Gibson "3-Point" F-4 (1909)

The 1909 Gibson F-4 mandolin, with a lavishly detailed flower pot headstock inlay, was also an early version of the proliferating Artist's model series. The unique new scroll "3-point" design was a huge step forward in the development of the modern mandolin look, which has come to serve generations of bluegrass, jazz, popular, and even classical mandolinists. This new mandolin had a "full resonant well-balanced tone" with "great carrying power," and a "distinctive design, which is not only artistic, but provides easy access to the high positions on the fingerboard." Within the next year or so (1910-1911) the Artist's model mandolins underwent a dramatic change. The scroll was recontoured and the third point (emanating from the scroll) was eliminated. This mandolin is the one seen hanging on the cover of David Grisman's first solo album "The David Grisman Rounder Disc"and may be heard on many of his other recordings, including the recent "Not For Kids Only".

(from Tone Poems CD booklet , used by permission)

Photography by Eric Harger