1919 Gibson A3 Mandolin #49116
1919 manufacture date (traditional estimates)
1918 shipment date, according to Spann's Guide to Gibson
Mandolin, Style A3
Factory order number unknown
The Gibson mandolin line-up of 1919 was comprised of the A-Jr ("all brown, all over"), The Plain A- ("you get top binding but no headstock logo"), A-1, ("oh boy, a "The Gibson" pearl inlay"), A-2 ("all this and back binding too") A-3 which we shall explore in detail in a moment, and the elegant A-4 which had the most select woods, fancier appointments, a colorful abalone fleur-de-lis, and an onerous price tag. The A-3 came in two colors: Amana White, or natural top. If you chose the white enamel finish you got a matching white (ivoroid) pickguard. This A-3 has all of that. Her top is bordered in white and black, her back in just plain white. The headstock is inlaid with the ubiquitous "The Gibson" and a squiggle of pearl for which nobody has come up with a name. Perhaps it is a "dancing sprite." Perhaps not. Fretboard is ebony, dot inlaid, and bound in white ivoroid. Bridge was still one-piece ebony at this time, and tailpiece cover, as usual, is engraved "The Gibson" with a floral engraving above it. Headplate is ebony overlaid, back of headstock is painted black, back of three-piece neck is finished brown, and back and sides are finished reddish brown. This example shows normal signs of wear (but no tear) and the sound, as it is on most Gibson oval hole carved top A-style mandolins, is expressive, open and woody.
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