Gibson A-4 Carved Top Mandolin (1928)

Gibson  A-4 Carved Top Mandolin  (1928)
$3,850.00 + shipping
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Item # 10997
Prices subject to change without notice.
Gibson A-4 Model Carved Top Mandolin (1928), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 84005, 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 Style A-4 from the late 1920s. The long-running model was phased out of production in the early 1930s but even at this point relatively few of this top model in the A-style line. The A-4 was Gibson's highest priced non-scroll 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 these more expensive models.

This A-4 was built towards the end of 1928 and likely shipped right at the beginning of 1929. It is generally similar to earlier examples, but equipped with all the newer 1920s features carried forward from the "Loar Era" including the adjustable truss rod in the neck, adjustable ebony 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 just a bit 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 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 very good-playing mandolin, showing some light play wear and minor repair. The all-original finish still shines like it did before the Stock Market crash with light checking and some minor dings, dents and scratches, most notably a few random pick marks to the top.

There is one repair, to a spruce grain crack running behind the bridge under the strings, nearly invisible as it is very cleanly sealed with no overfinish. The instrument shows no other cracks or even seam repairs. All hardware is original and complete in very good condition. The frets have been recently crowned and show no show some light wear but the mandolin plays quite nicely with a powerful and even tone. The original HSC is present in nicely preserved shape as well. Overall Excellent Condition.