Gibson Style DY Army-Navy Special Flat Top Mandolin (1919)

Gibson  Style DY Army-Navy Special Flat Top Mandolin  (1919)
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Item # 11872
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Gibson Style DY Army-Navy Special Model Flat Top Mandolin (1919), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, dark brown varnish finish, birch back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, black chipboard case.

The "Style DY" was a short-lived Gibson experiment, the company's first attempt at a very low-cost instrument. Using the general flat-bodied design of the slightly earlier "Alrite" model, the "Army-Navy Special" dispensed completely with decorative trim and sported a very utilitarian brown finish overall. There was a matching guitar as well (Gibson's first flat-top 6-string), and the initial aim was to sell the plain if functional instruments to Doughboys and sailors at military PX's.

World War I had pretty much ended by the time production got under way, but the instruments were built for several more years in fairly small numbers. Despite its short shelf life the design was well-remembered; Flatiron company was founded to produce instruments based on this model in 1977.

Gibson kept the plain-Jane low-cost line alive with the "Junior" models introduced after 1919, but the "A-Jr." mandolin was built with a carved top, leaving the flat-top mandolin design to languish until the 1930's. The DY has a unique tone, bright and peppy but with a distinctly Gibson flavor. This is a good-playing and fine sounding example of this fairly rare mandolin.
Overall length is 24 3/4 in. (62.9 cm.), 9 3/4 in. (24.8 cm.) width, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 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.).

Overall this is a nice if somewhat played in example of this over 100 year old mandolin. There is general wear with some heavier pick marks to the top below the soundhole and dings, scrapes and dents to the finish overall. Several old repairs to the back/side seams edge are visible in various spots; the birch back often shrinks off the rims on these but everything is solidly glued up. All hardware appears original including the strip tuners, generic "clamshell" tailpiece and two-footed compensated ebony bridge. This is a very good sounding and playing "DY" with a nice vibe, housed in a later chipboard case. Very Good + Condition.