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1933 Gibson L-75C 'Century of Progress'

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FON#: 538, stamped on inside back

Body size at lower bout: 14 3/4" Depth at endpin: 3 3/8" Scale length: 24 3/4" Nut width: 1 3/4" Neck depth, 1st/10th frets: .85/.1.03

Materials: Solid carved spruce top; arched mahogany back and sides; one-piece mahogany neck; inlaid pearloid fingerboard and peghead, single-bound body, bone nut.

Hardware: All original nickel hardware includes trapeze tailpiece, three-on-a-plate open back tuners, compensated adjustable ebony bridge, contoured swirl tortoise pickguard, adjustable truss rod.

Notes: It showcased Judy Garland, the Andrews Sisters, the Graf Zepplin, and the first All-Star baseball game. And some very, very fancy little guitars.

It was the Century of Progress, the 1933 World's Fair celebrating Chicago's 100th Anniversary. Gibson seized the opportunity to debut its new L-75 Century model, created expressly for the exposition, which attracted some 48 million visitors. The archtop companion to the L-C flat top model, the L-75 Century featured a unique pear shaped body, with a solid carved spruce top, and arched mahogany back and sides.

Stopping the show was an ornately decorated fingerboard and headstock, faced with cream colored pearloid, a decorative celluloid popular on accordions, table radios, and costume jewelry. Inlaid within the pearlescent material are rosewood insets with mother of pearl inlays, cut by Gibson from their back stock of unused banjo fingerboards.

From a special production run for only a little over a year, the L-75C is unquestionably one of the rarest Gibson archtops ever, was produced in only a fraction of the numbers of its flat topped counterpart. (In fact, in over some three decades, this intriguing example is the only one we've ever seen.) The fancy floral inlays were re-purposed from Gibson's top-line Mastertone banjos, lending this wonderfully compact instrument a distinctive air of elegance and whimsy.

At a mere 3lb 10oz, this compact wonder is almost impossibly light in weight, with its L-5 style parallel bracing producing a brilliant, snappy voice, with amazing volume and projection. All original hardware is attached, including the 3-on-a-plate open back tuners, contoured tortoise guard, and solid ebony bridge. The deep Cremona sunburst finish is original as well, highlighting the fine grained Honduran mahogany in the back and sides.

Well played and well loved, this striking guitar was owned by one W.W. Woodward of Mineral Wells, TX, according to the label with his name inside the instrument. Though showing moderate playwear, principally confined to the top, the guitar shows no apparent cracks, and the glistening pearloid fingerboard and peghead still gleam in all their stunning glory. The neck has a comfy light V profile, with smooth low action over fine high original style fretwork, and a fresh high-precision setup. With its generous 1 3/4 nut, the fingerboard is ideal for either finger or pick style picking, and the voice of the soundboard is wide open from decades of play.

A vanishingly rare example of Gibson's most eyecatching archtop, the L-75C is an instrument whose distinctive appearance is matched only by its remarkable voice: one only, call now.

Case: Deluxe black arched plush lined hardshell case.

Setup: This instrument is strung with medium gauge phosphor bronze strings. 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.


































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