Based on the groundbreaking designs of Orville Gibson that merged violin, guitar and mandolin construction methods, Gibson mandolins featured a carved spruce top, paired with a carved back of either mahogany or maple. In the case of the F2, the sides and carved back are mahogany.
The neck is also mahogany with ebony used for a centre stiffening layer. At this point, Gibson was not building mandolins with adjustable truss rods. That innovation appeared in 1921, and soon found its way into most models. Mother of Pearl is used for the dot position markers and the script-style ‘The Gibson’ peghead logo.
It’s amazing to see an instrument like this Gibson F2 mandolin, now over a century old and still in good playing condition. It is largely original albeit with a couple of changes.
Most notably the treble side scroll is missing from the headstock. It has been competently repaired, with no further cracks or other damage showing. There is a crack in the top running from the soundhole to the upper body scroll. This has been glued and professionally cleated. It’s probably been there for a very long time.
The gorgeous original Handel tuners are present and accounted for, and they are working perfectly. The bridge and beautifully inscribed tailpiece are also there, along with the original
faux-tortoise pickguard in good condition. The neck is straight, action is low and fret wear is minimal.
The craftsmanship of these early Gibson instruments is astounding. It is a meld of old world workmanship with post-industrial manufacturing. For one brief period, it was perfect. The F-2 was almost the top of the line for Gibson mandolins, and it really is a work of art. So cool to look at, yet a highly functional instrument that plays well and sounds fantastic.
And it includes its original hard case in worn but functional condition.
Vintage F2 demo - https://youtu.be/03HFFiHLqzU