Dating gibson mandolins
The basic "A" and "F" model shapes were developed around the turn of the century, and have become the basis for most serious imitators since.
Regular production began in the early years of the 1900's, and continued unbroken until the WWII years, and again afterwards up to the modern times. If it doesn't sing, forget it- there are enough of them out there that you will eventually find one that you like.
I can make out the model `a` but not what it says after Gibson.
I own ( for the last hour) a Gibson `Pumpkin top`(? It has a barely readable pencilled label inside it,but I think it reads 37693.
removing the resonator is no more invasive than raising the hood on a car.
Gibson F-5 mandolins signed by Lloyd Loar from mid 1922 to 1924 are considered the Holy Grail by most American mandolin players.
Most prewar and wartime Gibson banjos are actually marked with factory order numbers rather than serial numbers, but for right now you don't need to be worried about the distinction unless you're just especially interested!
If your banjo has a wooden back, or resonator, you'll need to remove it to get to the factory order number.
Brief historical notes First Impressions What to look for in a Mint Instrument Reading the Gibson Label Model Type Verification Descriptions of various model types Additional Features models may have Acknowledgements The Gibson Company went through several stages of model design for their mandolins in the last 100 years.