Museum: Gibson Guitars

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1936 Gibson L-30

Gibson’s L-30 was a small-body, flat-backed archtop that saw production throughout the 1930s. Although originally offered as a budget model, the guitar’s tone is strong, complex, and deep, and it offers much more warmth and projection than one would expect of a small-body archtop. The bass is focused, mids are forward, and trebles are robust.

The L-30 shares its body size with Gibson’s L-series flat-tops, but features maple back and sides rather than mahogany (as was found on the flat-tops). The guitar’s back is flat and braced like a flat-top’s, the top is carved spruce with tone-bar bracing. 14 fret neck with 24.75” scale rosewood fingerboard, simple dot inlays, 1-3/4” nut, and a V carve.

The guitar is completely original, including its Grover open-book tuners, nut, pickguard, bridge, tailpiece, and finish. We are particularly enamoured by the headstock decoration – Bob and flower decals appear to have been applied near the start of this guitar’s life.

Apart from a repaired top center seam crack and another 1” crack at the bass F hole, the guitar is in quite excellent condition. Playability and fretwork are first-rate and its neck angle is great. The finish shows some wear, but nothing out of the ordinary.

With modern hardshell case

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