The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

Gibson H1 Mandola Black, 1907

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Here’s a nice Gibson H1 Mandola, built during 1907 in Kalamazoo, Michigan and an expression of Orville Gibson’s genius. The Gibson H1 was built from 1902 to 1936.

In 1896, Orville Gibson filed patents for the work he had been doing that merged violin family design and construction techniques with the Mandolin and Guitar families. Particularly in the case of Mandolins, this development rendered most previous designs obsolete. Gibson’s new arched-top instruments were much louder and clearer, with better projection and durability than the previous bowl-back or flat-back European designs. For guitars, it took some time for the Archtop guitar to take its place but that may have been due to availability issues around higher tension steel strings.   Still, it’s no accident that at the start of the Big Band era, before amplification became commonly available, all of the guitarists used arched-top models based on Orville Gibson’s work. 

Very soon after these patents were filed and the new Gibson instruments came on the market, Mandolin Orchestras appeared around the United States. (There could be a parallel to the appearance of garage bands in North America as low-cost electric guitars and amplifiers became available in the 1950’s into the 1960’s).

Mandolin orchestras grouped together various members of the mandolin family, from Mandolins themselves to Mandolas, Mando-Cellos, and even Mando-Basses. The Mandola is tuned down a fifth from the Mandolin, while the Mando-Cello is tuned down another octave. The rarer (due to its size and cost) Mando-Bass is tuned like a standard double bass.

Here we’re looking at a Gibson H1 Mandola, built during 1907 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in good playable condition. Like many other Gibson arched top instruments of the time, the top carries a black lacquer finish, while the rest of the finish is ‘natural’ gloss. This example has had some damage and repairs over the years; the back has had a seam crack repaired, the top, neck and headstock have been refinished, and the original logo removed and replaced with a gold Gibson decal; a new bridge has been added (the original bridge is in the case). The sides and back have been over sprayed. These early examples do not have truss rods. The original pickguard is long gone.

It’s always amazing to us that these instruments, over a century old, are still going strong, playing well and sounding great.

The original hard shell case is included.


 

Price: $2,000.00 CAD
  • Model: Hi Mandola
  • Year: 1907
  • Finish Black and Natural
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: 7854? Built during 1907 in Kalamazoo MI
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 07/07/2022

  • Consignment Item

  • Including original Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 2,2lbs 1kg
  • Scale Length: 401mm 15.78in
  • Nut Width: 30.65mm 1.206in
Gibson Website

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