The F-4 model is fancy and elegant, having celluloid headstock and neck binding, binding on top and back, a large mother of pearl torch inlaid on the polished black (ebony) headplate under the inlaid “The Gibson” script pearl inlaid logo. The F-4 has a fancy soundhole rosette comprised of rings of black and ivoroid, (this is an early form of plastic that looks like ivory), then a larger ribbon of black and ivoroid parallelograms in an oval, then another black purfling line and a very large crème celluloid swath, followed by the same motif as earlier stated. The oval soundhole itself (partially covered by the fingerboard extension) is celluloid bound.
The slide-on tailpiece cover is engraved “The Gibson” and proffers a floral pattern. The ebony fingerboard with the five partial fret extension (peninsula) at the bottom treble side is bound in crème ivoroid . Originally, adjacent to the soundhole rosette, was an elevated platform positioned above the mandolin’s top surface. Today this is called a “pickguard” but back then was called a “fingerrest” since many a player rested his or her little finger on its surface as a guide point. The fingerrest was made of tortoise shell colored celluloid nitrate and, like so many others have done, and a large number of early films being stored in cans in Hollywood, it disintegrates upon contact with ordinary air. This mandolin has the adjustable truss rod feature that Gibson introduced in 1921. This is a very desirable component since it allows the neck to be straightened (prefer by a technician) and also allows for a somewhat slimmer and more comfortable neck shape. We equate the introduction of the adjustable truss rod with the first time an amphibian stepped out of the roiling sea and onto the sand, on its little transitional feet, and planted a tiny flag that said "That's one small step for a lizard. . . ."
Although the original tortoise 'guard has bit the dust its L-bracket remains. It is our intention to make a replica pickguard and install it. In fact, it is our intention to do a great many things to this oldster - including a refret, make the pickguard, replace some missing neck binding, clean it up really well, set it up and make it sing with the voice of the Australian Pig Nose Turtle. This example retains its two-piece ebony bridge with two small metal corrugated thumbwheels that, when jointly turned, enable, the user to raise or lower the action (which is the height of the strings off of the fretboard). This mandolin has its original highly attractive grained ivoroid button tuning machines. F-4 mandolins made prior to 1919 had exquisite tuners from the Handel Company in which each celluloid button was inlaid with nickel-silver wire, pearl and abalone to form a flower (16 of them, actually, since they were displayed on each side of each tuner) but World War I shortages, it is felt, brought the use of those amazing components to an end. Although the tuning buttons were quite pretty, mandolins from that era generally do not have the adjustable bridge, truss rod, or the slimmer and faster neck that this has. This instrument, as one would expect, shows fairly continuous finish checking, light normal signs of use and playing, and some hand wear on the back of the neck in the lower positions.
The reason this cannot be ordered right now is that it will take us some time to do this work, but we are hopeful that, by mid-summer, it will be ready for prime time - and when that happens we'll take new photographs and you will be astonished by the improvement. Our Discount Price is $7,732.00 and Our Cash Discount Price is $7,500.00.