1923 Gibson F-5
A while ago I wrote that I thought that the F-4 was Gibson’s prettiest mandolin. A number of readers wrote in to say, politely, that I was full of beans and that the Loar-era F-5 was Gibson’s best looking mandolin. While I do agree that it is a gorgeous instrument, and I would certainly be happy to own one, I still prefer the look of the F-4’s bound oval hole and red sunburst. But I can’t fault anyone who likes the F-5 more. I mean, the Cremona brown sunburst is lovely and the f-holes do look sharp. We don’t know exactly what Lloyd Loar was doing to the instruments that bear his signature on the label, but everyone agrees that the ones that do such as this 1924 H-5 mandola and this 1924 L-5 guitar, have a little extra magic. (Check out this video of John Reischman playing his Loar to hear what I mean.) All Lloyd Loar F-5 are something special, and this example, which has a label signed on April 12, 1923, is no exception. It looks to be in fine condition with only some minor signs of being played over the years. It still has its original case, which is as elegant as the mandolin it was designed to protect. And it includes a photo of the original owner, Wallace Zeibarth, posing with it not long after he got it. If you’d like to own this beauty just get in touch with the fine folks at Carter Vintage Guitars, send them $175,000, and it’s yours. Easy as pie.
For more stories about great mandolins, please subscribe to The Fretboard Journal.