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1937 Gibson L-12

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Serial #: 95032 white oval label.

Body size at lower bout: 17". Scale length: 24.9" Nut Width: 1 11/16"

Materials: Handcarved bookmatched solid spruce top; solid maple neck, solid flame maple back, solid maple sides, Brazilian rosewood fingerboard; art-deco peghead mother of pearl inlay and double parallelogram fingerboard inlay; bound fingerboard, peghead and body; original bone nut.

Hardware: 100% original hardware includes gold art deco trapeze tailpiece; gold Grover butterbean tuners; triple bound tortoise pickguard, compensated adjustable rosewood bridge.

Notes: Introduced in 1930, the Gibson L-12 was an upmarket addition to the company's newly expanding archtop line. Originally a 16" guitar with ornate "picture frame" fingerboard inlays, the body was upsized to 17" in 1934. Designated an "advanced model" this larger L-12 differed from the L-5 only in cosmetic details. Like the L-5, the L-12 had all gold hardware, a figured maple neck, and sunburst back as well as top. Visually, the Gibson L-12 was distinguished by its pronounced art deco design, from it's split-cross peghead inlay to it's unique flat-plate tailpiece with geometric motifs. This model also was the first to display the double parallelogram fingerboard inlay, later to become Gibson's most iconic fretboard design. Much rarer than either the L-5 or the L-7, the L-12 remains the most thoroughgoing example of art deco design on a Gibson instrument.

Most significantly however, between 1934 and 1939 the 17" pro-sized Gibsons were carved with X-braced soundboards. This style of bracing produces a tone which is typically warm and open, with significantly more bass response and sustain than parallel braced bodies. Quickly adopted by D'Angelico, the X-brace body became standard for D'Aquisto, Benedetto and most contemporary fine archtop builders.

This fine example has 100% original hardware and finish, and is completely crack free. The original sunburst finish is in excellent shape with no buckle wear, and only the most incidental pick and thumb wear. Both back and neck show attractive flame maple under the amber sunburst finish. The original hardware is in excellent condition, with the pickguard showing a small patch of crazing around the bracket block but no signs of general deterioration. A bit of finish was touched up around the bridge area very long ago, and the last 4 digits of the serial number impressed into the peghead, perhaps as identification. (A label in the case indicates the owner was a PFC in the 94th Infantry, based in Camp Roberts, CA. If it's overall condition is any indication, if this guitar did go to war, it stayed safely on the bandstand.)

The instrument has a powerful open voice, with exceptional clarity and a warm, throaty tone enhanced by a clean fresh set of high pro frets. The neck has a very contemporary "C" profile, with none of the clubbiness of many prewar necks. A great player, very well cared for, and one of the most attractive designs on any guitar of the streamline era.

Setup: The frets have been precision leveled, recrowned and polished; trussrod tension and neck relief adjusted; bridge height adjusted; bridge compensation set; string slots at nut and bridge inspected and recut as necessary; bridge foot contour inspected and fit to top as necessary; bridge radius inspected and recurved as necessary; bridge wheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge oiled; body and neck cleaned and hand polished.

Case: Original Gibson black hardshell case.




































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