Vintage Instruments: Gibson Guitars

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1937 Gibson L-30

Gibson’s L-30 is a small-bodied arch-top guitar with flat maple back and matching sides, carved spruce top, and sunburst finish.  It’s a particularly attractive little guitar, with heavily crazed lacquer finish, raised tortoise-celluloid pickguard and shapely F-holes.  A budget model, Gibson used a braced flat back, single ply bindings, simple fingerboard dots and silkscreened headstock logo to keep the price in check.  But even Gibson’s budget models from the 1930s are pretty special by today’s standards.

This example is a wonderful playing guitar thanks to a refret done in our shop a couple of years back. It’s crack free, and completely original but for an old set of non-original tuners.  It’s had back braces reglued in the past, but has seen no other repairs.

A warm and fairly dark archtop, the guitar has a very inviting tone for music styles well beyond Jazz.  It’s a good choice for comping 9th and 13th chords but surprisingly is equally at home in modern drop tunings.  At standard pitch, ragtime pickers will love this guitar’s throaty midrange push. 

V-shaped mahogany neck with 24-3/4” scale and 1-3/4” nut. 

With Deluxe hardshell case

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