Gibson A-1 Carved Top Mandolin (1940)

Gibson  A-1 Carved Top Mandolin  (1940)
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Item # 9834
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Gibson A-1 Model Carved Top Mandolin (1940), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # FG-2232, sunburst lacquer finish, mahogany back, sides and neck; spruce top, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, period black hard shell case.

This is an overall nicely preserved original example of the A-1, Gibson's mid-line "working man's" mandolin made at the dawn of the 1940's. Different versions of this basic F-hole oval bodied instrument were a mainstay in the Kalamazoo company's line for years, this is the final pre-war variant with a carved spruce top on a mahogany body with plain fittings. There is a lovely dark shaded sunburst on the top with the back and sides finished in plain mahogany. The coolest fitting is a set of early Kluson strip tuners with amber plastic buttons. This style A-1 is an oft-under appreciated pre-war Gibson F-hole mandolin that plays well and sounds great in a wide variety of musical situations.
 
Overall length is 26 in. (66 cm.), 10 1/4 in. (26 cm.) wide at lower bout, 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 1/8 in. (29 mm.).

This mandolin shows some overall wear and tear but no major damage or repairs. The original finish shows light checking and numerous small dings and dents but retains a nice original shine to most of it. The back, top and rims do show a decent amount of wear from moisture in the specific areas where a player's arm would most often makes contact; this mandolin looks to have belonged to someone who was prone to perspiring on stage. The rim above and below the tailpiece has the most loss to the finish but there are no structural issues.

All hardware is original and complete except the pickguard, which is a very well done repro. There is some wear to the plating overall, most notably the tailpiece cover. The original frets show some wear in the lower positions mostly on the first and second string courses but playability is not affected. This is a nice playing and sounding pre-war F-hole mandolin, housed in a slightly later (c.1950) but otherwise correct Gibson hardshell case. Overall Excellent - Condition.