Gibson Style A-3 Carved Top Mandolin (1919)

Gibson  Style A-3 Carved Top Mandolin  (1919)
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Item # 11071
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Gibson Style A-3 Model Carved Top Mandolin (1919), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 53834, white lacquer 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 a truly lovely example of one of the Gibson Company's most unusual looking and attractive mandolins, the Ivory-topped Style A-3. Gibson made many variations in the top color on their mandolin line in the teens and twenties, at various times offering black, brown, orange and red sunburst on different models. The striking "Antique Ivory" finish on this instrument was unique to the A-3, and only available on this mandolin between 1918 and 1923. Although a few other Gibsons may have been custom ordered to match, this finish was unique to the single model and not revived after it was discontinued in 1923.

The striking white top is double bound with a wide ivoroid soundhole ring encircled by three-ply wood on either side. The pickguard is grained ivoroid as is the bracket anchor, a very attractive looking material used only on banjo fittings besides this lone mandolin model. The back and fingerboard are single bound, the peghead sharply slanted THE GIBSON" script logo and inlayed vine pattern. The fingerboard has been very neatly refretted and the bridge is repro 1920's style two-piece adjustable unit, all else is original. The tuners are the typical period openbacks. Overall this is a fine playing and sounding example of this striking and singular Gibson mandolin.
 
Overall length is 25 3/4 in. (65.4 cm.), 10 1/4 in. (26 cm.) width, and 1 13/16 in. (4.6 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 14 in. (356 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/4 in. (32 mm.).

This just about 103 year old instrument remains in nicely original condition, a very attractive instrument with only some very minor playing wear optimized for excellent playability. There is some scuffing and checking to the finish and mostly fairly minor dings and dents overall. There is a concentrated area of deeper scratches on the lower back edge for reasons unknown and the headstock face has more wear and checking than most of the rest of the instrument. Some finish is worn through on the back of the neck.

The mandolin was neatly refretted some time ago with wire just a bit bigger than the original, with the board properly trued. A very high quality Loar-style adjustable bridge (probably made by Siminoff) is properly fitted. No other repairs are visible. The instrument includes the original hard case, this is not only a beautiful art Nouveau gem but a very fine player's A-3 with a bright and powerful sound, well past its 100th birthday and ready for 100 more! Excellent - Condition.