Gibson L-00 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1932)

Gibson  L-00 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1932)
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Item # 12167
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Gibson L-00 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1932), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 219, black lacquer finish, mahogany back, sides and neck; spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, black tolex hard shell case.

This is a very nice example of a rare early 12-fret version of Gibson's classic L-00 model from 1932, in an overall black lacquer finish with the not-often-seen white celluloid pickguard. The L-00 was a depression-era staple for Gibson, offered this year at the rock-bottom price of $25.00. This was as cheap as a Gibson-logo guitar ever got and certainly helped the company survive that lowest point of the depression, when even that amount of money was hard to come by for many Americans. This one would be a late variant of the 12-fret body L-00, made not too long before the instrument was re-designed into the more familiar 14-fret version sold up until WWII.

This is a very plainly-ornamented guitar with only a white script "Gibson" logo, single bound top and 3-ply soundhole ring for decoration. The unplated brass strip tuners with black plastic buttons were the simplest that could be had. In spite of this cosmetic economy the black-and-white scheme gives the instrument a very striking, even luxurious "tuxedo" look. The very light spruce top is braced in a delicate X pattern, which would be beefed up somewhat on later 1930s examples. The neck has a slim round-backed profile, not the heavy "V" Gibson was soon to employ on their lower end flat tops through the 1930's. To most modern guitarists this neck is considerably more comfortable to play.

As a model the L-00 went through numerous design changes over a short period in the early 1930's. The 12-fret models are usually our favorites, always exceptionally light and responsive guitars. This black-and white model is really sharp looking and a makes a fabulous fingerpicker, with a huge sound even with lighter strings. This is the first example we have found from batch #219; we previously had two from batch #250 and all have proved extremely fine guitars. This one shows some fairly minor wear and repair but is still more original and better preserved than most and sounds fabulous.
 
Overall length is 38 1/4 in. (97.2 cm.), 14 3/4 in. (37.5 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 11/16 in. (11.9 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 92 year old guitar remains nicely original with some general wear and typical maintenance repairs to keep it playing for another century or so. Cosmetically there are a number of small dings and scratches to the top, some of them discreetly touched up, but no heavy wear. The back and sides have small dings, scratches and dents as well, with some finish rubbed down to the wood along the unbound back edges. The lacquer on back of the neck is worn down to the wood on the bass side in the first fret area and along the treble side to around the fourth fret. The back edge of the headstock is worn down a bit as well

There is one tightly repaired grain split on the top running just below the upper waist. The back has a more jagged looking split running a couple of inches from the lower edge. The lower side has several tight splits at the turn of the lower treble bout. All are sealed up cleanly with in a couple of cases some light touchup. This is not a lot of repair history for these very lightly built guitars. The top is only very slightly bellied behind the bridge, but completely solid; this is again common on this model.

The dark-stained rosewood bridge appears original; the bone saddle and bridge pins are newer. Internally the original small maple bridge plate is still nicely intact as are the rather delicate braces; several top braces have been reglued, and there is a repair to the forward leg of the main X at the front tip. This sort of work is again is typical for these. The neck has been reset, the fingerboard trued and refretted with correct style wire; the ebony nut remains original. This fairly rare guitar is better preserved than many early L-00's, extremely playable with a lot of volume for a smaller instrument and a fantastically responsive sound. Overall Excellent - Condition.