There is simply no disputing the "Golden Age" of mandolins was the period from 1919 to 1924 when a gentleman named Lloyd Loar was the head acoustical engineer at Gibson.
The Gibson A-4 was introduced in 1902, and until it was discontinued in 1935, the A-4 was Gibson's top-of-the-line A-style mandolin. It features a carved spruce top, Maple back and sides, an oval sound hole, and the shorter neck typical of early 20th Century Gibson mandolins. On the A body, the shorter neck positions the bridge at the widest part of the body, which gives it an open, resonant sound. It's a natural choice for old-time music, but it lends a mellow, sweet timbre to any string band.
While the A-4 had a variety of finish colors, this 1923 Gibson A-4 has a reddish-brown sunburst, and it also has the "Snakehead" peghead found from '23 to '25. The Snakehead is an especially cool detail with the A-4's Fleur De Lis inlay, and the abalone used for this articular inlay shows stunning greenheart coloration. This 1923 A-4 has been beautifully preserved over the years, and it finds us in nice playable condition. A great setup leads to inspiring tone, and this one demonstrates the high-level build quality of the Loar period.
This 1923 Gibson A-4 is set up with its original bridge, original tailpiece, original tuning machines, and original pickguard. The pickguard clamp is missing the outermost nut, but it feels sturdy and functions just fine without it. At some point along the way, the original end pin was lost.
This 1923 Gibson A-4 includes its original case, completing the package. This is an incredible relic of the Loar era, but it's also a playable instrument with mellow, warm tone.