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Thread: Early A4 Needs Fairy Godmother

  1. #1

    Default Early A4 Needs Fairy Godmother

    There's plenty wrong with this mandolin. It has lost its Handel tuners, pickguard and original bridge- I cannot see the replacement properly- it is old.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/EARLY-GIBSO...e83a%7Ciid%3A1

  2. #2
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early A4 Needs Fairy Godmother

    Bridge looks like 1950s; the pickguard might be that old too. Not sure about the tuners. Headstock is splitting, pieces of binding are coming off, inlay is missing ... it would be a fairly ambitious restoration and you'd be fortunate to break even with it.

    That's a 1910 serial number according to Spann.
    Last edited by mrmando; Feb-16-2021 at 7:39pm.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Early A4 Needs Fairy Godmother

    On an instrument like that, you don't know how much needs to be done until it's on the bench and you find everything that's loose.
    But it surely falls into the category of a partial re-build.
    Good project for a luthier's apprentice.

  4. #4
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early A4 Needs Fairy Godmother

    Yes, not a job for people who don't like surprises.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Early A4 Needs Fairy Godmother

    Nasty surprises, most likely! The tuners are 1950s or 60s Waverly units as used by Harmony. I agree it would be a good project for someone learning under expert guidance.

  6. #6
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early A4 Needs Fairy Godmother

    That’s a shame, such a case of neglect. The work needed will truly be a labor of love! Not for the faint of heart to be sure.
    Timothy F. Lewis
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Early A4 Needs Fairy Godmother

    The crack in the headstock looks like it goes all the way down the neck to the heal. Also my first thought was that it was wet at some point?

  8. #8
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early A4 Needs Fairy Godmother

    Quote Originally Posted by Northwest Steve View Post
    The crack in the headstock looks like it goes all the way down the neck to the heal. Also my first thought was that it was wet at some point?
    Probably not. Seems to be not uncommon on 1910. From what I have read the wood used for the center strip (pear?) rotted over time. Not on all of them. Had a 1910 regular A where a prior owner doweled it from the side to hold it together. There are some threads out there on this and some websites with the proper (and time consuming) repair.

    If it were cheap enough might be worth the repair. Otherwise it's a money pit, IMO
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  10. #9

    Default Re: Early A4 Needs Fairy Godmother

    Currently at $555 with 90 minutes to go. NFI. I'm thinking it would be cost prohibitive to restore to like new. OTOH, depending on what you find upon inspection, it may be possible to restore to a playable "Orville label" instrument for a reasonable price.......depending how "reasonable" the bidding ends up!

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