Gibson L-00 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar , c. 1937

Gibson  L-00 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar ,  c. 1937

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Item # 2899
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Gibson L-00 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar, c. 1937, made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, black lacquer finish, mahogany back, sides and neck; spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, black tolex hard shell case.

This is a very cool but rather unusual 14-fret L-00, with one of those Gibson factory quirks you just can't make up! Finished in black overall with the "firestripe" celluloid pickguard, this guitar has a sunburst finish UNDER the factory black lacquer, probably due to either an order that needed to be filled immediately or more likely a visible flaw in the first finish that was simply sprayed over in an all-forgiving black. This double-finish procedure is rare but not unknown at Gibson (particularly on lower-grade instruments) and we've seen it on '60s and '70s Fenders as well. The lacquer has checked fairly heavily overall (especially on the back) but is largely intact, with the small bits of the sunburst visible in a few chips.

The Factory Order Number on the heelblock has faded into invisibility, but based on features this guitar appears to date to the 1936-7 period. The L-00 was a Depression-era staple for Gibson, offered starting at the rock-bottom price of $25.00. This 14-fret version of the model was sold up into WWII, at which point the wider-waisted LG-2 replaced it. A plainly-ornamented but striking-looking guitar, this ebony L-00 also sports a white script "Gibson" headstock logo, single-bound top and back, and a 3-ply W/B/W sound hole ring.

The L-00 model went through numerous design changes in the early 1930s, as Gibson worked to create affordable instruments for Depression era players struggling to make ends meet. Despite its double finish, this L-00 remains a very responsive guitar. Great-looking and a fine fingerpicker especially suited to traditional blues and country where a certain amount of snap and growl is required.
 
Overall length is 39 3/4 in. (101 cm.), 14 3/4 in. (37.5 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 3/8 in. (11.1 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/4 in. (44 mm.).

Besides its quirky double finish, this guitar has some old repairs but is well-restored and an excellent player. It has been fitted with a slightly oversize repro Brazilian rosewood bridge and a new maple bridgeplate, and has a recent expert refret with correct period-style wire. There are repaired spruce grain cracks to the top on the center seam, below it on the treble side, and just off the fingerboard to the sound hole rim, all fully sealed. The rest of the guitar is crack-free.

The tuners are period but not original to the guitar, and there are marks from several types of other tuners being there previously. There are also marks to the top and rear side from a trapeze tailpiece previously mounted long ago, and a strap button hole in the heel. The finish shows dings, scrapes, and as noted, heavy checking overall, with a few areas flaked away.

The guitar plays beautifully with a big well-rounded tone, warmer than many of these. Something of a road warrior but a pretty unique example of one of Gibson's most popular pre-war flat-tops. Very Good + Condition.