Gibson "Lyre Mandolin"
© Frank Ford, 1999; Photos by FF
Here's a photograph of the label found inside Gibson instruments made before 1910:
And, now some photos of that strange instrument itself:
This instrument came to visit us at Gryphon quite a few years ago,
and I took these pictures at the time. It had recently been to Gibson for "restoration,"
including refinishing with lacquer. I don't know if this is the original color, but
it certainly is the original configuration. Many of those very early Gibsons were
made with black tops. Like most others of its age, it has a cedar top, and walnut
back and sides. The neck is figured maple, and the whole instrument is stained the
same color. For reasons I'll never understand, the higher grade Gibson mandolins
had friction pegs, while the lower models had gears. I wish I'd taken a better shot
of the label, which, if you peer closely, you'll see is rectangular, characteristic
of the very first Gibson instruments. I don't recall whether this one had a serial
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