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1932 Gibson L-10
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Serial #: 88950, white oval label FON#: 338
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 neck and body; original bone nut.
Hardware: Original nickel hardware includes 1910 patent-stamped trapeze tailpiece; Grover Sta-Tite tuning machines; adjustable compensated ebony bridge. Vintage correct swirl tortoise pickguard with original nickel bracket.
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 is from 1932, the year this model first appeared in a Gibson catalog. Built in the trough of the Great Depression, it's from one of the lowest production years in Gibson history. This gleaming example shows the very earliest features of the model, including the dot inlay fingerboard, thin script logo headstock, and two-footed ebony bridge with the small bridge wheels. And the neck is fitted with a fingerboard of solid ebony, in contrast to the rosewood boards seen on most other examples. Interestingly, the guitar is also equipped with a short-lived transitional trapeze tailpiece with its crossbar slotted on its face, a more player-friendly successor to the somewhat awkward 'wraparound' tailpiece of the 20's.
The instrument has been well maintained, with its deep ebony finish showing some scattered playwear, mostly near the strings, and some lacquer nicks near the rim and back. Some light thumbwear to the neck has been spot-finished, and some pick marks hand-tipped and buffed. A lovely bound dark red swirl tortoise guard is installed as well, in the correct vintage contour.
At barely 4lb. 12oz. the instrument is phenomenally light, and balances deftly on the lap or the strap. The voice is clear and throaty, with the deep, open resonance these guitars are famed for, and excellent focus and projection, with solid parallel braces on the finely carved soundboard. The neck has a comfy light vee profile, and the fingerboard has a generous 1 3/4" nut width, with a fresh high-precision setup for smooth low action. Even the original plush lined hardshell case is in excellent condition.
Simple and elegant, with collector L-5 performance, at a player's price. 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-.056). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 4/64" to 5/64" 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: Original deluxe black arched plush lined hardshell case.