1940 Gibson Viola Northern Maple Natural Finish ID-4986
1940 Gibson Viola Northern Maple Natural Finish
Pop Quiz: What major manufacturer of guitars also produced for a very limited time, hand built violins, violas, cellos, and double basses? If you answered Gibson, you'd be right! We are pleased to have a rare Gibson Viola from 1940. From Gibson's 1940 catalog:
"They are fashioned, to a great extent, after the Stradivarius of 1692 and to this is added Gibson traditions, experience and resources. All necks, backs and rims are of Northern Maple; all tops are of fine grained Upland Spruce; all accessories and parts are made of the finest materials; and remember, all woods are air seasoned by Gibson."
That's right, the famed Gibson Guitar company made a small amount of these stringed instruments during World War II. The vast majority of violins had been coming from Germany up until this time. When Hitler assumed power, the Luthiers of Deutschland were pressed into making wartime necessities. Demand was still high for violins, so Gibson began making them in their Kalamazoo, Michigan shop. They started in 1937 and ceased all production of these instruments in 1941. The men in the factory were called to do more important things for their country.
This viola has a natural finish on it. This was a rarity for Gibson at the time. It cost more than a standard finish. It has survived the years impressively well. There is finish checking on the viola, assorted dents, dings and scratches as to be expected. There are no structural problems, save the one repaired crack on the lower side of the treble f-hole. This crack looks to have been repaired years ago, and shows no signs of spreading. There are no cracks on the scroll, neck or ribs. It has a warm, rich sound that surprised everyone here in the shop, and even played pizzicato. This instrument has a tone that belies it's small size. Included is the bow which we do not believe is original as well as a molded hard-shell case.
- Model: N--26-40 Viola.
- Year: 1940.
- Back and Sides: Northern Maple.
- Top: Upland Spruce.
- Finish: Natural.
- Body Length: 29 1/8".
- Hardshell Case and Bow Included.