Gibson A-4 Carved Top Mandolin (1914)

Gibson  A-4 Carved Top Mandolin  (1914)
$3,250.00 + shipping
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Item # 11003
Prices subject to change without notice.
Gibson A-4 Model Carved Top Mandolin (1914), made in Kalamazoo, serial # 26988, red sunburst top, dark stained back and sides finish, birch back and sides, spruce top, mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

The Model A-4 was Gibson's highest priced "A"-style oval-bodied mandolin for much of the company's early history. This example is fairly early, dating to the beginning of 1914 when Gibson was fully established as the major force in the mandolin market. By this point, the Gibson mandolins had been improved in a number of ways, especially in regards to the "modern" sharper neck angle. The sound is fully developed compared to instruments from a few years or earlier, and genuinely superior (at least to modern ears) to anything else available at the time.

This A-4's features include an early example of Gibson's celebrated sunburst top finish, a new idea just catching on at the time. This version is a subtly shaded dark/light red hue over cherry stained back and sides, less flashy than some later 'bursts but no less attractive. The model is further distinguished by pearl and wire inlaid grained ivoroid buttons on the Handel tuners, a treble side fingerboard extension and a pearl fleur-de-lis below the Gibson logo on the headstock. The body and fingerboard are single-bound and the sound hole is bordered with a large ring of ivoroid in between half-herringbone strips. A lovely-sounding playable piece of Art Nouveau, and another fine example of the instruments with which Gibson first conquered the fretted world.
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 not a mint mandolin, but for just about 110 years along a solid and fine sounding one. There is an older sealed grain split to the top above the soundhole, sealed with some topical touch up but still fairly conspicuous. There are no other cracks. The finish is original apart from this spot, showing some general wear including fine checking, pick scrapes, dings and dents with some areas rubbed off the back of the neck.

The hardware remains all original including the lovely inlaid tuners, tailpiece and cover, segmented bridge and elevated celluloid pickguard. The mandolin has been neatly refretted with Jescar SS wire, the modern option closest in feel to the period Gibson standard with a rounder crown and rather longer wearing than the nickel/silver original. This an excellent player with a nice low action and a bright ringing sound especially for this pre-Loar period A. It includes a nice original hardshell case with some minor wear but fully solid. Overall Excellent - Condition.