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1935 Gibson L-12

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Serial #: 91920 white oval label. FON#: 1456-15

Body size at lower bout: 16". Scale length: 24 3/4" Nut Width: 1 3/4"

Materials: Handcarved bookmatched solid spruce top; solid mahogany neck, solid figured maple back and sides, Brazilian rosewood fingerboard, Mastertone style 'picture frame' mother of pearl inlay fingerboard and peghead inlay; bound fingerboard, peghead and body.

Hardware: All original gold hardware includes Grover Sta-Tite tuners, Kauffman Vibrola tailpiece, compensated adjustable ebony bridge, bound tortoise pickguard.

Notes: If you always admired the legendary L-5 model of the 1920's, but blanched at their astronomical prices, this is a guitar you should know about. Many folks feel that Gibson never surpassed the classic lines and magnificent tone of the original Lloyd Loar body design. The guitars are extraordinarily lightweight, with elegantly slim f-holes and some of the most delicately carved tops Gibson ever made. The resulting instruments possess a richness and transparency that is remarkable for instruments of any size.

The original 16" body L-12 is a very rare model, made for less than five years between 1930 and mid-1935. Built with the same dimensions as the 20's L-5, the L-12 was actually somewhat fancier than it's costlier cousin. With a fingerboard adorned with graceful floral designs, the L-12 was trimmed with ornate Mastertone banjo inlays, left over from the 20's. Most remarkably, this example is equipped with an extremely rare original Kauffman Vibrola tailpiece. Designed expressly for acoustic archtop guitars, this pioneering innovation was the earliest marketed mechanical vibrato, preceeding the modern Bigsby and Fender 'whammy bars' by almost two decades.

From the last year of production, this handsome instrument would have been one of the last 16" body L-12 guitars, built just before the model was was upsized later that year. Originally owned by a guitarist with an early Glenn Miller band, this gleaming instrument was kept in storage by his family for almost seven decades, after his career was ended prematurely by injury.

One of the last to be built with the generous 1 3/4" nut width, now a favorite of modern builders, the guitar has smooth low action over a traditional prewar V-shaped neck profile. At just 5lb. 2oz. the instrument is phenomenally light in weight, well balanced and warmly resonant. The voice is clear and sparkling, with abundant natural reverb and excellent projection. The ornate gold tailpiece functions like an ordinary trapeze in normal use, but is supplied with a pair of vibrato arms that can be inserted to operate the vibrola if desired. The original owner's name is elegantly engraved on the inside of the truss rod cover in flowing script: it's just one of the happy discoveries the next owner will find as they explore this exquisite prewar creation.

An elegant classic, and one of the rarest prewar Gibson archtops. 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; bridge wheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge oiled; body and neck cleaned and hand polished.

Case: Original Gibson deluxe black hardshell case with arched lid and silk plush lining.





































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