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1933 Gibson L-C 'Century of Progress'

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FON#: 623, stamped on neck block

Body size at lower bout: 14 3/4" Side at deepest taper: 4 5/8" Scale length: 24 3/4" Nut width: 1 3/4"

Materials: Solid X-braced spruce top; solid Honduras mahogany neck; arched curly maple back and sides; pearloid fingerboard and peghead; Brazilian rosewood bridge with compensated bone saddle; pearl floral fingerboard inlays in rosewood inserts; triple bound top, contoured firestripe tortoise pickguard, solid bone nut.

Hardware: All original hardware includes open back cream button tuners, inlaid bridgepins, and adjustable truss rod.

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

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-Century model, created expressly for the exposition. Built off of its popular L-00 model from 1931, the L-C added a handsome curly maple back and sides, and a showy fingerboard and headstock faced with cream colored pearloid, a decorative celluloid popular on accordions, costume jewelry, table radios and the like. 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 the very first year of production, this handsome guitar is one of the earliest half-dozen L-C models recorded in Spann's Guide. While most were fitted with a modest split-diamond inlay, this unusually ornate example shows a rare floral pattern, clearly borrowed from Gibson's Mastertone banjo line. (Apparently only found in the earliest examples, we have seen similar inlay in a few other early L-75 models as well.)

With its ultra-light construction, knife-edge braces, and stiff, resonant X-braced soundboard, the L-C pulls jumbo guitar projection from a comfy, compact body. At an astounding 3lb. 11oz. this guitar is phenomenally light in weight, with a responsiveness that is simply delightful in its clarity and resonance. All original hardware is attached, including the 3-on-a-plate open back tuners, contoured firestripe tortoise guard, and Brazilian rosewood bridge, with bone saddle and inlaid bridgepins. The deep Cremona sunburst finish is original as well, highlighting the deep rollers of curly flame maple in the back and sides.

The neck has a comfy light V profile, with smooth low action over fine high original style fretwork, and a fresh high-precision setup. A single hairline crack near the centerseam has been soundly resealed, and apart from a few buckle dents in the back, this gleaming instrument shows few signs of play altogether. With its generous 1 3/4 nut, the fingerboard is ideal for either finger or pick style play, and the voice of the soundboard is wide open from decades of age.

An unusually rare example of Gibson's most eyecatching prewar flat top, whose distinctive appearance is matched only by its superlative voice. One only: call now.

Case: Original Gibson deluxe black arched plush lined hardshell case.

Setup: This instrument is strung with medium gauge bronze strings (.012-.052). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 4/64" to 7/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief for acoustic playing with medium strings.


































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