1924 (Loar Period) Gibson F2 Mandolin #78304
1924 (Loar Period) manufacture date (traditional estimates)
1925 shipment date, according to Spann's Guide to Gibson
Mandolin, Style F2
Factory order number unknown
Virzi Serial Number 10280
The rarest of the rare - a Gibson F-2 made while Lloyd Loar hawked the stalls at Parsons Street, Kalamazoo, which so-named Gibson Acoustic Engineer bought into the theories espoused by The Virzi Brothers: book, sine wave, and deep thinker. The Virzis felt that it wasn't enough for an arched top instrument with lower-case f-shaped sound holes to produce enough volume to fill an full hall, no, it had to have a spruce-suspended saucer hanging from the underside of the top stamped "'Virzi' Tone Producer, US and Foreign Pats.," which, it is said, allows the sound to bounce around inside the mandolin like a hard rubber meatball, creating enhancements and cancellations of harmonic and overtonal magnitude which, along with certain perceived delays in which some of the sound leaves the instrument first, some later, may have made technology-hungry players think that the instrument might have acquired newly found tonal complexity that they could never (ever) get in a mandolin not so appointed. Then, too, above the Gibson Guarantee oval label, which is, like us, grime-free and whistling, scribed with ink as black as ink, the model and serial number handwritten as if it were yesterday, is the rectangular Virzi label that reads "'Virzi' Tone Producer, U.S. and Foreign Pats., New York." This F-2 (you know, F-2 Florentine with the crème-bound oval soundhole, rope-celluloid-rope soundhole rosette, crème ivoroid bound top and fingerboard, big body scroll and two major body points, two smaller headstock scrolls and one impressive peghead point) is in inarguably excellent condition showing only light normal signs of body contact and playing time, with all six of its original component parts including a "Pat. Jan. 18, '21" bridge base. The six necessary components, so that you can prepare for the quiz on Friday are: grained ivoroid button, four-on-a-filigreed plate, open gear machine tuners, "Pat. Mar. 30, '09" celluloid tortoise type pickguard with the "Pat. July 4, 1911" side clamp, two-piece carved ebony adjustable bridge, "The Gibson" floral slide-on tailpiece cover and tailpiece base. I've seen dings and I've seen light scratches, and I've seen that at some point in the likely distant past a repair made to the ear that holds the peghead scoll was repaired by somebody so competent that it may well have been done by the G-word company itself, with concomitant refinishing or overspray on the head plate and back plate that is so smooth and in character that you could simply doy. There's a ding under the string between bridge and tailpiece and a small wooden shim under the adjustable clamp to keep it tight and tense. The six-dot inlaid ebony board shows normal type fret wear, and, on the whole, this mandolin stands to belie both its own age and the public's expectations of what the lowest grade Florentine oval hole can do. It sparkles, it blinds, it resonates like bells at the 9th hour of the crispy winter sun-drenched day on which you rise from repose and recall why the life you have chose never glowed before your welcome hands held the Loar-era coup, the mid-'20s F-2.
Categories this instrument is a member of
- Red Sunburst
- Truss rod
- Unusual instrument
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