Gibson L-4 Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1930)
Gibson L-4 Model Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1930), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 86526, red sunburst top, dark stained back and sides finish, birch back and sides, spruce top and mahogany neck with ebony fingergoard, original black hard shell case. Item # 7054
This guitar is a late example of the original style L-4, built just before the model began to evolve away from its original oval-hole form to a more modern instrument. It is generally similar to earlier 1920's L-4's but with a slimmer profile rounder-backed neck in place of the earlier very chunky "V" style. The peghead is the earlier wider style that supplanted the Loar-era "snakehead" in the late '20's which features a straight, not slanted, "The Gibson" logo on its single-bound peghead. The soundhole is still bordered with the elaborate diamond marquetry motif used since the 1910's and the original adjustable bridge has the "turn over" saddle for Hawaiian playing seen only in the mid-1920's.
When this guitar was built at the very start of the Depression, the L-4 was still a fancy high-end guitar for Gibson, with only the Master Model L-5 exceeding it in price. The company would soon launch a complete line of F-hole guitars, and the L-4 would change the a round-hole then a F-hole guitar as the decade progressed. Many period early jazz greats used L-4's similar to this one when new including Eddie Lang and Freddy Guy. Besides being a relative rarity, this L-4 is a powerful sounding guitar with a big smooth tone.
Overall length is 39 in. (99.1 cm.), 16 in. (40.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 5/16 in. (8.4 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 25 in. (635 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/4 in. (44 mm.). This old Gibson is well-played but great sounding, a great playing example of one of the last original-style oval hole L-4's. There is a lot of pickwear to the top, especially above the soundhole and by the fingerboard, and general dings and wear to the finish overall. The hardware is mostly original including the oft-missing pickguard and bracket and openback Waverly tuners. The original adjustable ebony bridge is intact but has been re-worked somewnat, with a small shim at the base and the saddle cleaned up and recontoured slightly for optimum playability. The tailpiece is original but the crossbar is an old replacement. The guitar is currently set up with the original pickguard and bridge as noted, but an additional pickguard and bridge with a built in Schatten AT-04 pickup system for gigging purposes, as desired. While not the cleanest old L-4 we have had, this is one of the best playing and sounding examples we have seen. Overall Very Good + Condition.
Prices subject to change without notice.
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