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Thread: 1935 Gibson A-75 (listed in MC classifieds)

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    Default 1935 Gibson A-75 (listed in MC classifieds)

    I'm new to the hunt for a nice player and this instrument seemed like a value for me after looking at a Fern and MM at Gryphon this weekend.

    I committed to buying John <Removed by Moderator. The seller did not include his last name in the ad> 1935 Gibson A-75 yesterday. I am paying his asking price of $1850 with original beat up case.

    I can see that the fingerboard isn't original. He said he has the original that Randy Wood removed to replace it some years back. Also it is missing the pickguard. He said he has a pickguard that he can include (not mount). He also said the tuners are difficult to turn but the instrument stays in tune. John agreed to a 5 day trial. I'm in Oregon and John is in Kentucky.

    Am I making a mistake in paying this price and less than perfect? I would like the instrument to be a joy to play and not lose value.

    Laura Alber

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    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Oct-20-2021 at 9:50am.

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1935 Gibson A-75 (listed in MC classifieds)

    This is a rare one! Not too many of these A-75's, it should have an elevated fretboard like an F-5, it also should have sunburst sides and back. These also have Mahogany back and sides! I've had maybe 10 A-50's with the elevated boards from 33-35ish and all were good some were better than others so you may have hit a home run on tone! That price isn't bad I think. And a new board by Randy Wood will be alright! A pickguard can be found, an original or a repro.

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    Default Re: 1935 Gibson A-75 (listed in MC classifieds)

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    it should have an elevated fretboard like an F-5, These also have Mahogany back and sides! I've had maybe 10 A-50's with the elevated boards from 33-35ish and all were good some were better than others so you may have hit a home run on tone! That price isn't bad I think. And a new board by Randy Wood will be alright! A pickguard can be found, an original or a repro.
    Collectors will say it's not original and not worth as much... which is their problem, because Randy Wood may have done a better job than Gibson. Most of us have seen factory work that is not period correct or a blend of two eras. Some non-period correct parts are preferable. Case in point, I have had several L-4 Gibson guitars... the older ones with the original (Bakelite or celluloid or plastic) tailpiece with six bridge pins and, I can tell you, they are not wonderful compared to all metal trapeze tailpieces. A better case in point would be removing metal adjustable saddles and replacing them with bone saddles. How she plays is what's important and you are not paying the price of a closet queen.

    Original pickguards come up on ebay or have one made here https://www.wdmusic.com/wd-custom-pickguards.html
    WD has some pickguard brackets.

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    Default Re: 1935 Gibson A-75 (listed in MC classifieds)

    Quote Originally Posted by Calforester View Post
    I committed to buying a 1935 Gibson A-75 yesterday. John agreed to a 5 day trial. I'm in Oregon and John is in Kentucky.Click image for larger version. 

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    Laura, Did you receive it yet?
    How do you like it?

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    Default Re: 1935 Gibson A-75 (listed in MC classifieds)

    Quote Originally Posted by your_diamond View Post
    Laura, Did you receive it yet?
    How do you like it?
    The mando arrived safe and sound on Thursday. It has a lovely deep sound and balance. The tuners are a bear to turn once you get close to the target note - any recommendations on replacements? The seller, John Deblois, was a joy to work with.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Calforester; Oct-30-2021 at 4:43pm.

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    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1935 Gibson A-75 (listed in MC classifieds)

    Nice mandolin! I've always wanted to try one of those.
    As far as the tuners: Try cleaning and lubricating them before you replace them. I was having some trouble with the original tuners on my 1919 A2, and I followed the steps on this website. Now they work like new.
    http://www.lutherie.net/tuner.maintenance.html
    "it's not in bad taste, if it's funny" - john waters

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    Default Re: 1935 Gibson A-75 (listed in MC classifieds)

    Nice! Get a picture of the elevated fretboard. It's good to have.
    I agree with John about the tuners. Fortunately, my set-up guy (Randy Marsh, Venice, Fl.) gets old tuners working every time included with the set-up.

