Gibson A-4 Carved Top Mandolin (1911)

Gibson  A-4 Carved Top Mandolin  (1911)

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Item # 7981
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Gibson A-4 Model Carved Top Mandolin (1911), made in Kalamazoo, serial # 13238, sunburst top, dark stained back and sides finish, birch back and sides, spruce top, mahogany neck, original black hard shell case.

The A-4 was Gibson's highest priced "A" style mandolin for much of the company's early history. This example is quite early, dating to 1911 when Gibson was just becoming THE major force in the mandolin market. By this point the instrument has the "modern" sharper neck angle, and the sound is fully developed compared to mandolins from a year or two earlier. This period's A-4 features a black top finish, elevated pickguard, pearl and wire inlaid grained ivoroid tuner buttons, and a pearl fleur-de-lis and Gibson logo on the headstock. This is a well worn but still lovely sounding playable piece of Art Nouveau.
 
Overall length is 25 1/2 in. (64.8 cm.), 10 1/16 in. (25.6 cm.) across at the widest point, and 1 13/16 in. (4.6 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 14 in. (356 mm.). This is a well-used A-4, with some old repairs but still a very good player's piece. The center seam of the headstock has been resealed in several areas, with a small part of the head veneer chipped away near the nut. There is some related visible overfinish and polish out, and a couple of related small cracks to the veneer on the back of the headstock just as it comes to a point joining the neck. There appears to be a very tightly sealed partial heel crack on the bass side, but it is so tight it is hard to see except on very close inspection.

The varnish finish on the body has some minor touch ups and polish out (on the top) but maintains a nicely aged look. The hardware is original; The pickguard is missing, the screws retaining the beautiful inlaid tuners are later Phillips style and the tailpiece cover has lost most of its plating. The frets are low but very playable and the instrument has a nice fairly sweet sound. Includes a worn but functional OHSC. Very Good + Condition.