Vintage Instruments: Gibson Guitars

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1932 Gibson L-0

A remarkably fine sounding 12 fret all-mahogany Gibson L-0. Built during the best period of small-body flat-top production at Gibson, this L-0 features a very light build, early rounded-style rectangle bridge, and dark tortoise celluloid pickguard. The combination of an all-mahogany 12 fret body and pickguard is specific to 1932, and signals a production era where Gibson was building their guitars just strong enough to handle steel strings, but still light enough to sound heavenly these 85 or so years later. The period of 1932-34 saw great and swift evolution in guitar design at Gibson, and to many players, is considered the true first golden era of Gibson’s flat top production.

This guitar is inspiring to play for many reasons. Tone, obviously, but equally for its neck carve, overall comfort and lightness, as well. With a deep round profile and rolled-over edges, this guitar’s neck is about as perfect as they come. Its 1-3/4” nutwidth affords plenty of left-hand room, and the nut string spacing is just right for thumb-over-the-top fretting. It’s a guitar that’s easy and fun to play and doesn’t fight you back in the least.

In the tone department, expect a guitar that’s equal parts sensitive and bold. It responds quickly and fully to a lighter right hand attack, but has all the headroom you’d want should you choose to dig in harder with a pick. String balance is excellent, with a bass response that’s warm but articulate and trebles that roundly pop forward. The mahogany top imparts a very subtle dryness to the tone and offers a little extra definition to an otherwise fairly dark-voiced instrument. It’s unanimously a shop favourite, and that’s not something that happens very often.

The guitar arrived to Folkway with a number of older brace repairs, some of which have since been redone properly. The pickguard is a vintage-accurate forgery replacement made here, and there are a few repaired top cracks just in-front of it. One repaired crack on the bass side of the soundhole north of the bridge. Original bridge and bridgeplate, original finish throughout, original frets and tuners as well. Made in USA export stamp on the back of the headstock announcing that this guitar has lived here in Canada since ’32.

This is a rare and very special guitar with exceptional tone. It’s in perfect working order, and has one of the most comfortable necks you’ll likely ever play. It’s the real deal, and the kind of guitar that may very well end your hunt for another instrument.

With original chipboard case

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