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1934 Gibson L-4

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Serial #: 90909, white oval label.

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 carved flame maple back and sides, Brazilian rosewood fingerboard, variegated mother of pearl inlay fingerboard inlay and fleur de lis peghead inlay; bound fingerboard, peghead and body.

Hardware: All original hardware includes "Pat. Pend" nickel trapeze tailpiece, compensated adjustable ebony bridge, dark nitrocellulose tortoise pickguard. Original nickel-plated Grover Sta-Tite open back tuners (included in case), additional vintage correct hand antiqued 18X1 Grover Sta-Tites installed.

Notes: Always popular with studio pros and savvy collectors, the original 16" L-5 has found a new generation of fans in virtuoso players like Julian Lage, Whit Smith and other hotshot fretmeisters. Many folks feel that Gibson never surpassed the classic lines and magnificent tone of the 20's L-5, but if you've balked at their astronomical prices, the Gibson L-4 is a guitar you need to know about now.

The longest running model in company history, the L-4 was introduced in 1912, and in various versions has remained in production almost continuously to this day. The original 12 fret oval hole model was modified to a 14 fret round hole version in 1928, and finally offered with f-holes in late 1934. Built with the same body, bracing and scale as the 20's L-5, the L-4 was constructed of identical materials as well. (The sole exception is the mahogany neck, which makes the model somewhat lighter and better balanced than its costlier cousin.) Curiously, the L-4 neck is decidedly more ornate than the L-5, sporting fancy "Nick Lucas" style banjo inlays in its dark ebony fretboard.

Built in the very first months of production, this guitar is the earliest example of an f-hole L-4 we have found to date, and shows unique transitional features we've seen nowhere else. The fingerboard sports a pair of extra inlays, positioned at the first and 17th frets, and the peghead logo and fleur de lis inlay are positioned markedly lower on the headplate than on later examples.

This instrument has been kept in great shape, with all original finish, hardware and red stripe case. (An additional set of hand antiqued vintage correct Grover tuners is installed, with original tuners in the case including one replacement machine.) The guitar shows no cracks, a bit of light normal playwear, and has a comfy classic V neck profile with the generous 1 3/4" nut, now a favorite of modern players. The formal dark 20's style sunburst finish is all original, and the walnut back finish shows particularly fine tiger flame figure in the carved maple back.

At just 4lb. 9oz. the guitar is phenomenally lightweight, and exquisitely balanced on the strap or the lap. The voice is clean, clear, brilliantly resonant, and wide open, with the sort of natural reverb we hear only from a very finely carved sounboard, well aged, and nicely played-in. With classic L-5 performance at a fraction of the cost, this handsome L-4 is a true sleeper, and one of the best kept secrets of the vintage guitar market. An unbeatable value, and a rare and striking example from the dawn of the acoustic archtop guitar. 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 black Gibson deluxe 'red stripe' hardshell case with arched lid and plush lining.





































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