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Help Identifying a Mandolin

GUEST,TDE 20 Jul 03 - 07:57 AM
bigchuck 20 Jul 03 - 08:41 AM
Geoff the Duck 20 Jul 03 - 10:42 AM
CraigS 20 Jul 03 - 09:46 PM
8ch(pl) 20 Jul 03 - 10:22 PM
nickp 21 Jul 03 - 07:33 AM
Willie-O 21 Jul 03 - 09:26 AM
brioc 21 Jul 03 - 12:47 PM
curmudgeon 21 Jul 03 - 08:59 PM
GUEST,TDE 22 Jul 03 - 12:44 AM
GUEST,kevin 05 Sep 10 - 07:10 PM
mandotim 06 Sep 10 - 03:50 AM
GUEST 09 Sep 10 - 10:07 AM
Ernest 09 Sep 10 - 01:02 PM
GUEST 11 Sep 10 - 01:24 PM
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Subject: Help Identifying a Mandolin
From: GUEST,TDE
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 07:57 AM

I would like to find out a little about a mandolin I inherited. It's a Gibson flat back style, with an oval sound hole, black finished front and back, dark stained neck, and a black pick guard. A ssticker visable through the sound hole says: GIBSON GUITAR-MANDOLIN COMPANY STYLE A NUMBER 79133. It also has a fitted hard case.

Any information you could provide would be appreciated, thanks.


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Subject: RE: Help Identifying a Mandolin
From: bigchuck
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 08:41 AM

Congratulations, these are among the best and most versatile (and sought after) mandolins around. Gibson made several models of A styles, but they differ primarily in cosmetics rather than wood or construction. My 1920 A is serial number 68510, so yours is probably a couple of years younger. Do have it checked over by a competent repairman, especially if it has been sitting for some years without being played. These are selling for $750 to $1200 depending on condition and sound, so it's worth spending a bit to make sure it's in good shape.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Help Identifying a Mandolin
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 10:42 AM

I seemed to recall I once chanced across a website which lists Gibson Instruments by their serial number.
A quick web-search brought out these few sites which may help.
http://www.gibson.com/downloads/bluebook/GibsonSERIALNUMBERS.pdf
http://www.mandolincafe.com/archives/faq.html#gibsonserials
http://chrisbsmusicinc.stores.yahoo.com/gibsernum.html

QUACK!
Geoff the Duck.
p.s. I tried to resist saying you can identify a mandoline because it looks like a guitar that shrunk in the wash! (I couldn't!)


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Subject: RE: Help Identifying a Mandolin
From: CraigS
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 09:46 PM

From the black laquer and serial number I'd say ca. 1922-23. To tell more - does it have a metal bridge, dot markers on the fingerboard, a pickguard, a cover on the tailpiece, any obvious plastic adornments, any writing or inlay on the headstock, and is the head stock pointy-shaped like a snake's head? Is the case made of thick leather? Is there any writing on the bridge, tailpiece, or machine heads?


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Subject: RE: Help Identifying a Mandolin
From: 8ch(pl)
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 10:22 PM

Does the headstock taper in toward the top? If so it is a "Snakehead" model A. If it is wider at the top than at the nut it is the more common Paddle head.

Is the back actually flat, not carved? I believe this is either the A0 or A Jr model.

The Blackface Snakehead model A has been listed in Mandolin Brothers lately for about $2800 US if I recall correctly.

There is some information

Hope this helps. You are fortunate to own such a nice instrument.

Glen Simpson


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Subject: RE: Help Identifying a Mandolin
From: nickp
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 07:33 AM

Insanely jealous!!!!


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Subject: RE: Help Identifying a Mandolin
From: Willie-O
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 09:26 AM

I've been dying to own one of those for years. As noted, it's worth a lot more if it has a snakehead-style peghead. (They are thought to sound better--I think it's because of better string separation on the peghead). But it's a great score regardless. DON'T refinish it. It's worth restoring if the action needs improvement or the frets are grooved. ONLY by a repairperson competent with vintage instruments.

These mandolins are loud and bright enough for bluegrass, but also have the sustain for Celtic and folk/jazz kinda stuff. And they sure hold together well.

Be aware that the A is the bottom-of-the regular line. There were more fancy models A-2 etc up to A-5, progressively more collectible. The straight A's and "A-dashes" are more a players' model. And thats a Good Thing.

Here's a good site that that has a lot of similar mandos for comparison: Vintage Mandolins

Enjoy, you lucky stiff.
W-O


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Subject: RE: Help Identifying a Mandolin
From: brioc
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 12:47 PM

while we're on the subject...........I have an Italian roundbowl mandolin. I love it, but was thinking of either trading it in for a flatback ( with plugbit for electics). However , I have no idea if or what it may be worth. Have had it for years now. The label on the inside says:
" original Musikalia trade mark"
"musikalia" Dr. Alfio Leone & Salvatore
via Nationale per Catania, 177 Acireale Italy

no sign of a serial no. though!!

any suggestions what I should look for in flat backs. The budget is tight enough! In Switzerland
brioc


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Subject: RE: Help Identifying a Mandolin
From: curmudgeon
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 08:59 PM

Here in the USA, bowlbacks or "potato bugs" rarely fetch high prices. Players don't like them very much. However, an ornate, highly decorated one can bring good money from decorators who use them as incidental "objets d'art." -- Tom


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Subject: RE: Help Identifying a Mandolin
From: GUEST,TDE
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 12:44 AM

It has the tapered "snakes head", and the headstock is marked with a gold painted "The Gibson". The tail piece is a silver colored metal that is engraved with "The Gibson". It has a dark brown / black pick guard fastened with a thumb screw clamp. It is not really "flat" on the front and back, but slightly dished with a recurve. The fret board has "pearl" inlays at the 5th, 7th, 10th, double at the 12th, and 15th frets. The bridge is adjustable up and down with thunb screws. There is an ivory-colored inlay around the oval sound hole, and the joint between the top and sides. The neck has an "ivory" nut and silver tuning machines.

Thanks so much for the help. This mandolin belonged to Brian "Old Sinc" Sinclair late of "Hillbilly at Harvard", WHRB radio, and means so very much to me. I'm not the least bit surprised that Sinc made such a good choice in instruments. I just wish that he was still here to enjoy it.

Thanks again for your kind help.


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Subject: RE: Help Identifying a Mandolin
From: GUEST,kevin
Date: 05 Sep 10 - 07:10 PM

I also have a musikalia orignal with the numbers 162-164. Any info on value?


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Subject: RE: Help Identifying a Mandolin
From: mandotim
Date: 06 Sep 10 - 03:50 AM

Musikalia mandolins are still in production, along with octave mandolins and bouzoukis. They are fairly cheap, mass produced instruments, but you can sometimes come across a really good one. These are worth hanging on to, as the resale value is often negligible.
Tim


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Subject: RE: Help Identifying a Mandolin
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 10:07 AM

Thanks for the input. The one i have came from my great granpa i belive. He used it in concert many years ago. Not really sure where to look for info. Any web sites that you know of that could help me out?


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Subject: RE: Help Identifying a Mandolin
From: Ernest
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 01:02 PM

Guest Kevin (if thats you who asked at Sept.9,2010, 10:07), have a look at this:

http://www.musikalia.it/

Best
Ernest


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Subject: RE: Help Identifying a Mandolin
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 10 - 01:24 PM

Great help! Thanks!


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