The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

Gibson F12 Mandolin Sunburst, 1949

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The Gibson F12 mandolin was built for two periods – from 1934 to 1937, and from 1948 to 1980. This example is one of 85 built during 1949.

Gibson mandolins broke new ground when Orville Gibson combined traditional Mandolin and Violin designs in the closing years of the 19th century. To this point, mandolins mostly followed the European style with a bowl back and flat, folded top. Gibson substituted carved, arched plates as on violin family instruments. This resulted in dramatically improved volume, clarity and strength, while making the instruments easier to hold. The concept was adopted almost immediately and quickly displaced the traditional styles, except in traditional enclaves.

As an F-Style mandolin, the Gibson F12 is similar to other versions such as the famous F5, but there are differences. The fingerboard end is squared, instead of a small ‘peninsula’ extension for the top two courses. The fingerboard is bound, but the headstock is not. Inlays are restrained compared to models like the F5 – simple dot inlays on the Rosewood fingerboard, and a Mother of Pearl Gibson logo. Here, the fingerboard is attached fully to the top – it is not suspended as on some other F models.

The Gibson F12 Mandolin back and top are bookmatched and carved. The top is Sitka Spruce, while the back, sides and neck are Maple – the back has a small amount of Burl figuring. The bridge and bound fingerboard are both Rosewood, and for this period of time are almost certainly Brazilian Rosewood.

The back of the headstock shows faintly a ‘Made in USA’ Country of Origin stamp. This stamp, added after the instrument was finished, indicates that this piece was destined for sale outside of the USA. In this case, it was sold in Canada, by Len Davies Musical Instruments. This is made clear by the retailer’s logo plate on the back of the headstock!

Overall, this Gibson F12 Mandolin is in good clean condition with very little wear. It is missing its pickguard, though the mounting holes are there. The tuners and tailpiece are gold-plated and the plating shows very little wear.

This wonderful piece has the tone of a vintage Gibson mandolin, but given that it has so little wear, it likely has not been played much and will grow and open up as its new owner plays it.

The original hard shell case is included.


 

Price: $4500 CAD
  • Model: F12
  • Year: 1949
  • Finish Sunburst
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: A2779
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 27/06/2019

  • Consignment Item

  • Required CITES documentation
  • Including original Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 2.2lbs 1kg
  • Scale Length: 353mm 13.875in
  • Nut Width: 28mm 1.1in
Gibson Website

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