Gibson L-00 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1933)

Gibson  L-00 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1933)
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Item # 11047
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Gibson L-00 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1933), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 369 (FON), sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, molded black plastic hard shell case.

This is a generally well-preserved example of a rare and very early version of the 14-fret L-00, Gibson's most popular Depression era flat top. While the L-00 stood at the bottom of the company's guitar line when new, it was very well-designed and offered a great value in sound. The FON code on the neck block indicates this example was built in very early 1933 when the list price was down to a rock-bottom $25.00, without the case. This was the worst period of the depression and even Gibson needed to make guitars as affordable as possible.

The finish is black lacquer overall, with single-ply white celluloid binding around the top and a three-ply sound hole ring. The pickguard is also white celluloid, giving a nice "tuxedo" effect lending a classy look to this budget guitar. The fairly slim "V" profile neck has an unusual feature; it is built with a raised cantilevered fingerboard like an arch-top guitar. Gibson did this only very briefly in this period, for reasons lost to history. Some players feel this adds a slightly different sonic character, though it's hard to quantify.

The neck is fitted with an unbound, dot inlaid rosewood fingerboard. The headstock carries a white stenciled "Gibson" logo on the face and unplated brass strip tuners. The original small rectangular rosewood bridge does not have the reinforcing bolts with their pearl dot caps added later. The bracing is a very light and slim "X" pattern giving this featherweight guitar an extremely lively sound. These 1933-era black L-00's are much rarer than the standard sunburst examples, and some connoisseurs seek them out for both their visual and sonic appeal. This is a nice example, not perfectly clean but structurally excellent and a very fine player.
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 is a nice "not too clean, not too whupped" example of this rare Gibson still looking sharp but with enough wear to be happily played without worry. Many of these pre-war Gibson flat-tops have been very heavily used and often amateurishly repaired. This one has sailed through eight decades still intact and singing, looking used but showing less wear than many.

The completely original thin ebony finish has a some typical checking and shows edge wear, dings, dents and scrapes over the entire instruments. There is wear down to the wood on the lower soundhole rim, just behind the back pickguard edge and an odd spot on the lower rim below the heel. The back has some odd marks that appear to be "strap burn" where something reacted with the finish but not much belt buckle wear. There is some wear-through to the wood on the back of the neck and small capo dinks, with one deeper compressed spot behind the first fret. The headstock has just small chips and dings, the original strip tuners are still intact.

The guitar is completely solid but there are some old repairs. The top is crack free except for one tiny grain split in the usual spot off the top edge of the pickguard. The back has two long grain splits, solidly sealed but not touched up so visible. The back has a sealed crack through the heelblock just below the endpin. 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.

The neck been reset, the original bridge looks to have been reglued at least once and possibly lowered some time back; it has a new bone saddle. The ebony nut is original. Internally the guitar is clean; the slim and delicate braces are intact, the original maple bridge plate has a couple of chips behind the pin holes on its back edge. The small-wire frets appear correct; OR this is a super neat and period correct refret we have ever seen! The frets and fingerboard have light play wear in the first position. The action is very low and comfortable and this is a fine playing instrument, very responsive with an even and singing tone. Overall a bit worn in but still a lovely example of this rare and especially cool L-00 variation. It includes a modern molded HSC. Overall Excellent - Condition.