Back in 1968, in the early, heady days of The Music Emporium, the discovery of a then-30-year-old F-5 in pristine condition would have been an exciting find, something to proudly display in one of our vintage, narrow glass showcases. Half a century later, such an instrument is more akin to a verified unicorn sighting. These just do not come around very often, and we can't say we've ever seen cleaner. Somebody call Sam Bush!

To be expected, the sound is classic Gibson F: great chop, bright, lively cut, and lovely chime to those double-stops up the neck. Playing it instantly transports you to the late '30s, just prior to World War II, and a few short years before Bill Monroe would revitalize the mandolin's role and stylistic place in American music history.

The condition is absolutely stunning. There is some light checking to the top, but that finish looks to be original. The back finish could be original as well, or may have had a light overspray. If the latter, it would have been decades ago, and likely at Gibson. In any case, the only confirmed work done has been a recent, professional neck reset and period-correct refret. To be sure, the mandolin sets up very nicely and plays very comfortably. Fans of a little wider neck will appreciate the 1 3/16" nut width, which allows a touch more room for the left hand fingers.

From what we understand to be the mandolin's provenance, until very recently this was a one-owner instrument, purchased new in 1938 and more or less tucked away for decades. If ever there were a super-collectible, 84-year-old Gibson still ripe to be broken in, this is it!

Includes both the original, rectangular case as well as a new Calton case, ample protection for this beauty for the next four score and beyond.


  • Pearl block inlays
  • Recent neck reset (Dave Harvey)
  • Recent refret, period correct
  • Gibson script logo headstock w/ flowerpot inlay
  • 1 3/16" nut
  • Gold Waverly tuners w/ pearl buttons
  • Original tailpiece & cover
  • Original bridge base w/new ebony top
  • Original, rectangular hard case
  • Reproduction pickguard (currently removed)
  • Also includes Calton case
  • Serial number 95361
The Music Emporium

The Music Emporium

Brand New
10 Years
The Music Emporium
Joe Caruso
Lexington, MA
2:10 AM
Regular Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday: 11am-6pm Wednesday and Thursday: 11am-8pm Sunday: Closed

We accept VISA, MasterCard, and Discover directly for phone, email orders and in store purchases. Secure on line payments can also be made through our PayPal account. We will gladly accept personal checks but there may be a shipment delay while the check clears our bank. For international purchases, we strongly encourage Wire Transfers but in some cases will accept the above payment methods. To wire money directly to our bank, contact us for bank info.

We ship all instruments with a 48-hour approval period during which time you can comfortably evaluate your purchase and determine if it's right for you. The prices listed on our website do not include shipping charges or any applicable taxes, duties, or custom fees. Instruments shipped within MA are subject to a 6.25% sales tax. All out-of-state shipments are tax-free though we do recommend you look into your individual state's tax codes to determine any tax liabilities. The Music Emporium has been shipping guitars around the world for 40+ years. Your instrument will be expertly packed and shipped via FedEx, UPS, or US Post, depending on the destination and level of service. If you have a preferred method not listed here, please let us know and we'll do our best to accommodate.

Upon receiving your instrument, please inspect it to insure that the condition of the instrument is as described in your communication with us. Please contact us immediately via phone or email if you find any damage to the case or instrument that wasn't previously disclosed at time of purchase. If you decide to return the instrument, you must notify us via phone or email within 48 hours of delivery. We'll instruct you on how to make the return. Please pack the instrument in the same manner in which it was received, using all supplied packing materials, Unless instructed otherwise, you must ship the instrument using the same service in which it was delivered (Next day, Ground etc.) and insure it for its full value. The Music Emporium will issue a refund for the full purchase price once the instrument arrives, provided it arrives in the condition in which it left our shop. All shipping charges will be the responsibility of the customer.