Gibson L-50 Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1933)

Gibson  L-50 Arch Top Acoustic Guitar  (1933)

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Item # 8101
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Gibson L-50 Model Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1933), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 416, sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, maple back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, original black chipboard case.

In the depths of the Great Depression, Gibson had a pressing need to develop more affordable guitars; this unusually stout-looking round hole arch-top was one of the early results. Only available for a year or so around 1933, this first model L-50 was a stylistic experiment with its squat, wide-waisted body and large, round sound hole. Gibson soon moved on to more conventional f-hole designs, leaving this model as a rather unique oddity in the world of arch-top guitars.

The single-bound top is braced with a combination of parallel and cross braces in an "H" pattern. The tortoise celluloid pickguard is glued to the top (rather than raised off it) and the tailpiece and bridge are typical Gibson fittings for the period. The headstock carries a pearl Gibson logo; the mahogany neck is carved to the typical fairly sharp V contour Gibson used in the mid-'30s. The sound is punchy and surprisingly loud, with a thicker midrange than many smaller arch-tops. While rather unconventional to look at, this is a very cool and good-sounding guitar with a definite character of its own.
Overall length is 38 3/4 in. (98.4 cm.), 14 5/8 in. (37.1 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/4 in. (44 mm.).

This is a nicely original piece, which overall looks amazingly clean for its age. The finish is still shiny, with very little checking and some light play wear but no major damage or repair. The finish shows small scuffs and scratches, most notably pick scratches just below the pickguard, but no major loss. The tuners and tailpiece look like they are perhaps 8 years old, not 80+. The ebony bridge top has been lowered a bit from beneath, the frets show little wear, and the guitar plays very well, with a nice tone that is sweeter than most period small-body arch-tops. Includes the original chipboard case in better-than-average, still-functional condition. Overall Excellent Condition.