Gibson L-Junior Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1925)

Gibson  L-Junior Arch Top Acoustic Guitar  (1925)
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Item # 11488
Prices subject to change without notice.
Gibson L-Junior Model Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1925), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 79353, natural top, cherry stained back and sides finish, birch back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with ebonized fingerboard, period chipboard case.

The small-body L-Junior was the most basic guitar in Gibson's 1920s line, but still had the company's trademark fully carved top and back. Intended primarily for students, the early L-Junior is the minimum "Gibsonic" (i.e. Carved) guitar the company could make, with no ornament whatsoever and a very plain brown finish overall to bring the price down. Despite the lack of flash it is still built to the same standards as the company's higher end instruments.

There was never any pickguard, and the bridge is a solid carved maple affair that would look more at home on a banjo. The tailpiece is the same as the other Gibson archtops, the tuners plain open back strips. The headstock is the Loar-era "snakehead' design that Gibson inexplicable abandoned a couple of years later, perched over a chunky soft "V" profile neck with an ebonized maple fingerboard. There is no Gibson headstock logo, just the internal "Gibson Junior Guitar" label. Above this is a label from the original teacher/agent who sold this guitar, Roy Kilgore of Grand Rapids Michigan.

The serial and factory order numbers combined indicate this example was built late in 1925 and sold in early 1926 likely from Mr. Kilgore's teaching studio. Soon after this the l-Junior was discontinued in favor of Gibson's new flat top guitars, which took over the low end of the line. Despite the lack of trim this is a pro-quality instrument sound-wise, still a just post-Loar snakehead Gibson archtop after all. It makes nice blues, ragtime and early jazz guitar with a bright and barky but still full-bodied sound. The small body, fully carved arch-top L-Junior is a slightly funky, but somewhat rare and very cool early Gibson. Jack White favored one for a while not too long ago.
Overall length is 38 1/2 in. (97.8 cm.), 13 7/8 in. (35.2 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 1/2 in. (622 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

This is a slightly worn-in but all original nearly 100 year old guitar, complete including the rare "string-over" tailpiece and carved banjo-like maple bridge. The thin brown finish is completely original with dings, dents and scuffs overall. There is a deeper wear spot on the face beneath the high strings, some scratching to the back, a deep dink into the headstock face and a bit of wear to the wood on the back of the neck. The original tuners have some corrosion on the plated but work fine.

There is an one crack repair to the upper rim at the turn of the bout above the tailpiece; this is solid but plainly visible and not perfectly trued. The original frets and fingerboard are in surprisingly good condition and the guitar plays quite well with a bright and barky sound. This is a neat piece, one of the simplest things Gibson ever made but still a quality instrument. It resides in a correct original period Gibson heavy chipboard case that looks to have once held a similar flat top. Excellent - Condition.