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Thread: Early Gibson A4 - Different Inlays?

  1. #1
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    Default Early Gibson A4 - Different Inlays?

    I have been eyeing this 1918 A4: https://www.talltoadmusic.com/produc...ional-mandolin
    ...and noticed the different inlays. Would those have been original? Has anyone else seen a mando with something like this from this era?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Early Gibson A4 - Different Inlays?

    It looks re-finished to me. If it is from 1918, the tuners have been changed from worm under to worm over - Gibson did this circa. 1924. The fretboard inlays look more 1970s than teens and twenties.

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  4. #3
    Registered User zookster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Gibson A4 - Different Inlays?

    This mandolin looks like other As that went back to the factory for a rehab. Sunburst is certainly 1930s, and the inlays could have been done at that time, or perhaps by an independent repairman to jazz it up. All none original. I would say under the circumstances, the mandolin is way overpriced.

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Early Gibson A4 - Different Inlays?

    I remain impressed at the expertise available from the membership of the Cafe. The willingness to help is so refreshing in these turbulent times. Thanks to our whole Cafe family.
    Last edited by Denny Gies; Jan-12-2021 at 8:50am. Reason: spelling

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Early Gibson A4 - Different Inlays?

    Whether it has been refinished or not, the fretboard inlays are probably original. My 1906 F2 has the same (or very similar) inlays. I believe that they were a fancy option, not included in the "F2" or "F4" designation.

  9. #6
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    Default Re: Early Gibson A4 - Different Inlays?

    Gibson did make a very small number of A-4's with fancy fingerboard inlays. All were built before 1910, and would have left the factory with inlaid pickguards, and a somewhat different shape to the top carving than instruments built after 1910. Most, if not all, would have had a black top finish. Any that were not black would have had a natural top finish. Gibson did not offer a sunburst finish until a few years later, circa 1913 or 1914.

    The instrument at Tall Toad does not fit the characteristics of those earlier mandolins. It is an instrument that most likely was reconditioned at the Gibson factory, as others have stated. And, for the record, the rosette looks odd for an A-4 from any period.

    Although the reconditioning work appears to be well done and the inlay is attractive, a more appropriate price for the instrument might be about half of what the seller is asking for.
    Last edited by rcc56; Jan-12-2021 at 7:16pm.

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  11. #7
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    Default Re: Early Gibson A4 - Different Inlays?

    Quote Originally Posted by Denny Gies View Post
    I remain impressed at the expertise available from the membership of the Cafe. The willingness to help is so refreshing in these turbulent times. Thanks to our whole Cafe family.
    I completely agree! Thank you all so much!

  12. #8
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    Exclamation Re: Early Gibson A4 - Different Inlays?

    FWIW, Fleur-de-Lis is the inlay on mine .. just Dot inlays .. (a 1922)


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  13. #9
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Gibson A4 - Different Inlays?

    I believe that only a few A-4s had the "artist" style inlays. I imagine that they would have offered it as a custom thing in 1918 but this mandolin has so much other non-Gibson features. IMHO this refinish was not done in the Gibson factory 1930s or not. This is a clodgy sunburst. Also, the fretboards on the early ones in the archive even with the artist style inlays do not have the fretboard extension. I am not sure when they started having that extension bit it usually goes to the 24th fret whereas this Talltoad one goes to the 26th (if I am counting accurately). Also, to my eye the fretboard end does not look like a 1918 A-4. Those tuners and the bridge are not correct to the period either. And I agree with RCC56 above who said, "the rosette looks odd for an A-4 from any period." I don't know what they inlaid in that one but it looks gray in the photo.

    I know no one likes to bother with uploading photos, but I will...

    I also posted a 1918 A-4 from the archives for comparison.
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    Jim

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