Mandolin E.R.


This 1915 Gibson A-4 mandolin came into Gruhn Guitars in good shape cosmetically, but it needed a lot of work to make it a good player.

You can see here that the front and back were both in nice shape for an 80-year-old instrument. But structurally, the body rim and neck were pulled away from the back of the mandolin. Someone had tried to repair this before, but succeeded only in a sloppy glue job. So the back had to be removed to clean out the old glue and clamp the new repair. The neck and body were not really connected, so the fingerboard had to be removed to reset the block and body.

The clamp for the binding repair is clearly visible here, as are the cauls that keep the proper pressure on the body. (*For those of you not up on your woodworking terminology, a caul is a chunk of wood cut to fit a specific job; in this case, clamping the curved sides of the mandolin body. One of our repair guys -- Bill Baldock -- has two boxes of them: "long-distance cauls" and "local cauls.") Some other points of interest are the single small brace behind the soundhole and a clear view of the oval label.

Here's the final product, complete with its original hard case. It plays like a dream and has the big, sweet sound characteristic of these mandolins. This one has been sold, but check out our online catalog for any that we currently have in stock.