Gibson EM-150 Hollow Body Electric Mandolin (1939)

Gibson  EM-150 Hollow Body Electric Mandolin  (1939)
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Item # 10126
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Gibson EM-150 Model Hollow Body Electric Mandolin (1939), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # EGE-7079, sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, mahogany body and neck, spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, original tweed hard shell case.

Gibson's EM-150 was the company's longest-serving Electric Mandolin, in production from 1936 all the way through 1971. This first pre-war version is by far the most interesting, one of the initial family of stylish electrics from Kalamazoo. Basically it is a standard A-50 style hollow body mandolin mounting a smaller-coil version of Gibson's earliest electric pickup, known the world over as the "Charlie Christian" model. The version used here has a single-bound coil form surrounding the blade polepiece projecting thru the top, with the large flat bar magnets hidden underneath. The bulk of this unit makes the instrument somewhat heavier than one might expect! There is a nob mounted on either side of the bridge for tone and volume; the large pots of the day would not both fit on the same side!

The cosmetics are typical Gibson for the era with a dark sunburst finished top over a dark stained maple rim, single binding on the front and back, an unbound dot-inlaid fingerboard and a pearl Gibson headstock logo. The sound is strong and somewhat percussive, but mellower in the high end than most other early electric mandolins, retaining some acoustic character. This first-generation EM-150 is a classy but relatively rare Gibson instrument, a fine playing and sounding example of the company's coolest and most historically interesting electric mandolin. As an added bonus it previously belonged to noted Telecaster wrangler Redd Volkaert, and there is a note from him in the case wishing the future owner well!
 
Overall length is 26 in. (66 cm.), 10 1/4 in. (26 cm.) across at the widest point, 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 1/8 in. (29 mm.).

This mandolin is overall in very nice playing condition, showing some wear but all original except for an excellent correct repro pickguard using the original bracket. There is some average light wear to the finish overall, mostly random dings, dents and scratches, but no large areas of loss. The lower back/side seam has been resealed and there are a couple of sealed cracks in the jack area, solid but visible. There is some typical fretwear in the lower positions, but the mandolin remains eminently playable. This is a very cool and quite useful instrument, complete with the original HSC which is very worn, cosmetically just this side of decrepit but still solid and functional. Very Good + Condition.