One-of-a-kind Restored Gibson A Model 1921 two-tone Mandolin w/ Hardshell Case, 2 bridges & 2 saddle

Original Price$8,500
New Price$6,500
$2,000 price drop
+ $45 Shipping
As low as $210/month with
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Shipped From
Nutley, NJ, United States
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Totally unique, gorgeous two-tone survivor
Gibson mandolin in amazing shape! You will not find a cleaner, stronger, or more beautiful Gibson Model A Mandolin on the internet. This holy grail mandolin now features the original factory burgundy red Pantone stain (SM5032) on top and back with a totally unique brown side stain (never seen before) two-tone color scheme, oozing personality, tone and charm. We got this gem with a catastrophically peeled brown nitro finish that was flaking up pretty badly (as shown) so we decided to bring it back to the original color that matches the serial #.

This incredible mandolin is now ready for a new home and another 100 years of music. You’ll be the first one to play it since our luthier finished the restoration. It’s essentially new again, other than the obvious natural headstock aged patina which we did not touch, (only to polish up). Comes with brand new hard shell case (with tags, never used, as shown), new D’Adarrio strings, new saddle and assorted accessories. Also included is the original oxidized tailpiece, original wooden
saddle and some picks.

This spectacular mandolin also
just celebrated her 100th birthday in 2021! For her birthday she enjoyed a centennial, bare-wood concourse restoration. Everything from binding repair, new Stew Mac luthier stain and nitro finish clear coat (five coats of clear!). Flawless fret work, neck work, structural repair and more… you name it. It’s all been addressed, finessed back to perfect health, put in a case and marked for sale as brand new, without a scratch. Flawless setup: needs nothing but hands and heart. Looking for the very best vintage Gibson mandolin money can buy? This is it.

As you can see from the second half of the images in this listing (the “before” pics), this 100 year old Gibson model A2, like most of them out there, needed quite a bit of TLC when she arrived. She received it in spades from JML Studios here in NYC. Everything from an impossibly weathered original paper label to peeling binding and flaking top coat finish.

The luthiers at JML Studios are constantly restoring world class instruments every day but we all agree that this mandolin is probably the coolest (dare I say best sounding) mandolin ever to grace our bench. Dripping with warmth and charm, the tone is deep and wide open. Intimate picking and light strumming is extremely detailed and expressive. The tone is bold, warm, yet bright with incredible sustain. Action is perfect and low. Original 1921 frets show plenty of life left and a very good amount of height still on them. Something else you may never find again on a 1920’s Gibson mandolin. The neck is straight as an arrow, solid as a rock. There are no issues to speak of other than being 100 years old, which you can see from the pictures; it has weathered the storm with grace in all the right places. It’s definitely a very special instrument and we’re in no hurry to let it go. Here are the details of what we did:

It was sanded down to the bare wood and completely restored from the ground up using the very best luthier products available. The binding was coming up where the neck meets the body (shown in “before pics”) so the old adhesive was removed, sanded, and braced with authentic luthiers Tightbond hyde glue. No expense was spared and we even had a new custom handmade Gibson engraved saddle made (1:1 spec) just for the restoration.

The old tailpiece is included, as seen in pictures in a ziplock bag with the other saddle. The old oxidized tailpiece, while original, was also blank and we’ve always preferred “The Gibson” stamped ashtray covered ones, so I had one made to spec by some pretty incredible craftsman. The gold plating alone was quite a bit extra (chrome is standard) but we wanted something special and unique to match the uniqueness of the two-tone color scheme. Even the original paper-label serial badge on the inside, which was all but completely disintegrated away, was recreated by veteran mandolin luthier Scott Fox of South Carolina, who specialized in those types of concourse restoration details, and is identical to the original in every way (including original serial #, verified by Gibson). Scott actually serviced this one of 8 Gibson A mandolins at the same time in 1997 (shown in pictures). He then sold all 8 of them in 1998 to the guy I bought this one from in 2021. I hunted Scott down and spoke to him about this mandolin over the phone but he’s in his 90’s now. His name is written in sharpie down on the inside the body at the very bottom so that tells me he had the entire top off at one point although when I spoke to him about it, he doesn’t recall (he's now in his late 80's). In his day he was apparently the premier luthier in the Carolinas until his retirement a couple decades ago.
These sell as high as 10k when done right (see Garrett Park Guitars sold listing screenshot in last image). This one is being done right but will go for much less. Everyone that hears it agrees it’s the loudest and boomiest mando they’ve ever heard. The sound itself is just massive as the wood is something quite special and has aged extremely well.

Comes with both aluminum saddle (apparently the aluminum saddle was the original one, according to our research?) for even louder, brighter performances as well as a wooden one for recording and session work. Most people agree the metal saddle sounds better and the wooden one looks better. You'll have both to decide.

We have a half dozen other 100 year old unique mando’s (allT around a G) in our shop so check them out as well.

Any questions please ask. Open to trades of any kind, especially outboard studio rack equipment. Thanks for looking and have a great day. Be safe out there!

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