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View Full Version : Another old Gibson pulled from the closet



StreetLegal
07-05-2014, 12:06 PM
delete........

PhilUSAFRet
07-05-2014, 01:02 PM
Hmmm, coolkayaker1 seems to have his finger on the vintage Martin pulse.

Ukejenny
07-05-2014, 01:52 PM
From the photo, it looks to be in pretty good shape. Can you share some more photographs?

Congratulations on finding it. I love instruments with stories and history.

buc mcmaster
07-05-2014, 02:27 PM
Looks to be a Style 2 from the bound body. Can't say I've seen that script logo nor a pin bridge on Gibson ukes before..........

itsme
07-05-2014, 03:20 PM
Can you share some more photographs?
Yes, please. Especially the label that should be visible thru the soundhole, headstock (front and rear) and back. The label (color, shape, etc.) would be especially useful to someone who knows what they're looking for.

hmgberg
07-05-2014, 03:29 PM
Gibson tenor ukulele.

StreetLegal
07-06-2014, 08:08 AM
delete...............

river_driver
07-06-2014, 08:58 AM
I'm guessing - let me emphasize guessing , because I am not as familiar with Gibson as other brands - it was built in the mid- to late 1930's. I think in the very early '30's the headstock script changed from saying "The Gibson" to just plain "Gibson". The script was a little more elegant on the earlier ones as well. Actually, looking at the stencilling of the script, it could even be WWII-era.

Hopefully someone more knowledgeable about old Gibsons can jump in here and either confirm or deny!!

What I am sure of is that you've got a nice old uke with some great family history attached. Make sure it is properly humidified! It's survived this long, but your dry New Mexico air and drier air conditioning will kill it.

It sounds like you are wanting to keep it - if you are wanting to restore it, Jake Wildwood of Antebellum Instruments is extremely knowledgeable about old ukes and is a respected member of the UU community.

Teek
07-06-2014, 09:17 AM
Late 40s tenor here (http://www.gryphonstrings.com/instpix/37012/Extra.php).

ukulelekarcsi
07-06-2014, 09:21 AM
Hi StreetLegal,

Gibson started out producing ukuleles in 1925 with a tenor size - rather unusual. They weren't mentioned in their 1926 catalog, though. All Gibson tenor ukes had pin bridges, the early ones even had five pins in them (the fifth being a kind of spare wheel, without any string attached).

Yours is a bit later. The black headplate and curly script on your instrument suggest it's built late 1930s.

The stamped number on the inside isn't a serial number, but a 'FON', a Factory Order Number. It was used to trace all parts and material costs during production, was attributed to an instrument rather at random. The number was therefore sometimes reused, on different or very similar instruments. One thing is quite sure: DG stands for a Gibson made in 1938. Or rather, 'started' in 1938, so It could have been finished in early 1939 as well.

Gibson experimented with its tenors more than with any other model: spruce instead of mahogany tops, X-bracing, electrical pickup systems, cutaways, ... The unusual thing about yours is the 'open book' headstock instead of the usual 'pointed' one.

Simple binding on the top of the body and white bone nut and saddle suggest a style 2, but Gibson never was very precise and originally stamped all these 'TU', for Tenor Ukulele.. In fact, the diversification only came about in the 1940s with a simplified TU-1 and in 1950 with a fancier TU-3 - only from then on did the standard TU change into a TU-2. TU-1 production halted in 1955, TU-3 in 1965, the TU-2 probably in 1967 when the last sopranos and baritones were made as well in the Kalamazoo factory.

Gibson ukuleles and especially Gibson tenor ukuleles are really underrated.

StreetLegal
07-06-2014, 05:15 PM
[QUOTE=river_driver;1548562]

What I am sure of is that you've got a nice old uke with some great family history attached. Make sure it is properly humidified! It's survived this long, but your dry New Mexico air and drier air conditioning will kill it.

delete..........

StreetLegal
07-06-2014, 05:20 PM
Hi StreetLegal,

Gibson started out producing ukuleles in 1925 with a tenor size - rather unusual. They weren't mentioned in their 1926 catalog, though. All Gibson tenor ukes had pin bridges, the early ones even had five pins in them (the fifth being a kind of spare wheel, without any string attached).

Yours is a bit later. The black headplate and curly script on your instrument suggest it's built late 1930s.

The stamped number on the inside isn't a serial number, but a 'FON', a Factory Order Number. It was used to trace all parts and material costs during production, was attributed to an instrument rather at random. The number was therefore sometimes reused, on different or very similar instruments. One thing is quite sure: DG stands for a Gibson made in 1938. Or rather, 'started' in 1938, so It could have been finished in early 1939 as well.

