Gibson Super 400 1939 Crimson Custom Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (2018)

Gibson  Super 400 1939 Crimson Custom Arch Top Acoustic Guitar  (2018)
$12,500.00 + shipping
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Item # 11527
Prices subject to change without notice.
Gibson Super 400 1939 Crimson Custom Model Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (2018), made in Nashville, TN, serial # 12628001, natural lacquer finish, flame maple back and sides, spruce top; laminated maple neck with ebony fingerboard, original black tolex hard shell case.

This lovely acoustic archtop is a beautiful re-imagining of the earliest 1939 Super 400 "Premier" model, the first modern cutaway guitars in Gibson's line. It was built in 2018 by the Gibson Crimson Division, which handled all of the top-end archtop builds at the Custom Shop and comes with a special red-booklet format COA. The guitar is signed & Dated March 15, 2018 by James D. Culbertson, Master archtop builder at the time. The "Crimson Custom" was the top line for Gibson and this is one of their rare completely acoustic instruments; most of the carved archtops built there were electric.

The pre-war Super 400 Premier was one of the classics of the Deco era, a historic instrument and Gibson's flagship swing-era masterpiece. The natural finish option was new for Gibson in 1939, and the option of a cutaway "Premier" model soon followed. This body design with the rounded "Venetian" cutaway on the treble bout was a milestone in guitar evolution, elegantly allowing the player more fingerboard access marking the arrival of the modern cutaway guitar. This model represented the pinnacle of the traditional archtop guitar just before WWII.

This modern "1939" Super 400 has a unique mix of features drawn from earlier models. The scale length is the longer 25 1/2" but the top is X-braced; by 1939 Gibson was back to using parallel braces on arch-top guitars after a brief X-braced detour. The fingerboard is elevated off the top; the actual first 1939 models had the board attached directly to the top over the cutaway. Essentially this guitar mixes what most players would consider the best set of features for this model to create the finest playing and sounding Super 400.

This guitar radiates opulence; the back, neck and sides are made of fantastically grained burl maple, the top of very fine-grained spruce finished in a lightly ambered clear lacquer. There is multiple binding everywhere and the ebony fingerboard and headstock overlay have bold Deco-styled split block pearl inlay while the tailpiece is engraved. Even the pearl inlaid bridge and "Custom" truss rod cover are unique. Gibson's Crimson Custom shop went all out to make this instrument as impressive to both the player and audience as possible, and created a unique piece steeped in Gibson history.
Overall length is 44 1/4 in. (112.4 cm.), 18 in. (45.7 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 7/16 in. (8.7 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/4 in. (44 mm.).

As with many modern collector grade archtops this is a VERY clean guitar, appearing little played since new. There is only minimal handling wear overall but a couple of oddities. For such a beautifully made guitar there are some minor finish flaws under and around the fingerboard, but nothing too distracting. The "Custom" trussrod cover shows more scuffing and wear than the rest of the guitar; perhaps it was stored in a drawer for a while, but we have now seen two like this!

There is no pickguard currently mounted, but small screw holes in the top and rim indicate one was once in place. Included in the case is a lovely replica of the rare 1939 pearloid top guard used on the first Super 400 Premiers; this has no holes or bracket and has never been on a guitar. We could mount this, or alternately fill the holes (which would remain visible) leaving no pickguard as desired. The guitar is a fine player with a very strong sound that would undoubtedly mellow and come alive with some actual playing time. It resides in the original plush-lined HSC with the Crimson COA. Excellent + Condition.