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1921 Gibson A-4
 
Peghead Nation’s Irish Backup Guitar instructor Flynn Cohen demonstrates his vintage mandolin.
March 15, 2021
 

Peghead Nation Irish Backup Guitar instructor Flynn Cohen is best known as a versatile guitarist, but he also frequently performs on mandolin. For the last 20 years, his primary eight-string companion has been a 1921 Gibson A-4, which he demonstrates in this video.

Built by Gibson from 1902 to 1935, the A-4 was the highest-grade, oval-soundhole mandolin of its era. Constructed with a carved spruce top and maple back and sides, A-4s had a variety of finish colors, but Flynn’s instrument features a reddish-brown sunburst finish. Flynn purchased the mandolin from the late Sandy Sheehan at Sandy’s Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2000. At the time, the mandolin already had a repaired crack in its side and was missing the pickguard. While the original Gibson case had charm, it didn’t offer the protection Flynn thought the instrument deserved, so he got a custom-made Calton case for it. 

As a player’s instrument, Flynn’s A-4 has non-original tuning machines and a new nut, and it was refretted with medium jumbo frets about a decade ago. The mandolin also has a K&K pickup with an output jack at the tailpiece. Flynn also added a protective piece of plastic to the top where the pickguard would be. “My fingers started wearing through the top,” he says, “so Tyler Unger, who used to be the repair person at the Music Emporium in Lexington, Massachusetts, fitted this clear piece of plastic to it.” Flynn endorses Elixir strings and uses a medium set on this instrument. 

Vintage Gibson A-styles are the mandolins of choice for many Celtic players (check out Peghead Nation Irish Mandolin instructor Marla Fibish’s demo of her 1922 Model A), and Flynn concurs: “It’s great for playing Irish music, and it’s a great rhythm instrument as well,” he says. 

To study guitar with Flynn, enroll in his Irish Backup Guitar course!

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Pava F5 Pro | Pava Mandolins
Matt Flinner plays a beautiful F-style Pava mandolin at Carter Vintage Guitars.
 
 
 
 
 
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© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com
 
 
    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com