Gibson A-Junior Snakehead Carved Top Mandolin (1925)

Gibson  A-Junior Snakehead Carved Top Mandolin  (1925)
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$2,450.00 + shipping
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Item # 9922
Prices subject to change without notice.
Gibson A-Junior Snakehead Model Carved Top Mandolin (1925), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 77544, brown stain finish, birch back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with ebony fingrboard, original black chipboard case.

The A-Junior was Gibson's lowest priced carved top mandolin in the 1920's, originally designed for sale to beginning students. While finished out to a price, the top and back are carved like the higher priced models, advertised to still sound "Gibsonic" even at the lowest price point. It has no ornament at all but is still built to the same quality standards as the company's higher end instruments.

This example has the Lloyd Loar approved slimmer neck carve and "snakehead" headstock shape used only in the mid-1920s, generally seen as signs of Gibson's best mandolin era. It offers all the sound quality of the best Loar-era A-style mandolins, just without any frills. The finish is a plain brown stain overall, and the fittings are as basic as possible including inexpensive plastic-button strip tuners, a carved one-piece bridge (likely leftover stock from the early '20s!) and simple "clamshell" tailpiece. The elevated pickguard is the same as Gibsons higher priced models. While not at all flashy this Junior is a very powerful sounding mandolin, fully justifying the esteem the "Snakeheads" are held in among players.
 
Overall length is 25 3/4 in. (65.4 cm.), 10 1/4 in. (26 cm.) wide, and 1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 14 in. (356 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/16 in. (30 mm.).

This mandolin shows some general wear and play time but does not appear to have been too heavily used over the last 95+ years. It has general finish wear overall, with the varnish on the back of the neck showing some loss, pickmarks to the top and scratches and scuffs to the sides and back. Overall the top remains relatively clean with no large areas of finish loss, except some varnish missing around the bridge from the piece being slid around over the years.

All hardware is original and complete, including the oft-missing celluloid pickguard and bracket which shows no signs of deterioration. The original frets show some wear but still play very well, and the mandolin sounds really great with a full range ringing tone. Includes the original heavy chipboard case, which has improbably survived in still functional condition. Excellent Condition.