Looks like appliance enamel to me!
1921 Gibson A-3

© Frank Ford, 1999; Photos by FF

Here's a classic bit of Gibson design - the colored finish. Brother, you wouldn't miss this mandolin from the back row of the balcony!

After years of producing black face and sunburst finish instruments, Gibson introduced a striking new one. It was described in the catalog as having an ivory colored French enamel finish. Only the A-3 mandolin was produced in this color, and I suspect it was far from a best seller.

As you look it over, notice that the fingerrest and its fittings are made of matching ivoroid, as is the binding.

Please click the small image


I've always been fascinated with the white finished A-3. It's interesting to notice that very early in its history, the Gibson company abandoned elaborate inlay work in favor of flamboyant colored finishes. It wasn't until the introduction of the resonator banjo in the late 1920s that Gibson returned to inlaid mother of pearl to distinguish fancy models. The mandolins and guitars never did get much of the inlay treatment we associate with many of the other factories.

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