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Thread: Not a Gibson

  1. #1

    Default Not a Gibson

    Hi Mandolin Lovers,

    I have a mystery mandolin here and it is not a Gibson. I’ve attached quite a few photos to help solve the mystery. It appears to have been built in 1974 and possibly in Texas based on a “TX” marking inside. The labor is gone, but I can see where it used to be present through the bottom f- hole. Any information or leads would be great. I love a good mandolin mystery.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Not a Gibson

    Bear with me. I’m trying to upload photos from an iPhone. Haven’t figured out how to save them yet.

  3. #3
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Not a Gibson

    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

  4. #4

    Default Re: Not a Gibson

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  6. #5
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Not a Gibson

    Hey bgmandolin, step back a few feet and take pics of the entire instrument, front & back, not just vignettes of sections. Will make ID-ing it much easier.
    Allen Hopkins
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  8. #6
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    Default Re: Not a Gibson

    Some would call it a "tribute" instrument.

    At least the label is gone.

    Sorry....I tried to resist.

  9. #7
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Not a Gibson

    I suspect this was made by one of a select few luthiers that were building F5's in the 70's with the Gibson label. Gibson hadn't produced stellar mandolins in a while and everybody wanted one with the Gibson label. The worm over tuners pretty well dates it, you couldn't really buy worm under F style tuners for a decade or so. Gibson had gone to worm over. When Roger Siminoff got them interested in building Loar style instruments again they actually had to find a manufacturer that would make them. The turning point for Gibson is documented here in this article.

    An interesting thread on these instruments can be found here.

    One of the builders that comes to mind in this era was Cliff Sargent. That doesn't mean I think this was built by Cliff. There were others. Post some pictures of it full on.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  11. #8
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: Not a Gibson

    Perhaps the builder signed it somewhere inside, maybe on the top or on the neck block. Take a look with a light and a mirror.

    In the '70's and '80's, it was common for the handful of hand builders to put the Gibson logo on the head. If a customer wanted "Gibson" on the head, most builders were glad to oblige them without giving the matter a second thought. Gibson was building junk at the time, and no one would have confused one of the better new hand-built instruments for either a new Gibson or a '20's instrument.

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