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Introducing Gibson’s New Jam Master Series Mandolins

Charlie Hatfield

The Jam Master Series Standard A-Style Mandolin

The season of the summer jams is here, and Gibson Original Acoustic Instruments kicks off the pickin’ and grinnin’ around campfires and festival sites across the country with the introduction of the new Jam Master Series line of mandolins. Both models in the new series – an A-style and an F-style – focus on a no-compromises approach to tone and playability, while easing back on the trimmings to provide a roadworthy Gibson mandolin at an attractive price. The Jam Master A- and F-style mandolins descend straight out of hallowed Gibson tradition, but offer two accessible new options to the player who wants to get their jam on, in whatever setting, with whatever kind of music.

The Gibson Mandolin Legacy Lives On

Sure, the mandolin existed before Gibson. But company founder Orville Gibson single-handedly ushered the rather archaic, bowl-backed instrument of the 19th century headlong into the 20th century by giving it sleeker and more elegant lines, greater resonance and the power it would require to see it through as the most popular fretted stringed instrument going. Gibson’s designs were so successful that the mere presence of the headstock logo “The Gibson” guaranteed its bearer to be one of the finest playing and sounding mandolins throughout the peak years of the instrument’s popularity in the 1910s, ’20s and early ’30s.

From the workmanlike A Series to the elegant F Series, road-worn Gibsons from the golden era of the mandolin continue to crop up in country, bluegrass and folk jams as the prized centerpieces of stages across the country. Into this crucible Gibson Original Acoustic Instruments issues the new Jam Master Series line. The austere, teardrop-shaped A-style model and the scrolled F-style model deliver fresh new takes on Gibson’s two most popular mandolin lines. Each is crafted with all the artistry that the world’s most storied mandolin maker has accumulated over the years, along with a no-nonsense, hard-traveled, but much-loved look that lets these superb instruments sit in at any occasion.

The Jam Master Series Standard F-style Mandolin

Enhanced Features Equals Satisfied Players

Stripped-down appointments on each of these new, traditionally-styled mandolins offer a simple yet elegant look, while making way for the performance-enhancing elements that players of the Jam Masters will certainly appreciate. F-holes remain unbound, there’s no neck or headstock binding, no position markers on the fretboard (side dots only), and no inlay on the peghead, just the timeless Gibson logo decal. All the notable luthiery features you do find, however, are in the tone and playability departments.

Each model features a top carved from solid spruce, trimmed with simple single-ply black binding contrasting its Sheraton Brown satin lacquer finish, and married to figured maple back and sides. The figured maple necks are carved to the popular “rounded V” profile, with a 1 3/16" width at the nut providing enhanced comfort and finger room across the radiused ebony fingerboard. The 20-fret neck has 13 frets clear of the body, with frets that are a little bigger than the traditional frets on vintage mandolins, a modification that improves fingering for many playing styles, and one that many contemporary players really appreciate.

Advanced constructional features such as Gibson’s time-tested tone bar bracing, a radiused dovetail neck joint, and a genuine bone nut partner up to enhance resonance and projection on both models. An adjustable two-piece ebony bridge and nickel Grover tuners round out each package. The result is a pair of mandolins that offer a high-performance tonal palette, from crisp, punchy chords to sweet, articulate single-note riffs, all with a richness and resonance that rings true to the Jam Masters’ origins.

Celebrate By Playing a New Jam Master Mandolin

To celebrate the release of the Jam Masters Series, the first 100 mandolins will be signed by Gibson Original Master Luthier David Harvey. Every instrument in the series will come in a snug pouch-plentiful padded travel bag, making it ready for the road and easy to haul from site to site. Contact a Gibson Dealer near you, or visit one of the internet Dealers, and let the jamming begin.

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