Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: 1912 Gibson A

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    1,130

    Default 1912 Gibson A

    I recently acquired what I believe is a 1912 Gibson A, I think it spent most of the last 50 or so years in the case, it was glued by a local luthier at the neck joint to the top-but only on the pickguard side, and has considerable scratching on the back, the pick guard does buzz somewhat so I folded some soft cloth under it. There is no label on the head stock, but the tail piece cover is Gibson, and the inside label is Gibson Kalamazoo Michigan.

    Other than that - its sounds pretty good with a good sustain, could use some new strings, I didn't have any lights on hand so I have some Curt Mangan's on order.

    I bought it from someone who did not play it, so the action was flat on the frets when I went to check it out, I didn't want to mess with it and break something so I took the risk.
    I think its a nice little mandolin, and its super easy to play!

    on the inside label where the model number is someone wrote Hilsinger?.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20210515_072948.jpg 
Views:	87 
Size:	671.1 KB 
ID:	194151
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
    Got no compassion, thinks its a sin
    All he does is sit around an play the Mandolin"

  2. #2
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    1,313

    Default Re: 1912 Gibson A

    Cool! The bridge is replaced (you probably knew that). The buzzing may be because there was a pin that went from the pickguard into the original bridge. Had a 1910 with a similar thing.

    Up near the neck block inside should be an ink stamped number. That would be the factory order number (FON) and will help date it, although 1912 seems about right.

    No idea on what that is on the label. Maybe an earlier owner's name?

    Hope you get many years of enjoyment playing it! Looks nice.
    2017 Northfield F5SA, Strad-O-Lin, 2008 Weber Gallatin F, 2018 Collings MT, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 2018 Eastman MDO-305
    http://ericplatt.weebly.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/LauluAika/
    https://www.lauluaika.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/Longtine-Pl...4404553312723/

  3. The following members say thank you to Eric Platt for this post:


  4. #3
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Posts
    3,043
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: 1912 Gibson A

    Nice! Yes as Eric said most of it, yep an original owners name-owners. I've had quite a few old Gibson's and have seen many with Names, initials wrote on the inside on label, by label, inside treble and bass F-holes, also a few with original drivers license #'s scratched in the back of headstocks.

    I'd check the transverse brace, the brace right below the sound hole, if its sat for a very long time it could be loose and best check that out so you don't have top issues.

  5. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    1,130

    Default Re: 1912 Gibson A

    yeah the pick guard is just floating at the bridge and is touching the bridge wheel, the newer bridge seems to help anyway, it was a nice little find on a local Facebook market place.
    it sat with no offers for a few weeks.
    The last turn off the main road to get the sellers house was "Timothy Way" , so I gratuitously took that as a sign.
    I think its a keeper!
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
    Got no compassion, thinks its a sin
    All he does is sit around an play the Mandolin"

  6. #5
    Kelley Mandolins Skip Kelley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,997

    Default Re: 1912 Gibson A

    Nice score Tim. Thanks for sharing.

  7. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    1,130

    Default Re: 1912 Gibson A

    Here's the Beethoven Sonatina - I don't think this mandolin was played very much, but what a cool experience to bring it to life, the more I play it the more it seems to respond.

    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
    Got no compassion, thinks its a sin
    All he does is sit around an play the Mandolin"

  8. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to tmsweeney For This Useful Post:


  9. #7
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    2,287

    Default Re: 1912 Gibson A

    Sounds like you got a good one.
    A lot of records were made on the old oval hole Gibsons.

    I usually string these instruments with 10 or 10 1/2 - 14 - 24 - 38 or 40. I go back and forth between nickel and 80/20 bronze for the wound strings.

    And yes, it would be a good idea to have the brace below the soundhole checked to make sure it is not loose. Perhaps 1/3 of these old Gibsons that I see need some glue under one end, and it's an essential repair to guarantee the survival of the instrument for another 100 years. It's an easy fix for someone who knows what they're doing. If you can't find a local repairman who's good with antique instruments, a good violin repairman can handle the job.

    Not that it matters, but the shape of the pickguard and the tuner posts make it likely that your mandolin was built between 1914 and 1918. Earlier mandolins were shipped with tuners that had a ball shaped end at the upper end of the post, and pickguards with a curlicue that wraps around the foot of the bridge; and Sheraton Brown replaced natural as the standard top finish in 1918.

    Hope you get many years of enjoyment out of the mandolin. Be careful, though; if you get hooked on the oval hole sound, you just might find yourself wanting an F-4 to keep your A model company.

