Striking and compelling beyond all belief, this instrument shows only the most minor signs of having been owned and played – a few small dings here and there. This mandolin was custom-made for someone who wanted a new instrument based on an early Gibson Florentine design. According to the builder, in the annals of work performed by Bill Bussmann it is truly one-of-a-kind, being the only one he has made; he recalls that he made it in 2003 or 2004. There is a label inside the instrument which is signed by Bill, but it is not dated. This beautiful Bussmann one-of-a-kind 3-point, oval-hole mandolin, the one based on the early Gibson three-point, is a gorgeous thing, in super clean condition, built with exceptional wood, finished in a medium tobacco brown finish, including its quilted maple back. The mother-of-pearl inlays on the headstock and on the narrow pickguard are outstanding and elaborate. It has great tone as well.
Its nut width is approximately 1 ¼” at the nut, the string spacing at the bridge saddle is 1 5/16th”, the scale length is nominally 13 15/16”; the back of the neck shape is V-shaped, The playing action is comfortable and moderate – actually it’s perfect. This mandolin is incredibly beautifully crafted -- it defies comparison with nearly any other modern Florentine oval hole mandolin we would ever have an opportunity to see or play.
It is in superlative shape – appearing to have not been played very much. It has a large rectangular case, especially padded for the 3-point body. The headstock has inlays of flowers and vines, a face on wind or waves plus a crescent moon with a face. The narrow pickguard has a Scottish-style lion on it, vines and leaves (the lion doesn’t actually leave – he remains there). The tailpiece is memorable, presenting with engraving involving a hermaphroditic creature with a face that looks a bit like a Satyr. I wasn’t going to mention that it reminds me of my 8th grade physics teacher whose name shall live in infamy.
If you are seeking something that we can all but guarantee that nobody else in the entire world has in their collection, this would be that mandolin. It charms, it cajoles, it delights, it fulfills. It is the best of the old, and the best of a modern builder in New Mexico, who lives on or near the top of a plateau, drawing inspiration from the wild animals that literally cross his path. His address is on Rio de las Animas - which word Carl Gustav Jung said has to do with the feminine part of a man's personality, perhaps represented by that horned beast with the breasts on the tailpiece cover and also said to be the part of the psyche that is directed inward, and which is in touch with the subconscious (calling forth the same visual image, maybe). If you tried this mandolin out, you would (most likely) become at one with nature and will, even one time, hear its clear chime, find the sublime and perhaps the divine. NOW ON SALE! WAS $4118 BUT NOW ON SALE FOR: