Gibson L-0 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1930)

Gibson  L-0 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1930)
This item is currently on hold.
Item # 11099
Prices subject to change without notice.
Gibson L-0 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1930), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 9507 (FON), dark mahogany lacquer finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, black tolex hard shell case.

This instrument is a somewhat worn but fine playing and sounding example of a rare and wonderful Gibson flat-top produced only for a brief period from late 1929 into 1931. This all-mahogany, X-braced L-0 dates right to the beginning of 1930 and would be a very early example, combining features from earlier and later eras into a unique package. The most notable difference from the familiar later models is a 12-fret neck joint, a holdover from the 1920s; Both Gibson and Martin would soon adopt a 14-fret design as standard for flat tops. The all-mahogany body is another feature Gibson soon moved on from; with a clear natural dark mahogany finish and white celluloid accents, this L-0 maintains an austere but elegant 1920s look on the more "modern" larger body of a 1930s flat-top guitar.

The wider, less rounded body shape and X-braced top introduced on these models in 1929 would be subsequently used on the 14-fret L-0 and L-00 throughout the 1930s, but the older thin natural lacquer finish and small silver script "The Gibson" logo were gone by 1932. While many of these have a very slim, flat neck for the period, this neck is a surprisingly deep and chunky rounded "C" profile, but still completely unlike the deeper heavy "V" adopted for these models after 1932. This one is a bit meatier than some we have had, with a deeper profile not unlike some 1940s necks especially as it approaches the body

These earliest 12-fret L-0s also feature exceptionally light construction, even compared to mid-1930s examples. The mahogany top is wafer-thin and the braces are very slim and marrow, even the main X. While we are partial to all pre-WWII Gibson flat-tops, we find the L-0 from this year to be an austere but particularly attractive and fabulous-sounding guitar, an exceptionally responsive instrument. The original list price was all of $35; what can we say but "Those were the days"!
Overall length is 38 1/2 in. (97.8 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 3/4 in. (44 mm.).

This 90+ year original L-0 is far from pristine but still decently well preserved for one of these early Gibson flat tops. These all-mahogany instruments are *very* lightly built and many survivors are more heavily worn and/or much rebuilt. This guitar has some well-executed repairs but remains completely intact and an excellent player.

The thin lacquer finish has dings, dents, scrapes and general handling wear, but none of the heavy pick marks usually seen on the top. The back has the heaviest wear, with a number of deeper scratches. The heaviest wear is for some reason to the headstock, which is checked an occluded with some indistinct crud that resists removal. Some wood is worn off the top edge of the headstock. The silver stencil paint "the Gibson" logo is darkened but still intact, the tuners fitted are correct repros on the original footprint. The lower positions on the back of the neck were somewhat worn down and have an old clear overspray; this is the only place where finish was added.

There are several repairs, the most noticeable being to a decent size bash on the upper side waist; a number of old grain cracks radiate from this spot and there is a small hole patch at the center. The lower side is crack free. The back has a long split down much of its length above the center seam; this is solidly sealed but not cleated and feelable. There are a couple of smaller cracks on the back with similar repair. The top is amazingly crack free except for a slight re-seal of the center seam off the back end. There is a pucker mark above the lower waist, but it has never advanced into a crack.

The guitar has never had a neck reset, and the original bridge, bridgeplate and delicate braces remain fully intact; some brace regluing was likely done. The bridge also may have been reglued, but if so it was a very neat job. The original thin frets have some light wear and the guitar plays very will, with a powerful and robust sound less delicate than some. With its unusually big chunky neck this L-0 has a different feel in the hand from any we have had before, sort of a cross between the expected characteristics of this model and a '40s LG. It feels unique and we like it a lot, scars and all. Overall Very Good + Condition.