Gibson L-1 Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1918)

Gibson  L-1 Arch Top Acoustic Guitar  (1918)
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Item # 8518
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Gibson L-1 Model Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1918), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 47944, natural top, cherry stained back and sides finish, birch back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, period black chipboard case.

The small-body L-1 was the most basic guitar in Gibson's 1910s line, but still had the company's trademark fully carved top and back. Intended originally primarily for Mandolin orchestras, the early L-1 saw use with early country bands, vaudeville acts, and even early jazz players before being re-designed as a flat-top instrument in 1926. A nice ragtime and early jazz guitar, the small body, fully carved arch-top L-1 is a unusual, slightly funky, and cool early Gibson.
 
Overall length is 38 1/8 in. (96.8 cm.), 13 3/4 in. (34.9 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 5/16 in. (8.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 1/2 in. (622 mm.). Width of nut is 1 13/16 in. (46 mm.).

This 100+ year old guitar (just past its centennial) has seen some wear and repair over the years but is very solid and completely playable. It remains original and complete except the pickguard is long gone; even the fragile celluloid tailpiece block is intact. The finish has had a decent amount of wear and several old clear oversprays to different areas over the years, but still presents well. Overall there is not a lot of heavy play wear; the top has some darkened areas where the original celluloid pickguard deteriorated and one long scrape off the treble side of the fingerboard. The back of the neck has some fairly heavy capo wear in the lower positions and some finish rubbed away.

There are a number of old repairs; the back/side seams have been resealed in several places, and there are two long repaired grain cracks to the back. The top shows one spruce grain crack running from the sound hole to the bass side of the bridge, and the center seam has also been resealed. The original frets are still in good-playing condition and the pre-truss rod neck is amazingly straight and true. This is a cool old small carved guitar with a better sound than many of these; a genuine playable relic of Gibson's early days. Very Good + Condition.