Gibson F-2 Carved Top Mandolin (1912)

Gibson  F-2 Carved Top Mandolin  (1912)
This item has been sold.
Item # 10719
Prices subject to change without notice.
Gibson F-2 Model Carved Top Mandolin (1912), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 16835, black top, dark stained back and sides finish, birch back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

This is really an exceptionally well-preserved 110 year old mandolin, one of the nicest of this period we have seen in a while.
When this beautiful instrument was made in mid- 1912 when the F-2 "Artist Model" was the next to the top of Gibson's mandolin line, and at $75.00 "net" price very expensive by period standards. It is built to the same structural design as the top-line F-4, but lacking some that model's fancier decorative elements. The single major difference is the F-4 was the only early Gibson actually built with maple back and sides; like the rest of the line the F-2 is built of birch despite what the catalogs said! This sometimes gives them a slightly softer tone, sweeter and not as strident; sometimes it seems to make no difference at all!

The fittings are standard for the period with a raised celluloid pickguard and clamp, "The Gibson" slanted pearl headstock logo, Handel tuners with inlaid celluloid buttons, the engraved tailpiece cover and a solid ebony bridge with individual compensated saddle pieces. In 1912 many of these design elements wear recent developments, and the Gibsons from this period represent the first full flowering of these incomparable and at the time absolutely unique mandolins.

This F-2 looks beautiful with its lovely gleaming ebony top and sounds even better, ready to celebrate its next 100+ years. Inside on the back is something we rarely see, a small tag from the original teacher-agent that sold the piece. This reads "Artemas Higgs Agt. Barr St. Cash or payments". The lovely original case also includes some original period 100+ year old glassine Gibson string packets that are rare in themselves.
Overall length is 26 1/4 in. (66.7 cm.), 10 1/16 in. (25.6 cm.) width, and 1 11/16 in. (4.3 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.).

This beautiful sounding mandolin has survived the last century amazingly well with only minimal disturbance and no alterations, remaining a lovely instrument to in every way. The finish is completely original and very well preserved. The black varnish on the top is still shining with some typical minor micro-checking and light wear. There are a few small dings and dents but mostly the body finish is quite clean. The neck finish remains original with some wear down to the wood on the treble side. The headstock face shows some heavier checking and one small patch wood/finish on the top edge.

The hardware is original and complete including the tuners, tailpiece, and bridge; the individual saddle pieces have been lowered a bit for a suppler action. There are a visible top repair on the top just above the fingerboard, and the center seam is neatly resealed under the tailpiece. We see no evidence of the back/side seams resealed that are typical on Gibsons of this era. The original frets are very small wire typical of the period, they have been crowned lightly but remain quite playable. Overall this is a very sweet and enjoyable mandolin with a sparkling sound, exceptionally well preserved and superbly playable with a comfortable action. It still rests in an extremely well preserved original shaped HSC. Excellent + Condition.