Museum: Gibson Guitars

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1934 Gibson L-50

FON 832. This beautifully kept Gibson L-50 was brought to us by the niece of the guitar's original owner - a professional musician who purchased it new in Montreal in 1934. It's a stunning guitar with a wonderful provenance, and comes complete with its original hardshell case, original bill of sale, and the previous owner's Musician's Union card, issued in 1936. The guitar is 100% original and in exceptional condition. There are no cracks, changed parts, or areas of excessive wear. The only repairs it has had were done by us, and to our lofty standards - a few brace ends needed to be glued, and the guitar set-up. It's in perfect working order, and plays delightfully well.

The L-50 passed through a few incarnations following its introduction in 1932. Two versions of smaller round-hole archtops preceded this particular variant of the L-50. Later in '34 the round sound hole would be dropped for f-holes, and about a year later the body size would be increased or "advanced" to 16". To many players this L-00 sized, carved-top, flat-back, round-hole L-50 is the one to have - but the model's relative scarcity make them something of a mystery to most seekers.

The guitar has a very strong voice with thick and meaty trebles under a firm flat-picked attack. It's a guitar that does its best under a heavy right hand with a hard pick, and excels at fiddle tunes, old-timey country, and jazzy single-noted phrases. Like other famous models of small-body archtops (read Epiphone Olympic), the small body L-50 is well suited for accompaniment, and has a tonal spectrum that stays out of the way of a larger-bodied flat-top very nicely. It's a very complimentary instrument to play in an acoustic duo or ensemble. On its own the guitar is plenty of fun, and a good choice for heavy fingerstyle blues and ragtime.

Carved spruce top, flat maple back and sides; mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard and elevated fingerboard extension. Ebony adjustable bridge, elevated celluloid pickguard, nickel-plated tailpiece, 3/strip tuners, and pearl 'Gibson' headstock logo. Dimensionally the same as a 1930's Gibson L-00 with the same V neck carve, a 24-3/4" scale, and a nut-width of 1-3/4. Sunburst top, uniform brown back and sides.

With original hardshell case

This one-owner instrument spent it's life with Harry (Hank) Moon. Check out the two photos included from the days that he had his dance band in the 1930's (courtesy of his niece). In the orchestra photo, you can see Hank, second from the right, playing the Martin Guitar that he traded in to purchase this L-50.

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