Gibson experimented with its tenors more than with any other model: spruce instead of mahogany tops, X-bracing, electrical pickup systems, cutaways, ... The unusual thing about yours is the 'open book' headstock instead of the usual 'pointed' one.

Simple binding on the top of the body and white bone nut and saddle suggest a style 2, but Gibson never was very precise and originally stamped all these 'TU', for Tenor Ukulele.. In fact, the diversification only came about in the 1940s with a simplified TU-1 and in 1950 with a fancier TU-3 - only from then on did the standard TU change into a TU-2. TU-1 production halted in 1955, TU-3 in 1965, the TU-2 probably in 1967 when the last sopranos and baritones were made as well in the Kalamazoo factory.

Gibson ukuleles and especially Gibson tenor ukuleles are really underrated.
delete..........

StreetLegal
07-06-2014, 05:41 PM
I love instruments with stories and history.

delete.......

itsme
07-06-2014, 06:27 PM
I 've not seen any pricing on ukes that would entice me to want to sell it.
If you're planning to keep the uke, you owe it to yourself and your grandfather to at least try to learn to play it. :)

If you decide it's not for you, then perhaps there's someone else in the family who might appreciate it more? If nothing else, sell it to someone who will enjoy and play it.

StreetLegal
07-07-2014, 03:39 PM
If you're planning to keep the uke, you owe it to yourself and your grandfather to at least try to learn to play it. :)

If you decide it's not for you, then perhaps there's someone else in the family who might appreciate it more? If nothing else, sell it to someone who will enjoy and play it.

delete.........

Nickie
07-07-2014, 04:13 PM
Wow, what a find! Congrats, I hope you have a ball learning to play it! This thread has been most educational...

itsme
07-07-2014, 06:28 PM
I agree 100% - I need to learn to play it. In fact, I agree with everything you said.

I had a 1941 Gibson J55 that belonged to my father. It was rare and valuable. I sold that due to 1) deterioration from lack of use, 2) I needed the money, and 3) my father and I didn't have a good relationship for the last 9 years of his life. Someone bought it who will take care of it and appreciate it and that's good.
First step, if you want to try going it alone, is to put on a new set of strings.

If you want to keep it, I'd suggest taking it to a luthier, see what they recommend after a close inspection.

There's a lot of crazing in the finish. If there are no cracks, the crazing won't matter so much aside from being a cosmetic issue.

Hammond
07-07-2014, 06:46 PM
Always love this kind of threads. Ukes once loved and lived stories behind, being found and wake again after a long sleep. This is the beautiful thing.

This one looks like in good condition, your grandfather must have loved it very much. Quickly get it to body check:) Then you could play it with joy.

warndt
07-07-2014, 08:12 PM
I believe it is a War-time gold script (1943-1945) Style 2 Tenor. I'm fairly certain on the model TU-2, very certain it's a Gibson Tenor, and the date is probably pretty close. This is a wonderful instrument that needs to be brought back to life. Good luck to you!

I didn't spend a bunch of time on this, but this is the best place for finding your answer.

http://home.provide.net/~cfh/gibson.html

ukulelekarcsi
07-08-2014, 01:46 AM
I believe it is a War-time gold script (1943-1945) Style 2 Tenor.

I don't think it was made that late, given the FON. Is the headstock logo silver or gold? The shape (curly letters, no 'the') was certainly in use since 1935, I think the gold lettering on came about in 1943. Gibson assembled instruments in a rather chaotic style, and sometimes partially refinished instruments that came back from unsold stock or for repair.

StreetLegal
07-08-2014, 07:18 AM
I don't think it was made that late, given the FON. Is the headstock logo silver or gold? The shape (curly letters, no 'the') was certainly in use since 1935, I think the gold lettering on came about in 1943. Gibson assembled instruments in a rather chaotic style, and sometimes partially refinished instruments that came back from unsold stock or for repair.

delete..........

ukulelekarcsi
07-08-2014, 09:49 PM
I'm 98% certain the 1941 J55 guitar that I sold had gold lettering.
You're right, on higher end guitars the gold silk-screened curly logo was already used in 1940. I've just never seen it on ukuleles, and anything priced below a pearly dreadnought only switched from silver to gold in 1943. Which obviously doesn't mean it was impossible - your grandfather's ukulele is the proof. It was almost certainly made before 1947 when the logo was radically redesigned (in gold, even on ukuleles). My best estimation is still 1938, possibly 1939.

StreetLegal
07-10-2014, 10:37 AM
delete..........

jimhuang
07-13-2014, 09:00 AM
love the gibson tenors. i agree with ukulelekarcsi, it's built in 1938. dating from the letter style and DG XXX FONs.