Gibson F-7 Mandolin (1936)

AS THE GIBSON ARCHTOP GUITAR LINE expanded in the thirties, so did their mandolin line, with new models complementing the new guitars. The F-7, -10 and -12, all introduced in 1934, were all moderately priced “f"-hole models, with similar appointments to the corresponding guitar models. These new mandolins, patterned closely after the master F-5, did lack one important element, the longer neck. The shorter neck length of the F-4, as applied to the “f"-hole body, placed the bridge far below the center, which neither looked nor sounded as good. Though the F-10 and F-12 were both stylish, they failed to make a big enough dent in the declining mandolin market and were discontinued by 1937 (a redesigned long-necked F-12 appeared again in 1949). The lower-priced F-7, with its clear voice, was more popular and remained in the catalog until 1940. It was this model that Bill Monroe (pictured) used on his first recordings with his brother Charlie as the Monroe Brothers, and with his new group, the Bluegrass Boys, which made its debut at the Grand Ole Opry in 1939.

Track 10: Jeepers Creepers
(from Tone Poems II CD booklet , used by permission)

Photography by Brent Hauseman