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2011 Gilchrist Model 4
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Serial#: 67511, signed by the maker. Nut width: 1 1/8" Scale length: 13 7/8"
Materials: Solid bookmatched handcarved Adirondack spruce top; handcarved figured one-piece sugar maple back; solid flame maple sides and neck; solid ebony fingerboard; pearl headstock logo; grained ivoroid body binding; solid pearl nut.
Hardware: Celluloid tortoise finger rest with nickel cam clamp, compensated adjustable ebony bridge, hand engraved silver hinge tailpiece, engraved Waverly nickel gear-over tuners with pearl buttons.
Notes: It's the little things that count.
From his workshop in scenic Lake Gnotuk in southwest Victoria, Australian luthier Stephen Gilchrist has earned worldwide renown for his superlative archtop mandolins and guitars. Honing his craft at Gruhn Guitars in Nashville, Gilchrist had the unparalleled opportunity to work on many of America's most illustrious fretted instruments, including the legendary originals of Gibson's Lloyd Loar. Today, Steve's own mandolins and guitars are among the most highly coveted in the world, placing him in the uppermost rank of international luthiers.
It's no stretch to say that no luthier alive has taken greater pains to replicate Loar's masterworks in the most exacting detail. Soundboards and braces are tap tuned of Adirondack red spruce, with back and sides of highly figured sugar maple. Stained with water based aniline dyes for a true vintage palette, each instrument is completed with hand rubbed spirit varnish finishes, the same technique used on Gibson mandolins of the Loar Era. Bindings are applied in 20's style grained ivoiroid, with headstock inlay and tailpiece engraving meticulously executed. Gilchrist's fanatical attention to detail even extends to the pickguard, supported by a faithful re-creation of Gibson's original cam clamp, a design unseen since the First World War.
This lovely instrument combines faithful period detail with the playability modern performers demand. Built to the specs of Gibson's most desirable version of the F-4, the mandolin has a truss-rodded neck with fretwork just slightly wider and taller than 20's style, for greater headroom and dynamic range. The one-piece hard sugar maple back is sumptuously flamed from rim to rim, as are the matching sides and neck. At just 2lb 6oz, it is happily light in weight; with soundboard and braces of tap-tuned Adirondack red spruce.
Virtually identical in specs to #536 built for mandolin wizard Mike Compton, this lustrous instrument has a voice both warm and throaty, with an expansive woodiness, and excellent clarity and detail. As Mike has said of his own Model 4, "It's one of the few F4's I've played that can hold its own in a bluegrass ensemble... I think the F4 fills airspace better than any of the F5's I've had."
Lovingly maintained by its original owner, the instrument is in excellent condition: with no cracks, repairs or finish work. Apart from a few scattered finish nicks the instrument shows few signs of play, with 100% original hardware and finish. Action is smooth and low over the solid ebony fingerboard and traditional V profile neck, with a fresh high-precision setup: a versatile instrument as comfortable with jazz and swing as it is for old-time, Celtic or choro tunes.
A magnificent creation from a pre-eminent builder. One only, call now.
Case: Premium white oval plush lined Calton fiberglass flight case.