Gibson L-50 Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1934)

Gibson  L-50 Arch Top Acoustic Guitar  (1934)
This item has been sold.
Item # 8596
Prices subject to change without notice.
Gibson L-50 Model Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1934), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, sunburst top, dark stained back and sides finish, maple body, spruce top, mahogany neck, black tolex hard shell case.

The mid-1930's L-50 has had a long journey since the depression, but remains a lovely instrument and an excellent playing guitar. This model is fairly unusual for Gibson but typical of its era, a small-body archtop guitar with plain trim but impeccable craftsmanship. This version of the model was only built for a very short time around 1934-5, and then the L-50 was upgraded to the more familiar 16" body. In the early years of the Great Depression, instrument makers had to build affordable guitars like this or face extinction! The body pattern is actually quite similar to the contemporary L-0 flat top, but fitted with a carved soundboard.

This guitar has been completely refinished; the quality of work is excellent and was most likely done by the Gibson factory sometime in 1950s or '60s. The unbound rosewood fingerboard is inlaid with pearl dots, while the headstock features a pearl Gibson script inlay. The body is single bound top and back with an unbound tortoise celluloid pickguard, which in this case is a reproduction. The adjustable rosewood bridge, chrome plated tailpiece and Kluson style tuners are all of later vintage, and there is an under-bridge pickup installed.

These small-body Gibson archtops have a distinctive feel and sound with plenty of punch. While not as smooth-toned as their larger brethren, they are great for many funkier period styles like blues, ragtime, and jug band music and make surprisingly good fingerpickers. While no longer a fully original instrument this remains a very nice 1930's carved-top guitar at an affordable price.
Overall length is 39 3/4 in. (101 cm.), 14 3/4 in. (37.5 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 1/2 in. (8.9 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.).

As noted this guitar has been expertly refinished but remains an excellent player. The job looks to have been done many decades ago, and there are small dings and dents accumulated mostly on the body since. The neck has been well reset with some touch-up around the heel visible on close inspection. The back center seam has been resealed and a strap button hole in the heel filled; no other repairs are evident. All of the hardware is of later vintage than the instrument, but is all good quality and appropriate to the guitar. The under-bridge pickup is quite functional, connected to an added endpin jack. The frets appear original and show light wear, and this is a great gigging instrument with a good punchy sound if no longer a fully original Depression-era gem. It includes a later HSC. Excellent - Condition.