Scott's Guitar Blog: January 11, 2016

Repair of a Gibson Style A mandolin, circa 1917

I just finished up repairs on this circa 1917 Gibson A style mandolin. It had a bad crack in the soundboard, needed new frets, had a few inches of loose back, a loose head block/back connection and needed a new nut. What a lovely little mandolin! The fingerboard was so dry that it was literally crumbling. I re-enforced the fret slots with ebony dust and epoxy, re-slotted and widened the slots a touch, then used a combination of lightly pressing in frets, supported with glue to install them. They are tad wider and taller than the original frets as per the request of the owner, and these frets should last for years and years before needing replacing. Because of how the slots were rebuilt and the frets installed, the fingerboard can now handle future fret work without falling apart. The fingerboard looks perfect now and you cannot see where the chunks were missing. So I’m happy to help with all fretted instruments…not just guitars.