Home / Instruments /Accessories / Ordering / Tips / Friends
1931 Gibson L-10
Status: For pricing and hold status for this instrument, please check our Instruments page here. If this instrument does not appear on the Instruments page it has been sold, and is no longer available. Photos and descriptions of Previously Sold instruments may by found here. To be notified of examples of this or any other model in the future, please contact [email protected].
Serial #: 88394
Body size at lower bout: 16". Scale length: 24 3/4" Nut Width: 1 3/4"
Materials: Handcarved bookmatched solid spruce top; solid handcarved maple back and sides; solid mahogany neck; solid ebony fingerboard, dot mother of pearl fingerboard inlay; single bound peghead and body; original bone nut.
Hardware: Original 1910 patent-stamped nickel trapeze tailpiece; original 1921 patent-stamped adjustable ebony bridge base, with newer compensated ebony saddle. Vintage correct bound tortoise pickguard, hand antiqued nickel Grover butterbean 16X1 butterbean tuning machines.
Notes: Until the very end of the roaring '20s, if you wanted a professional quality archtop guitar, your options were largely limited to a single instrument: the legendary Gibson L-5. Introduced in 1923 at a whopping $250, the top-shelf L-5 was simply out of reach for most working players. So in 1929 the company debuted a more affordable alternative, the elegant model L-10, which at $175 could save a player a few bucks.
Built in very limited numbers, the Gibson L-10 was introduced with identical body size, scale length and bracing as the L-5, but with a distinctive jet black finish. Originally fitted with a simple dot-inlay fingerboard and a plain script-logo headstock, the 16" L-10 was fitted with a solid mahogany neck, which made it somewhat lighter and better balanced than it's more costly cousin. The model was upsized in late 1934 and discontinued by 1939, becoming Gibson's rarest pro-sized archtop of the prewar era.
This rare example from 1931 is the earliest we've seen, built a year before the model first appeared in a Gibson catalog. It has the very earliest features of the model, seen only through this year, including the dot inlay fingerboard, 'The Gibson' script logo headstock, over-under tailpiece, and two-footed ebony bridge with the small bridge wheels. Most remarkably, the neck is fitted with a fingerboard of solid ebony, the only example of which we've seen on this model to date. Well played and well loved, the guitar shows moderate playwear, most pronounced around the tailpiece and bridge, with fine scattered lacquer nicks elsewhere on the top, and a single short crack on the back soundly resealed long ago. The deep ebony finish appears original, with the exception of the neck, which has had some matching vintage style nitro finish added. vintage correct bound tortoise guard is installed as well, along with a fine set of vintage correct hand antiqued nickel Grover butterbean 16X1 butterbean tuners.
At barely 5lb., the instrument is wonderfully light in weight, and years of play have given it a particularly clear, open voice, with a warmth and resonance in the lows and mids truly exceptional in an instrument its size. The neck has a comfy classic vee profile, and the fingerboard has a generous 1 3/4" nut width, enhanced with fine pro fretwork, with a fresh high-precision setup for low, smooth action.
Simple and elegant as a Shaker table, this handsome guitar can shake the rafters as well. One only: call now.
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; bridgewheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge oiled; body and neck cleaned and hand polished.
This instrument is strung with medium gauge bronze strings (.013-.057). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 5/64" to 6/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief for acoustic playing with medium strings. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.
Case: Deluxe black arched velour-lined fitted hardshell case.