Gibson HG-00 Owned and Played by Elvis Costello Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1937)

Gibson  HG-00 Owned and Played by Elvis Costello Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1937)

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Item # 7871
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Gibson HG-00 Owned and Played by Elvis Costello Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1937), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, black hard shell case.

While originally intended for lap-style Hawaiian play, the fairly rare HG-00 makes a dandy Spanish-style guitar and an interesting variation on the normal 1930's "L" flat top specs. This is a 12-fret guitar with slightly heavier bracing than the 14-fret standard L-00…and we do mean slightly, compared to most other guitars it is still a featherweight instrument. The neck is a quite wide (nearly 2" at the nut) but comfortable V profile, rather chunkier in feel than the contemporary Spanish neck. Like most HG's, this one does not have an adjustable truss rod installed, as it was deemed unnecessary for the Hawaiian style neck. The fingerboards were fretted in the standard style, so the conversion to Spanish play does not require a refret. The tuners are still the original early style Kluson strip tuners with plastic buttons.

The ink-stamped portion of the FON (Factory Order Number) on this guitar has faded away to almost nothing but appears to end in a "C", which would indicate a production date of 1937. The red-pencil ranking number for the batch is still clear as day -- it was #27! The HG-00 was only made for a few years in the late 30's, so it pretty much dates itself -- 1937 would be the first year of issue.

This is a really fine flat top guitar, quite a bit rarer than a 'normal' L-00 and with a slightly more aggressive tone. It is a great instrument for a number of acoustic styles and a connoisseur's delight in a 1930's Gibson flat top. This instrument came direct to us by hand from Elvis Costello, who told us he loved it but found the wide neck somewhat less comfortable than he would prefer. Nevertheless this was a stage-used guitar and we were informed it was employed for Elvis' Carnegie Hall debut!
 
Overall length is 38 1/2 in. (97.8 cm.), 14 3/4 in. (37.5 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 5/16 in. (11 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 15/16 in. (49 mm.).

This is a very nice example of this relatively rare guitar, an excellent player showing some light general wear only. The instrument has undergone a clean conversion from the original Hawaiian setup retaining the original straight-saddle bridge, which has been lowered from the underside just a bit and reglued. The finish shows typical checking with small dings and dents overall but no major wear, just a bit of exposed wood at the edges of the bridge where it was reattached. The guitar plays very well and incudes a very sturdy oblong HSC, with a management company inventory tag attached to the handle. As of now, the maestro's strings are still on the instrument! This is a lovely and historic guitar, and also a fine playing instrument with an exceptional recent provenance. Excellent Condition.