Gibson L-30 Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1937)

Gibson  L-30 Arch Top Acoustic Guitar  (1937)
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Item # 11828
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Gibson L-30 Model Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1937), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 651C-17, sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, maple back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, black hard shell case.

The mid-1930's L-30 is a fairly unusual Gibson but typical of its era, a small-body archtop guitar with plain trim but impeccable craftsmanship. This model was introduced in 1935 as the new bottom of the line carved-top guitar, when the previously lowest-priced L-50 archtop was upgraded to the larger 16" body. During the Great Depression instrument makers had to built affordable guitars or face extinction! The body pattern is actually quite similar to the contemporary L-0 flat top, with a flat back but fitted with an arched, fully carved F-hole soundboard. The early L-30's had a plain black finish overall, but by 1937 the model had been spruced up in brown sunburst regalia.

The body is single bound top and back with an unbound tortoise celluloid pickguard, simple adjustable rosewood bridge and nickel plated tailpiece. The unbound rosewood fingerboard is inlaid with pearl dots, while the headstock features a white silkscreen Gibson script. The tuners are the very earliest Kluson-made strips with celluloid buttons. These small-body Gibson archtops only exist in the 1930s; they have a distinctive feel and sound with plenty of punch. While not as smooth-toned as their larger brethren these smaller "L's" work well for many period styles like blues, ragtime and jug band music and make surprisingly good fingerpickers. This is a very nice playing and sounding guitar, and a beautifully preserved pre-war period piece.
Overall length is 40 in. (101.6 cm.), 14 3/4 in. (37.5 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 5/8 in. (9.2 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 is a VERY clean guitar for being 85 or so years old, showing only light wear and one minor repair. The all-original finish is still shiny with only minor scuffing, dings, dents and other disturbances; the guitar presents as little used since the second Roosevelt administration. There is one repaired grain split on the lower back, sealed with no overfinish; no other repairs and no alterations. The original frets are in excellent shape and really overall this is practically a time capsule guitar, looking like it might have sitting in a teaching studio before Pearl Harbor. It plays fine and resides in an older classical-style case that fits surprisingly well. Overall Excellent Condition.