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    Default Re: 1935 Gibson A-75 (listed in MC classifieds)

    Very cool!
    The tuners on my 1940/1941 Strad-O-Lin were also very (unworkably) tight when I got it (It'd been sitting for years), but after some attention by my favorite instrument PCP (Jake Wildwood, Rochester, VT) they are very serviceable. Mine are funky covered Kluson tuners and I didn't want to change the look.

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    Default Re: 1935 Gibson A-75 (listed in MC classifieds)

    Quote Originally Posted by your_diamond View Post
    Nice! Get a picture of the elevated fretboard. It's good to have.
    I agree with John about the tuners. Fortunately, my set-up guy (Randy Marsh, Venice, Fl.) gets old tuners working every time included with the set-up.
    thanks your_diamond
    I posted the elevated fretboard.

    Also this luthier made an interesting point about alignment etc and not cog lubrication -
    Last edited by Calforester; Oct-30-2021 at 5:52pm.

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    Default Re: 1935 Gibson A-75 (listed in MC classifieds)

    Quote Originally Posted by Calforester View Post
    thanks your_diamond
    I posted the elevated fretboard.
    Don't know how I missed it (the elevated fretboard)... looks very clean!

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1935 Gibson A-75 (listed in MC classifieds)

    Very nice. The website mentioned above is good for getting old tuners working smoothly again. Did those adjustments to an old set of Waverly that were on my Kalamazoo when I bought it. Now they are on my Strad-O-Lin and working fine.

    Really nice looking mandolin. And am betting it sounds great, having owned an elevated fingerboard A-50 for a while, those instruments sound way above what they should.

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    Default Re: 1935 Gibson A-75 (listed in MC classifieds)

    you didn't I added it after you made the recommendation!

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    Default Re: 1935 Gibson A-75 (listed in MC classifieds)

    Having once had a mint ‘35 A50, with gorgeous mint red line geib,( stolen from me thirty years ago, and likely residing in Yuma, Colorado), i well recall those miserable original tuners, 1:6?. i recall.. my A50 was always tough to play, despite a good set up. I digress.

    Back then , in 1971, i replaced the awful stiff fussy original tuners with 12:1 harmonies, all that was available. They were much better.

    Now
    I would suggest rubners. I have them on a Rigel, and, imho, they are superb. Smooth, stable, easy to use.
    Often, attention to bushings is critical. You may need to-
    replace the old ones, i dont know.

    Im sure there are others. I also have Alessis, from italy, beautiful hand made tuners…super, but not that easy to obtain, i would think. They are the absolute best ive used.

    Schallers are always good,imho, but i dont know if they have A style tuners.

    I have used gotohs and grovers…adeq uate but thats all. Waverlies are nice, but, imho no better than the rubners, if as good. Waverlies might be the most “fitting” for your ‘35. And, at this point in time and shipping, easier to obtain.

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    Default Re: 1935 Gibson A-75 (listed in MC classifieds)

    Quote Originally Posted by Calforester View Post
    you didn't I added it after you made the recommendation!
    Oh thank goodness. I thought it was my Old-Timers disease catching up with me again.

    Laura, Are the back and sides maple or mahogany on your A-75? Thanks, M

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    Default Re: 1935 Gibson A-75 (listed in MC classifieds)

    mahogany back and sides

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    Default Re: 1935 Gibson A-75 (listed in MC classifieds)

    I think you got a winner at a fair price. All set up and ready to go makes it worth more in my opinion as it can be hard to find someone to do the work well, and of course Randy Wood has a good reputation.

    I have had four A-50's with elevated fingerboards, from the time period similar to yours and they have been good to outstanding. Much more of an all around instrument than a typical oval hole Gibson A, and many of those cost as much or more than what you paid. 1933 -35 was an obvious transition time at Gibson and based on my mandolins I can say they were putting a lot into those models.

    Tuners can be a struggle - I have used the StewMac and Rubner tuners. Both look great and usually are an improvement over the originals.

    I also have an A-40 from the early 50's and a Weber F model that both have mahogany back and sides and I really like the way they sound: loud, warm and complex.

    I have been keeping my eye out for an A-75 like yours but haven't found one yet. Don't worry about collectors or other naysayers, your mandolin will be valuable to someone who is a player if you ever decide to sell it down the road.
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