Gibson H-4 Mandola (1915)

GIBSON’S SUPREMACY IN THE MANDOLIN market was underscored by its willingness to develop and cultivate an entire family of mandolin-like instruments, patterned closely after those of the violin family. The tenor-voiced larger-bodied mandola, corresponding to the viola, was introduced in 1902 with three “A-style” models (H, H-l, H-2). In 1912 the first “artist” model mandola style H-4 was premiered, patterned closely after the top of the line F-4 mandolin, but tuned a fifth lower (C-G-D-A). These deep-sounding, throaty instruments became popular with the many mandolin ensembles and orchestras which had been developing all across the country since the turn of the century. Gibson produced quite a few mandolas prior to 1930, but few were made after that. This early example has a beautiful one-piece curly maple back and has belonged to David Grisman for over 30 years. It can be heard on many recordings of his and other artists.

(from Tone Poems II CD booklet, used by permission)

Photography by D. Brent Hauseman