Vintage 1956 Gibson EM-200 Florentine Electric Mandolin

John Shults

Posted on June 17 2020

Vintage Gibson electric mandolin, EM-200, 1950s 1956


This vintage 1956 Gibson EM-200 electric mandolin came through the shop a few years ago. I'm always a vintage Gibson buyer but I especially love the 1950s solid body instruments. Please contact me here to sell a vintage Gibson instrument. 

Gibson's history is built on mandolin innovations, starting with Orville Gibson's original designs through the teens when mandolin was their most popular product and Lloyd Loar's legendary tenure. The final evolution of that heritage is the EM-200, a solidbody electric mandolin introduced in 1954 during Gibson's Golden Era of electric instruments. With a bound carved top, sunburst finish, and solid mahogany body, the Florentine Electric Mandolin borrows heavily from the Les Paul Model. A smaller P-90 pickup with 4 polepieces is connected to volume/tone controls. The pearl inlaid Gibson logo and crown peghead inlay signify a deluxe Gibson model.

Like most early EM-200's, there is no serial number, but we can date it to about 1956. Original electronics include a Cornell-Dubilier Grey Tiger tone capacitor and Centralab pots with mid-1955 date codes. The single line Kluson Deluxe tuners were introduced in 1956. This is a beautiful, original example with no changed parts that includes the original Lifton hardshell case, plus a vintage 1950's leather strap and stringbox. The strap button is added, but essential! Recent fret dress and setup with electric mandolin strings make playing a joy. Some flaking lacquer on the front of the headstock was treated with amalgamator to keep it in place, that is the only repair. The EM-200 is an outstanding crossover instrument for guitarists looking to start mandolin, or for live performance and recording with its unique sound (edit: sold!)

Gibson pearl inlaid headstock 1950s

Vintage Gibson solid body electric mandolin 1950s

1950s gold Kluson mandolin tuners, slot screws, single line

Gibson solid body electric mandolin 1950s 1956 vintage

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