1923 Gibson A2=Z #77658, FON #11951
In 1923, Gibson introduced this mandolin as “everything the modern player could want, from A to Z!” Mandolin lovers, especially those in the know about the “snakehead” A models from the Lloyd Loar-era at Gibson, understand that there is indeed something consistently remarkable about the sound of an A2Z. Always, when one hears an A2Z, there is an eyebrow-raising distinction that is hard to define. Combine this with the relative rarity, this model is esteemed and desired by players and collectors even more than the higher and more appointed A4. This particular example stands out as one of the best of the best, notable for flawless craftsmanship, incredible condition and the even rarer A model silver-plated pearl-button tuners. There is no doubt that Gibson workers put extra thought, energy and love into the creation of this particular instrument. The 1923 catalog describes this instrument in glowing language: “Light amber finish, through which the straight spruce top shows clearly, with a new, rich antique mahogany treatment of maple rim and back and fine British Honduras mahogany truss-rodded neck. A thin jet black character line inlaid within the ivoroid binding and the alternating black and white lines of the purfling ring around sound-hole lend delightful contrast, while ivoroid binding around the outer edge and back and on the fingerboard sets off the antique mahogany finish.” Other features, as with all the snake-head models, include “ ‘The Gibson’ in Japan pearl, solid Tamatave ebony fingerboard with front and side position markers, adjustable, compensated bridge, elevated pick guard, bone nut”, and hardshell green-lined case. (A note about numbers: the Factory Order number, 11951, indicates this was part of a batch of A2=Z in late 1923, while the serial number, 77658, indicates a shipping date of 1925). Of course, the question remains, why does the A2=Z sound so much better than other A models? Is it the “thin jet-black character line” inlaid in the edge of the top that allows the top to somehow vibrate more freely? Or the fact that this was the pet project of some gifted luthier working the line at Gibson during the Loar era? Or simply, as the select curly maple and silver-pearl tuners attest to, this particular mandolin was given extra love at the time of its birth? Whatever the answer, the bottom ‘line’ is, this is one great, fantastic sounding Lloyd Loar-era Gibson instrument in almost flawless condition that we now offer for sale for only $6500. Please email for additional photos & information.