Gibson L-00 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1936)

Gibson  L-00 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1936)
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Item # 10162
Prices subject to change without notice.
Gibson L-00 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1936), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 436B-12, sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, original tan chipboard case.

This is a superbly well-preserved example of a sunburst L-00, easily one of the nicest we have ever had. This model was Gibson's most popular Depression era flat top, from the 1930's up through today. While the L-00 stood at the bottom of the company's guitar line in the 1930s, it was very well-designed and offered a great value in sound. This example was built in 1936 (when the list price was $30.00, without the case) and it has far less wear than most, surviving in overall nicely original condition.

The top finish is a deep sunburst with a deeper orangey center, somewhat larger than the years before as is typical of mid-1930s guitars. There is single-ply white celluloid binding around the top edge, which is ornamented with a "firestripe" tortoise celluloid pickguard and a three-ply sound hole ring. The back and sides are finished in dark mahogany, as is the "V" profile neck with an unbound rosewood fingerboard. The headstock carries a white stenciled "Gibson" logo on the face and simple strip tuners. The original rosewood bridge does not have the reinforcing bolts with their pearl dot caps added soon after.

This model was a working-class standard of the day, a professional grade guitar at a price affordable to blues players, Hillbilly string bands, and many other itinerant musicians as well as Gibson's intended student customers. Each one of these guitars has its own character and this one is just a honey; great-sounding both finger- and flat-picked, with a powerful ringing tone that never gets harsh. This is truly exceptionally fine example; many of these pre-war Gibson flat-tops have been heavily used and often amateurishly repaired while this one has sailed through eight decades showing comparatively minor wear.
Overall length is 39 5/8 in. (100.6 cm.), 14 3/4 in. (37.5 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 1/4 in. (10.8 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

This beautiful L-00 is a stunner to look at, as well as hear. The completely original finish still shines like it did when FDR was in office, with some typical checking but little actual playing wear. There are some dings, dents and scrapes but the only large area of play wear is some loss to the back of the neck in the first position. The unbound back edge is worn through in a few spots and there is one very small spot of pickwear into the wood just off the back edge of the pickguard.

The original tuners were long gone before it arrived here and the guitar currently sports very nice Waverly-style reissue machines, with some scarring visible on the back of the headstock from a previous later Kluson installation. There is a small filled screwhole on the back of the headstock, probably from an added strap button or hanging hook. Everything else on the instrument is original, including the bridgepins and endpin.

The neck has been very neatly reset to the original bridge, which looks to have been lowered slightly some time back but never re-seated. There is a new bone saddle, the ebony nut appears original although a chip behind it on the face of the headstock indicates it was removed at some point. Internally the guitar is very clean, and the original small maple bridgeplate is completely intact. The top is in excellent shape, with the light arching it was built with but none of the heavier bulge distortion these very lightly-built guitars often suffer.

There is some wear to the original small-wire frets and fingerboard in the lower positions, but nothing that affects playability. The action is very comfortable and this is a fine playing and sounding instrument, a lovely example of the L-00 at its best. It includes the original striped-top heavy chipboard case, something that is a considerable rarity in itself that seldom has survived into the 21st century. Excellent Condition.