Gibson L-7 Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1935)

Gibson  L-7 Arch Top Acoustic Guitar  (1935)
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Item # 10355
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Gibson L-7 Model Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1935), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 91443, sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, maple back and sides, spruce top, mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

A very attractive pre-war Gibson archtop, this 16" L-7 was initially priced at $125, making it the least expensive of the new integrated line of F-hole professional orchestra guitars introduced beneath the L-5 in 1931-33, but still a substantial professional grade instrument. This guitar has a serial number dating to very early 1935; the factory order number 1179 marks it as built late in 1934. This first-edition L-7 is distinguished by a bound fingerboard with "Nick Lucas" style shaped pearl inlay, a bound headstock with the script Gibson logo and fleur-de-lys inlay and a single bound body with a dark shaded sunburst on the top only.

With its 16" wide body, small unbound F-holes and fairly slim "V" profile neck this L-7 is still a close relative in feel and sound to the original 1924 L-5, the first modern archtop. These 16" "pre-Advanced" Gibson archtops have carved spruce tops that are parallel braced, unlike the X-braced 17" versions that replaced them in 1936. This entire series of mid-30s smaller-bodied Gibson archtops was quite short-lived, and many players are not aware of their special charms.

This guitar's original adjustable bridge is the smaller low-profile style mostly seen on lower-grade archtops but occasionally spotted on pro-grade models. The Grover G-98 individual tuners, simple trapeze tailpiece and single-bound tortoise celluloid pickguard are typical Gibson fittings of the time. This mid-line guitar may lack the flashy looks of higher-priced models but still offers all of the sound value. It is a smooth and powerful sounding early swing-era guitar with a surprisingly deep and resonant tone, a very nice 16" carved top Gibson at a fraction of the cost of a period L-5.
Overall length is 40 1/2 in. (102.9 cm.), 16 1/4 in. (41.3 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

This mid-'30's L-7 is a very nice example, generally quite clean, well preserved and an excellent player. There is some typical fairly minor wear to the finish overall with mostly small scratches, chips and dings. There is an odd patch of almost circular pick scratching to the top above the strings. The only other really notable finish disturbance is some (probably) moisture wear to the lower side just below the tailpiece, which again is fairly minor.

This guitar appears all original except the pickguard, which is a superb exact reproduction, and the endpin. There is hardly any wear on the neck, the frets are very clean as well. This very good sounding guitar simply does not appear to have been played much in 85+ years. The sound is quite punchy when pushed but with a nice midrange sweetness as well, if played steadily it will only continue to improve. The guitar still resides in its very nice original red-plush lined HSC, also quite well preserved. Excellent + Condition.