Gibson L-48 Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1954)

Gibson  L-48 Arch Top Acoustic Guitar  (1954)
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Item # 9781
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Gibson L-48 Model Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1954), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # X5840-20, sunburst lacquer finish, maple back, mahogany sides,top and neck, rosewood fingerboard, black tolex hard shell case.

The L-48 was Gibson's most basic archtop acoustic guitar, intended mainly for student players and teaching studios. Like all such Gibsons, it was designed to play well so that once the young player got their hands on one they would never go back to the likes of a Harmony or Kay but be a branded "Gibsonite" for life! It was a good strategy and in the early '50s Gibson built decent numbers of these (757 in 1954) but as the decade went on many of the "kids" had their heads turned by electrics and the L-48 was soon vastly outsold by the likes of the Les Paul Junior!

To this end the L-48 is (usually) a simple 16" laminated all-mahogany instrument with minimal trim, just single binding on the body, dot fingerboard inlay and a gold Gibson logo on the headstock. This one throws a monkey wrench into the specs by having a maple back as would have been standard on the next model up, the L-50. Why this happened we can't say, all we can offer is "That's Gibson for ya!". The neck is the specified mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard and the typical round profile Gibson used in the 1950s, if a little slimmer not as deep as some.

All the hardware is typical for Gibson in the period including the adjustable rosewood bridge, nickel plated tailpiece, unbound tortoise celluloid pickguard and Kluson Deluxe strip tuners. The only remarkable thing is that none of it has been poached for higher-end Gibsons over the last nearly 70 years! This is a really neat example of this usually unsung guitar, for whatever reason (maple or magic?) about the best sounding we have had.
 
Overall length is 40 3/8 in. (102.6 cm.), 16 1/8 in. (41 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/4 in. (44 mm.).

This guitar shows some typical wear but overall remains decently well preserved, and an excellent playing guitar as it was designed to be. It remains all original with no repairs or alterations. The finish shows some typical wear, mostly a collection of dings and dents mostly to the top and back. There are some odd dents under the strings that look like someone once had a VERY long pick! As noted all hardware remains original, and at this point the aggregate value of the individual fittings represents a significant proportion of the guitar's price! This guitar is a fine player with a surprisingly good sound, with less depth than a fully carved guitar but a more rounded tone than many cheaper period archtops. Overall a nice (if somewhat quizzical!) example of the 1950's L-48, a lovely period piece that is a delight to play. Overall Excellent - Condition.