Gibson (used, 1987) F-5L "The Fern" Mandolin

Tag No 32-4216 Used
This item is NOW ON SALE!

#7013098, in “very good plus” condition with the original rectangular hard shell case. The interior label was signed by Steve Carlson on September 8th, 1987.

The Gibson F-5L is essentially the top of the standard (lacquer finish) line, not including their Artist models.  This is what Gibson itself has to say about it:   “The F-5L, introduced in 1978, marked the beginning of a return to the specifications of Lloyd Loar's original F-5 Master Model mandolins of 1922-24. Today's F-5 sets the standard by which all other mandolins are judged.” Not too modest or anything, and certainly not wordy.   It is most definitely beautiful and elegant.

Features include white-black-white binding (which has yellowed overtime) on the Florentine scroll and point headstock, on the top, back and dark tortoise color pickguard, and on the sides of the ebony fingerboard and side clamp.  Said fingerboard has a 9 partial fret peninsula on the treble side and mother of pearl dotmarkers on frets 5, 7, 10, 12, and 15.   The two-piece adjustable bridge is carved of ebony; the special gold-plated slide-on tailpiece is slightly faded on one side.  The headstock is likewise inlaid “The Gibson” in script pearl and there under is a 5 ½” long abalone fern. Since this is based on Lloyd Loar’s design it is finished in a lovely shade of Cremona sunburst, carved of the finest spruce on top.  The back, sides, neck and back of headstock are flame maple.  The tuners, probably Schaller, are floral patterned on their back plate, with gold plating and pearl buttons.    Of course it has an adjustable truss rod and a black truss rod cover held in place by twin roundhead screws. 

CONDITION:  The original owner sent this mandolin to the Gibson Factory sometime around 1999 to have a neck reset and to be refinished.  Unfortunately, since that time the mandolin has acquired new finish checking around the body but mostly in the area of the top, between the scroll and bridge.  There are also some very minute signs of checking elsewhere such as:  a single check on the top / lower point, three short lines of checking on top of the binding in between the top and bottom on the bass side and two hard to see checks on the back in between the upper point and neck heel.  There is a 1 ¼” incipient crack along the treble side which is described as being “stable” and “benign.”   There are light scratches on the headstock and very slight signs of playwear on front and back of the body.   The mandolin recently received a refret and plays comfortably across the fingerboard. 

The sound is rich, woody, open and punchy and it produces the Bluegrass Bark (the bark that harkens the spark of the dark parks) with little or no effort.   In other words, it is exquisite.      OUR PRICE WAS S$5,850 BUT NOW:

Our SALE Price is $5,750.00.

Sorry, this item has been sold.
You may still add it to your want list, and we will contact you if your desired instrument comes in!

Additional Photos (click for expanded view)

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This item is NOW ON SALE!

Video Demos

Mike Sassano of the group "Too Blue" demonstrates our 1987 Gibson F5L Mandolin.


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