Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Will I Notice A Difference? Gibson 1917 vs 1922-34

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    Spokane, WA
    Posts
    29

    Default Will I Notice A Difference? Gibson 1917 vs 1922-34

    Gibson gurus, I decided late last winter to use the Great Pause to learn mandolin. I discovered Peghead Nation and after doing the basic course went to Marla Fibish's class. (Both classes excellent, by the way.) I just loved the sound of Ms. Fibish's Gibson A, that I believe is a '22 or '23. Couldn't find any of those at the time and ended up with a lovely 1917 A. I also found a used Collings MT. I love the sound from both of them and bounce back and forth. I have found the Collings neck to be much more playable and find that my muscle memory doesn't transfer from one mandolin to the other very well.

    So, here are my questions. Is the neck of a Gibson A '22-'24 going to be more like a modern mandolin than the '17? Is the sound of a '22-'24 going to differ much from a '17? Is there much difference in sound between A, A2, A2Z and A4 of those years? From listening to YouTube the A2Zs seem much brighter, more modern and don't seem to have the "tubby" sound of the A and A2. A4 seems in between those two extremes. I understand there will be individual differences, but does my observation correspond to the ears of those with much more hands-on experience.

    It would be one thing if I could go to one store and sit and play, but none of the on-line instruments are even remotely close for me. I also don't want to waste various sellers' time and money with willy-nilly trial orders.

    Finally, any thoughts "for" or "against" this A2 and its price?

    https://reverb.com/item/20079049-gib...sheriton-brown

    Thanks for sharing group wisdom and experience!
    2016 Collings MT
    1917 Gibson A

  2. #2
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    3,294

    Default Re: Will I Notice A Difference? Gibson 1917 vs 1922-34

    Quote Originally Posted by DCHammers View Post
    So, here are my questions.
    So, here are my answers:

    Quote Originally Posted by DCHammers View Post
    Is the neck of a Gibson A '22-'24 going to be more like a modern mandolin than the '17?
    The introduction of the truss rod in that era allowed for more narrow “modern” neck profiles.

    Quote Originally Posted by DCHammers View Post
    Is the sound of a '22-'24 going to differ much from a '17?
    I have read from luthiers I’d trust to know that graduations of that era differ from the earlier ovals, leading to voices that are more balanced and less bottom heavy.

    Quote Originally Posted by DCHammers View Post
    Is there much difference in sound between A, A2, A2Z and A4 of those years?
    Generally, the differences are going to be between the eras, or between individual instruments, rather than between models within an era.

    Quote Originally Posted by DCHammers View Post
    From listening to YouTube the A2Zs seem much brighter, more modern and don't seem to have the "tubby" sound of the A and A2. A4 seems in between those two extremes. I understand there will be individual differences, but does my observation correspond to the ears of those with much more hands-on experience.
    As the A2-z’s were only produced between 1923-1925, my guess is that you’re hearing the era there, and I’d wonder if the other videos differed by their vintage rather than their model.

    Quote Originally Posted by DCHammers View Post
    Finally, any thoughts "for" or "against" this A2 and its price?

    https://reverb.com/item/20079049-gib...sheriton-brown
    Those sheraton brown 1923 A2’s are lifetime instruments — just ask JeffD — so my only concerns would be price for condition. I’m not entirely sure about the checking on the back and would wonder whether it had been refinished or oversprayed, which would lower its value.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2014 Smart F-Style Mandola
    2018 Vessel TM5
    2019 Hogan F5

  3. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to pheffernan For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    2,238

    Default Re: Will I Notice A Difference? Gibson 1917 vs 1922-34

    I've always thought that on the average, the teens mandolins are a bit more responsive, as long as you find a good one. Others may not agree with me.

    Generally speaking, snakeheads have smaller necks.

    I wouldn't evaluate an instrument's tone from a youtube recording. Recordings can be very misleading, and most computer speakers and amplifiers don't have a very good frequency response.

    The checking on the back of the Reverb A-2 is not characteristic of what I expect to see on a varnished Gibson from the early 1920's. Although it is not possible to judge a finish very accurately from pictures, I would say that it is quite likely that the back has been oversprayed with lacquer.

    If I was going to pay $3750 for a brown snakehead A-2, I would want it to squeaky clean, with no doubt about the originality of the finish. If it were me, I would look for another one.
    Also, bear in mind that for $3750, you can find a nice F-2. And often, teens F models will have a smaller neck than A's from the same period.

    I've always thought that the best reasons for buying a snakehead are for those who simply prefer the look, and are more comfortable with smaller necks. I do not personally believe that they are better mandolins. Also, Gibsons from both periods can vary considerably in tone quality, power, and responsiveness.

