Gibson L-00 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar , c. 1937

Gibson  L-00 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar ,  c. 1937
$6,250.00 + shipping
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Item # 11205
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Gibson L-00 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar, c. 1937, made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, original brown chipboard case.

This is a well-used but good playing example of a 14-fret L-00, Gibson's most popular Depression era flat top from the 1930's up through today. While this model stood near the bottom of the company's guitar line, it was very well-designed and offered a great value in sound. The FON code on this example has faded to illegibility but the features (notably the very early Kluson tuners) suggest it was built in 1937-8 when the list price was $30.00, without the case.

The top finish is a fairly dark sunburst with a deep 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 and back; the back binding was added in this period as earlier L-00's lacked this trim. The spruce top carries a "firestripe" tortoise celluloid pickguard and a three-ply sound hole ring. The back and sides are finished in dark mahogany, as is the slim "V" profile neck with an unbound rosewood fingerboard. The headstock carries a white stenciled "Gibson" logo on the face and first-generation Kluson strip tuners with plastic buttons. 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 louder and punchier than some, great-sounding both finger- and flat-picked, with a powerful ringing tone. This is nice "not too clean, not too whupped" example with enough wear to be gigged without worry. Many of these pre-war Gibson flat-tops have been more heavily used and often amateurishly repaired, this is not perfect but a fine playing survivor.
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.).

While showing signs of long use this L-00 has seen less repair work than many, surviving in largely original condition. The original finish has a lot of checking, edge wear, dings, dents and scrapes, especially heavy on the back and lower sides. The top has fine checking with lots of random marks and dents but less pick wear than many, just isolated spots on the lower soundhole rim and behind the pickguard. There is a decent amount of lacquer wear-through on the back of the neck and small dinks, but none of the heavy capo wear often found. The headstock shows some noticeable wear.

The guitar is completely solid with fewer repairs than many. Amazingly enough this L-00 has less than most in the way of cracks. There is one small sealed split on the back just off the heelblock and a couple of short grain splits in the lower side waist. The top is in excellent shape, with no cracks and the light arching it was built with but none of the heavier bulge distortion these very lightly-built guitars often suffer.

The neck has been reset. The original bridge looks to have been lowered slightly in front of the pins some time back and reglued more than once; it has a new fairly high bone saddle. The area around the bridge shows scarring, glue spots and general disturbance, making it the most cosmetically challenged area on the instrument. The top edge of the pickguard also appears to have been reglued, and has some similar blemishes. Internally the guitar is cleaner; the original small maple bridgeplate is intact and unaltered. The original Kluson tuner plates have some corrosion and the D string shaft is bent but they are still fully functional.

The small-wire frets appear correct; they show minor wear in the lower positions and if not original represent one of the neatest and most period correct refrets we have seen! The ebony nut is original. The fingerboard shows some minor divoting in the lower positions. The action is very comfortable and this is a fine playing instrument, very responsive with a very punchy ringing sound. Overall somewhat worn in but still a fine playing and sounding L-00, housed in the original heavier-duty chipboard case which is amazingly well preserved, and deep enough to hold a Nick Lucas! Very Good + Condition.