Museum: Gibson Guitars

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1948 National 1160 / Gibson LG-3

Serial V-9124. The second National 1160/LG-3 that we've ever encountered, and serial numbered only 23 instruments apart from the first of these we listed a number of years ago.

The National 1160 is essentially a Gibson LG-3 with a different headstock, pickguard, and bridge, and no truss-rod. The model was offered between 1947 and 1951, but it is unknown how many of these were built. Gibson shipping totals do not specify how many instruments were supplied to National. What is known is that the LG-2 out-produced the natural-finish LG-3 by a 3-to-1 ratio, and not very many of them were sent westward to Chicago for National branding; so there are likely not too many of these guitars out there.

The guitar pictured here is in very fine condition and without cracks. Its LG-3 body is built from Sitka Spruce and mahogany, with scalloped X bracing and 3-ply faux-mahogany grained pickguard that was really quite avant-garde for 1948. Its neck is very obviously a Gibson build, with a large round carve, and no truss-rod. It has a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with pearl dots, and a bone nut measuring 1-3/4" wide. The bridge and tuning machines are replacements.

A very fine sounding post-war LG3, this one has a snappy and articulate bass end, and that typically round and powerful midrange and treble response of post-war Gibson LG-2's and 3's.

The guitar's action measures 5.5 to 7.5 64ths at the 12th fret and the saddle is quite low. There is a hump in the fretboard over the body, and some fret-buzz in the 12th to 14th fret area. We've set up the guitar as best as possible, and it plays nicely in the lower frets. There are no body repairs needed, so if you don't mind highish action or fret buzzes high-up the neck, guitar is just fine the way it is.

With modern travel case

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