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to rcc56 For This Useful Post:


  6. #4
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    23,637
    Blog Entries
    54

    Default Re: Will I Notice A Difference? Gibson 1917 vs 1922-34

    Quote Originally Posted by DCHammers View Post
    Is there much difference in sound between A, A2, A2Z and A4 of those years? From listening to YouTube the A2Zs seem much brighter, more modern and don't seem to have the "tubby" sound of the A and A2. A4 seems in between those two extremes.
    My observation is that how the instrument has been kept for the last 98 years seems to have as great if not greater impact on the sound than the differences the models had 98 years ago. Has it been in a case under a bed away from extremes of temperature and humidity for 98 years, or an open attic of a third floor house, on a music stand? Have the strings been with some tension all that time, or floppy or off, so the wood spent 98 years without any tension. What repairs has it undergone. What trauma has it endured. Were the mice that moved into the case gentle with the instrument. Has it been well played for most of those 98 years, with strings up to tension? Did a parrot pick at the sound holes? All this stuff matters I think.

    Others may disagree, but I would think that the specific model is less important than the specific instrument.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

    The entire staff
    funny....

  7. The following members say thank you to JeffD for this post:


  8. #5
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.
    Posts
    16,442

    Default Re: Will I Notice A Difference? Gibson 1917 vs 1922-34

    I think '22 saw the introduction of the truss rod .. starting at the top A/F4 ..

    My A4 has but the brown A 0 does not.
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  9. The following members say thank you to mandroid for this post:


  10. #6
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    2,238

    Default Re: Will I Notice A Difference? Gibson 1917 vs 1922-34

    As for how much the model number influences the tone, from my experience the answer is "not much, if at all."
    I've had my hands on a lot of 'teens models, but fewer from the '20's. I've played great and poor mandolins of every model from the 'teens. My personal experience with snakeheads is that the two mandolins which impressed me the most were an A-4 and a black plain A.

  11. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    6,046

    Default Re: Will I Notice A Difference? Gibson 1917 vs 1922-34

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    I think '22 saw the introduction of the truss rod .. starting at the top A/F4 ..

    My A4 has but the brown A 0 does not.
    Late '21 and '22 had all the Loar era improvements except the thinner necks and snakehead headstock. My '22 A2 has a paddle head, truss rod, adjustable bridge, and sounds great. I had an earlier A that had the tubby sound and I was not a fan of that. This is not tubby, simply deep, warm, and loud enough to be heard in a fairly big jam.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  12. The following members say thank you to pops1 for this post:


  13. #8
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    2,200

    Default Re: Will I Notice A Difference? Gibson 1917 vs 1922-34

    Snakehead A-jrs :
    - small necks, Loar era dimensions, & adjustable truss rods, no binding, no fluff, no BS....pound for pound and dollar for dollar my favorite mandolin on the vintage market!

  14. The following members say thank you to j. condino for this post:


  15. #9

    Default Re: Will I Notice A Difference? Gibson 1917 vs 1922-34

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post
    Snakehead A-jrs :
    - small necks, Loar era dimensions, & adjustable truss rods, no binding, no fluff, no BS....pound for pound and dollar for dollar my favorite mandolin on the vintage market!
    I agree. I just bought a 1924 Snakehead A-Jr a couple weeks ago for a great price. It plays and sounds great.

  16. #10
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    3,294

    Default Re: Will I Notice A Difference? Gibson 1917 vs 1922-34

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post
    Snakehead A-jrs :
    - small necks, Loar era dimensions, & adjustable truss rods, no binding, no fluff, no BS....pound for pound and dollar for dollar my favorite mandolin on the vintage market!
    Did the Juniors ever have adjustable truss rods? I was under the impression that they didn’t, even in the Loar era.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2014 Smart F-Style Mandola
    2018 Vessel TM5
    2019 Hogan F5

  17. #11

    Default Re: Will I Notice A Difference? Gibson 1917 vs 1922-34

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post
    Snakehead A-jrs :
    - small necks, Loar era dimensions, & adjustable truss rods, no binding, no fluff, no BS....pound for pound and dollar for dollar my favorite mandolin on the vintage market!
    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    Did the Juniors ever have adjustable truss rods? I was under the impression that they didn’t, even in the Loar era.
    No truss rod.

  18. #12
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.
    Posts
    16,442

    Smile Re: Will I Notice A Difference? Gibson 1917 vs 1922-34

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    I think '22 saw the introduction of the truss rod .. starting at the top A/F4 ..

    My A4 has but the brown A 0, also from '22, does not.


    And the neck profile is unchanged .. the truss rod cover on the A4 is nickel plated
    like the tail piece ,

    so they were featuring it's addition .. later, it seems the TRC was black
    to be less obvious..

    I'll take your word for later their changing the neck profile , later ..

    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  19. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    6,046

    Default Re: Will I Notice A Difference? Gibson 1917 vs 1922-34

    My A2 '22 has the nickel truss rod cover also,I think it was more the year than the model #.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •