Back in 1968, in the early, heady days of The Music Emporium, the discovery of a then-30-year-old F-5 in pristine condition would have been an exciting find, something to proudly display in one of our vintage, narrow glass showcases. Half a century later, such an instrument is more akin to a verified unicorn sighting. These just do not come around very often, and we can't say we've ever seen cleaner. Somebody call Sam Bush!
To be expected, the sound is classic Gibson F: great chop, bright, lively cut, and lovely chime to those double-stops up the neck. Playing it instantly transports you to the late '30s, just prior to World War II, and a few short years before Bill Monroe would revitalize the mandolin's role and stylistic place in American music history.
The condition is absolutely stunning. There is some light checking to the top, but that finish looks to be original. The back finish could be original as well, or may have had a light overspray. If the latter, it would have been decades ago, and likely at Gibson. In any case, the only confirmed work done has been a recent, professional neck reset and period-correct refret. To be sure, the mandolin sets up very nicely and plays very comfortably. Fans of a little wider neck will appreciate the 1 3/16" nut width, which allows a touch more room for the left hand fingers.
From what we understand to be the mandolin's provenance, until very recently this was a one-owner instrument, purchased new in 1938 and more or less tucked away for decades. If ever there were a super-collectible, 84-year-old Gibson still ripe to be broken in, this is it!
Includes both the original, rectangular case as well as a new Calton case, ample protection for this beauty for the next four score and beyond.
- Pearl block inlays
- Recent neck reset (Dave Harvey)
- Recent refret, period correct
- Gibson script logo headstock w/ flowerpot inlay
- 1 3/16" nut
- Gold Waverly tuners w/ pearl buttons
- Original tailpiece & cover
- Original bridge base w/new ebony top
- Original, rectangular hard case
- Reproduction pickguard (currently removed)
- Also includes Calton case
- Serial number 95361