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NMM 10275.  Guitar by Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Company, Kalamazoo, 1924.
Style L-3, Concert Size (13-3/4").  Serial number 80892. 
Ex coll.:  Josephine M. Spears, St. Paul, Minnesota.  Board of Trustees, 2002.

Testimonials from teacher-dealers and pictures of the ensembles they coached featured prominently in Gibsonís early marketing materials. By setting up endorsement deals and exclusive sales territories for prominent local musicians, Gibson could ensure that their instruments were getting in the hands of local students and musical ensembles. The enormous popularity of plectrum ensembles through the 1930s ensured the rapid growth of the company. NMM 10275 was sold by Albert Bellson, Gibson artist-endorser, to his student, Josephine Spears, a dry goods clerk, on December 22, 1926.

NMM 10275. Guitar by Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Company, Kalamazoo, 1924.

Peghead on Gibson guitar

Albert Bellson, originally Alfonso Balassone from St. Angelo, Italy, was trained in the classical Italian mandolin tradition, but readily adopted American instruments, along with his brothers, Louis and Julius. The three Bellson brothers were top Gibson dealers in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area, as well as soloists and touring musicians. Albert remained an influential teacher through the 1960s and coached many generations of players, including current mandolin soloists: Peter Oshtroushko, who briefly studied guitar with Albert Bellson (and who swears by his Gibson Style A mandolin) and Richard Walz, who has explored the mandolinís classical Italian roots through the works of Bellsonís own teacher, Giuseppe Pettine, as well as historical performance practices of the 18th century. Louis Bellsonís son of the same name later became a famous jazz drummer, and Julius Bellson worked at Gibson as the company historian for many years.

Gibson's Label, Seen Through Soundhole

Label of guitar by Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Company, Kalamazoo, 1924.

Literature:  "A Long Stay in a Clean Closet:  1924 Gibson L-3," 20th Century Guitar Magazine (August 2002), p. 56.

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