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/16 in. (30 mm.).

Overall this is a nicely preserved and good-playing mandolin, and does not show much play wear. There is one long and quite prominent grain crack running most of the length of the upper side, solidly repaired but not heavily touched up and with no overfinish. The back center seam and a couple of edge seams near the neck joint appear to have been sealed up as well. The bridge is a correct reproduction but all other hardware is original and in very good condition. The frets show some light wear but the mandolin plays quite nicely with a powerful and even tone. The original HSC is present and fully functional. Excellent - Condition.