Gibson A-2 Carved Top Mandolin (1921)

Gibson  A-2 Carved Top Mandolin  (1921)
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Item # 9362
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Gibson A-2 Model Carved Top Mandolin (1921), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 66120, brown varnish finish, birch body, spruce top, mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

This is a good player's example of a just pre-Loar Gibson mandolin, a brown-top A-2 that is well-worn but a delightful instrument nonetheless. The original features include an overall brown varnish finish, double soundhole ring, bound top, back and fingerboard, pearl "The Gibson" headstock inlay and an early version of Gibson's adjustable bridge, a recently introduced feature at the time. This is a well-worn but fine sounding and playing mandolin, with a very easy action and plenty of sound to spare.
 
Overall length is 25 5/8 in. (65.1 cm.), 10 1/4 in. (26 cm.) wide, 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 1/4 in. (32 mm.).

OK, cosmetically this one is a little sad, in a lost puppy sort of way. There is a LOT of wear to the top, some of it rather inexplicable. The area around the bridge is particularly affected, with some spots worn into the wood and what looks like an ancient glue burn coming off the bass side. The rest of the finish has dings, dents and scrapes with some heavier wear down to the wood on the back of the neck.

There is an old repaired top crack just off the treble side of the fingerboard from neck block to the soundhole rim, likely caused by the original pickguard gassing out long ago. There is one small back crack of the center seam, and a tiny rim crack by the tailpiece. The back/rim seams show signs of having been resealed long ago.

The good news is everything is solid, the neck is nice and straight and the original frets have been lowered a bit but are still quite playable. All hardware is intact and original except for the long-gone pickguard, including the tuners, tailpiece and bridge. This 99 year old mandolin shows its scars, but like that lost puppy will reward affection better than those shiny mandolins over there. Despite (or maybe because of) some heavy use it plays very well and has a bright ringing sound, still lives in its original Gibson shaped HSC. "Ragged but Right" indeed! Very Good + Condition.