1924 Gibson Tenor Lute TL-1 Mandola Conversion

$8395 CAD ($6380.2 USD)
For more details contact us at info@folkwaymusic.com or 855-772-0424.
The Tenor Lute, made by Gibson in 1924, has the distinction of being the company’s only A-style instrument bearing a Master Model label. It’s anybody’s guess as to why an off-script long-necked four-string tenor instrument would be granted entry to the high court of Gibson’s Master Model Pantheon. It wouldn’t take much longer than a minute or two of time with an original unconverted Tenor Lute to realize its lack lustre sonic performance, but have a modern master-builder craft a replacement 8 string mandola-scale neck for the TL body, and the resulting tone is instantly magical.

This 1924 Gibson Tenor Lute was brilliantly converted into a Snakehead Mandola by Canadian west-coast builder, Jamie Weins. Jamie is famous for his next level craftsmanship, Loar-period F-5 Reproductions, and his exquisite finish work. He is among the most lauded mandolin builders of this generation. This conversion was completed about a decade back, we’ve been told. The new neck is built with a Loar-period Snakehead design, and the transition from the original body to the new neck is seamless. If you didn’t know what you were looking at it might be possible to think that this was an original 1920’s Gibson-made instrument that happens to still be in incredible condition. You’d not be wrong, except that the neck is new.

The neck is cut from beautifully figure maple and features and ivoroid-bound ebony fingerboard with vintage-style small frets and no radius. The bound headstock sports an abalone Fleur-de-Lys and pearl logo, arrowhead tuners, and a very mid-20’s looking truss rod cover. The fretwork is top-notch, and Jamie didn’t miss any details in the neck’s carve, alignment, finish, and looks.

The instrument’s scale is 16.5” and tuning is CGDA. The nut measures 1-1/4”, and string spacing at the bridge is 1-3/8”. The neck has a soft V/U carve with a 1st fret depth of .840”.

A wonderfully rich and resonant Mandola, expect a strong fundamental with sweet and expressive mids, articulate lows, and rounded trebles. There’s enough jangle to appeal to a Celtic-style player, and enough cut for Appalachian tinged fiddle tunes.

The instrument is in excellent condition with very few flaws. The body’s original finish is beautifully preserved, and the neck’s modern finish has a patina that matches the body remarkably perfectly. It has been set up in-shop with EJ-72 D’Addario strings and an action of 3.5-5 64ths.

With modern hardshell case.