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


  11. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    1,130

    Default Re: 1912 Gibson A

    I think I know the luthier who fixed it for the seller - I sent him an email, he is legit.

    as for MAS, I can stop anytime, but I would prefer not to.
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
    Got no compassion, thinks its a sin
    All he does is sit around an play the Mandolin"

  12. #9
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    12,948
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: 1912 Gibson A

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Be careful, though; if you get hooked on the oval hole sound, you just might find yourself wanting an F-4 to keep your A model company.
    Yeah, right? I was angling for just such a one, going for a good bit less than usual, was in second place ... which turned out to be too far back in the running. A miss was as good as a mile. Left my MAS motor running, which led to the A-4. (Well, that and its year and finish were perfect matches for my H-2 mandola.) But I have to admit, I'd still like one. It's partly due to the way the one Ry Cooder is playing in that "Going To Brownsville" video sounds. Part of that is him, for sure, but part of it is the instrument, too, I'll bet.

    I've been an oval hole guy since Day One, literally - the 30 years spent with my late lamented F-12 notwithstanding. I went back to another oval hole, and have been much happier ever since. That's the sound I like. It looks like you've got a good one. Sounds like it, too.

    I've always used phosphor bronze D'Addario 74s - 11-15-26-40 - no good reason. But they came along just when I needed them. And they had a little marketing blurb - "David Grisman picks this set" - which was good enough for me.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    Lucinda Williams and Eric Von Schmidt (who would have turned 90 5/28/21), the night devotee met hero (and both my heroes)

  13. The following members say thank you to journeybear for this post:


  14. #10
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    12,948
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: 1912 Gibson A

    Quote Originally Posted by tmsweeney View Post
    as for MAS, I can stop anytime, but I would prefer not to.
    I'll be done with an F-4, or an F-2. On the acoustic side. I still want a solid-body electric mandolin-mandola double-neck with whammy bars. That'll have to be a custom build, I reckon.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    Lucinda Williams and Eric Von Schmidt (who would have turned 90 5/28/21), the night devotee met hero (and both my heroes)

  15. The following members say thank you to journeybear for this post:


  16. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    1,130

    Default Re: 1912 Gibson A

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Not that it matters, but the shape of the pickguard and the tuner posts make it likely that your mandolin was built between 1914 and 1918. Earlier mandolins were shipped with tuners that had a ball shaped end at the upper end of the post, and pickguards with a curlicue that wraps around the foot of the bridge; and Sheraton Brown replaced natural as the standard top finish in 1918.
    .
    You know when I first laid eyes on it I said ball park 1913-17 based on nothing other than a gut feeling, guess I wasn't too far off. So Circa 1914 it is.
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
    Got no compassion, thinks its a sin
    All he does is sit around an play the Mandolin"

  17. #12
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    28,407

    Default Re: 1912 Gibson A

    Great, Tim. Congratulations and it sounds sweet too. My personal preference for strings on my Gibson and most of my other mandolins are medium gauge D'Addario Nickel Bronze. They let the inner sonic beauty come out without coloring the sound with PB brashness. That is my own opinionated opinion.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  18. The following members say thank you to Jim Garber for this post:


  19. #13

    Default Re: 1912 Gibson A

    Nice find! I do get a chill when I see an instrument leaned against a chair, (or a couch, wall, or amp,) no matter how briefly -- probably just for the photo, I'm guessing.

    (as a repairman, I should look at it as job security, but it still gives me a chill, FWIW....)

  20. The following members say thank you to Jeff Mando for this post:


  21. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    1,130

    Default Re: 1912 Gibson A

    No worries Jeff - no mandolins were injured in that photo shoot, and the Kraft services were great, just great.
    Jim, call me the odd man out D'Addario's never did it for me.
    I was into Elixer for a time, but found them "too bright", I also like the John Pearse but after a while I found them a little too dark
    The Curt Mangan PBs have been doing it for me, I did purchase a set of Monel, but probably not for the Gibson.

    I know I' ve played some pre 20's Gibson's that I simply did not like, tone and playability just weren't there for me
    but this is a good addition to the herd, so easy to play and such a sweet , bright tone, and my wife mentioned the volume as I was clanging away on Camptown Races during the Preknis.
    While it won't be my main instrument, and probably won't leave the house much, as I told the seller - I'm not buying it to resell, I am buying it to play.
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
    Got no compassion, thinks its a sin
    All he does is sit around an play the Mandolin"

  22. #15
    ForestF5 Gene Summers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Western Kentucky
    Posts
    222

    Default Re: 1912 Gibson A

    Congratulations on your new Gibson A! It looks and sounds a lot like mine. I use D'Addario J62 80/20 Phosphor Bronze strings which has less top tension than the larger sets. Nice picking, hope you enjoy many many years together!
    Pava Satin A 2018
    Weber Yellowstone HT A 2008
    Gibson A 1916

Posting Permissions

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