Gibson F-5M Mandolin (1941)

IN 1937 GIBSON MADE WHAT WAS PERHAPS a last-ditch effort to revitalize interest in their mandolin line by introducing a new, enlarged body shape to their A-model line. Both the A-50 and the A-l now had larger bodies (11 1/4” wide with a 141/2” scale), larger “f"-holes and fancier appointments. This idea, perhaps inspired by the Super 400 guitar, was also utilized in the creation of at least one F-5, pictured here and made in 1941. This unusual instrument, similar in size to the enlarged A models, has many unique features, including a natural finish and threepiece curly maple neck with a longer scale which joined its rather grotesque body at the 11th fret. Although this mandolin has no label inside and no serial number, the designation F-5M is written in pencil on the inside of the back, as well as the number 41. We can only assume that this was either an experimental prototype or a custom-ordered instrument, as it never was depicted in any catalog or Gibson literature from this or any period.

(from Tone Poems II CD booklet , used by permission)

Photography by Brent Hauseman