This lovely Gibson Snakehead mandolin was made in 1924 during the waning days of Lloyd Loar’s tenure at the company. This is a great sounding instrument with all the goodies from that period which set these apart from earlier Gibson A model mandolins. The neck is 1 1/16" wide at the nut, it has both an adjustable truss rod in the neck and its original adjustable ebony bridge (patent date stamped on the base). It has its original parts including the pickguard, tuners with Ivoroid buttons, and the tailpiece with cover. The top, back and neck are bound in ivoroid and it has the classic “The Gibson” inlay in the headstock. The finish is in good shape and original throughout. The original frets show some wear but have lots and lots of life left in them.
This instrument has all of the features we associate with the A-2Z, except it has a black top. The A-2Z had, of course, an amber top. The label is stamped A on the line that describes the model but at some point in the past, someone added a numeral 1 in ink, which is weird because this is not an A-1. A handful of other blacktop snakehead mandolins with A-2Z appointments from the same period have turned up over the years, so this mandolin is rare but it’s not unique. But, like many things Gibson has done over the decades, it is a bit of mystery.