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GIBSON MANDOLIN-GUITAR COMPANY
GIBSON MANDOLIN-GUITAR COMPANY

A MANDOLIN, STYLE F-5, KALAMAZOO, MI., 1923

Details
GIBSON MANDOLIN-GUITAR COMPANY
A MANDOLIN, STYLE F-5, KALAMAZOO, MI., 1923
The headstock inlaid The Gibson, labeled The top, back, tone-bars and air-chamber of this instrument were tested, tuned and the assembled instrument tried and approved July 9 1923 Lloyd Loar Acoustic Engineer and Patented Mar. 30, 1906- Sept. 20, 1920- Jan. 18, 1921 THE GIBSON MASTER MODEL Style F5 Number 73733 is hereby guaranteed against faulty workmanship or material. __________. Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Company Kalamazoo, Mich., U.S.A., length of body: 12 13/16 in. (32.5 cm) with original rectangular case and later case (3)
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Please note that the serial number in the catalogue description should read 73733.

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Lot Essay

Orville Gibson, who in 1894 worked as a part time shoe salesman and restaurant clerk in Kalamazoo, Michigan, possessed a dual passion for music and wood working. Although Gibson lacked any formal training as a luthier, it was his creative thinking, at the nexus of these two passions, which convinced him that he knew the means to greatly improve mandolin and guitar construction as it was then practiced. It was an idea that might have appeared misguided, but in truth it turned out to be stunningly brilliant.

For over three hundred years traditional mandolin construction was based on the Neapolitan method of fabricating the instrument's sound box from multiple thin staves of wood which were bent for the back of the sound box. The thin top was of one or two pieces of spruce top that were braced internally so to withstand the pressures exerted by the tension of the strings. Instead of following this formula Orville looked to the violin for inspiration. The tops and backs of violins are carved from thick stocks of wood, resulting in an arched form. This arch is self-sustaining and, like those found in architecture, able to withstand both downward and inward pressures. By applying this thinking to mandolin construction Gibson created instruments which were louder and more durable than the comparable works of the time and immediately became successful with musicians. The demand for Gibson's instruments quickly exceeded his ability to produce them. Without the capital to expand Gibson sold his name and operation to a group of Kalamazoo businessmen and with this the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Company was born.

Innovations in mandolin and guitar design did not end with Orville Gibson's departure in 1903. The history of Gibson as a company is illustrated with a relentless pursuit of new ideas and innovation. In 1921, Thaddeus McHugh, a woodworker at the Kalamazoo factory, invented both the adjustable truss rod and adjustable bridge. These advances made it possible to set and maintain the string height to perfectly fit the player's needs. A year later, in 1922, the musician and Gibson acoustical engineer, Lloyd Loar, completed that original idea of Orville Gibson. He dispensed with the oval sound-hole Gibsons were famous for and employed violin styled "f" holes on the tops and shifted the bridge position to the center of the arch. The first mandolins of this design, would be sold as the F-5, and were priced at $250.00 in 1923. With its strong tonal articulation the mandolin would prove itself both a superior rhythm and lead instrument.

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