The Gibson F12 mandolin was built during two periods – from 1934 to 1937, and from 1948 to 1980.
Gibson mandolins broke new ground when Orville Gibson combined traditional mandolin and violin designs in the closing years of the 19th century. Up to this point, mandolins mostly followed the European style with a bowl back and flat, folded top. Gibson substituted carved, arched plates as on violin family instruments. This resulted in dramatically improved volume, clarity and strength, while making the instruments easier to hold. The concept was adopted almost immediately and quickly displaced the traditional styles, except in conservative enclaves.
As an F-Style mandolin, the Gibson F12 is similar to the famous F5, but there are differences. The fingerboard end is squared, instead of a small ‘peninsula’ extension for the top two courses. The fingerboard is bound, but the headstock is not. Inlays are restrained compared to models like the F5 – simple dot inlays on the rosewood fingerboard, and a Mother of Pearl Gibson logo. Here, the fingerboard is attached fully to the top – it is not suspended as on some other F models.
The Gibson F12 mandolin back and top are book matched and carved solid maple, and the back has some lovely burl figuring. The top is Sitka spruce. The bridge and bound fingerboard are both Brazilian rosewood.
Overall, this Gibson F12 Mandolin is in good clean condition. The tuners and tailpiece are gold-plated and show very little wear. There has been a small repair on the pickguard, and there is some wear showing on the back of the neck and headstock. Not much else on the downside of this one.
This wonderful piece has the tone of a vintage Gibson mandolin, but given that it has so little wear, it likely has not been played much and will grow and open up as its new owner plays it.
An exquisitely well preserved F-12. This mandolin appears completely original and unmodified, and in excellent playing condition.
Comes in its original hardshell case in good condition along with a quality leather strap.