Museum: Gibson Guitars

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1934 Gibson L-00

FON 921. There's always been something remarkably special about the early 1934 sunburst L-00s we've offered through the years. These first L-00s are truly where it's at for many of us small-body Gibson connoisseurs. Be it the more lightly built tops, the small-centered sunburst, the delightfully comfortable neck carve, or all of the above, once you get into playing a good one of these '34s, you likely won't go back.

As compared to L-00s built a year and more later, this 1934 is considerably more lightly built. It's not the gossamer early 1930's build as you'd find on a 1930 L1, L2, or Kel Kroyden; but a mirror, a light, and a thickness gauge will show the step that this guitar represents in evolution of Gibson's bracing quite clearly. The top measures in at .100", or 15 to 20 percent thinner than, say, a 1936 L-00; the braces are skinnier, the bridgeplate significantly thinner, and the linings are solid mahogany strips heat-bent to match the side curvatures. The net result is a guitar with astonishing complexity and texture, depth, particularly sweet and open mids, and beautiful decay. It is really amazing to hear the difference that a few thousandths of an inch of spruce and maple can make to a small body guitar.

A particularly good looking vintage Gibson, this one is completely original but for newer Stewart MacDonald reproduction tuning machines. The neck was recently reset and the instrument plays very well. Original lacquered rosewood bridge, saddle, pins, nut, and frets. One finger brace was partially loose when we received the guitar, and has since been cleanly glued by our shop. There are no other internal issues -- no other loose or cracked braces, no other repairs, and no cracks in the top or back. The heel of the neck and the area around it on the sides and back was oversprayed at the time of reset, and two short side cracks repaired; all work is nicely done. Most of the back and sides show only original finish, and there is no overspray on the top at all.

A very fine instrument, with an excellent set-up.

With original chipboard case

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