Exc+ condition • SN: 88185
Exceptional sound • 1-1/8″ width at nut
Original parts • Original finish
90+ year old woods = great tone!
Made after Lloyd Loar’s tenure at Gibson, these fine old Gibson F-5 mandolins are wonderful tone producers when set-up professionally and in a thoughtful player’s hands.
Old Cured highly figured Maple back, sides and neck and Spruce top. Its hard to say what species the Spruce is. It shows high character with even grain across the top and lots of flecking and medullary rays. 1929 must’ve been a good year for Gibson F-5’s, because this one has greatness to offer.
The Maple back, sides and neck show powerful figure that the old timers used to call “Shell Maple”. This term meant the Maple flame figure was a little more “block-y” and had secondary figure that changed as you looked at the wood from different angles.
Tapered headstock has Ebony overlay with “The Gibson” pearl logo inlaid at a slant across the top and abalone/pearl “Fern” inlay in most of the remaining acreage. Original truss-rod cover (with original slotted screws), next to the solid pearl nut. Gold engraved tuners, four-on-a-plate. with solid pearl buttons.
The headstock is bound with antiqued white binding with black accent line seen from the front.
Flat Ebony fingerboard has large pearl dot inlays. Frets are period small bar frets. There is some V-denting in the frets, but it is playing fine with no buzzing. Fretboard has a double-cut extension with 29 frets total. The fingerboard is bound with same antiqued white bindings, but showing the black accent line on the sides.
The body also has antiqued white bindings showing black accent line on the top and back faces. Original full tortoise pickguard with original mounting hardware has white multiple bindings with black line seen on front face. Ebony Loar-style adjustable bridge. Ebony bridge base is original, with original saddle and newer saddle with the mandolin. Original gold plated 2-pc tailpiece with “The Gibson” engraved into the removeable cover.
Wow! The notes that fly out of this mandolin are like ringing a wooden bell… Its almost like your knuckle raps the Maple back just as the note begins. Clear as a bell way up high and full and throaty in lower ranges. These F-5 “Fern” mandolins are graduated similarly to the original F-5 “Loars”, with the main difference being more wood left in the re-curve in the more modern F-5’s (1925 and later).
Check out the sound sample from Solly Burton. The 1929 F-5 has all the woody “thunk” and clear-as-a-bell high notes… and with lots of character.
Comes with the original “Red Line” shaped F hard case.