The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

❌SOLD❌ Gibson F-4 Oval Hole Mandolin Sunburst, 1916


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Built from 1902 to 1934, the Gibson F-4 Oval Hole F-Style mandolin was the top of the line until 1922 when Lloyd Loar introduced the F-hole F-5 model. Both models were then built until 1943, when WW2 interrupted production.

The Gibson F-4 and F-5 paired an Adirondack Spruce top with a carved figured Maple back. The sides and neck are also Maple and the fingerboard is Ebony. The body, neck and headstock have creme binding, and the oval sound hole has a celluloid ring bounded by ‘rope’ purfling. The position markers are Mother of Pearl dots; on the headstock the ‘The Gibson’ logo is Mother of Pearl while the ‘Chalice’ inlay is Abalone. At this time, adjustable truss rods were not fitted.

At this point and until about 1918, Handel tuners were used on the Gibson F-4, with distinctive plastic buttons inlaid with Mother of Pearl and silver wire.

This Gibson F-4 Oval hole example dates to 1916 and is in good playing condition, and has likely been refretted with period correct, very narrow wire. Fret wear ranges from light to medium. Over the years it has had some repairs and touch-ups. There is evidence of a repair to the heel involving the addition of a wooden pin visible on the back; this was then touched up with overspray to the back. The back finish shows a V-shaped wear pattern. The ebony bridge, with its compensated bone saddle insert, is not original but similar custom bridges can be seen on other pre-1920 Gibson mandolins. The celluloid pickguard is original to this instrument.

The original hard shell case is included.

Beginning in the 1880’s and lasting until the late 1920’s, mandolins and mandolin orchestras became very popular. The spark seems to have been a concert tour during 1880 by the Figaro Spanish Students, a fairly large group using bandurrias and guitars. The Bandurria is a rather short, coursed instrument with a teardrop shape at the time built with a round back. It’s easy to suspect that Orville Gibson combined the teardrop shape and coursed-design with violin construction practices for his revolutionary mandolins, including the A-style. around 1902. In the late 1920’s, the rising popularity of Jazz led to the decline of the mandolin’s popularity; it wasn’t loud enough to compete with horns and banjos.

Price: $5,000.00 CAD
  • Model: F-4
  • Year: Current
  • Finish Sunburst
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: 27793, built during 1916 at Kalamazoo Michigan
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 05/10/2023

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Including original Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 2.2lbs 1kg
  • Scale Length: 13.875in 353.5mm
  • Nut Width: 1.223in 31.08mm
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