Gibson (used, 1922) F4 Mandolin

Tag No 32-3541 Used

#72272, FON 11757, cherry sunburst, in very good plus condition with original hard shell case.

This is a 1922 based on its Factory Order Number which is rubber stamped (clearly) on the neck block.  That FON is #11757.  The invaluable book Spann’s Guide to Gibson – 1902 – 1941 states that the numbers on either side of this F-4 -- FON 11756 and 11758 are entered in Gibsons log books as  1922.   The serial number, written in pencil on the label, is more difficult to read but we are convinced it is #72272, which number traces to 1923.   During a transition from late 1921 to late 1922 Gibson introduced the adjustable truss rod.  This mandolin does not have an adjustable truss rod, however it has the shorter flowerpot on the headplate, as have all F-4 mandolins that do have the adjustable truss rod feature!   This combination makes it something of an anomaly.  One can only imagine Mr. Lloyd Loar pacing the halls of his Florentine mandolin section and saying to a foreman – “I have an idea for a shorter flowerpot which will allow us to place something new that I call 'an adjustable truss rod' just over the nut.   Can you give me a smaller flower pot and leave room for the truss rod?” 

Yes, there’s a chance this could have been a prototype, requested by Mr. Loar.  But of course this is  speculation.  There are two other possibilities that we can think of – one is that it missed that adjustable truss rod feature by days or weeks.    The other is that the person that ordered it originally in or around 1922 specified that he didn’t want an adjustable truss rod but Gibson had already inlaid the neck with the small flowerpot.


This mandolin has been set up and restrung by our crack staff of experienced luthiers.   We have examined it under black light and visually and it has no overspray and no refinishing.  Your beautifully shaded fancy maple and fine spruce extravaganza plays like Suadela (the too-often overlooked Goddess of Persuasion) on a skateboard (obscure Roman mythology reference.) This elegant Florentine fantasy has an ebony fingerboard inlaid with 6 mother of pearl dot position markers.


This instrument shows ordinary signs of playing including the expected number of minor dings, scratches, scuffs, scrapes, chips and nicks.   It shows finish checking, string changing marks on the headstock, some small nicks or dings on the back of the neck.  The frets show normal signs of playing time.  Tuners from this period are four-on-a-plate with two lines of filigree on the back of each plate, and the tuner buttons are amber colored.  An F-4 mandolin is crème ivoroid bound on both top and back, has crème ivoroid binding on three sides of the fingerboard including around the five partial frets on the cantilevered fingerboard extension, and a crème bound headstock.  Said ‘stock is inlaid with “The Gibson” in script month of pearl positioned horizontally near the large top point, having a medium sized scroll on the treble side of the top of the headstock and a small partial scroll on the bass side.   There is a small, inconsequential line on the back of the headstock, near the headstock scroll, emanating off the medium sized scroll; we do not necessarily feel that this is an incipient crack.   Its oval soundhole is bound in crème ivoroid and surrounded by a three ring rosette, the 2 outer rings being “rope” wood marquetry bordered on each side in black.  The elevated tortoise shell color plastic fingerrest (or pickguard) does not bear the 1909 patent stamping that earlier and some later year pickguards show, but the adjustable side clamp does have the “Pat. July 4, 1911” etching.   The bridge is ebony, two-piece and adjustable and it bears no patent stamp on its base.   Its “The Gibson” tailpiece cover, with floral pattern remains present. 


Having been produced in 1922 – the first year for the new Lloyd Loar-influenced F-5 mandolin -- this was made during an elegant time. Its top and back are bound in grained ivoroid; the two-piece underside and sides are comprised of highly figured curly maple and the neck is mahogany with a black center stripe coming down from the ebony underlain headplate. This is, of course, the fancy Florentine-bodied mandolin with the two large body points on the treble and the formidable curling scroll on the upper bass.  All in all this is a remarkably clean and original condition and it is extremely beautiful.  It sounds rich, full and decadent like a double chocolate Savoy truffle covered in melted vanilla ice cream.

Our Discount Price is $6,700.00 and Our Cash Discount Price is $6,500.00.

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