PERHAPS THE MOST UNUSUAL of all the Gibson scroll mandolins was the all-black F-10, produced only from 1934 to 1937. This mandolin, made with a short neck, extended fingerboard with fancy pearl inlays, and nickel-plated hardware, was priced in between the other ‘30s models, the sunburst F-7 and the fancier F-12. This particular F-10 has been modified with a standard F-5 length neck, which was built and installed by the master mandolin builder from Australia, Steve Gilchrist. This modification had the effect of moving the bridge to the center of the body, where Lloyd Loar had originally intended. The original headstock veneer, tuning machines, and rosewood fingerboard were retained through this modification. The F-10 is quite rare today, with only three or four examples known to exist.
Track 14: Swing '42
(from Tone Poems CD booklet , used by permission)
Photography by Eric Harger