1923 Gibson Style A "Snakehead


  • SOLD!

  • Year: 1923
  • Manufacturer: Gibson
  • Model: Style A "Snakehead
  • Case: Original Hard
  • Color: mahogany stain
  • Condition: Excellent
  • Description: Retrofret Stock # 5264. Gibson Style A "Snakehead" Model Carved Top Mandolin (1923), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 72707, mahogany stain finish, Birch back and sides, spruce top, mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, original black hard shell case. A great-playing and sounding original "snakehead" Style A mandolin from the height of the "Loar era" at Gibson. These are generally considered the best-sounding roundhole "A" style mandolins ever made, and this one certainly bears this out. Top is in brown stain lacquer finish with a thin wood soundhole ring; the top and soundhole edges are bound in ivoroid. An unusual feature of this particular Style a is tortoise celluloid binding on the back; this is noted on several others from this factory order number batch (11835). These Loar-era A mandolins have become ever more sought-after in recent times by players of all styles.Lloyd Loar's tenure as "acoustic engineer" at Gibson has become so mythical that sometimes separating fact from fiction is difficult. Certainly the mandolin family instruments made during the period of Loar's employment are the most perfectly realized in Gibson's history, and have become the template for most similar instruments since. The mandolins of the "Loar Era" show the influence of a master player on both design and execution, although other Gibson employees (especially Thaddeus McHugh and Lewis A. Williams) actually engineered many of the technical improvements of the early 1920's. Loar was primarily concerned with 'voicing' the instruments properly; the Master Model Style 5 line was his greatest contribution with their violin-style F-hole tops but all Gibson mandolin family instruments were refined and improved at the same time.Overall length is 25 7/16 in. (64.6 cm.), 10 in. (25.4 cm.) width, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 14 in. (356 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/16 in. (27 mm.). A very fine playing, sounding and looking A mandolin; some very clean work but no major alterations. Appears to have had an expert re-fret some time back. There is one repaired top grain crack along the bass side of the fingerboard, some small touch ups and polishing but nice patina overall. The bridge is a near-perfect reproduction-all other hardware is original. Typically excellent "Snakehead" sound! Includes a very nice OHSC. Excellent Condition.