Gibson A 1 Mandolinvintage 1939 excellent
This mandolin-banjo should not be mistaken for the banjolin (which has only four strings), though their
names are sometime interchanged. The mandolin-banjo is also known by its French name,
"banjoline", but should not be confused with the Banjoline designed by Peabody. The manjo is also a popular nickname for
the mandolin-banjo in Ireland.
The instrument was popularized in the 1920s when musicians commonly amplified
instruments to play more loudly.
In the heyday of mandolin orchestras and banjo bands (late 19th–early 20th century), all sorts of
instruments were produced. The mandolin-banjo is one of the hybrids that
resulted. It enabled mandolinists to produce a banjo sound without having to
learn that instrument's fingerings. The instrument adds the banjo's volume to
the mandolin; unlike the banjolin, the mandolin-banjo retains the mandolin-style
stringing in courses
(with double strings).
Mandolin-banjos have about the same scale length as a mandolin (about 13 inches); the
4 courses are tuned
identically to the violin and mandolin
(low to high: GDAE). The movable bridge stands on a resonant banjo-like head 10 inches in diameter and currently usually made of plastic.
Originally heads were made of skin and varied in diameter to as small as five
inches. Larger heads were favored, however, as they were louder, and thus more
audible in band settings.
Mandolin-banjos have been made by several companies, most notably Gibson, but also by the English
company Windsor, building and selling 4 and 8 string Banjos in the early 20th
Century. Modern mandolin-banjos are currently sold by Vintage, GoldTone and
Rogue. This is an older vintage one. It is likely from the 1920's to the 1940's. It is only marked on the tailpiece Waverly. The total length of it is about 23.5". The tuners turn and work well. The neck and frets look great. When I initially received it, there was alot of dirt, grim, and smoke build up on it from years and years of sitting. I know some people like that. But I don't. I like my instruments to be clean like my house. I not into putting a dirty instrument up to my chest and playing it. I sent it out to a local luthier and had it professionally cleaned. I was amazed at how well preserved everything was. No need to do anything to it, other then a fresh set of strings. It plays and sounds great. I'd rate this instrument a 9 out of a 10. Projects sound well and very loud. I've taken lots of pictures to show condition. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Be sure to check out my other auctions for more fun instrument finds and shipping combined. I will give a shipping discount for anyone not paying with Paypal. Thanks for stopping and good luck shopping. Michael J.
It is no longer commonly played and has become very rare. Prices currently
range from around US $200 to US $700.
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