1956 Gibson EM-200 Florentine Electric Mandolin
Posted on August 08 2019
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.