Gibson (used, 1917) K-1 Mandocello

Tag No 58-9423 Used

#34549, (some numbers difficult to read), in “as is” condition, but quite playable, with inexpensive modern zipper gigbag.

A prior owner of this natural finish, carved spruce top, teardrop-shaped, oval soundhole Gibson K-1 cello strung it up with octave mandolin strings which are tuned a fifth lower than mandolin, and a fifth higher than mandocello.  The reason that he did this is because he wanted to lighten up on the tension on the top.   Here’s the deal:  The entire instrument is refinished, it shows normal dings and marks, chips and nicks, a few incipient cracks; one small area of fingerboard binding at the center bottom of the ‘board near the peninsula, is pulled away; and the same can be said for the single-ply yellowed celluloid binding on the upper bass portion of the body (we’re talking about a third of an inch). The fingerboard binding appears to be replaced in a whiter shade of pale than is the body binding, the tuners are replaced with what appear to be Schallers with pearloid buttons; it is missing the tailpiece cover.  The top has sunken somewhat and there is a small dimple under each foot but our head of repair says “it’s not moving and appears to be quite stable.”   The nut is bone, the oval soundhole is bound in ivoroid and surrounded by twin rings of black bordered “rope” wood marquetry; the bound ebony fingerboard is inlaid with 6 mother of pearl dotmarkers in 5 positions.  The replacement ebony bridge is formidable, attractive and it is adjustable (which is good).   The frets are uniformly low (probably leveled and polished 3 or 4 times in the past) but the instrument plays just fine, with a comfortable action, without buzzing.   In the past a couple of hairline separations of the back seam were glued and are staying together nicely.  There may be other aberrations from original that we have, in the midst of this plethora of revisionism, overlooked, but we think we got most of them.  Per the revered Wiki, “as is” is a legal term used to disclaim some implied warranties for an item being sold.

This is, in fact, a “Player’s” instrument – fine sounding, rich, warm, bright and cheerful.  It has the antiquity, it carries the panache of the prewar, the venerability of nearly a hundred years time.   If one wishes to restring it with mando-cello strings, there’s a set of D’Addario mando-cello strings in the pocket of the most inappropriate zipper gigbag.  But we think it will be happier as an octave mandolin, and that’s how we have restrung it, with fresh strings.   Gibson never made a prewar octave mandolin.  They made a 4-string Tenor Harp, but that’s not the same thing.    So if owning a 1917 Gibson K-1 set up as an octave mandolin – at a very reasonable price – is exactly what the doctor ordered, then this is the buddy for you.  When these are in “excellent original condition” they sell in the range of $3300 to $4100.  

Our Discount Price is $1,595.00 and Our Cash Discount Price is $1,550.00.

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!

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