Gibson Style O Artist Arch Top Acoustic Guitar , c. 1919

Gibson  Style O Artist Arch Top Acoustic Guitar ,  c. 1919

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Item # 7788
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Gibson Style O Artist Model Arch Top Acoustic Guitar, c. 1919, made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, red sunburst varnish finish, birch back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, original black hard shell case.
 
Overall length is 38 1/2 in. (97.8 cm.), 16 1/8 in. (41 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 7/8 in. (48 mm.).

This Style O Artist has seen a decent amount of use and some repair in its 100 or so years on earth but remains more original than many, with much of the finish and hardware still intact. This one is also in totally solid playable condition, unlike many other early Style O survivors. As always, the Style O makes for an amazing looking instrument; this one is actually playable, though likely not to every guitarist's taste. Unfortunately both the serial number and the factory order number have faded away completely, but from the features this guitar appears to date to the end of the 1910s.

The deep red varnish finish has general wear with small scrapes and dings overall, but the only area of major loss is to the back of the neck, where there is also an area of thumb (or capo) wear fairly deep into the wood behind the third fret. There are no large crack repairs anywhere but a few small ones to the upper side waist and lower side near the endblock.

The hardware is a mixed lot -- the elegant Waverly strip tuners are original and intact, and the bridge is a carved compensated ebony piece similar to the original but likely of more recent vintage. The fragile celluloid tailpiece pin-block (which has usually disintegrated by now) was replaced with the crossbar from a slightly later style Gibson tailpiece, quite probably when the guitar was fairly new as it appears to have been there for a very long time. The celluloid floating pickguard is long gone and there is one small replaced section of binding to the side of the fingerboard in the spot where the mounting pin holes for it would have been.

The neck heel is always a weak point on this model, likely due to the guitar's unusual cutaway structure and the odd stacked laminated neck block. This particular Style O is one of the few we have seen with no external crack through the neck heel itself; internally, the block has been reglued to the back in a solid but somewhat sloppy manner. The neck itself appears to have been reset, a procedure not often attempted on this model, and if so the results are very good -- the angle is excellent and there is no major scarring from the operation. The frets are still original and in quite good shape considering the age of the instrument, and the original fancy pearl nut is intact as well.

Overall this guitar is definitely a survivor, and still a lovely and surprisingly fun instrument to play. The neck is HUGE but easier to adapt to than one might think, and the sound is bright but fuller than some of these elegant Art Nouveau creations we have had in the past. The original case is well-worn but intact and still fully functional. Overall Very Good + Condition.